Hanna Van de Voort -Forgotten Hero

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.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/thema/Kinderrazzia%20Noord-Limburg

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Ankie Stork- The Stork who delivered 35 Jewish children.

Ankie Stork was a Dutch resistance fighter during the German occupation of the Netherlands. She saved thirty-five Jewish children from the Nazis by hiding them in several locations the town of Nijverdal during World War II. She acted as part of Utrechts Kindercomité,(Utrecht Children Committee) a Dutch resistance group based in Utrecht.

Ankie was a member of the Hengelo manufacturing family, the daughter of Johan Charles Stork, the director of the Koninklijke Stoombleekerij in Nijverdal.
She became a lecturer and spokesperson after the war. She continued to reside at two residences in Enschede and The Hague until shortly before her death. She died in Enschede on November 23, 2015, at the age of 93.
Her father and brother,Piet, had tried to escape to England at the start of the occupation of the Netherlands, but were arrested. After they were released ,they turned their home into centre of resistance and also a hiding place for Jews.
In 1942 Ankie started to study social geography. She had to end her studies quite soon after she started because she refused to sign the Loyalty declaration, which was a declaration pledging loyalty to the German occupier.

In 1943 her cousin Anne Maclaine Pont asked her to join the resistance by starting to sell copies of “Het lied der achttien dooden” (the song of the 18 dead) by Jan Campert in order to fund the resistance.
Later on with help from others like the Pastor Hendrikus Berkhof, who had warned about the dangers of Nazism during his sermons, to find hiding places for Jewish children, she found places for these children in the eastern rural parts of the Netherlands.
In May 1944 she was caught and arrested but was released after 6 weeks due to lack of evidence.
Because of her and her helpers 35 Jewish children survived the war.

Sources

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn44496

https://peoplepill.com/people/ankie-stork/

https://dirkdeklein.net/2018/01/12/jan-campert-the-song-of-the-eighteen-dead-a-ww2-hero/

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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The kidnapping of Dr Herrema by the IRA

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On October 3rd, 1975, Dr Tiede Herrema was driving from his home in Castletroy, Co Limerick, to an early-morning meeting at the Ferenka steel plant at Annacotty, when he was abducted by two republicans, Marion Coyle and Eddie Gallagher.
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Herrema, , had been dispatched by the parent company in his native Netherlands to troubleshoot the strike-ridden factory, Ferenka,which employed 1,200 at a time when the Irish economy was reeling from the oil crisis and six years of Northern Ireland troubles.

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The kidnappers, banking that Liam Cosgrave’s government would quietly cave in, so as not to scare off other foreign investors, threatened to “execute” Herrema in 48 hours unless it released the republican prisoners Rose Dugdale(who had given birth to Gallagher’s son in Limerick Prison), Kevin Mallon (a friend of Coyle’s) and James Hyland.

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Rose Dugdale, An English millionaire’s daughter who took part in an IRA helicopter bombing attempt and an infamous art theft at Russborough House in Co Wicklow.

It was the start of a 36-day ordeal for Herrema and his family, sparking the biggest manhunt in the State’s history.

Two weeks later a tape of Herrema’s voice was released, accompanied by demands for a £2 million ransom and a flight to the Middle East. After 18 days the kidnappers were traced to a terraced house in Monasterevin, Co Kildare.

The Coalition Government of Liam Cosgrave made it very clear from very start that there would be no release of prisoners, no room for compromise.

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A Nationwide Garda operation was mounted with almost half the force engaged in house to house searches and roadblocks. But Gallagher and Coyle had gone to ground in a “safe house” near Mountmellick, Co. Laois.

Days passed and the kidnappers sent taped messages from Herrema pleading for his life. The intervention of a Capuchin monk as a mediator proved fruitless. Gallagher asked for Phil Flynn – a trade union leader and Sinn Féin member at the time – to be brought in as an alternative mediator and while Gallagher began to lower his demands – the Government were steadfast but no closer to finding Herrema. Gallagher & Coyle had moved hideouts – this time to a council house in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, which was itself searched by Gárdaí but the occupants were tipped off and the kidnappers hid with Herrema in the attic undisturbed. But 1410 St Evin’s Park was to be scene of the final act in this drama when the controversial questioning of accomplices by the Gárdaí exposed the location. 18 days into the kidnapping, a dawn raid on the house failed to release Herrema and thus began the Siege of Monasterevin.

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For a further 18 days, Ireland’s and the World’s press gathered. The Siege of Monasterevin was headline news every day. But behind the scenes what negotiations were going on to bring this dramatic standoff to an end after 36 days? – The longest and most dramatic kidnapping in Irish History.

The pair must have begun to suspect that there was something unusual about their captive shortly into the 36-day odyssey. For the first 14 days of the ordeal he had no idea where he was, confined to a tiny room in a house, in stinking conditions, feet and hands tied, cotton wool pushed into his ears.

Today Herrema is baffled, even irritated, that interviewers consistently overlook this part. “You all start by asking me about the period in Monasterevin . . . But the other part before, nobody talks about it, and that part was even worse for me. I didn’t know where we were. I didn’t even know how many were in the car that took me there.”

Once at St Evin’s Park in Monasterevin, by contrast, surrounded by armoured cars, searchlights, snipers and the hotshots of world media, he knew exactly where he was and what he had to do.

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He set out to create calm, to humanize himself in his kidnappers’ eyes. His eldest son was about the same age as Gallagher. Coyle, he noted, listened to the conversations but never spoke. “For me that was an indication: be careful with her. As long as I can get them talking I learn something. But she didn’t talk at all. I could never reach her.”

The coping mechanisms that seemed second nature to him, a man for whom mental challenges were almost a sport, must have seemed odd to his kidnappers. “When the night is over and you have nothing to eat, you have nothing to do. That is very important to understand, because all you have then is the waiting. You cannot tolerate that all day. So you try to make the day.”

What Gallagher and Coyle didn’t realize is that Dr Herrema had been a Dutch resisttance fighter during WWII.

He was in his early 20s when the Nazis arrested him. He was sent to Prague where he was brutally interrogated after that  he was transported to Ratibor – now the Polish town of Racibórz.

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Where about half of his fellow prisoners were shot, some under 14 years of age. Even after he was freed by the soviet troops he still had to walk 500 KM to be transferred to the US troops. Needless to say he was made out of sturdy stuff.

After several days without food or water they began to accept supplies – as well as underpants and a chamber pot – hoisted up in a shopping basket. On day 18 Gallagher claimed to be getting severe headaches and neck cramps, which Herrema took as a sign that he was seeking a way out. Soon afterwards the kidnappers threw their guns out of a window and surrendered.

It was on this day 41 years ago November 7 1975, Dr Herrema was released.

Coyle was sentenced to 15 years, of which she served nine. Gallagher served 14 years of his 20-year sentence. In 1978 Gallagher and Dugdale became the first convicted prisoners in the State’s history to be married behind bars.

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of €2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then €2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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