Righteous unto the nations

hkloosdrecht

Over het leven van Erica Moen-Deen

Righteous unto

the Nations

Yad Vashem יד ושם

Erica Moen-Deen


Co-authors:

The following are acknowledged as contributing towards this booklet:

Anne Dunkelgrun

Culture Assistant Embassy of Israel, The Hague, The Netherlands

Brita Falk

for van Zutphen family, The Netherlands

Carolien van Thiel-Keers

for the Keers family, The Netherlands

Elly Bos-Visser

for Christina Sophia Visser-Keers and Petrus Visser, The Netherlands

Erica Moen-Deen, Australia

Geerhard Kleinlugtebeld

for Hendrik and Mina Grootemarsink, The Netherlands

Ingrid Falk-Van Schalm

for van Zutphen family, The Netherlands

Martin Moen

for Moen and Deen family, Australia

Wolter Arinus Keers

for Keers family, The Netherlands

Yad Vashem

for the State of Israel

Contact details for Martin Moen

Email: martin.moen1@bigpond.com

Address: 35 Collins Street, Yokine, Western Australia, 6060

Mobile: +61 407 991 732

Note: Re Dutch Translation. The author has attempted to translate the Dutch text in

keeping with the spirit it was written.

PAGE 2

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


“Whosoever saves

a single life: saves an

entire universe”

(Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4:5)

This booklet celebrates the ceremony

recognizing those who risked their lives

to save others. In particular to honour:

Cornelis and Maria Keers-Bokhorst

Piet and Stien Visser-Keers

Jan and Gon Keers-Jonker

Hendrik and Mina Grootemarsink-Schuurman

Dinnie and Jan van Zutphen-Greger

who are now known as,

Righteous Unto the Nations”

Ceremony at the home of

Gisèle d’Ailly van Waterschoot van der Gracht,

Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on behalf of the

Department of the Righteous Yad Vashem, State of Israel

10 December 2013, 7 Tevet 5774

PAGE 3

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


MESSAGE FROM

ERICA MOEN–DEEN

“I am very pleased that we have been able to formally recognise some special people who took

care of me during those dark years. While it is a shame that I am physically incapable of

attending this important ceremony, I am encouraged and thankful for the effort my family has

made to represent me and the Deen family. It is also important to me that my siblings Harold

and Rebecca, who died so tragically, be remembered as part of this ceremony.

My family and I wish you all the best from Australia.”

Erica Moen-Deen

PAGE 4

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Message from

Martin Moen

In 1940 the German army invaded Holland. As restrictions against the Jewish people

increased, those sympathetic to their plight put together elaborate plans to resist the

intent of the Nazi regime. Research shows that some Dutch citizens were caught between

supporting the Germans and the extreme right Dutch party, the Nationaal-Socialistische

Beweging (NSB), or joining the Dutch underground resistance. Wolter Keers (son of

Cornelis and Maria Keers) believes that “on the one hand, the collaborators were encouraged,

through reasons of personal safety, position and money, to betray Jews and on the other hand

the Dutch Resistance helped, through food, drink, esteem and money, the rescuers to hide Jewish

people. However this appears to be true for a minority of the Dutch people. An estimated 2% choose

to join the underground resistance and unofficial figures suggest that 10%, at the most, joining the

NSB. By and large most of the Dutch people did not choose to join either group.”

My mother was a 16 year old girl when the war broke out in Holland. She was the child of

Mr and Mrs Levie and Marianna Deen, who lived at Nieuwe Brug Restaurant and Hotel,

Oud Loosdrecht, the Netherlands. Her parents and siblings Sonja, Rebecca, Lou, Ellen

and Harold were taken by the Dutch Underground and hidden in various locations around

Holland. Unfortunately Harold and Rebecca were betrayed by the NSB and perished on the

same day at Sobibor Concentration Camp in 1944.

In 1949 my mother and I travelled by boat from Holland to Fremantle, Western Australia to

join my father, Klaas Moen. He had recently acquired a farm in Bedfordale, an outer settlement

of Perth, Western Australia. The farm life that followed was tough, yet rewarding and had a

profound influence on my life. My siblings, Louise and Peter, followed shortly thereafter.

Finding out what happened to my mother and her family was a journey of discovery that

started 40 years later in 1990 when I visited my birthplace, Loosdrecht. My father’s sisterin-law

showed me a limestone war memorial, which exists to this day, with the names of a

number of war victims including that of Rebecca and Harold Deen. Until that time I was

unaware of what had happened to Dutch Jewry in Holland.

PAGE 5

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


The commonly held belief was “that the Dutch were good to the Jews”. But I found, contrary

to that view. For it was the local government authorities, collaborators and the forced

actions of the Joodsche Raad (Jewish Council) in Amsterdam who had directly or indirectly

facilitated the destruction of 8 out of 10 of Holland’s Jewish citizens. While this represented

the worst case of genocide in all of Western Europe, the Dutch people far exceeded their

European neighbour’s efforts when it came to protecting its Jewish citizens.

In the case of my mother’s family, it was the Protestant Christians who followed the teachings of

their bible that (Jews were the chosen people and must be protected) and took a lead. At the risk

of certain death, they facilitated arrangements to locate, transport, hide, comfort and feed many

Jewish people.

I have been fortunate enough to meet the relatives of those that saved my mother’s life. I

make special mention of Wolter Keers who on the 17 May 2012 facilitated an opportunity for

Ruth (my wife) and I to visit the places in Holland where my mother was hidden and to speak

with representatives of those being recognised by Yad Vashem at this ceremony.

At Lemeleveld farm I saw the location where my mother had hidden, to escape capture

under a small straw bale “cubby”. After our walk around the farm we were very fortunate to

enjoy a lunch hosted by Geerhard and Hanneke Kleinlugtebeld. That experience, 70 years

after my mother’s escape from certain death, allowed me to join together the pieces of

information gathered over the past 20 years, formalise nominations and ultimately attend

today’s ceremony with my family.

I acknowledge the work of Steven Spielberg who founded the “Survivors of the Shoah Visual

History Foundation”. In 1996 that organisation visited Perth, Western Australia and recorded

my mother’s story.

Recognising Cornelis and Maria Keers, Piet and Stien Visser, Jan and Gon Keers, Hendrik

and Mina Grootemarsink, Dinnie and Jan van Zutphen as “Righteous Unto the Nations”

brings some closure to my family. It provides me with significant comfort that the deaths of

my Aunty Rebecca and Uncle Harold will never go unnoticed.

Erica and Klaas Moen prospered in Australia and the family has grown from 3 children to

4 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren and with another 2 on the way. This new life

is testament to those who saved Erica and confirms the statement echoed in the opening

words of this booklet “whosoever saves a single life: saves an entire universe”.

Martin Moen

PAGE 6

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Yad Vashem and “Righteous

Among the Nations”

“And so we must know these good people who

helped Jews during the Holocaust. We must

learn from them, and in gratitude and hope, we

must remember them.” (Elie Wiesel)

“Yad Vashem” (meaning the hand of g-d)

is an institute in Jerusalem, Israel, devoted

to honouring the memory of the European

Jews who were murdered during the Second

World War. It is also a research center

where the focus is on studying, documenting

and archiving this human catastrophe

known as the Shoah or the Holocaust.

A very important task and a mitzvah (a

Jewish religious duty or obligation) is to

honour those who, out of humanitarian

motives, put their wellbeing and those of

their families at risk to protect and save

the lives of their Jewish fellow citizens.

The Jewish people confer upon these true

heroes the highest honour to be bestowed

in the State of Israel.

During this solemn ceremony, they will

be given the title of “Righteous Among the

Nations” and their representatives will be

presented with a certificate of honour and

a medal. Their names are now inscribed on

the “Wall of the Righteous” in the gardens

at Yad Vashem, Israel. So far 24,500 people,

including 5,250 Dutch citizens, have

received this award

The medal of honour presented to the

Righteous” was designed specifically for

Yad Vashem by the Jerusalem artist, Nathan

Karp. He has symbolically expressed on the

medal the words from the Talmud (a central

text of Rabbinic Judaism), “He who saves a

single life has saved all of humanity.”

The medal, below, shows two hands

holding a lifeline of barbed wire giving the

impression of appearing from nowhere.

The globe of the Earth gives strength and

symbolizes the concept that the Righteous

have safeguarded not only the world’s

existence but also our belief in humanity.

PAGE 7

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


this ceremony

and the families

who protected Erica

The chain of events appears to be the following:

a. Jan van Zutphen used his resources to link in with the activities of the Dutch resistance.

Prior to the war he had an association with Minister Keers. Minister Keers established a rescue

network of people, including his siblings, to facilitate the escape of Jews and Allied airman;

b. Hans Sittig was a close friend of the Deen family, especially Erica, and also associated with

Minister Keers and his underground activities. He transported Erica to Minister Cornelis

Keers house in Lemelerveld and spent up to 12 months there assisting with resistance

activities;

c. Minister Cornelis Keers arranged and transported Erica to Hendrik and Mina

Grootemarsink’s farm in Lemelerveld; and

d. It is assumed that, together with the help of this network, Minister Cornelis Keers

arranged the remaining transport and hiding places until liberation, including that

provided by Piet and Stien Visser- Keers and Jan and Gon Keers-Jonker.

The Dates and Places of Erica’s Rescue (Prepared by Wolter Keers)

Period Stayed or Hidden by, Address Town in Holland Comment and remarks

Until end of 1942 Family Deen Home Hotel De Nieuwe Brug Oude Loosdrecht

End of 1942 David de Leeuw Unknown Hilversum Stayed one night

End of 1942 Friends of parents Unknown Hilversum

End of 1942

1943

End of 1943

1944

Immediately after

Liberation

Minister Cornelis

and Maria Keers-

Bokhorst

Hendrik and Mina

Grootemarsink

Minister Piet and

Stien Visser-Keers

Jan and Gon Keers-

Jonker

Pastone Lemelerveld

Vicarage Lemelerveld

Blikman-Kikkertweg

2, 8185

Zonnebloemweg 8

Lemelerveld 8151 PJ

Vicarage Apeldoorn

Loolaan 18, Apeldoorn

7135 & Koning

Lodewijklaan 13,

Apeldoorn 7314 AR

Kloosterdijk 42 (now

renumbered to 150)

Lemelerveld

Lemelerveld

Apeldoorn

Sibculo

Jan van Zutphen Loosdrechtseweg 50 Hilversum

Stayed in hiding for

a few weeks

Stayed together

with Hans Sittig for

a few days

Stayed in hiding for

9 months

Stayed in hiding for

several months

Stayed here until

Liberation May 1945

Erica returned to

where her mother

had been hidden

during the war

PAGE 8

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


OUR

Righteous

Among the

Nations”


The Keers Family

Members of the Keers family were brave

individuals who risked their lives to save

others. They were devout Protestants,

many of them Ministers, who actively

participated, as a support network, in

conjunction with the Dutch underground.

They rescued Jews and allied airman shot

down during the German invasion of

Holland. These devout Protestants have

not sought recognition for their brave

deeds. They do, however give permission

for others to tell the incredible story of

their bravery.

Minister Cornelis Keers and

Marie Keers Bokhorst:

During March 1944, Cornelis and Maria

changed communities and moved to

Assen. In August 1944, the Germans

declared Cornelis as “wanted” for anti-

German activities and were intent on

capturing him. This forced Cornelis,

Maria and their children (shown in this

photograph) into hiding, firstly at the

home of Maria’s parents in Loosdrecht,

and then to a small farm in Lemelerveld.

After the war, they returned to Assen. (Wil

van Rood, a Jewess, who had been staying

with them at that time found another, hiding

address in Lemelerveld.)

The Keers had 5 children:

Cornelis Keers was born November 22,

1907 in Hilversum, Netherlands. His

occupation was a Minister in the Dutch

Protestant Church firstly from 1936 in

Lemelerveld, then other places including

Assen, Rotterdam and Amsterdam until

he retired to Epe in 1972. He died there

on 7 April 1990. Cornelis Keers married

Maria Bokhorst in 1936. She was a

teacher at primary school before their

marriage.

Minister Cornelis Keers and his wife are

recognized for:

• Carolien Keers born 12 January 1938 in

Lemelerveld; (Middle)

• Lourens Cornelis Keers born 12 June

1941 in Lemelerveld (Right)

• Henk Keers born 15 December 1942 in

Lemelerveld; (Left)

• Cornelis Keers born 30 April 1944 in

Assen; and,

• Wolter Arinus Keers born 19 December

1946 in Assen.

• The time they sheltered Erica at their

house,

• The transport of Erica to Lemele Farm

with the Grootemarsink’s, and

• His intervention at the farm when

Erica had to declare her presence to the

Germans during the brief capture of

her rescuer Hendrik Grootemarsink.

PAGE 10

Cornelis and Maria Keers and pre-war family

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Minister Piet Visser and Stien Visser-Keers:

Piet and Stien Visser hid Erica for several

months in late 1943. They provided her with

shelter, food and friendship.

Their address at that time was Loolaan

18, Apeldoorn, next to the “Grote Kerk”

(Big Church). This building has since been

demolished.

Erica was also sheltered at Koning

Lodewijklaan13, Apeldoorn. This house was

demolished to make way for 2 new houses.

Jan Keers and Gon Keers-Jonker:

In late 1943 Erica moved to Sibculo and

stayed with Jan and Gon until liberation

in 1945. Jan was a teacher and lay preacher

at the local School. This couple offered

Erica shelter, food and warm family

friendship. The photo shows the window,

at roof level, that was Erica’s room during

hiding. Sibculo is only 6 kilometres from

the German border.

Koning Lodewijklaan 13 Apeldoorn 1944

Loolaan 18 Apeldoorn 1943

Sibculo School 1960 at 150 Kloosterdijk. This modified building still exists.

PAGE 11

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


An Unusual Relationship

For the duration of the war, Cornelis and

Maria Keers sheltered, a Jewess named Wil

van Rood. She was a childhood friend of

Maria and assisted her by looking after the

young family and in particular their 2-yearold

child Lourens Cornelis Keers. Wil was

affectionately referred to by the family

as Tante (Aunty) Wil. Interestingly, Erica

briefly met Wil while hiding there. Wil

gave her a serviette ring, which Erica kept

with her during the War. She gave this ring

to her son Martin in early June 2012 after

his return from Holland and his visit to the

places where Erica was hidden.

Wolter Keers Initiative 2012

On 17 May 2012 Wolter Keers facilitated an opportunity for Martin and Ruth Moen to

visit various places in Holland and speak to people who represent some of the Yad Vashem

nominees mentioned in this booklet. Wolter Keers is the son of Minister Cornelis and

Maria Keers. His initiative on the Moen’s visit to Holland in 2012 demonstrates that the

humanitarian principles shown by his parents continue to this day.

PAGE 12

Wolter Keers and Martin Moen 2012

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


How does the keers family

feel about the ceremony?

Wolter Arinus Keers (youngest child of

Cornelis & Maria Keers)

“Mijn ouders, Cor en Rie Keers-Bokhorst,

hebben vanuit een christelijke overtuiging

gedurende hun hele leven altijd veel aandacht

gehad voor de medemens en de mensen in nood.

Daar waar hun inzicht, visie, aandacht of

daadwerkelijke hulp gewenst was, gevraagd

werd of gewoon nodig was, stonden zij altijd

klaar voor degene, die hulp nodig had.Dit

vonden zij een gewone taak van ieder mens.

In oorlogstijd gold dit des te harder, met

name voor hen, die een veilig onderdak

zochten of nodig hadden. Zij waren in die

tijd aktief in het verzet en hielpen velen

aan een veilige verblijfplaats. Voor deze

inzet hebben beide ouders destijds het

Verzetsherdenkingskruis ontvangen.

During the war, their beliefs were

far more difficult to practice,

especially to protect those who

were looking for a safe place to

shelter from certain death. They were very

active in the Dutch underground resistance

movement and helped many people find

a safe haven to hide. For their efforts

they were recognised and awarded the

“Resistance Memorial Cross”, shown here.

So, today in awarding my parents with the

additional honour of “Righteous Among the

Nations” further demonstrates recognition

of their commitment to support and save

people in need and will forever inspire

people visiting Yad Vashem, Israel.

As the youngest son of Cor Keers and Rie

Keers-Bokhorst, I am pleased that my

parents have been recognised in this way.”

Nu de Eretitel Rechtvaardige onder de Volkeren

aan hen wordt toegekend, wordt een voor iedereen

altijd zichtbare waardering voor hun inzet

aangebracht in het Yad Vashem park in Israël.

Als jongste zoon van Cor Keers en Rie Keers –

Bokhorst ben ik blij met deze waardering voor

mijn ouders.”

Translation

“My parents, Cor and Rie Keers-Bokhorst,

were devout and practising Christians who

throughout their lives devoted their time

and effort to serve the needs of others.

Regardless of whatever insight, vision,

consideration or actual help was needed of

requested, they were always ready to assist

those who required help. They believed this

to be the fundamental responsibility of all

mankind.

Carolien van Thiel - Keers (eldest child of

Cornelis & Marie Keers)

De Yad Vashem onderscheiding voor mijn

ouders, Cornelis Keers en Maria BokhorstToen

ik het bericht ontving dat aan mijn ouders

de Yad Vashem onderscheiding zou worden

toegekend, was ik ontroerd. Omdat Erica Deen

en haar familie zich hebben ingespannen voor

een groepje redders van Joden. Door hun actie

van nu wordt de gewetensvolle houding en

de moed van Erica’s redders na 70 jaar weer

actueel. Nog steeds is zo’n houding onmisbaar

bij het redden en ondersteunen van vervolgden.

De staat Israel onderstreept dat door deze Yad

Vashem-toekenningen.

Erica heb ik destijds in Lemelerveld natuurlijk

niet ontmoet. Een meisje van 5 was ik toen.

PAGE 13

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Ik mocht niet weten wie zij was en waar zij

zich verborgen hield. Na de bevrijding heeft

mijn moeder mij wel veel over haar verteld en

tot in lengte van dagen heeft moeder mij op

de hoogte gehouden van Erica’s wel en wee in

Australië. Daarom hoort Erica ook een beetje

bij onze familie.

Mijn hartelijke groet aan de familie Moen-Deen

Translation

“I was very touched when I heard that the

Yad Vashem recognition would be bestowed

upon my parents. Especially that Erica Deen

and her family had gone to so much trouble

for those who had rescued Jewish people.

Through their actions the conscientious

attitude and courage of Erica’s rescuers

becomes relevant again after seventy years.

Such an attitude is essential today to rescue

and support those suffering from persecution.

The State of Israel reinforces that message

through the Yad Vashem Awards.

Of course, I never met Erica during that

time in Lemelerveld. I was just five years

old then. I wasn’t allowed to know who

she was or where she was hidden. After

the Liberation my mother told me a great

deal about her and for many years kept

me informed of how Erica was doing in

Australia. In that sense, Erica has always

been part of our family.

My kindest regards to the Moen-Deen Family.”

Elly Bos Visser (daughter of and Minister

Piet and Stien Visser-Keers)

I was very surprised when I read that Erica

Moen-Deen had nominated my parents

Christina Sophia (Stein) Visser Keers and

Petrus (Piet) Visser, vicar af the Reformed

Church, from Apeldoorn. It is fantastic and

touching that this will be recognised now.

After World War II it was almost not done to

talk about persons in hiding . It was not an

issue. The general feeling that hiding people

was what you do when you are asked to do

so. Looking back, at this time, I realise how

much courage one must have to do so.

When the war began there were already two

children in our family. Jan was 8 and Laura

was 6 years old. They were told, and think

about this, “don’t ever tell any one” ”, and

my family kept their word!

I was the 3rd child born in 1942 and we were

hiding people with the family. Hetty Schaap

was 14 years old and one of them. She stayed

during the war and after that time because

her parents did not come back from the

extermination camp.

I was born in Apeldoorn, at Loolaan 18, just

next to the Grote Kerk (the Great Church).

Under the church was a big cellar and a lot

of people safely hidden there. Our house

had 18 rooms and was claimed by the

Germans for there operations. We moved to

the Koning Lodewijklaan. The old lady who

lived there was forced to leave the house.

My Mother, Sophia (Stien), used a carrier

cycle to try to get some food and milk from

the farmers in the neighbourhood.

My brother Jan died three years ago. Till the

very end he still had nightmares about the war

especially about the great secret of the people

in hiding. He dreamt everytime that my

father, Piet, would be shot , just like Reverend

Borgers the father of one of his friends.

I am proud of my parents who were so brave

in World War II. I am grateful that they

survivied the War. It is a very special event

that our parents, so many years later, are

honoured. It is a pity, that they are not here

anymore, but I believe and I am sure that

somehow they will see us all here together

and see what is happening here!”

PAGE 14

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


The Grootemarsink Family

Hendrik and Willemina (Mina)

Grootemarsink were devout Protestants

whose farm “Genista” at Lemelveld,

country Holland served as a hiding place

for a number of Jews. The flatness and

sparse tree cover of the land meant that

the Germans and the NSB frequently

discovered Jews hidden in the country side.

Lemele and Lemelerveld were no exception

and several hidden Jews were discovered

there. Fortunately, Erica was not discovered

and is able to recall her story.

The Grootemarsink family has not sought

recognition for their brave deeds. They

do however give permission for others to

tell their unforgettable story of how they

risked their lives and certain death at the

hands of the Nazi invaders.

Hendrik was born 31 January 1906 in Lemele

and died 30 January 1987. Mina was born

16 January 1911 in Lemele and died 1 June

1992 in Lemelerveld. They married on the

24 May 1933. In 1940 they worked together

to establish a farm at Lemelerveld, Holland.

Hendrik and Mina were childless and

adopted Geerhard Kleinlugtebeld who still

lives on the farm.

Hendrik and Mina provided shelter and

food to Erica for between 9 to 12 months.

She hid in the attic of the farmhouse. Her

time there ended abruptly during a raid

staged on the afternoon of Sunday 27

June 1943. A few days later, after hiding

in the fields opposite the farm, she left for

Apeldoorn.

Hendrik and Mina Grootemarsink circa 1970 Hendrik and Mina Grootemarsink at their wedding 1933

PAGE 15

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Geerhard Kleinlugtebeld reports “There were

significant risks for people who hid Jews and

Allied Airman. When discovered, they were sent

to hard labour camps and subject to difficult

and hard circumstances that could result in

death. Moreover, they risked execution and

more, as many of these people were involved in

the resistance. Hendrik was also caught on his

farm during a razzia (raid) when the Germans

discovered clothes with the Jewish Star (Star

of David) at his farm. He was, as luck would

have it, released shortly after. The Germans

had found a further 15 Jews that were hidden

nearby. As they could not fit all the Jewish

prisoners into the truck, they released Hendrik.”

Geerhard Kleinlugtebeld reports that after

the war “The relations between Erica and the

family Grootemarsink was very good, which

can be concluded from all the letters from

Australia. In e-mails too, which I still get from

Erica, she indicates a very good contact with the

family Grootemarsink. After the war, the family

Grootemarsink also had good contacts with all

the other hidden persons”

Geerhard Kleinlugtebeld was told, “That only

a few people were aware of Erica’s stay at the

farm and they knew very well what risks were

involved for hiding persons, when caught. The

fewer people who knew about the hiding, the

smaller the chance of betrayal. Neighbours 100

meters behind the farm hid people as well and

no one mentioned it to others.”

Geerhard Kleinlugtebeld

PAGE 16

Photo taken 1985 with Erica and the Grootemarsink’s at their farm in Lemele.

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


The following was provided as further

evidence to Yad Vashem in connection to

the nominee.

The translation of this article, by Martin

Moen, is based on writings contained in

Stichting ‘t Lemels Arfgoed (Historical

Society Lemele) dated December 2008.

“Hendrik Grootemarsink was an elder of

the Protestant Church in Lemele who’s

Minister was Dominee Hendrikus Berkhof.

Berkhof sought addresses for placing Jews

in hiding and came by Hendrik and Mina

Grootermarsink who were willing to use

their house to hide people on the run.

Dominee Cornelis Keers arranged for Erica

to be hidden here. It was considered a safe

place behind the hill. The contrary appears

to have been the case as around Sunday

midday late June 1943 a white covered

truck was dispatched complete with Guards

called Kontroll Kommando, or KK - Control

Commando, from Work Procurement Camp

Erika in the town of Ommen. (This camp was

designated mostly for Dutchmen convicted

of black market trade or resistance to the

occupational authorities). The entire house

of the Grootermarsink’s was searched trying

to find Jews. Hendrik and Mina were forced

at gunpoint to have their backs against the

wall as the search progressed. Erica had

hidden herself in a small straw shelter and

was not discovered. Another Jewish girl who

was there fled and was never seen again

and presumed captured. Hendrik and Mina

had an anxious time that Sunday midday.

Hendrik was taken in the vehicle but was

later set free. At a local house in the area

some 15-20 Jews had been hiding there for

some time and were found and transported

away. The same day a raid was made on

the Geezenhuisje to the Grefeldijk where the

family Bergman lived. The Jews hiding there

were forewarned and escaped.”

“Hendrik and Mina also assisted children

suffering from a shortage of food from an

Amsterdam foundation. In 1941 came Guurt

Schouten and later in 1943 Piet Schouten.

Nellie Boven and Annie also stayed there.”

How does the family feel

about the ceremony?

Geerhard Kleinlugtebeld

“Wij vinden dit een hele fijne herkenning voor

Hendrik en Mina Grootemarsink voor hun

inzet met gevaar voor hun eigen leven mensen

te helpen die in levensgevaar zijn. Wel vinden

wij het jammer dat het postuum is, en dat het

zelf niet meemaken de herkenning voor hun

aandeel hier in. Ik weet zeker dat hun dit

geweldig mooi gevonden hadden.”

“We feel this is great recognition of Henry

and Mina Grootemarsink and for their

commitment, risking their own lives, to help

people who were in mortal danger. It is

unfortunate that they are not alive to witness

for themselves this special event as we are

sure they would have found it a significant

occasion.”

PAGE 17

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


The Van Zutphen Family

Jan and his wife Dinnie had a personal

association with the Deen family especially

Marianna and Levie (Lou) Deen. They

were good friends before and after the War.

It was the strength of this friendship that

undoubtedly facilitated the hiding and

eventual return of many of the Deen family.

From anecdotal information, and confirmed

by Erica, Jan van Zutphen facilitated the link

to the Dutch underground by association

with the Keers Family and subsequent rescue

arrangements.

Bernardina (Dinnie) van Zutphen

Oom Jan van Zutphen

Johannes Andries van Zutphen was

born in Utrecht on 7 October 1863 and

died in Hilversum on 7 June 1958. On

10 February 1887, he married Emmetje

Lamme with whom he had two daughters

and two sons.

Emmetje passed away from Tuberculosis

(TB) on the 1st May 1911, and he remarried

on 17 December 1919 to Bernardina

(Dinnie) Johanna Greger and they had a

daughter and a son.

Dinnie and Jan van Zutphen on the occasion of

their 60th wedding anniversary that was attended

by Queen of the Netherlands

Before, during and after the War

Jan van Zutphen’s family lived at 50

Loosdrechtseweg, Hilversum.

Early in July 1942 papers to report to German

Work camps (extermination camps) were

issued to the Deen family. Four out of six of

Levie and Marianna Deen’s children were

issued papers to report to Amsterdam and

then transport to Germany via Westerbork.

PAGE 18

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Jan Van Zutphen’s family and friends

realised a terrible fate awaited their Jewish

friends and were instrumental in finding

a way to hide the various members of

the Deen family. Jan, who was especially

fond of Marianna, took a significant risk

by hiding her in his house in Hilversum

throughout the War.

After the Nazi defeat and at the time

of the liberation, Erica remembers an

incident when she discovered her mother

in the protection of Jan van Zutphen

and his family at their house in 50

Loosdrechtseweg, Hilversum.

Erica recalls “The following happened when

I was reunited with my mother. I had just

returned from hiding at Sibculo and wanted

to find out what had happened to everyone. I

went immediately to our friends house, that

of Oom Jan in Hilversum and discovered my

mother there in a very anxious state.

She had not realized that this family had

saved her from certain death at the risk of

their own personal safety”.

In writing to Erica, on the 8 February 1996,

Dinnie van de Gouwe-van Zutphen, daughter

of Jan van Zutphen, wrote from Haren with

the following. “Marianna was not wearing a

“Star of David” as otherwise a random visit by

the Nazi’s would have spotted her. I know that

we got real scared once when a few Germans

stopped at the house in Hilversum. Our family

thought that we had been betrayed. Marianna

fled into the kitchen and then to the basement,

which is exactly where the soldiers had to go.

My parents had their own water pump in

the basement, and it is that what they came

to control. They were not looking for Jews in

hiding and they just ignored Marianna. They

may have realised that she was Jewish, but

nothing further happened. They either had no

idea or were good Germans.”

Bernardina (Dinnie) van der Gouwe-van Zutphen daughter of Jan

and Dinnie van Zutphen (1920–2013).

PAGE 19

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


How does the family feel

about the ceremony?

Ingrid Falk-Van Schalm (granddaughter

of Jan and Dinnie van Zutphen)

“Soms in de geschiedenis leeft er op aarde een

geweldig mens, een held. Mijn grootvader,

Jan A. van Zutphen was zo’n uniek persoon

gedurende zijn hele leven. Zijn motto was “de

sterken voor de zwakken”.

Hij streed voor de noodlijdende mens; niet alleen

als oprichter van Zonnestraal, een sanatorium

gespecialiseerd in tuberculose-bestrijding, maar

ook in de oorlog toen hij zijn Joodse vrienden liet

onderduiken in zijn eigen huis, met de hulp van

zijn moedige vrouw, Bernardina-Johanna Van

Zutphen-Greger.

Mede door hun heldenmoed konden zes mensen

van de Familie Deen gered worden en de oorlog

overleven.

Mijn familie is trots op mijn grootvader en

grootmoeder en we zijn dankbaar dat ze op 10

december 2013 geëerd zullen worden.”

“Sometimes in the history of mankind lives a

great man, a hero. My grandfather, Jan A. van

Zutphen was such a unique person throughout

his life. His motto was “the strong for the weak.”

He fought for the needy, not only as the founder

of Zonnestraal, a sanatorium specializing in

tuberculosis control, but also in the war when he

hid his Jewish friend in his own home with the

help of his brave wife, Bernardina-Johanna Van

Zutphen-Greger.

Through his heroism six members of the Family

Deen were saved and lived to survive the war.

My family is very proud of my grandfather and

grandmother and are grateful that they will be

“Honoured” on December 10, 2013.”

PAGE 20

Jan van Zutphen’s motto at the entrance to Zonnestraal, Loosdrecht

“ De Sterken voor de Zwakken” which is interpreted to mean “the

strong (humanitarian, materially, or spiritually) in society caring and

protecting those who are weak, vulnerable or less fortunate”.

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Erica Moen-Deen’s Story

Extract of Oral History by Erica Moen-Deen recorded in 1996 by Louise Hoffman et al.

“In May 1940 the Germans invaded Holland

and I was then fifteen and a half years

old. For about a year there were no radical

changes in our lives.

Gradually and slowly the pressure began to

come. We had to register and to have a “J” on

our identity cards. A little later we all had to

wear the yellow star on our outer clothing to

separate and distinguish us from other people.

When I was seventeen, the Germans came

to the high school and the officer in charge

said “All Jews out”. I was the only member

of my family in high school at the time and I

can still remember the fear I felt on that day.

(One sister had left school, my older brother

was studying engineering at university and

another sister had left school and was doing

a mother craft course. My younger brother

and sister were still at primary school in the

village.)

During 1942 the restrictions began in earnest.

Our bicycles and radios were confiscated, we

were forbidden to talk with neighbours and

we could not mix with other people. I could

not go anywhere so I stayed at home and

taught my younger brother and sister, for now

no Jews were allowed in school. I became

increasingly afraid.

known him since the age of 15. He was one

of the first to be captured and wrote to me

from Camp Westerbork. (Records shows he

was born Amsterdam on 19 November 1923

and died somewhere in Middle-Europe on 31

March 1944). His occupation was an Office

clerk. He reached the age of 20. His father

was Jacobus de Leeuw, born in Amsterdam,

9 August 1897 and also died Middle-Europe

on the same day the 31 March 1944. He was

a meat wholesale dealer and reached the age

of 46.

Towards the end of 1942, the four eldest

children in our family received letters from

the German authorities, to say that we had to

report to Westerbork. We were still unaware

of what was happening to the Jews in Europe

and my father was a very open and trusting

man, he felt that “nothing would happen to

us, for we had done nothing wrong”. How

wrong he was.

In Loosdrecht there was a youth hostel, which

prepared Jewish youth to go to Palestine.

Many of the young people there had been

sent from Germany and Austria for safety and

training. When the restrictions began, their

chances for a new life disappeared.

I had a boyfriend who lived in Hilversum

and his name was David de Leeuw. I had

Erica Moen-Deen taken 12 June 1942

PAGE 21

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


At the same time the Jews were already being

herded together in Hilversum and sent to

Amsterdam. David arrived on our doorstep,

very afraid and upset. The Germans had

taken his parents and his brother and he had

escaped by hiding under a bed. He asked me

to go with him to Hilversum, where he had

non-Jewish friends who would hide us for

the time being. I thought that we would be

in hiding for a few days, and would then be

able to return home. I just packed up a few

overnight things and we left, without any real

farewells. Little did I know that I would not

see any of my family again until the war was

over. David and I removed the yellow stars

from our coats, and walked from Loosdrecht

to Hilversum. We stayed the night with two

ladies, but in the morning they became afraid

of the danger they would face if they were

found to be hiding Jews and they became

hysterical and said - “You must leave - it is

not safe for us or for you”. David and I were

then separated and the Dutch underground

took me to friends of my parents in Hilversum

and I was hidden there for a few weeks.

Unfortunately, the baker from Loosdrecht was

delivering bread to the house one day and he

caught sight of me. Our friends then decided

that it was unsafe for me to remain there and

I had to move on. It was all very confusing

and frightening for me. I had lived at home

all my life and was now alone and literally ‘on

the run’.

From the time I first went into hiding, I was

given a new name and false papers. I was

now known as Henny van der Linden. Henny

was a real person who lived on the west coast

of Holland and was required to move inland

as part of the invasion strategy. This was

the pretence for why Henny was in the part

of Holland that I was hiding in. I never had

reason to use the papers as I was in hiding

most of the time. I understand that the Dutch

Underground obtained the papers for me.

The town of Hilversum is almost in the middle

of Holland. From there the underground

forces took me to a town called Lemele, which

was to the east, and close to the German

border. My escort was a blonde and fair in

appearance and therefore much safer to get

around by car. In those days a blond person

equated to being an Arian and therefore not

Jewish. Jewish people were easily recognised

and identified by their dark features. My

escort was a Jewish man, Hans Sittig, and

he took me by car to the house of a Minister

of Religion, Cornelis Keers. Here I remained

for a few days until a place was found for me

on a farm. The minister and his wife were

wonderful loving people. Before Maria Keers-

Bokhorst death on 1 January 2009, I wrote to

her many times.

Hans Sittig 1912-2008

After a short stay in Lemele, the Minister

Cornelis Keers, took me to a farm in the

district of Overijssel and I remained there for

almost a year. (Overijssel is a province of the

Netherlands; Lemele, Lemelerveld, Ommen

PAGE 22

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


are places in this province. The home of

Minister Cornelis Keers was in Lemelerveld,

that of Hendrik and Mina Grootemarsink in

Lemelerveld.) My hiding place was in a little

attic in the ceiling. The farm was very isolated,

and some of the time I was free in the house,

for we could see people approaching from quite

a long way away. The farmer and his wife

were a lovely childless couple and we became

very fond of each other. When I visited them

after the war, in 1985, the farmer said to me “I

would have liked to adopt you”. I was given my

food in the attic and when anyone came to the

house I had to go upstairs and hide. Towards

the end of my stay on the farm, another Jewish

girl came to stay with me.

I had a feeling that I should have a safer place

to hide, in case the Nazis came to search the

house. The farmer allowed me to make a little

hiding place with bales of fresh hay behind

a farm shed. It was really uncanny, for the

week I made my hiding place the Nazis came.

The other girl escaped on a bicycle, but was

caught and never seen again. I saw the big

truck approaching from the distance, with its

white hood, and I was terrified. I hid in my

little shelter of fresh hay while they searched

everywhere. They even shot through the hay

and missed me. They tried to flush me out

using bayonets when they suspected Jews

hiding there.

In searching the house, they found a coat

the other girl had left behind, with the mark

where the Star of David had been sewn. So

they took the farmer away and left a message

with his wife. I had to give myself up to the

Germans before 6pm that day in order to

have the farmer released. The Minister knew

that this meant certain death for me and told

me to hide in the fields. Luckily, although

Hendrik was captured, only a short distance

down the road 15 Jews had been discovered

in a farmhouse. The Germans loaded them

onto the same truck and found that there

was insufficient room and promptly released

Hendrik on the condition that the owner of the

jacket had to present herself to Camp Erika, a

local internment camp.

I can remember that it was raining. I was

crazed with fear and hid in the fields between

the high wheat. Of course I could no longer

return to the farm, for now it was under

surveillance by the Dutch Nazi’s, who worked

in close collaboration with the Germans. In

the two days when I hid among the wheat

in the rain, I was so terrified that even

the shapes of the white cows in the fields

frightened me.” They were connected in my

mind with the white hood of the Nazis’ truck

and I was hysterical with fear.

Place where Erica constructed “her “hideaway”

with fresh straw. Photo Taken 2012

Identical wheat field opposite Lemelerveld Field in

which Erica hid for several days. Photo taken 2012.

PAGE 23

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Lemelerveld Farm with Hendrik and Mina Grootemarsink in front (right) of Lemelerveld Farm circa 1940

Lemelerveld Farm 2012 House named “Genista”.

I stayed at the farm for a few more days under

enormous pressure and anxiety and was then

moved to another hiding address.

The brother-in-law of the Minister who had

placed me on the first farm was also a Minister

(Piet Visser) and a member of the Resistance.

Under cover of darkness, I was taken to his home

in Apeldoorn and another hiding place was

found for me.

This time I was hidden with Piet and Stien

Visser- Keers at Loolaan 18, in the town of

Apeldoorn - in another tiny attic. The house was

next door to the church and on three occasions,

when house searches took place, I had to be

hidden in the vaults below the church. Each

time I had to remain there for more than a day

and it was a horrible experience. The vaults

were only about a half-meter high and I had to

crouch or lie, while the rats crawled around, and

sometimes over me. The air was close and it was

damp and difficult to breathe.

Lemelerveld Farm after the War

I remained with this family for some months,

until the searches became more frequent.

In fact, soon after I left, the Nazis came

to search the house and they searched the

vaults where I had been hidden, looking for

valuables, which they believed may have been

stored there.

A brother of the Minister (Jan Keers) from

Lemele lived in a small town nearby, called

Sibculo. He was also a lay preacher and

a rescuer of Jewish people. To travel from

Apeldoorn to Sibculo, I was dressed as a

nurse and then hidden in the home of the

minister, who had four little boys. Again I

was hidden in an attic and I helped to look

after the children. The children did not know

that I was Jewish and I remained with this

family until the liberation, in May 1945.

PAGE 24

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


My first thoughts then were for my family,

for I did not know what had happened to

any of them. My home in Loosdrecht was

to the southwest of Sibculo and on the other

side of the river Ijssel. We were not allowed

to travel, for the authorities were afraid of

an outbreak of disease in the country - the

Germans had tried to starve the Dutch people

into submission and people were weak and

undernourished.

Although it was forbidden, I was determined

to go, and I decided that if I had to swim

across the river some 200 meters wide, I

would do so. I was intercepted by a Canadian

soldier, who tried to stop me and who also

took me into the woods and wanted to harm

me. I begged him to let me go and he then

took me over the river in a truck and released

me unharmed to the home of Jan van Zutphen

in Hilversum.

When I returned from there to Loosdrecht,

I found that someone else had taken over

and was living in our home De Nieuwe Brug

Restaurant. As the first person in the family

to return, I had to go to the Town Council and

ask for somewhere to live, I was penniless. Jan

van Zutphen again assisted us by arranging

for the family to resettle at the De Nieuwe

Brug Restaurant.

Ijssel River Photo taken 2012

Then I discovered what had happened to my

family. My father had refused to hide at

first, but both he and my mother were hidden

separately and survived the war. They were so

well known, loved and respected, that people

wanted to look after them.

My eldest sister, Sonja, was hidden and helped

rescue American airmen. She was picked up

with the Americans, who were shot in front

of her by the Nazi’s. On discovering her

Jewishness, she was taken to Westerbork and

survived - but that is another story.

My older brother and the sister both perished

at the hands of the Nazis. My younger sister

was hidden between the rafters of a house

with twelve other people.

My younger brother was also hidden and

survived, but he was deeply traumatized by his

experiences. His escape is also another story

that he has declined to discuss.

De Nieuwe Brug Restaurant where Erica and her family

lived prior to the war and re-occupied after the war.

Erica’s son, Martin Moen, was born here in 1949

De Nieuwe Brug Restaurant renamed

Bar-bistro ‘t Bruggetje Photo taken 2012


PAGE 25

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


The family was gradually reunited. I went

to work in the house where my mother had

been hidden. This was in the home of a wellknown

Dutchman - Jan van Zutphen.

The following happened when I was reunited

with my mother. I had just returned from

hiding and wanted to find out what had

happened to everyone. I went immediately

to our friend’s house that of Oom Jan van

Zutphen in Hilversum (see below) and

discovered my mother in a very anxious state.

I don’t believe my mother realised that this

family had saved her from certain death at

their own personal safety. My mother wanted

to leave immediately but there were problems

because her rescuers wanted her to stay on

because “after all they had saved her life”. I

offered to do the cleaning and took my mother

to find other accommodation.”

Erica shortly after the War 1945

50 Loosdrechtseweg, Hilversum, Photo taken from Google Maps 2012

The house of Jan van Zutphen and family where Marianna Deen was hidden

during the war and where the Canadian’s left Erica shortly after the war.

For Erica travels and hiding places during the War (see the Map on page 30)

PAGE 26

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Remembering Harold

and Rebecca Deen

In April 1942 Jewish citizens were ordered

to wear “The Jewish Star” and in late May

1942 there was a complete ban on travelling.

The laws tightened and in June Jews

were required to surrender their bicycles.

The Nazi’s were increasingly active and

Amsterdam became the central area for

marshalling Dutch Jewish citizens. At this

time the trade unions conducted a general

strike further angering the Nazi’s.

Harold Deen 11 February 1923 to 16 July 1943

In early 1940 Harold Deen was a civil

engineering student at the Middelbare

Technical School (MTS) in Haarlem, The

Netherlands. Daily he commuted over

100 kilometres. He planned to complete

a 3-year course in civil engineering (first

and third year were academic and second

year fieldwork)

To assist Harold the school adjusted the

education program so that the academic

requirements were completed first. They/he

reasoned that it would be best to complete

the academic studies should the Germans

increase restrictions on the Jewish people.

In May 1941 Jewish people were not

permitted to travel or move house

without a permit issued from the Jewish

Council, Amsterdam. In January 1942

the Nazi’s, through the Jewish Council,

demanded the Jewish people who had

not come forward for transportation do

so immediately.

Jewish Star the “Star of David”

These activities made it increasingly dangerous

for Harold to travel to Haarlem. His

younger sister, Erica, vividly remembers how

she and her family feared daily for his safety.

In July 1942, Levie Deen received papers

demanding that 4 of his 6 children present

themselves for forced labour in Germany.

Erica remembers the family gathered in the

main bedroom and her father saying they

“had done nothing wrong” and should do as

the Germans requested.

PAGE 27

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


from Kamp Westerbork, and died together at

Sobibor Concentration Camp on 16 July 1943.

War Memorial Loosdrecht, Holland

Annual May-Day services are held at this

war memorial in Loosdrecht Holland. The

memorial includes the names of 23 German

Jewish children, 9 resistance fighters

executed by the Germans in Loosdrecht,

a Pastor and 3 Jewish teenagers Rebecca

Louise Deen, Harold Deen and L Polak.

Rebecca Louise Deen 27 July 1926 to 16 July 1943

However Harold and Rebecca disagreed,

sensing what the Germans planned.

Hurriedly they left by bicycle to find a place

where they could hide. Eventually they

found refuge at a farm in Haarlemmermeer.

Not long after a farm hand, in retaliation for

an unrelated disagreement with the farmer,

informed the NSB that Harold and Rebecca

were hiding on the farm. It is unknown

what happened to the farmer or whether the

farm hand was ever exposed for this actions.

It is not clear what happened after they

were betrayed. However in correspondence

written by Dinnie van Zutphen to Erica

after the war, she mentions a “note” she

received during the war from Harold and

Rebecca advising, “We have packed our

luggage and are in good spirits. Please send

food parcels to Westerbork. We are being

transported to Poland.”

Martin Moen has visited the war memorial

a number of times. He has reflected on

the brutality of war and the loss of many

of his mother’s extended family. His Opa,

Levie Deen, lost 5 of his 8 siblings and his

Oma, Marianna Deen-Jolis, lost 4 of her 5

siblings. He has ensured their names and

those of their children are permanently

remembered at Yad Vashem, Israel.

Interestingly, Martin was born, at the Nieuwe

Brug Hotel and Restaurant, a few hundred

meters from the war memorial. This place

marked the commencement of his journey

to determine what happened to his family.

His son, Simon, was born on the same day

and month as Harold, the 11 February. His

daughter, Rebecca, is named after Rebecca

Louise Deen as requested by her great

grandmother mother Marianna Deen.

Additionally Ruth Moen, Martin’s wife, was

born the same day and month as Rebecca

Louise Deen, the 27 July.

Red Cross records show that Harold

and Rebecca were transported to Kamp

Westerbork, Holland, from No. 269

Nieuwendijk, Amsterdam on the 6 July 1943

and them by cattle car to Poland on the 13

July 1943. They were conveyed with 1988

Jewish prisoners, the second last transport

PAGE 28

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Limestone War Memorial

PAGE 29

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Hoorn

ilversu

m

Erica Deen’s travels and hiding places during the War

Erica Deen’s travels and hiding places in Holland

1942-1945 (total distance travelled ~400km

Kamp Westerbork

Ijssel River

River

Lemelerveld

Sibculo

German Border

Hilversum

Apeldoorn

German Border

PAGE 30

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.

PAGE 31


PAGE 32

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.

PAGE 33


Ceremony Speech

from Martin Moen

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

I am very pleased to be here today. Before we start with the ceremony, I would like to share with you

my journey was has culminated in this important ceremony today.

It has been a long journey ...and I am not talking about the 24 hours it took for my family to get here

from Australia….rather, I am referring to the journey of discovery that started almost 24 years ago. It

began in 1990 with finding the names of Erica’s siblings on a limestone war memorial in Loosdrecht

…which was very unusual and to this day I am unable to find out why….the memorial is opposite the

building, previously the townthe town hall, where my parents were married…

The journey has been exciting and emotional. In the early days of my research, I vividly remember

asking the Dutch Red Cross and the Jewish Historical Museum for information about mum’s family. I

received information on where and when they died. I spoke to my mum on several occasions sharing

with her what I had discovered. Up unto then, my mum simply did not know of what had happened

to her family. No one talked about it. I discovered that Erica was and to this day is deeply traumatised

about what happened during the war. …Gradually and notwithstanding my constant prodding she

talked, with tears in her eyes, about her own experiences…initially to me. In the following years she

has talked to schoolchildren and to Steven Spielberg’s representatives. Telling her story of survival has

helped her cope but the pain endures and the memories continue to torment her.

Since 1990, I have gathered lots of information on my mum’s story and the righteous gentiles (non

Jews) that saved her. I tried on a few occasions for Yad Vashem to recognise the families that hidden

my mum during the war. However it wasn’t until May 2012 that I really made some progress when

Wolter Keers (here today) suggested he take Ruth (my wife) and I to the places where Erica had hidden.

This gesture was significant. I was able to join all the pieces together and make a robust submission to

Yad Vashem… which you all know was accepted. As you can imagine…I was very pleased that all the

nominations were recognised.

Hatred and violence are not new phenomenon and while the horrors of WW2 will never be forgotten,

we still witness atrocities around the world. The history and the birth of the State of Israel is where at

least the Jewish people can feel some degree of safety from persecution…they are surrounded by many

obstacles and challenges, but yet they prosper…and how! …. Yad Vashem (the hand of g-d) has set the

world benchmark for recognising people who will stand up for the persecuted and the vulnerable…in

this case the Jewish people during WW2. What really sticks in my mind is why the Dutch far exceeded

any other western power for protecting the Jewish people …why was this so?

It his hard to comprehend that if it wasn’t for the actions of your families and risking their lives to

save my mum…neither family, nor myself would be here today. As you can understand, words cannot

explain my gratitude for your family’s actions.

I want to also recognise Hans Sittig and his children who are here today. Their father was instrumental

in saving Erica. This was a man Erica describes as having blond features that were typically Arian or

unJewish. Whilst this ceremony is about recognising non-Jews, it is important to also recognise Hans,

who risked his life to save fellow Jews.

The booklet that you have in front of you provides some of the history behind today’s event …this

was also in the making over the past 24 years. Its finalisation came to life when so many of you here

today submitted material to be included… The journey of discovery must continue… If any of you

have further material or know of someone who should be recognised please let me know. On page 12, I

mention a serviette ring that was passed from Tante Wil to Erica …here it is…

PAGE 34

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.


Last, but not least, I acknowledge my father, Klaas, who passed away, aged 91, in early November.

He was an unsung hero for his Resistance efforts during the war. He provided significant comfort to

Erica during those early years after the War as she tried to understand the trauma of losing her sister,

brother and many other family members. Her father and mother completely blotted out their loss and

never spoke of it. In closing, thankyou to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Embassy, our host Anne and for

this recognition and all of you for taking the time to attend. I am so pleased and honoured to have my

family here today. It is a shame that Erica was unable to make the journey to Holland and attend this

ceremony. She is thinking of us all and would be humbled to see you all here today.

Thank you Frans and to Castrum Peregrini for making this magnificent institution available for this

special ceremony.

Simon and Rebecca Speech

Rebecca Hi. My name is Rebecca Moen and this is my brother Simon. We are both grandchildren of

Erica Moen. Being here today means a lot to us. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. In

fact, it is a moment that will stay in our minds forever.

Simon

Many of my grandmother’s family survived the war and were hidden by brave families.

Very sadly, my grandma’s brother and sister – Harold and Rebecca Deen, were killed at

Sobibor Concentration Camp. I was named after Rebecca Deen and so her memory lives on.

When our dad first mentioned this ceremony, we were very pleased. All of dad’s hard work

had paid off. Recognition for the righteous people, who helped save our grandma, was

finally happening. More importantly, the ceremony would provide some closure for our

grandma Erica, and her amazing story of survival.

Rebecca The more we started to think about it, it struck us that if it wasn’t for the actions of these

righteous people, represented by you …and the actions of Hans Sittig – my brother and I

simply would not be here today.

Simon

We are very pleased that Annabel, my oldest child is able to be with us today. In the years to

come when Annabel recalls today’s ceremony…we will explain to her and all of my children

about the brave and good things done by a few righteous people during humanities darkest

hour.

Rebecca So when our dad asked us if we wanted to join him on this journey, there was no

hesitation…we had to come. Not only to show how the family has continued…and Erica’s

legacy has lived on, but also to be here to support our wonderful dad. We have been blessed

with the best parents anyone could ask for and we have a very close family as a result.

Simon

We are both exceptionally proud of our father and his tireless work to make sure our

grandma’s story is not forgotten and importantly that there is due recognition for those

families who saved her. Our dad has been such a significant role model and has shaped who

we are today.

Rebecca It is important that the atrocities of the holocaust are never forgotten. Yet, even to this day,

humanity is still capable of terrible crimes. We must always stand up for what is right, just

as your families did almost 70 years ago.

Simon

We are looking forward to meeting you after the ceremony. Thank you for joining us today.

It means a lot to our family.

We are both proud Jewish people and strong supporters of the State of Israel. Thank you to

Yad Vashem for all your tireless work in recognition of righteous people.

PAGE 35

©2013 Edited and compiled by Martin Moen, Perth, Western Australia.

More magazines by this user