I wish I could write about how Rachel de Groot survived the war and grew up to fulfill her potential, But I can’t, in fact I can’t even say that much about her. Not because there is not much known about her, because there is.
The reason why I can’t say too much about Rachel is because I am the Father of a teenage girl, the thought that something could happen to her lives with me 24/7 ,but that is normal for any Father or Mother for that matter.
Seeing a picture of Rachel makes me realize how fragile life is and how quick situations can change. One day you are living without a care in the world then suddenly you find yourself in hiding, hiding for people who hate you so much even though they have never met you.
Rachel, her parents and her younger brother al went into hiding in November 1942, the Dutch police, instructed by the Nazi occupiers were rounding up Jews.
Rachel liked to make handcrafts and she used these black, gold and white beads for that purpose, I do not know for certain but I reckon she used them to make jewelry.
Just cheap disposable beads but they must have been extremely valuable to Rachel because they keep her mind occupied, an escape from the horrors and anxiety she faced.
Despite everything she still must have had hope because she even made a calendar when she was in hiding, indicating she was still planning her days. People who have no hope do not plan.
As I stated earlier, I have a teenage daughter and it could have easily been her and I could have been that father with her in hiding, something I just can’t fathom.
Rachel was born on August 15, 1927. In Amersfoort .My daughter was also born in August. Rachel was murdered in Auschwitz on May 22,1944 together with her mother, Rachel was aged 16, when she was murdered , the same age my daughter is now. Rachel’s Father arrived a few months later and was murdered on September 30,1944.Her brother survived the war.
The family was arrested on April 8, 1944 at their hiding place, They were betrayed by Ans van Dijk, a Jewish woman who collaborated with the Nazis to safe her own life. They were arrested by Willem Grootendorst, an old schoolfriend of Rachel’s father
Now I know there will be some people who read this and will say that this blog is partially based on presumptions, and that is true because I never met Rachel , how could I have she was murdered before I was even born. But the only way for us to remotely understand the Holocaust(because for those who did not live through it, can never understand) is by making it personal.
For some reason Rachel’s story touched me more then other stories, maybe it because of my paternal instincts.