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Survivor Stories

Hans A.

Hans A. was born in Berlin and he fled with his family to the Netherlands in 1937. After the invasion by Germany in 1940, Hans and his family avoided arrest and deportation and finally went into hiding. Hans lived with the Kooy family, where he remained until the end of the war.

Excerpt from Video Testimony

Hans describes his experience of hiding with a Dutch family.

Video Transcript

They took my ID, took the red J out of it, changed my name to Hans Herbert Andreas and changed the address to a bombed-out address in Rotterdam. And since all the archives of Rotterdam were destroyed in the bombardment, there was no way of tracing it. And because of that I also could get food coupons, and the only thing that they decided I should not do was go to school because in Dutch I have as much of an accent, a German accent as I have in English, and that that would be a bit hard to explain, and I was of the age where I didn’t really have to, I was fifteen years old then and in Holland many kids at fifteen didn’t go to school anymore. I didn’t, initially I stayed inside a lot, I was you know helping with the, they did not have any visual neighbors, so I mean there was nobody, and I played it low key but after a while I started going out at night and later on I ventured out in daytime and people got used to me. I assume that most people had a hunch that I was Jewish, but again the chances of running into a Dutch person who would turn you in were rather slim… … So my, so as soon as I went into hiding it was almost as if a heavy burden was lifted off me, even though I knew, okay, I could get caught. And by the way my mother always instructed my brother and me, if you ever get caught, look for an opportunity to run, and if you can run, if you see half an opportunity to run, run, because the worst that can happen to you then is get shot, and believe me, she was so right, it’s a helluva lot better than what you find at the end of that train ride.