It is a question I often ask myself “Would I do it, would I risk my life and the life of my Family to safe others? ” Honestly I don’t know. Risking my own life is one thing, but risking the lives of my Family is a different ballgame all together.
And yet that is exactly what the Jetten family did and especially their oldest Daughter Truus.
The Jetten family lived in the South East of the Netherlands in the province of Limburg near the city Roermond. To give a geographical indication of the area,below a map. As you can see it borders to Germany.
When the war broke out, Mr. and Mrs. Hiegentlich were living with their three sons in Roermond, Limburg, where they owned a textile business. There, they employed a young girl, Truus Jetten, as secretary. Her parents owned a farm in the nearby village of de Weerd.
Cesar Hiegentlich did assiste many Jewish refugees who fled Germany since 1933 to either stay in the Netherland or move further afield to the UK or USA. Because of the discussions he had with the refugees,Hiegentlich had a good understanding on what the fate of the Jews would be0
After the “aryanization” of the Hiegentlichs’ business, the family left Roermond for Amsterdam. In 1942, the Hiegentlich grandparents contacted Truus and asked if her parents would agree to shelter their granddaughter Rosalie, born in 1938, on their farm.
Without hesitation the Jetten family agreed. Truus whowas just 17 traveled to Amsterdam to collect Rosalie who was 3 years of age at the time.Truus renamed Rosalie to Lieke. and tookher back to the Jettsn’s farm. Hub and Maria Jetten had nine children, the youngest only a few years older than Rosalie, who was treated as their tenth child. Truus had helped initiate a rescue project creating a network of local people prepared to harbor Jews.
As the war progressed the entire Jetten family was involved in assisting and housing fugitive Jews. Sometimes as many as 23 people were hidden on their farm waiting for a permanent hideout. Truus was pivotal in bringing people, mainly children, to the farm and her sister Ella helped her mother run the home and provide for the ever-growing household.
Among the many Jews who were afforded shelter on the Jettens’ farm were Rosalie’s aunt, Gedula Blum-Grunewald; the two young Cohen de Lara sisters; Mr. de Groot, his sons, and his sister Kitty; and sixteen-year-old Marietje de Man.
In August 1944 Truus moved to the more southern city of Heerlen where she started a course in midwifery. On Sept 17 1944 Heerlen was liberated.
In 1944, Roermond and its environs, situated at the confluence of the Roer and Maas Rivers, became a war zone being defended by the Germans and the Jettens themselves became refugees. The entire household moved to Horn, to the home of Maria’s brother, Paul Hendrix, where they stayed in the cellar. After the war, Rosalie’s mother, who survived, came to collect her daughter. Rosalie maintained a close relationship with the Jettens after the war.
On November 30, 1997, Yad Vashem recognized Hub Jetten, his wife, Maria Jetten-Hendrix, and their daughters Truus Maria El Biyadi-Jetten and Ella Muysers-Jetten as Righteous Among the Nations.
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