from Annemarie den Hartog,
Frits Hirschland’s cousin
My uncle Herbert Hirschland and his brother Rudy came to the Netherlands before the war started because of the rise of Adolf Hitler. Frits’ father, my Uncle Herbert, hide from the Germans in both my grandparents’ houses. He hid in The Hague (in a basement). My grandfather (Leen Boender, my father’s dad), was a member of the resistance in Rotterdam. He helped Jews with false passports and food stamps (ration coupons?). Uncle Herbert lived in their house in 1943/45, and before that he he lived in a chicken house.
The Rotterdam resistance was well organized and there was a list of names. When the Germans got that list the de Boender family had to run. They went to Groot Ammers, a a town in South Holland. They left just in time. The next day, Germans came to check on their neighbors. My grandfather had 2 brothers who also were member of the resistance. So it was not safe any more. In Groot Ammers was plenty of food, which was very nice because at that time in Rotterdam there was a lack of almost everything.
After the war my uncle Herbert went to The Hague, were he rented a room in my other grandparents’ (the van Reijn family) house. My grandfather was not a member of the resistance but helped the Jews in the neighborhood by providing them with potatoes.
Uncle Herbert was was so grateful to both families that he promised my grandparents that IF he survived the war he would provide jobs for their children. Herbert started a business in Scheveningen. My father got a job their and also several of my mothers brothers and sisters. That is how my parents met. My mother lived in The Hague (family of 13 children) and my father lived as an only child in Rotterdam. We don’t know what the connection between the two families was.
I think it is a very special story and I am very proud of both families for the courage they had. I worked for several years in the textile business, with Frits, his father (my uncle Herbert), and my father, now 82.