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Because their hearts spoke


Omdat hun hart sprak – Geschiedenis van de georganiseerde hulp aan Joodse kinderen in Nederlands, 1942-1945

Bert-Jan Flim
Kok, Kampen, 1996
ISBN: 9789024260263


In July 1942, on the orders of the German occupiers, the systematic deportation of Dutch Jews to Poland began. Resistance to this arose among their non-Jewish fellow citizens; at first still piecemeal and improvised, later expanded and efficient. In this book, Bert Jan Flim describes how the development from nothing to a decisive organisation took place within four Dutch resistance groups who, together with a number of Jewish Amsterdammers, are referred to as ‘the child workers’. Minute accounts show how they succeeded in saving the lives of around 1,200 Jews, including almost thousands of children, by sending them into hiding with foster families outside Amsterdam. In doing so, the child workers wrote – unintentionally and mostly unconsciously – a piece of history. The methods they applied sometimes differed sky-high, but their motivation was always the same: they made this great effort and took the associated risks because their hearts spoke.


The thesis contains a description of the four organisations that were involved in this children’s work: the Utrecht Children’s Committee, the Amsterdam Student Group, the Naamloze Vennootschap (kkNVxx) and the Trouwgroep (after the illegal magazine Trouw).

Flim, in the best technique of oral history, asked the still-living protagonists the shirt off their necks to detail the ‘speaking of the heart’ in a compelling way.