By Antonella Pedley
It was May 1942 in German-occupied Netherlands during World War II. In the city of Rotterdam, the Nazis hunted down and deported Jews to concentration camps. A young Jewish couple, Rebecca and Maurice, entered the Breeplein Church, desperately looking for help. The warden and his wife greeted them warmly. They had never met the Jewish couple before, but they took them in. Soon, the warden found a more permanent hiding place in the church: the loft above the organ, accessible by a secret entrance.
After six weeks, Maurice’s parents joined the austere refuge with no daylight, heating, or plumbing. A year later, another young Jewish couple arrived. The population in the loft expanded once more in January 1944 when Rebecca gave birth to a baby boy. Incredibly, the small band survived 34 months above the church organ until the liberation from the Nazis.
The contrast between the heroes who protected the Jews
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C. Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (London, 1871, reprint. Princeton, 1981), pp. 35, 97.
R. Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2004), p. 105.
E. Haeckel, The Wonders of Life (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1904), pp. 451, 452.
Darwin, p. 201.
© Gabriel von Max (1894)
Antonella Pedley lives in Sweden and holds an MA in Ancient Religions from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.