Diamond Street: The Hidden World of Hatton Garden, By Rachel Lichtenstein

In June 1940, a small boy and several members of his extended family — parents, uncles, aunts and cousins —– were bound by ship for England, on the run from occupied Belgium. One night, in the shadowy darkness of the cabin, the boy awoke to the frantic whispering of his mother: “Shall we throw them overboard?” Barely more than a toddler then, it was several years before the boy confessed that he was certain that his parents were weighing up whether or not to drown him.

The small boy was my father, and the whispers did not concern the children of the party but the handful of diamonds that my grandmother had hidden in her underwear when she and my grandfather— a Polish-born diamond dealer who had been living for some years in Antwerp, the then centre of the international diamond trade — had left for the coast in advance of the Nazi invasion of Belgium.

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