Oral History

Doriane Kurz describes how she and her brother were hidden

Doriane's Jewish family fled to Amsterdam in 1940, a year that also saw the German occupation of the Netherlands. Her father perished after deportation to Auschwitz. After their mother was seized, Doriane and her brother hid with gentiles. The three were reunited at Bergen-Belsen, where they were deported via Westerbork. They were liberated during the camp's 1945 evacuation. Doriane's mother died of cancer soon after Doriane helped her recover from typhus. Doriane and her brother immigrated to the United States.

Transcript

My brother Freddie and I were taken to, in the middle of the night, through the streets by somebody...I can't tell you anymore who, and we ended up in a...in an apartment with a woman, a single woman. I didn't know that night where we were, but she was a gentile woman who was living on the second floor somewhere, and we lived with her for a few weeks and we had to stay in bed all day because being a single woman, the people who were below her knew that there was no one else living in the apartment and she went to work every day, so she continued to go to work everyday, I guess because she didn't want anyone to suspect that she was working with the underground, and Freddie and I had to stay in bed all day but I mean this was uh...I was seven. He was six. And children of seven and six don't do very well staying in bed all day, so I remember we tried to stay in bed, but we used to tiptoe out. And, uh, I remember us being there for St. Nicholas day, which in Holland St. Nicholas day is not really like Christmas here. It's a...it's almost a national holiday. All children sort of take part in it. The woman was trying to make us interested in St. Nicholas and I didn't want to have any part of it. I...I know I wanted very much to somehow get back to my mother and they said no, no you can't. And then one day not long after that we were told that we couldn't stay there anymore and we were spirited away again with some people and we were brought to a little town in Holland...I can't tell you where it was. Uh...somewhere in the outlying farm districts where we were with two people whom I only remember by their first name. They were called Uncle Hank, Ome Hank and Aunt Jo, which amused us a lot because we could never figure out at the beginning whether it was Uncle Jo and Aunt Hank or vice versa. I remember a farm, a small community, a house, a large backyard, and rabbits. And I remember playing a game, drawing with a stick in the dirt and making pathways and mazes and things. In retrospect I can imagine what an enormous chance people took to hide two Jewish children in a town out of...outside of a main city where probably, you know, people couldn't just come up with two little children and pawn them off as something related to them if they'd never had them before. Uh...so they must have taken an enormous chance in doing this.


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