(September 19, 2022, Oegstgeest, The Netherlands, JNS Wire) Amsterdam Publishers focuses on Holocaust memoirs written by Jewish survivors and their descendants.
Founded by Liesbeth Heenk in 2012, it started as a general publisher but gradually turned into the niche publisher it is today, having built a reservoir of over 60 books in English, and now releasing circa 27 books on the subject per year.
Its 10th anniversary was celebrated in New York with a drinks party for US authors on 12 September 2022 at the Dutch Consulate, to which four survivors were able to attend, and at Studio Libeskind (for press and organizations) the day after.
Liesbeth Heenk runs the publishing house single-handedly:
“I believe in the power of first-person accounts told by survivors. These important narratives must be told, so we do not forget. I focus on stories of individuals because they can make the most impact and create empathy. Holocaust history needs to be preserved at all cost to fight antisemitism and Holocaust denial.”
Amsterdam Publishers’ books have been translated into 15 languages. Over 74% of the readers market is based in the US, and a total of 42 million Kindle pages have been read. Amsterdam Publishers’ books can be ordered in bookshops around the world. Many of its award-winning titles have become bestsellers in their genre, notably Manny Steinberg’s Outcry (2014), Tammy Bottner’s Among the Reeds (2017), and Nechama Birnbaum’s The Redhead of Auschwitz (2021) of which more than 30.000 copies were sold in the first 6 months.
“Liesbeth Heenk deserves recognition and a huge thank you from all of us for her devotion to bringing to light stories of Holocaust survivors, especially those written by their descendants. Holocaust survivors are passing on but their stories will survive thanks to the work of Amsterdam Publishers. Many of the large American publishers have stopped publishing Holocaust memoirs, which are apparently no longer in vogue. Thanks to Liesbeth Heenk and Amsterdam Publishers, these stories will remain alive and relevant.” Kenneth P Price Ph.D., author of Separated Together (Amsterdam Publishers, 2020).
Amsterdam Publishers, Liesbeth Heenk, Lange Voort 223, 2343 CD Oegstgeest, The Netherlands, tel (00 1) +31 6 518 58260, email@example.com
Speech Liesbeth Heenk – owner of Amsterdam Publishers on the occasion of the 10-year anniversary of her publishing house celebrated at Studio Libeskind on Broadway, New York City Tuesday 13 September 2022
I would like to start by thanking Daniel and Nina Libeskind and the Dutch Consulate for generously hosting this special event.
I am very grateful to be able to celebrate the launch of Aftermath and the 10-year anniversary of my publishing house and here at Studio Libeskind.
Just like her brother, Annette is a multi-talent. Although a scientist by education, she writes beautifully flowing prose; she has a delicate way of evoking senses through her words – choosing those words with great care.
Not only my congratulations with this achievement, Annette, but also a happy birthday!
A publisher exists by virtue of her authors. And I pride myself on having an outstanding and dedicated group of authors. I feel truly blessed. Today some are present: the award-winning Dr. Kenneth Price who flew in from Texas, bestselling and award-winning author, the amazing Nechama Birnbaum whose book, The Redhead of Auschwitz, is still a no 1 bestseller 10 months after its launch, and two to be published authors, Roslyn Bernstein and Oren Schneider.
Fortunately, I saw many authors yesterday at the Dutch consulate, amongst which four Holocaust survivors.
Amsterdam Publishers is a small press (based in Holland) that is committed to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive by publishing books on the Shoah. The best way to do this, is by telling stories, true stories. History books with sheer numbers do not have nearly as much impact as stories that create an emotional connection.
Possibly, you have asked yourself the same question many of my authors have done: is she one of us? Is she Jewish? No, I am not, I am a Dutch agnostic. I do not believe, but I believe in the power of words. Words can make a change.
My motivation is connected to a sense of injustice. It most likely started with my mother telling my siblings and me at the dinner table how she, as a young girl, used to carry pamphlets in her bike for the Dutch resistance. One doesn’t realize the significance of these things until much later. On a deeper level, I feel a strong need to do something meaningful, to change the world as much as an individual is capable of changing the world.
Whether the books reach the audience they should be reaching is a question that preoccupies me most. How can I make sure that new generations are reading the books? Starting a new series ‘Holocaust books for Young adults’ is not enough.
I would love the books to be part of the Holocaust curriculum of required reading in US schools. Several would make for excellent and impactful reading for students. One of my goals is to raise awareness among future generations and to preserve the heritage of witnesses of the Holocaust.
Ten years with 60 books is a start. My job will only be finished when 6 million stories would be told.
On a personal level, I do not only feel blessed by the trust my authors – especially the survivors – have put in me, but first and foremost I am inspired by their resilience, and how they confronted the trauma of the past. They are teaching invaluable lessons in tolerance, kindness and acceptance. No one had more right to be bitter and angry at the world. Yet, they reclaimed their lives.
Their messages resonate with me every day.
Liesbeth Heenk – Owner and Founder of Amsterdam Publishers