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Brender à Brandis, Madzy
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Mattha (“Madzy”) Cornelia Brender à Brandis (née van Vollenhoven) (1910-1984), known as “Madzy”, was a writer who was born in Scheveningen, Holland in 1910. She was the third of four children. She studied law in Leiden, but before completing her degree, she married Wim (“Bill”) Brender à Brandis. They had three children: Marianne Brandis, Gerard Brender à Brandis, and Joost (“Jock”) Brender à Brandis. They lived briefly in New York City, but they moved back to Holland just as World War II began. Wim was ultimately sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in 1942, and during this time, Madzy cared for their children in Nazi occupied Netherlands. The family immigrated to northern B.C. in 1947 and lived on a farm for nine years. In 1958, Madzy and Bill moved to Antigonish, Nova Scotia and worked at St. Francis Xavier University, and in 1959 they moved to Burlington, Ontario.
Madzy wrote in both Dutch and English, and much of her writing was autobiographical and details her experience as an immigrant. She wrote columns for four different newspapers in Holland and Canada; sixty-eight columns and other short works remain, though she wrote more that have not survived. She wrote a memoir about life on their farm in B.C. titled Land for our Son, published under the name Maxine Brandis, and which she translated into Dutch. She also wrote short stories and a great deal of unpublished material for family members, such as diaries, memoirs, letters, etc. Madzy contracted rheumatoid arthritis while still living in WWII Holland, and by 1972, unable to use her hands to write, she was using a tape recorder for correspondence, research, and for recording family memories.
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Brandis, Marianne. Frontiers and Sanctuaries: A Woman’s Life in Holland and Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006.
Brandis, Marianne. “Autobiography in Dutch and English: the Bilingual Self-life-writing of Madzy Brender à Brandis,” Canadian Journal of Netherlandic Studies 27 (Fall 2006): 30-37.
E. Tyschenko, 2016.