Lost in the Fog is the courageous story of Rachel Van Meers, born in a home for unwed mothers in the city of Ghent, Belgium, in 1930. Raised in a Flemish working-class district by her strict grandmother, two aunts, and three uncles, Van Meers recounts her struggles growing up a bastard in Belgium during the Great Depression.When the war broke out, Belgium was quickly taken over by Germany, and the people were left to fend for themselves against the overwhelming occupying forces and shattering Allied air strikes. Van Meers' family remained loyal to Belgium, but her mother joined the SS. When a violent argument erupted between Van Meers and her Nazi-sympathizing stepfather, she was sent to a child labor camp in Germany and later returned to witness Belgium in tatters after the war. Now a strong-spirited young woman, she refused to go the way of her mother, or give in to the brutal attacks of her stepfather. She was eventually able to sustain her independence from her family and emigrate to America in 1961.This is a rare look at Belgium during an era of upheaval; a frank, down-to-earth narrative based on hundreds of hours of taped interviews. Rachel's view of a ""not-quite-normal"" family, her amazing strength in the face of abusive, degrading treatment at a time when being a bastard was like bearing the mark of Cain, are told in a unique way which is at once both inspiring and not without humor.
RACHEL VAN MEERS has been a maid, a hat check girl, an electronics assembler, and an assistant apartment manager in Belgium, Amsterdam, and in the United States. Now retired, she lives in Oregon and is the matriarch of her family.