Haim Roet (1932-) was born Hendrik (Henk) on July 10, 1932 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Shlomo Pinchas Roet (b. 1892, Amsterdam) and Johanna (Yohanna) Roet (née Prims, b. 1898, Alkmaar). He had three brothers, Josef (Yosef, b. 1926), Abraham (Avraham, b. 1928), and Aaron (Aron, b. 1930) and two sisters, Rozinna (Rosientje, b. 1922) and Adela (Adele, b. 1924). His parents came from modern middle class orthodox Jewish families, and they lived in Amsterdam in Minervalaan. Following the German occupation of the Netherlands, Haim had to wear a yellow star badge and was barred from playgrounds, parks, public transportation, and public school. In 1941 Haim’s grandfather was widowed and the family moved in with him in the center of Amsterdam. In 1942, SS and Dutch Police confined Haim’s family in the Jewish Theatre with more than a thousand Jews waiting for transfer to Westerbork and then deportation to concentration camps. The Roet family was released after a week and moved to a newly established ghetto. Haim shared an apartment with his parents and brothers, and his sisters lived in a second apartment with their grandfather Abraham. In September 1943, the SS arrested Abraham, Rozinna, and Adela. When the SS came for the rest of the family the following day, Johanna resisted arrest by yelling at them in German until they left.
Johanna and Shlomo contacted the Resistance who found hiding places for the family. Haim’s parents were hidden in a small attic with Avraham. Haim was assigned the name Hendrik Drees and hidden in several places in Nieuwlande with the help of Johannes Post, Arnold Douwes, and Max Leons before being moved to the home of Anton and Adelaide (Alida) Deesker. The Deeskers owned a small bakery and had three children, including a son who coincidentally was also named Hendrik. Haim posed as their nephew. The Deeskers also hid another Jewish man and his mother, Robert and Aaltje Norden. Haim attended the local school until the principal, who suspected he was Jewish, told him not to return. Haim’s brother Josef was hidden by the Jo and Bep Scholten and then Reinier and Margaret Veerman.
Following liberation in May 1945, Shlomo and Johanna were reunited with their three sons, thanks in part to Red Cross notices tacked to trees. Haim learned that his grandfather and uncle Isaac were killed in the gas chambers at Auschwitz in 1944, his sister Rozinna died of typhus in Auschwitz, and his sister Adela survived Auschwitz but succumbed to poor health shortly after liberation. His aunt Hendrika, his adopted brother, Yossi, and most of his other uncles, aunts, and their families perished in the Holocaust. Haim and his parents settled in Israel in 1949, and Haim changed his name from Hendrik. He married his wife Naomi and had three children and many grandchildren. In an effort to make the Holocaust more personal, Haim initiated the “Unto every Person There Is A Name” memorial project where the names of Nazi victims are read in public around the world. Yad Vashem recognized the Veermans as Righteous Among the Nations in 1981 and the Deeskers in 1983.