Monday, October 27, 2014

WW2 | 10. Other Family in the Resistance (Updated Feb. 16, 2015)

9.  Financing the Resistance - Wally, Tilly, Gi, Frits and Maurits van Hall.


Other Close Relatives

Harry Boissevain's Sisters

My parents in 1972 contacted Harry Boissevain (NP 60, 63), who sent a letter back in January 1973 with the following interesting lead:
During the Nazi Occupation I lived in Arnhem and Enschede. Two of my sisters were the secretaries of General van Mook who headed up the Dutch underground in Amsterdam but they have steadily refused to write about their hair-raising experience.
Harry had nine siblings, six of them sisters, of whom four lived till the war. So two of the following four sisters might have been General Hubertus van Mook's secretaries: Ellegonda Duranda Boissevain Veltman (1914-1943), Marie Renée Boissevain (1922-1988), Louisa Maria Antonia Boissevain (1924-), and Dr. Mia Boissevain (1926-). See NP 60-61. There is information in Erik Schaap's biography of Wally van Hall (2nd edition, 2014) about Marie Renée (Iet) Boissevain, but the name of the second secretary is a mystery.

General van Mook was Minister for the Colonies in Indonesia. He returned to organize a Dutch government in preparation for the end of the war. One of his tasks was to prepare plan for greater Indonesian independence.

Most of the Dutch public, as expressed through the underground papers, favored making concessions to Indonesian independence. Only Trouw (Bride) tried to hang on to the prewar status ante quo.

Thea Boissevain

Louis's sister Theodora Margaretha Boissevain (Thea, 1917-, NP 128) spent time in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. [Need more information.]

Evert Hissink

Petronella (Nella) Boissevain Hissink (1881-1956, NP 69) wrote to her sister Olga, my grandmother, about her son Evert, who refused to sign the oath of loyalty to Hitler:
Ever since we heard that you lost your dear Willem, my thoughts and prayers have often been with you. You see, Evert [her eldest son] also will never come back. He was such a noble, independent, loving man; he was a rock, always to be trusted. He was three weeks away from getting his degree from Amsterdam University. Then the Germans wanted him to sign an affidavit of loyalty. Evert refused. He was taken to a work camp in Germany. Half a year later, he was killed by a bomb in Berlin.
More Distant Relatives of the Boissevains


The van Marles

Hilda de Booy's daughter Olga de Booy, named after my grandmother, Hilda de Booy's sister, married a van Marle. The Yad Vashem recognizes Mijndert van Marle (November 12, 1888-?) and Johanna Bosbeen van Marle (1894-?) who were married in 1915, as Righteous Gentiles who have been shown to have hidden a Jewish target of the Nazis.

The Marlins became a good friend of one of the van Marle branches, but it does not seem to be closely related to the two van Marles recognized by Yad Vashem. Olga van Marle was my mother's contemporary.

Our Granny Olga Boissevain van Stockum had made a pact with her sister Hilda Boissevain de Booy that they would name their daughters after each other. So the next generation had a Hilda van Stockum, our Mother, and an Olga de Booy, who married a van Marle. The third generation did the same thing so we had Olga Marlin and a Hilda van Marle. Hilda van Marle named a daughter Olga, but Olga Marlin did not have biological children (though she had many babies in Kenya named after her by their mothers who had been pupils of Olga) and Brigid Marlin only had boys...

My sister Brigid Marlin became friends after the war with the younger sister of Hilda van Marle, Henriette. (There also was a boy just under the age when he would have had to go to a labor camp in Germany.) Brigid said in an email to me in 2014: 
Although Henriette was 16 and I was only 11, we became great friends, because we both loved to create things and invent stories and plays. Looking back, I think that Henriette needed to reclaim her childhood, which was taken away by the terrible war. So we had a marvelous time together, because I stayed with Henriette who lived in a house like a castle and seemed to me like a fairy princess! We kept up the friendship for years, and Henriette came to stay when we both had children. Sadly, she has died. 
Henri and Marguerite van Eeghen

Henri and Marguerite van Eeghen appear in the Yad Vashem list of Righteous Gentiles. Maria Boissevain (1869-1959), the eldest daughter of Charles Boissevain (1842-1931) and therefore my mother's aunt, married Cornelis van Eeghen (1861-1940). However, there is no Henri among their descendants. The Henri van Eeghen must therefore be a distant relative.

Baron Otto Maximiliaan and Ursula Cunera van Boetzelaar and their Housekeeper Nicolasina Kerkhof van Vugt

Baron Otto van Boetzelaar and Lex van B?
Dina Frank (later Oppenheimer) graduated from Amsterdam’s Jewish secondary school just before the German invasion of Holland. Her physician father, Dr. Benjamin Frank, was arrested by the Gestapo in August 1942 and was deported to Auschwitz, where he died.

On September 7, 1942, Dina was given the address of Baron Otto van Boetzelaer and his wife Ursula, who lived at Zwanenburg, an old country home near Dinther, North Brabant.

Dina’s mother, Julie Frank Vecht (later Gomperts), and her brother Rudolf, initially remained in Amsterdam, but on May 28, 1943, they joined Dina at the estate. The Jewish writer Leonard de Vries, a friend of Dina’s from Amsterdam, also hid there. 

Ursula Cunera van
Boetzelaar
Otto, respected in the community, lived reclusively, thus reducing the likelihood of discovery. Only a few very close neighbors knew of the presence of Jews in the house and none betrayed them. Otto and Ursula prepared a hiding place under the stairs, where the Jewish guests hid during a German search. The van Boetzelaers’ young housekeeper, Nicolasina ("Toos") Kerkhof van Vugt was helpful to those in hiding. 

Otto thought of Dina as his own daughter. Julie Frank paid a small sum towards her and her children’s upkeep, but Otto and Ursula’s motives for rescuing them were humanitarian and religious. 

The van Boetzelaers had two sons. One was active in the Resistance and  was caught and executed by the Germans. The other lived in Utrecht. Allied paratroopers liberated the Franks and Leonard de Vries in September 1944.  (More detail from db.yadvashem.org/righteous.)

Sources and Resources:

Amsterdam Stadsarchief, visited February 17, 2015.

Boissevain, Charles, emails especially January-February 2015.

NIOD, visited February 18, 2015.

Schaap, Erik. Walraven van Hall: Premier van Het Verzet (Walraven van Hall: Prime Minister of the Resistance),  Inmerc, 2006. 2nd edition, 2014. Dutch language only. The price is a reasonable €24.95 but it cost me an additional €45 plus €4 tax to have it sent to the United States.

Other Chapters

The above post is a draft chapter of the book. For the full outline go here: How Dutch Families Fought the Nazis