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They were heroes

My grandparents were a sweet couple. My grandfather was more comfortable in front of a stack of books or taking long walks with his hands behind his back, digesting information from his books, than in social situations. He was a deep thinker and punctual. My grandmother loved to be around people, especially her family, and easily lost track of time. Sometimes she changed the clocks in the house so she could keep up with my grandfather’s punctuality. My father was born two years after their marriage and my aunt, three years after that. Their years as young parents were disrupted by the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands. I’m not sure how my grandparents became involved in the underground, but know that for them they did what they knew was right.I recently visited the National Holocaust Names monument in Amsterdam with my dad. The tragedy of each name, each life lost in horrific circumstances is impactful when seen marked in bricks, next to each other in walls that wrap around your being. Several of the names were of people my dad knew. His “aunt Nell” was a Jewish woman who lived with my grandparents through the war, her husband Wim Levy would visit when it was safe. Other “aunts and uncles” would come through their home just outside of The Hague. At one point, the situation got too dangerous for the young family. My dad remembers riding on the back of his dad’s bike, my aunt on the back of her mom’s bike out into the countryside where they would live with complete strangers until it was safe. My grandparents left them there and returned to the city to continue their work. My dad has done extensive reading about the war and gives lectures both in the US and the Netherlands. I’m truly grateful for his commitment to making sure history is never forgotten.

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