500 Jewish orphans at Apeldoorn

Ecrit par webmaster Sefarad.org le 23 octobre, 2015

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This article is related to the « Spirit of Brussels »
series whichput together all the contributions
for the three major monotheistic
religions. Please find the link herewith.
http://sefarad.org/lesprit-de-bruxelles

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500 Jewish orphans at Apeldoorn

As every five years, it is parade day in Apeldoorn, in the eastern part of The Netherlands, on the 8th of May 2005. Every five years: the commemoration of the Liberation by a Canadian division this year 60 years ago.

It looks like in a history film: trucks, command-cars, jeeps, artillery guns – all original WWII, all freshly painted in khaki. In each vehicle the soldiers, in full Canadian uniform, but it strikes immediately: they are white haired, some in wheel chairs, all of them old, 80 years and more. They are accompanied by small units of the Canadian Army still based in Germany, parading on foot and by military bands.

And every where tulips, flowers and cheering population, as 60 years ago.

I come to every commemoration, did not miss any, these Dutch people are so nice, receives us so kindly, says one of the veterans. Yes we love our liberators and are happy to receive them in our homes, we adopted them, answers a local young woman.

Adoption has a tradition in Apeldoorn. In the woods on the edge of the town there is a medical and educational institution: het Apeldoornse Bos. The Nazis took from there the retarded and the sick Jewish children and sent them to their death in the camps. The citizens of Apeldoorn reacted in their typical way: after the war they adopted 500 Jewish orphans from the Holocaust, hosted them at the Apeldoornse Bos for a year on their way to Israel. My late wife, Tova, was one of them.

After the Independence War of Israel we came to Holland, together with our son Opher, on a kind of pilgrimage – remembrance trip. On the market of Apeldoorn we bought haring, some goodies for our son and asked the way to the Apeldoornse Bos. The man at the stall stared at us and asked: were you per chance here with the Stichting 500 Joodse Kinderen? Yes, answered Tova, I was here!

But, said the man, but we adopted you as our children, you are not paying anything! And promptly gave us back our money. Hearing the commotion, men and women from the other stalls came running with flowers and goodies, and showed us the way.

Indeed, Apeldoorn has a tradition of adoption.

Prof. Moshé Liba

 May 2005

23Oct

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