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I'm thrilled to say this episode of history, it is brought to you by Vodafone, Curiosity has no limits of Vodafone. You can follow your curiosity with unlimited data on Ireland's best performing mobile network. Like I am old enough to remember the world before unlimited data.


But I just still to this day, don't really know what we did. I guess we had to. I thought we had to prepare things better to use books and like have dossiers with us. I got a question for you. You can find out the answer in the break that comes in this podcast. But this is one that you can try and look up using your Vodafone Unlimited data. I'd Professor Bartlett on the podcast the other day, and he's identified 27 female monarchs in medieval Europe, 27 queen pregnant women actually ruled in their own right in medieval Europe, but none of them were from Ireland.


None of them appear in the list of high kings or any of the other kings, I guess. Why find out during the break? The other day, I drove from Cork to Dublin. Right. And on the fly, using my Vodafone unlimited data, I was able just to plot this itinerary. We checked out these amazing castles, would it? Kahir Castle. We checked out the Rock of Cashel. I mean, that place is unbelievable. And then we went to Dunhams and then my family went completely mad and didn't let me stop anywhere else.


But I mean, that was all just done in the passenger seat of a car as my wife was driving and my kids were all screaming in the back. And I was able to do that with the supercomputer in my hand connected to the World Wide Web, thanks to Vodafone. You know what? You people are fans of history. That's why I listen to this podcast. You've got to get the best performing network. I don't one of those networks, there's good in the cities.


You want one that when you are in the middle of nowhere, you got decent signal because you've got to research what's going on around you. You've got to work out which castle is that, this hoving into view on the horizon. It's just a beautiful thing. Let your whole family follow their curiosity when you bring everyone's plans together on our multi mobile read family plan. Such Vodafone read family for more.


Oh, everybody, welcome our history. This is one of those very special episodes, the podcast. And I talk to someone, a veteran, someone who has lived through and made history. Some have. And a pair was a young Roman, a teenager. When war broke out in 1939, she never considered the possibility of her country being occupied by one of its neighbours. She grew up in a family of Jewish descent, but with secular humanist leanings.


And everything changed when Germany invaded Holland in 1940, she found herself a fugitive running from home, her family and turned eventually to be murdered. She would find out, and she eventually found herself joining the Dutch resistance. It's a truly heroic story, which she told me when I sat down with the other day. She's 97 years old now, incredibly bright and enormous pleasure to sit and listen to. She was well, I won't spoil the story, but let's just say it's an incredible tale of heroics and survival and occupation and under the threat of genocide.


I'm shooting a series of these interviews at the moment, of which this is one with remarkable women veterans of the Second World War, resistance fighters in Europe, women who served in uniform in the UK and beyond. This is just one of them to watch that documentary. It comes out to watch hundreds of other documentaries that we have. Please get a history hit TV history. Dot TV used to code pod one party one. You got a month free and your second month is one pound euro or dollar.


Your subscriptions go directly towards finding people like Selma, filming them, recording them for posterity. Creating in-depth history programs by people like Selma are given the space and time to tell their story. And I'm very, very proud of the team for this documentary we're producing at the moment. So go inside to history. In the meantime, have a listen to Selma Vanderbeke. Enjoy.


Some tell me about your your childhood in the Netherlands. Well. I was born as one of four children, the third one I have to get to liberalness 11 and 30 years older than me. So they're dead already and a sister who was born six years after me. So and my father and mother, my father was an artist. And theater band, and we had a tremendously nice family life, except that we were up and down financially or worse, depending on bus work.


But I had a very happy childhood, otherwise I often think when we didn't have many toys or any holidays brought or anything like that in those days, but we have a very nice family. When I was born, the religion was already gone in our family.


When did you first start to worry about the war which had begun in the east, in Poland? When did you start to worry it might affect your lives?


When the war broke out in Holland on the 10th of May 1940. My brother Louis came home and he was already Mr. Merchant Navy and the younger brother was with the Army Medical Services and he said, it's war, it's war. And, you know, well, I said, let me sleep over. Still a schoolgirl. And it didn't affect me, but it did because we were very worried about my brothers, of course. And then in the four days we were fighting, the Dutch were fighting and we never knew about my brothers.


We were very scared that they had been taken prisoner, like so many of the Dutch boys that who were in the Army or in the Navy, but they were not. My younger brother David was stationed in Saillant Middle Earth, and they were told when the Dutch capitulated, they were told to go to Belgium and Belgium capitulated. They would go to told to go to France and from France, they had to go to England. So that's how you could got in England.


And my elder brother was five days. Still, this is ship like a modern port. But then they went to England as well. But funny thing was that Dave and he told us that morning of defence of me and we he had to be back at six o'clock on the ship. And I was lying in the aid at the Port of Amsterdam, actually. And my father decided because there was no drums or anything like that, I decided to take him back to the ship and I joined him.


And uncle came and my sister came and we joined him. We never thought. I often think of it, no, we never thought of going onto the ship as well. Were you scared of what the occupation would bring?


Well, not really. Very much, no, because we really didn't know. We knew what happened in Poland and in Eastern Europe a bit, but not very much, the Germans were very clever, you know, we didn't know very well, at least I didn't know very much of what happened. We had two German refugees, of course, coming into Holland, but they didn't go. They they said how bad it was financially and things like that.


So it wasn't really that worried in the beginning. If I'm honest, we were worried. I was worried about my brothers and my parents as well, because, as I said, we thought may have fallen in German hands. The Germans, the regulations they brought out against the Jews and the Dutch actually was only starting later on in the year at the end, 241, really. And so up till then, I was at school still, so you just went to school.


In fact, I had to do an exam.


Do you remember the moment when you suddenly felt that things were turning bad?


The moment started this, then things started. First of all, it was and Jews were not allowed to go in the swimming pool anymore or in the cinema or anything like that. That's the first thing. And then, of course, a bit later on, you had the yellow star, which you had to do on it, and that, of course, I say that. I remember that. That broke my heart. That was very, very bad.


I kept my vendetta against my or my school back against my shoulder all the time except to say that. And then, of course, big, big thing, because all my friends were well, nine out of ten were non Jewish. They weren't allowed to come anymore in Jewish houses and Jewish persons were not allowed to go into non Jewish houses anymore. And so all these things did it. Yeah, I can remember those times and wearing the badge.


How did other Dutch people treat you today? Was it just a German thing or did the other Dutch people start to reject you as well?


No, no. They had to officially, of course, know several friends. Still, I remember my father saying it will come and he did during the whole war. And several of the other people did as well. Yeah, but of course, it was very dangerous for them because it would have been sent to a concentration camp if it would be found out. Yeah. There was, of course, a certain amount of people not coming and the danger of it.


But your friends and so still started to.


Why did you decide you were going to act, you were going to do something about this?


Well, I didn't decide for a long time. I mean, I didn't know you didn't. Don't forget, we look back now from where we are in in this day and age. But we didn't know of most things, you know, and a lot of resistance movement. In 1942, though, people were called up young men and well before that, young men were lifted from the bits and sent to Mauthausen and other concentration camps, and it was very bad, of course, as well.


We were very worried. And the first time it affected me was when I got my call. It got. On the 7th of June 1942 to register to go to the main station, to go to the East River Camp Workcamps there, because I remember the first lot going back a few months before that with violence and keep dancing and singing, you know, because they thought they were going to Loka. Of course, we're all going to be murdered.


So the fact was that we didn't know. Perhaps few people might have known, but most people didn't know the Germans were very, very clever. They didn't want the people to. Resist, you know. Well, anyhow, I got that call up and my father said, oh, no, you're not going ill. So you bought me some chocolate special. Chocolate with stuffing chemicals in it and so that I. My face is had blood in it, and so when you called the doctor and I was weak, free, I was given and elsewise and.


Piece of paper, to turn it down free, of course, was only for a week. Then I decided that perhaps it's because you were free also to free, not to have to go to work if you were in a position that you need it. So a friend that I knew, she used to be a nurse. And so I borrowed a nursing outfit from her. And I wish I had to go and report in the south of Amsterdam.


And I did. And it was that day and I was in big wooden table standing there outside with a woman behind a Jewish woman behind it and behind her next to her, a German SS officer. And I thought, OK, I hope you're going to believe my story, that I was a nurse, but it wasn't necessary because that was Kube long, long queue, two hours to get to the table and to get back in time. I wanted to tell my story.


She said, Oh, no, no, good. You can't change from an ill. Receipt to and social things, you know, so that not tomorrow morning at nine o'clock at Central Station. So I was very disappointed. You know, when I was working in for Mr. and Mrs. Deong and because by that time, you could only work for a Jewish firm and this was a paper firm and they were very nice and we got along very well.


And so I went back to them to tell them that I couldn't come anymore, that I had to go to work and. So I went there and they were standing near the fence in the garden talking to the man next door. And he was a genuine refugee, and it turns out he said to me when he heard my story because I was telling him that couldn't come anymore. And he said, why don't you come and work for me? I've got a factory and you'll be free because I was working for the Germans, the soldiers.


And so I was freed and not to go to the Central Station. And I started work at his factory the next morning.


So you just didn't you went to work at the factory and just never showed up for the train e new.


I don't think they checked it. It's unbelievable. Yes, it's very logical, I'm trying to tell you a lot of things during the war are very illogical, but that that man saved your life. Yeah, yeah. And so you were working in the factory. Yeah.


And then my father got called up. By that time, we weren't allowed radios anymore. And I'm talking about education and no papers or anything. And you so you were dependent on the Jewish Council because that was the only paper, the Jewish Chronicle that was published and sold. And they said that if the men went to work, wife and children would be free. And people started to believe it again. It's unbelievable that people believed it, and so my father thought it was best to go to the work.


So he went he went to the station and they were taken to the work in the same evening. They were taken through to see the work, which was the concentration camp through which people went if they were sent to Auschwitz. So he was there in that same evening. There was this terrible collection of all Jewish people. Most of them. By trucks and vans. By the Germans and the Dutch police. And it is dreadful. That was terrible and, you know, because we were living in a building in flat six flats and we could hear the noise and so and I thought that we were going to be collected as well, but we weren't very lucky.


Again. Did you say good bye to your father? Yes, we said goodbye, of course, but we didn't think it was going to be goodbye forever. And so I said to my mother, they haven't gone last night, the next morning. They haven't even come tonight, but are going to come tomorrow for us. So I said we must do something. And we had friends or relations who I went to. That's another funny thing. In all the troubles, we went I went to a dancing class, Jewish dancing class, of course.


And you just kept dancing. Unbelievable. True. And I had met Clara de Cardozo and she had said to me, I come next week because we're going away. Well, that meant I knew they were going to Switzerland trying to get to Switzerland or going into hiding. So I said to my mother, I'm going to find out where they went. So I went, who else? Her sister in law, Clara's sister in law, because she hadn't gone into hiding.


She was a very blonde, tall lady who didn't look Jewish at all. And she had a little three year old girl, also very blonde today, not Jewish looking. And they stayed behind in the flat. And the rest of the family went into hiding, so I went to else and asked her if she got an address for me to be there. So she gave me the address of the man and he turned out to be our insurance broker.


I read that he said that if a woman would come tomorrow for my mother and sister, there were only room for two in and of a family woman and open. And my mother and sister were taken there the next day and they were Christian Dutch people.


Yeah. I had been the last few years to an evening class to learn to type and shorthand. Well, I was still at school. And I met a girl and she became very friendly and she said if I was in trouble, she could come to her family. So that's where I went. And I stayed with them for a week until the mother said it was too dangerous and I had to leave.


Also, she said they were out of food, so simple and cool and so was my father had stocked up quite a bit and I said we had that. So she went to fetch it anyhow. After a week, I was in the street, so I had an uncle was made to a non Jewish person as well, to Geneva divorcing his first wife. It was a sister of my mother, but this was his second wife. And so I went to him and I stayed with them while working in the factory.


And then one day I was sending by my father and he had sent a letter out asking for chocolate bonbons, boxes of bonbons. Now, I knew he never ate sweets at all. So I was told later on by somebody else who I met later on again and sister-In-Law Cotton, who worked for the Jewish consul in Westerbork in that concentration camp, but was allowed out every weekend home until they arrested themselves. She told me that my father was in hospital in that camp and that he gave the chocolate to the nurses, no doubt to try to get them to heaven longer in the hospital because they were sent every day with trains going from there every Tuesday to Auschwitz, which was in an.


Extermination. So that was what happened and I, I sent. And one day when I did that, I went back to work or was going to back to work and it was on the corner of the street and I had a very funny feeling in my tummy. And I just didn't go any further, I went back home and that day all the effects which were collected by the SS, the Germans and sent to the concentration camp. So I missed it.


And felt very, very good that I missed it. I had a cousin who had two little children then, and I went deaf to help him because his wife was in the hospital waiting her third child and also having tuberculosis, TB. And so she had to stay in the hospital. And I went to look after these two children to cook for them. And so and then one day she said to me to go and visit Vicky and I was having the baby that day and to take the baby away and give it to her, she would be in the room.


And instead of the baby being taken back to nurse was involved as well. Instead of taking the baby back to the baby room where all the babies were dying, she took it and brought it to non Jewish people and even in S01 and he was brought up by these people until the waters of. And the two other children were taken. And again, David. And I was doing that, actually, I was talking to Ricky and taking a baby and took it to keep him to teach you, you know, who was in the room.


How old were you at this point?


Well, I was 17 when the war broke out.


But you're beginning to become a bit of a resistance person now. Well, yes, I didn't realize. You see, this is the funny thing of it. I had no idea that it was that they were working for that opposition resistance movement. Nobody at all. Just was helping about a child. No idea at all. In the beginning, there was hardly any resistance movement that grew up slowly but surely. In the beginning, there wasn't people helping each other, but it wasn't a real movement yet.


And what about you? When did you when did you start to do more with the resources?


Well, once my uncle, Uncle Jack, while I was staying for and he was a very nervous person and she became very, very nervous because every time the black men came to see that the blackout was occurring and they came upstairs and I was jumping out of the window so that he wouldn't see me and because I was illegal there, really, and if my uncle would have been caught, he would have been sent to a concentration camp to Sochi. So I jumped out of the window on the roof every time these men came when it was raining or windy or anything.


It was a terrible, dreadful, dreadful, really unbelievable. Once he came in the room, it is my cousin's room, really, who had already gone to to a camp of so-called working. And I was in his room. My my uncle gave me his room to use and then the blackout men came into that room, switch that light on. I had already jumped onto the roof and had to jump onto the next roof, really? Because otherwise he might have seen me when you opened to the window.


So it was a terrible time. Yes. Anyhow, then my uncle sat down. The dinner is getting very, very nervous and so scared that just by accident give way you know you're here, which often happens. Of course, it is very difficult for many people and she was nervous. So I think it's better if you look if you can find another house. So there we are. I went to two or three more and something happened. And I was with a young couple and they had just two newborn babies and they lived in a tiny flat.


People wanted to have the money, of course, as well. You paid your money, of course, for staying the family in hiding.


So by now you hadn't got the Jewish star. You were just pretending to be someone different. Yeah. Yeah.


You know, and it was the first time, actually. But I didn't have any papers yet. But I take taken my star off, of course, that I had to do so, I was with this couple a state a few weeks with them, actually, and then one day I was out because I had to go out to give them some privacy. And you see, I met a friend of my cousin and he said, oh, you mustn't go back to your room because the man who gave you that address has given a list of all people he found places for to the SS.


So he got a bit and his bed was that way and my bed was there. But then one night. He crept into my bed, I felt him, but I hadn't realized I was a child, that he'd fallen in love with me. So I just did this if I slept and I pushed him away and evened out. And to begin a few nights after that, it happened again. And I woke up. And pushed him out and said, I didn't want that type of thing.


And then he went a bit further, you see. And so the next morning, I went to deanship and told her about it and she got them stuck to the storm from the Legoland Hospital, who took me to light to reflect in in this this ain't your Holthouse. She was a doctor also in the same department as well. And that's where I met. The resistance movement, we already did an awful lot with resistance, it was afterwards that I realized that it existed.


I was in later, not a single with a mean machine was in the laboratory person. And I was a doctor in the evening when we were at dinner, some of the doctors from Leiden Hospital came to have dinner with us. Eat with us, and they just told some stories and so on, and in the beginning I had no clue that they were.


In the resistance and after a while they talked about it when I was there and I had been there for a few weeks, and so I heard the stories they were taking Jewish people to. Christian homes in. In other towns, you see very, very good and I met several other people as well from the resistance movement for most of them, there were doctors who were working in the hospital at the same time. And it was well known later on, it was well known, Dr.


. The resistance group to inside and help them. Well, one night, one day, they were told, telling a story about who he jumped out of the window rather than giving names of the people he worked with. And I thought it was so wonderful, idealistic. And then they also said how shortly? Because by that time, the Dutch boys and men were asked to. If they came from school and they want to go to university, they had to sign a loyalty.


If if they didn't, they were sent to Germany to work, but if they didn't want to do that, they had to go into hiding, is many and many men were called up to go straight to Germany to work, and they didn't want to do that. So by the time I'm just talking about, there were already many, many, many Dutch non Jewish boys and men. Who had to be taken into hiding, and my resistance colleagues said, therefore, they needed more people because because that happened, there were no not many boys they could use because the boys should either go to Germany or be students.


And so they needed girls, really, so I said, can I help? And that's how it happened. And in the beginning, though, they were delighted. Yes. And then somebody told me took me apart later on and said, it's very dangerous for you. You realize that. And so you really do. But I wanted to do it because I had heard so much of the other people who did so many things I wanted to help.


Were you scared? No. It's likely to be some of the missions I did, I was a bit scared, but no, it was no good being scared. And so in the beginning, all I did was filling in envelopes with legal papers because newspapers were not allowed anymore. But the legal papers were printed still and. De Women-Owned working for for the funk, and that was the paper I put in envelopes and sent to people. And then they asked me my first mission and I had to go to Holland, to Amsterdam, was giving me a suitcase there, which, see, it fits from the printer, you had to be very careful.


So I was not allowed to know the printer. And she put it in the wreck, in the luggage rack, and I was sitting opposite it and I had to take it to five. Different towns. In the south of Holland. There were five passes, and she told me. But it was already getting quite late, and you had by then, everybody had to be in before eight o'clock, there was a curfew. So by the time I got to Liden, it was already quite getting quite late and so I got out and wanted to go home.


And then I saw at the exit. Not only need a conductor, we need men to exit, but also. Policemen in German assessors, so I couldn't do anything else but go through it, you see, so I went there and they said, what's in the suitcase? I said, papers. You had to open it, so I didn't know the locks, you see, because I didn't know the suitcase at all, so I was fiddling with those locks a long, long time.


And I thought, now I have been there, that that's me, you know, I've gotten it. And I opened the locks in the end, open to. Suitcases well lit and over the five parcels and lo and behold, he said, all right, go didn't say open up in what's in the parcels.


So I went and I was trembling. Then I was scared to death. Yes. And me and gave me a stiff drink and said, what's the matter? And I told them, but the next morning I went with the suitcase to this house and delivered the papers.


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These new father Ted Stamps from unposted are fantastic. You can use them to send anything. I'm going to send poor Mr. Benson back as whistle. I know, I just keep it. I could send a letter to Father Larry. You can never get him on the phone. No, wait. I've got to attend a Father's Day card to Bishop Brennan. He'd love that. Send laughs and phone sandroff with Father Ted Stamps from your post office or on Father Ted on post for your world.


So the question I posed at the start of this podcast was why in the whole of Europe are there Queen's regnant during the medieval period, but not in Ireland? And the answer, Professor Bartlett, gave me this because it was customary for Irish kings. Take many wives. So there was never a shortage of sons, whereas over in England, over in France and elsewhere, those those kings, they just had one wife. I mean, the old mistress, like Henry, the first and a lot of illegitimate children, but they were excluded from the line of succession is an island.


Plenty of wives, plenty of sons, no shortage of male heirs. Fascinating. You know what? Use your Vodafone unlimited data. Have a little Google. Prove me wrong. Send me a tweet. I'd love to know if there are any queens. Let your whole family follow their curiosity when you bring everyone's plans together on our multi mobile read family plan. Such Vodafone read family for more. And what other kind of missions do you have to do?


And I went to another time, I went with a suitcase and she put it in the luggage again for me. But this time it was early and I didn't go out. And by the time I went to the EC, we came to The Hague and. I had to go through to do so, I went to the loo. When I came back. I thought I was in the wrong wagon because my suitcase wasn't there anymore in the book, but the woman opposite who had been sitting opposite me and checked it to me, she was dead.


So I thought, I mean, the right coach. So she said to me, she lost something you should give. And I said, No, no, no. I couldn't say yes. I said no. But she opened the window and we stopped in Autodom. She opened the window and she yelled out, The girl has lost her suitcase. I could have killed her. Then. An SS soldier came in and said, Rousch out. So I went out to out and he said, what's in the suitcase and I said, closed, I don't know where.


And he started asking me a few more questions about the suitcase and what where did I put it? And so I told him in the luggage rack. And then he was called away, thank goodness, and wait here, he said, but I saw the train moving and I jumped on the moving train and off we went, a car window addressed where we had to change for if you wanted to go to the east side of Holland, to Limburg.


And I had to go out by time, I was at the exit, the conductor came and said, Are you the girl who lost her suitcase? And I said, yes. He said, Oh, I think I've found it. What was in it? I said, underwear. And he came with a small suitcase. No one at all, and opened it up and then got underway again. And he said, this is it. I said, yes.


And I went with somebody else's suitcase. Later on, we heard that the suitcase was my suitcase was found in the water. And, um, I sent a telegram actually to Ellen telling her something was wrong and she came the next day I went home and she came the next day and she laughed. She said, well, the one who opened the suitcase must have got the shock is like this or like they sold the stolen suitcase was clothes, you see, and they got the paper, the illegal papers.


That's why they threw it in the water. One day I went to city and that was waiting for the bus just around the corner where I left and it started to rain. And a German officer gave me some big Ambarella and felt it above me and said, Can I help you? And I said, No, thank you. And and then the bus came, luckily. And he belted above me all over in the bus. And in a few few days after a few weeks after that, I was there again and he came again.


And he said, I just live off the road here. Would you like to come and have a cup of tea? Terrible weather. And I said, no, no, thank you, I have no time. I told Bob about it, who was really my boss. He said, oh, that is very good, you must get some papers of him. And I said, Why? He says, well, we've got some boys in jail and they have to be cut out and we need German papers, which official German stamps.


And so and I don't know, much too dangerous. I didn't want to do it. But then he talked me into it. He said, well, if you want to help the boys. And so so the next time it happened, which did, we had to. So you went to the kitchen and I saw my opportunity. I went into his jacket, got out of paper and saw that there was a stamp and so on German paper and put it in my.


And back when he came back, we had a drink and we chatted. I hope she didn't realize I was nervous because I was, you know, went home and gave my papers to Bob, who that was rather odd. And I tried not to go in the neighborhood any more of that for for months and months and months.


Your luck seems to be unending, but it did eventually run out.


Yes, the luck ran out. Not for me so much to stay out of it, but for Bob, he was arrested in the train. They'd be looking out for him already for a while. And he was arrested in the train and he came to Israel between two green Ippolito. Two German police, I tried to run upstairs, this was on the first floor and I tried to run upstairs and but they got me back and we were interrogated all three.


And then we were separately taken back to the prison. They went through Bopp's cubitt. And behind his clothes, they found a pistol. It was then that I got scared because he had always said not to use a pistol, not to have fun, and then he had one, I was really furious in the way and very scared. Anyhow, the boys said that I was just a girlfriend and he goes to Gruene, which I believed it, and I said so as well.


Of course, a girlfriend don't do anything about it. And but I was taken to the prison, to the women's prison in Utrecht. And it was an old prison guard, old woman. And she said to me, Have you got a diary? I said, yes. She said, tear it up and put it in the toilet. I said, there is nothing in it. Oh, they always found something. She said she was on know against them as a prison guard because it was her job.


Jopek. She and her brother helped a prisoner to escape, and they got caught as well. She was sent to Iraq to. But the next day I was taken by those two green police say to Amsterdam, to the attempts of a tapestry that was the headquarters of the Gestapo where people were taken and tortured. So we arrived at the tapestry out in the open the car door, and I was out and there was a man standing on the top of the huge staircase to go into the school.


Men standing on the top of the hour said that he us what he said in my policemen said, oh, the girl has nothing to do with it. And so I thought, OK, fine, that's good. But then he said, Largos, Globish, I don't believe it in my heart sank in my shoes and he was the head of the Gestapo. I later on at.


But then after a while, they came back and gave me my backpack, so and you didn't say anything, so it was all right. So I was lucky. Then they took me to the big prison in Amsterdam, observance of. You know, I was put in a cell with five others, cell phone, and so how did you get out of that prison cell?


Well, I was taken every day for interrogation. And. They, of course, said they asked my parents and I said I prepared that, of course, I said they were killed in a train crash in England. And to my brothers in England to didn't tell them in the Army or the Navy, and they believed it. And then one day when I had an interview again, he said, you better tell us really the truth because Hitler does not the fear does not kill women.


We knew with better, of course, but that's what he said. Never forget it. But he said yes. So I said, I've been telling you the truth. And then I was I was called for Chrysta, I got Chrysta, which is imprisonment for the duration of the war. And ever since then, we were one morning I was called out of the cell and there was a long queue of women and men. And we went Bactrim to the station and then to the Dutch concentration camp in the south of Holland near the Belgian border called Shoot.


And I was imprisoned dare not in the camp, and I met several people from the resistance, of course, who were there already. We were put in a Bustelo. And the gift and the clothes were all taken, everything was taken, we were given blue overalls, complete overalls, which only you could open a bit to go to the loo and you were given clocks to wear. And a blue headscarf, which we had to buy into underneath something that we didn't get was the Dutch concentration camp for non Jews, because by that time they hadn't found out I was Jewish.


Of course. The next day I was put to work, I was given a brush and a bucket with soap and water, and I was told to clean the nursery floor. It was a nursery school and you never believe it? I didn't believe it either. There was on the wall do it to men. Prisoners were painting nursery rhymes on the wall.


Where were you sent off to that? And then the next day I was sent to settle composts to a gas mask factory that was put on a conveyor belt to do small things on the gas mask. And the girl opposite me said, don't screw it too bit too fast for Aleuts because we don't want it to be right. And they were doing Sabata and I was doing it then as well. And at the end of the belt and. It was all going in a big wooden case to be sent to Germany.


But. These are only allowed to go to the loo. At 12 o'clock, the work was from six to six, 12 hours, one week did shift one week night shift. And when we sent to Germany one day, we heard the train is going off. And so and we were told that the flights were near the border of Belgium and Holland, and we thought, oh, fine, we're going to be freed, we're going to be freed.


But no, the Germans one day sent us back to the first camp being camp. And on the 4th of September 1944 and on the 6th of September, we were put in the trains to Germany. But I tried to hide under a mattress.


But not quick enough. My legs were still sticking out when the officer in the guard came, the woman got game, she pulled me back in and pushed me in the last dragon. And that was my luck again, because there were only a few women in the world, the others were 70 or 80 and working in a train, it took us three days and two nights to go to Germany to Ravensbruck, turned out to be when we arrived in Ravensbrück.


And that was terrible, terrible, terrible to this. Sliding doors were open. They were all cattle wagons. Of course, we were put in and the sliding doors were opened. And outside were SS men with dogs and SS women with whips. And so out, out. They said, oh, quick, quick, quick. So we had to and we walked to the camp undershooting, shouting all the time. We weren't used to that at all.


In the Dutch concentration camp, you know, there were hardly any Germans. So when we came into the camp, we went through the gate and we went into a big tent. We slept. We were going to sleep. Most of them I had got slept, actually, we were quite lucky because we were only eight or 12 in that wagon. So we had room to sleep. But the others weren't. Etinde and. So we slept in a tent until the next day and then we were sent to the border house to bus barrack.


We were all. Queuing up, which you had to queue all the time in Germany, in the camp, five in a row, and then the first ones came out, they told us out from the shower showers, but then they came out, they told us that they had to give everything. Everything was taken away. There was a group of us who were Philipps workers in line to open at work for Philipps, and they were sent straight to the factory, which was the the concentration camp was in the valley and the Siemens factory was up the hill.


And they were working there straightaway until one of them said to me, Why don't you join us? I said, I've never worked for Philips. I don't know how to do it. Oh, well, it doesn't matter. They'll tell you how to do it. I said, but you ask for my number on because we given no sweat and, you know, on a piece of cloth, I was scared. But the next morning at half past five, I joined him in that she was quite right.


All they did was counting the rows, not the people at all. And so I went into the factory and they put me down. They were not effective. They were big barracks and hot, really hot. And I was sat on the stool and I had to soldier a very fine wire. Like, you have four aeroplanes, you know, things auriga. And I couldn't I was so nervous and I was still in the main camp and I was on the toilet by the time I had a terrible tummy.


Trouble is it? My intestines have suffered tremendously and I couldn't get up from the loo when the roll call was on a pill. And so a German soldier came in with his belt. He started hitting me and two of the others got me up so that they could count because otherwise they were out and they took me to the river, to the hospital, because I had collapsed completely unconscious and I was there for a few days. And then somebody came and said to me, Are you my father?


I said, yes. So she said, well, seamounts is building, has built a new heart, a new barrack, and has Seyfert. The chef wants you to be his secretary. So then I quickly got myself debulked from the hospital and got back to I became his secretary and we were in that condition till the end of the war.


Yeah, every day the cart with all the dead bodies. Passed by from the hospital to to the crematorium, you know, and you saw that in all these legs and arms hanging over it and so terrible. And you heard, of course, well, things you didn't see it, but you weren't there, but you heard stories from people who had been in the bunker. And had been beaten to death, they tighten up and they had to count counter to get 25 beatings and they had to count and they lost count because they were unconscious and had to start all over again.


Until they were dead. Like, I've never been threatened at one. No, thank God, not when the war finished. How much of your family had survived the war?


Only I well, my two brothers, of course, they were in England, but none of them were sailing. Your father. But my father, mother and sister were killed. I was already nine and six months after the war before I heard about my father, I still had to hope that he may be Russia from the you know, the Russians liberated the camps in east, you know. So I had a slight hope that he would serve for you at the end of the war, bring happiness.


No, no, no, no. I had a very bad time after the war, even here in England. But first of all, in Holland, when we were taken to Sweden, which we were deduction Belgian women on the twenty third of April 1945 before Ravensbruck was liberated, and we would exchange by Count Bernadotte while I was in Sweden when the Dutch. The liberated and Holland was liberated, the consul and the. Ambassador came to the camp, we were interned in a small camp jail and I was asked to come to Stockholm.


And then to help, would we be willing to help other people came out of the camps? Because there are thousands of concentration camps, nobody knew there were so many, but there were and masses of people came and we helped. My job was first of all, my job was to find out sick people, people who were in hospital or with families were not well and then see what they needed to make the list. And then get that signed, you know, so you heard all the stories, yeah, and then when that was over and people became a bit better, I was told then when the plane started going back to Holland, that was only in July end of June.


We arrived there in April because up till then there were no planes. And I was asked to make the list of people who want to go back and when I arrived in Holland at the Central Sachal. Everybody or almost everybody was collected by family, and there was I standing alone and I was taken by cart and horse to my friend, I had been writing to Great Britain Coast one who was my friend all during the war day, very, very, very friendly, very kindly took me in.


But I felt so bad because suddenly I was alone, even with these nice people. I had no family at home and I was in Amsterdam suddenly and also without without my friends.


And I was seventy five years ago. Yeah. You've lived seven and a half decades since then. Have you been able to rediscover joy and happiness and love it? How have you moved beyond the trauma you saw yourself?


Well, it was the first five years here in England as well. Very lonely. My brothers were there, but it turned out I was looking forward for a family life. My mistake, perhaps, but I was. But I didn't. They had built their own lives. And I was a little sister they thought they should look after, but of course I wasn't, I was grown up very much so. And so is my my younger brother, David.


This is his fiancee. And later, his wife couldn't get on at all. And my older brother went to Canada. I guess I'll miss my nephews and nieces, his daughters, but that's not life, so first five years very difficult, especially although they gave me a very good job, the minister of defense, you know, but again, they were very good to me and I didn't have much to do while I was going to work and use my brains all the time.


And suddenly I had nothing. Now, left in the room alone, you know. I became friendly with people and friends, right then I kept on telling myself, don't cry all the time. There are people you're very lucky to be in London. There are people who would like to stand in your shoes. And I then got a job with the BBC, that section, and I started studying. First of all, my English and then I started studying sociology and entrepreneurship and I met my husband and that was the beginning of healing.


That was the beginning of the year. But I must say that I still have days that, you know, I feel depressed, but I tell myself it's no good thinking of it. You can't change it. I mustn't read anything about it in the evenings because otherwise I can't sleep, and if by accident something goes on television about cancer or something, I mustn't do that because I can't sleep. Hi, it's me, Don, so just a quick request, it's so annoying and I hate it when a podcast do this, but now I'm doing it.


I hate myself. Please, please go into iTunes, where you get your podcasts and give us a five star rating interview. It really helps basically boost up the job, which is good, and then more people listen, which is nice. So if you could do that, I'd be very grateful. I understand if you don't subscribe to my TV channel understanding about Obama calendar, but this is free. Come on, do me a favor. Thanks.


Sean had no idea what would be in the envelope when his postman dropped it off. Now that he's opened it, he's none the wiser. Not that it matters. A picture from his knees always gives him a smile. And when he walks out, it's actually a portrait of her favorite uncle, surrounded by love hearts. He'll be smiling for the rest of the day.


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