Archive/File: holocaust/netherlands lstein.001 Last-Modified: 1994/08/17 Source: Louise Stein VOICES Fifty years ago, on the 4th of August 1944, the nazi police raided the Amsterdam hiding place of Anne Frank and her family. All the occupants were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Anne died the following March, only weeks before the allied troops reached the camp Bergen-Belsen. Only Anne's father survived the war. After the hidden Jews had been taken away, their helpers returned to the hiding place and found Anne's writings, which were published as the "Diary of Anne Frank" in 1947. Her work, covering the period from June 1942 to August 1944, has since appeared in millions of editions all over the world. That spring of 1942, just shortly before the Frank family went into hiding, our family and others living within commuting distance from Amsterdam were loaded onto buses and transported to inner city neighbourhoods where the Jewish population was concentrated. This way it would be easier to round up the victims destined for deportation. Our businesses, homes and most of our possessions had already been taken away. Because my father had managed to have us registered on a worker's exemption list, we continued to reside in our Amsterdam tenement until January 1943 . A letter reached us by secret courier to announce the devastating news that nearly all members of our extended family had been deported from their homes in Rotterdam. My 96-year-old great-grandfather was roused from his bed at midnight. My six-year-old cousin, my 75-year-old grandfather, aunts, uncles and other cousins were taken away. Our fears about their fate was confirmed after the war when we received a letter from the International Red Cross listing their names and confirming the date of their death by gassing at the extermination camp Sobibor. While constantly under threat of arrest and deportation, we witnessed the beginning of the mass raids and mass deportations of most of Jewish working people and their families. Amsterdam had been their home for centuries. All were dragged out of their houses, whether they were newly born or elderly, sick or healthy. Armed , helmeted thugs, called the "green police" ( germans) and the "black police" (dutch nazis) according to the colour of their uniforms, pushed them into waiting trucks. Gradually we were surrounded by empty apartments. The last meagre furnishings had been looted. In the dark of winter it was an eery sight. It became evident our situation was becoming untenable. Several people on the exemption list were being arrested. In January 1943 we removed the yellow stars from our clothing and managed to escape Amsterdam during the night, each of us ending up in separate hiding places. For almost 28 months my parents, my sister and I remained one step ahead of the nazis. Thanks to the help of some very courageous people we were able to welcome our Canadian liberators in April 1945! The story of the holocaust illustrates the ultimate consequences of racism perpetrated by seemingly ordinary people. Our vigilance to guard human rights must never cease. This fall the Holocaust Education Centre officially opens its doors November 7. Designed as an education tool to combat discrimination, the centre's program will start with a five-week showing of the "Anne Frank in the World Exhibit". We invite you to attend this important event. ( Louise Stein is a Vancouver area resident since 1959. She is a holocaust survivor, born in the Netherlands in the same year as Anne Frank).
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