Etty Hillesum



Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch Jewish woman, was arrested by the Gestapo, and eventually died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz in 1943. Between 1941 and 1943 she wrote a journal and some letters which were published as the book "Interrupted Life".

Etty had no training in any particular religious tradition. She had lived a life of friendships, infused with a love of literature, and had lived a remarkable encounter with a psychotherapist, a disciple of Jung. Remarkable then, her spiritual journey towards union with God, a journey which took place amid the world of atrocious suffering which was the Dutch concentration where she was held. With her there were sometimes as many as ten thousand Jewish men, women and children awaiting the trains which would carry them to Auschwitz.

In her letters and journal, she speaks of her experience of God. She does not cry out to God in anger, nor does she beg God for help. Rather she reveals a God who waits patiently at the door to our hearts for us to invite Him in and to give us His peace. The sole desire of Etty was to help each person discover that he or she is "a dwelling place of God".


Receive the Daily Thoughts


Receive every day by email a Daily Thought extracted from Jean Vanier's publications.

Living Quotes