A HARROWING discovery has prompted a man to fulfil a childhood ambition.

Mark deMeza was shocked to find out that his Dutch ancestors had been murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz and Sobibor extermination camps.

Mark, 59, from High Legh, said: “It was very sobering.

“I knew our family had come over from Amsterdam.

“I just happened to be on a website when it mentioned a new holocaust memorial in Amsterdam.

“The walls had a brick for each person. Eleven of our ‘deMeza’ family names came up, each with birthdays and dates they died.

“My youngest relative who died was an 11-year-old girl.

“I couldn’t get my head around the huge numbers of children who were killed.”

Uncovering the dreadful truth of his family’s holocaust history has inspired Mark to pen a novel.

“I have wanted to write a book since I was a teenager,” he said.

“Writing this novel was a deeply personal and emotional journey.

“The discovery of my ancestors’ names and the impact of their tragic stories fuelled my commitment to tell a tale of survival, resistance and the enduring impact of the holocaust.”

Mark’s novel, ‘The Thirteenth Child’, follows the journey of one family struggling to survive as Dutch Jews come under attack.

Warrington Guardian: Mark's novel is based on his family's harrowing holocaust historyMark's novel is based on his family's harrowing holocaust history (Image: Mark deMeza)

Mark said: “I didn’t want to write fact, I wanted to write fiction.

“I researched what happened the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation.

“I used all the factual events and made up a family in the middle of it.”

As the Nazis tighten their grip, siblings Rachael and Henrik Kisch join the Dutch Resistance, while their parents, Franck and Elizabeth, strive to protect their younger brother, Hannes.

Mark, who works as a finance consultant, has explored the census to find out more about his ancestors.

“My great great grandfather, Jacob chose to leave Amsterdam,” said Mark, who works as a finance consultant.

“He married twice and had 20 children.

“One of these children was my great grandfather, Isaac.

“I must confess the more you learn about your family, it makes you ask more questions.

“I hope writing this book will be cathartic.

“It would be good if more younger people read it and could carry on this message once this generation is gone.”

The Thirteenth Child by Bebetter Publishing is available on Amazon and Kindle