Limburg is the most southern province in the Netherlands(there is also a province with that name in Belgium). It was one of the first places to be liberated in the Netherlands. By the end of September 1944 all of the province was liberated.
Hanna Van de Voort was a woman who was born in Meerlo, in the North of Limburg.
During the Second World War Hanna Van de Voort was a maternity nurse in Tienray in Limburg. Encouraged by her mother Marie. Hanna,together with 22-year-old student Nico Dohmen and Kurt Loewenstein in hiding, gave 123 Jewish children a place to go into hiding between 1943 and 1944. It mainly concerned children who were smuggled out of the Hollandsche Schouwburg in Amsterdam, where Jews were gathered for deportation. Almost all of the children were smuggled away by Piet Meerburg’s student resistance group.
The children usually stayed at Van de Voort’s home for a few days, where they were taught Catholic doctrine and about the street plan of Rotterdam. It was made that these children had been orphaned by the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940. All children were given a pseudonym and an identity card from the Central Bureau for Children’s Evacuation from bombed Rotterdam.
After a few days they were placed with farming families in the area. The children were regularly transferred to new locations if they were in danger of being discovered. ‘Aunt Hanna’ and especially ‘Uncle Nico’ – as they were called – kept in touch with the hiders and supported them by encouraging them to persevere. The foster parents received monetary compensation, clothing and footwear. The necessary vouchers for clothing and food came from Amsterdam.
The van Geffen family was one of the foster families. Sometimes things were even difficult to explain to their own children, below is an account of one of the van Geffen’s children.
“Maria was the eldest of the family. Her father was a strict Catholic, with a strong sense of social justice, he owned a shoe store in Tienray. He was active in the resistance as a courier of a resistance paper. Maria initially did not like it that a Jewish girl, named Floortje de Paauw, had been included in the family. So she told the story that the Jews nailed Jesus to the cross. Floortje took revenge by walking on the bleach with her shoes on the white laundry. Eventually It all worked out between those two. There was also a Jewish boy in the family: Daniël Jozeph Cohen, pseudonym Wim Dorn. He survived the war. Floortje participated in everything, went to school and to church. Maria remembers exactly how the Nazis lifted Floortje from bed during the children’s raid in Tienray in the night of July 31 to Aug 1, 1944. She had to dress Floortje. After a big hug, Floortje said to Maria: “I’m not coming back.” She was killed on 6 September 1944 in Auschwitz. After the war, it was hardly talked about at home.”
After a betrayal by Lucien Nahon, a Dutch Nazi, a raid was carried out. In the night of July 31 to August 1, 1944, raids take place on several hiding places that Lucien has provided.
During these children’s raids , Jewish children in hiding were arrested.The employees of the Eindhoven State Police and their helpers in Tienray and surrounding villages carried out the action. At least five children were arrested and deported to Auschwitz. Four of them were murdered in Auschwitz.
Floortje de Paauw (15-12-1933), Wim de Paauw (17-12-1934), Louis van Wezel (16-5-1936) en Dick van Wezel (6-3-1934).
Hanna van der Voort was also arrested during this raid.She was tortured to give information about the resistance, but she gave them nothing. She was released after nine days. Van de Voort suffered permanent damage to her health. She died in July 26,1956.
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