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Yom Hashoah 2020

Sunday, April 19, 2020 - 8:00pm

80th Anniversary of the Occupation of Holland – Resistance and Rescue

By Sharon Mire

Approximately 140,000 Jews lived in Holland in 1940 - during the Holocaust 75% of the Jewish population was murdered.  This death rate was the highest of any West European country. Of the estimated 25,000 Jews who went into hiding, only two-thirds survived.

Pinner Shul’s 2020 event will focus on the heroic deeds of ordinary Dutch people, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who resisted the Nazis as well as those who rescued and hid Jews, at great risk to themselves. Our speakers will be the Dutch Ambassador as well as Selma van de Perre and Bart van Es.

Selma van de Perre (photo: Chris van Houts)Selma van de Perre was 17 when Germany invaded Holland in 1940.  Until then her Jewishness had not been important to her, but was now a matter of life and death. Ordered to register for ‘work’, she went into hiding and in 1942 joined the Dutch Resistance.  Under a false name she forged documents and acted as a courier across Holland. Selma escaped from the Nazis several times, but in July 1944 was arrested, interrogated and transported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where she survived slave labour. In spite of maltreatment, kindness from other inmates kept her going. It was only after the war that she dared to say her real name again: ‘My name is Selma’ – the title of her book, to be published in English in September.  Following a 50-minute television interview with Selma, her book was received to great acclaim in Holland and was top of the best-sellers’ list for several weeks.

Selma moved to London after the liberation. She lost her parents and sister in the Holocaust.  In 1983 she received the Dutch Resistance Commemoration Cross.

Bart van Es with Lien de Jong (photo: Keith Barnes)Bart van Es is author of the 2018 prize-winning book ‘The Cut Out Girl’.  Born in 1972 in Holland he is a professor of English Literature at Oxford University.  In 2014 he began to investigate the lives of his Dutch grandparents, who were active in the Resistance and sheltered a number of Jewish children.  His book tells the story of one of those children, Lien de Jong from The Hague, now aged 86, who survived the Holocaust and has become a close friend.   

All are welcome.  Entrance is free.  Doors open at 7.15pm for a prompt 8pm start.

Image credits: Selma van de Perre (photo: Chris van Houts), Bart van Es with Lien de Jong (photo: Keith Barnes)


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