Judith Bar Kochba (b. 1934) was born Judith (Yehudit) Sophie Kann on July 28, 1934, in Dortrcht, Netherlands, to Jacob Kann (August 22, 1900-1944) and Dora Juliette Kann (June 8, 1906-1944). Jacob Kann, an electrical engineer, married Dora Juliette Spanjaard in 1928. They had four children: Otto Kann (b. November 6, 1929); Elise Kann (b. December 23, 1930); Judith Kann (b. July 28, 1934); and Jacob Izak Hendrik Kann (b. March 7, 1936). Dora Kann contracted tuberculosis soon after giving birth to her son, Jacob, and her condition worsened through the years. The Kann family led a secular Jewish life in the Netherlands and celebrated Dutch Christian holidays with their neighbors. The family had a non-Jewish nanny, Patronella (Nelly) Kwikkers Fortuin. Despite the German orders, Nelly Fortuin continued to work for the Kann family and left after dark to avoid the notice of neighbors. In June 1942, Otto Kann had his Bar Mitzvah. In November 1942, Elise Kann and Judith Kann were taken by a non-Jewish aunt by train to Eindhoven, Netherlands. Elise and Judith Kann remained in hiding with a school friend of their mother’s, Molly (Marie Gertrude) Van Hell and her husband Gerard Louis Van Heel, throughout the war. The girls attended a Dutch public school and for some time were able to keep in touch with their family through their nanny, Nelly Fortuin.
The Kann family’s physician, Dr. Eppo Meursing, arranged for a hiding place for Jacob and Dora Kann, along with their oldest son, Otto Kann. When Dora Kann’s health deteriorated, Dr. Meursing arranged for her hospitalization. When it became dangerous for Dora Kann to stay in the hospital, the doctor arranged for her to be treated by a private nurse, Mrs. Struys, while in hiding. In November 1943, Jacob and Otto Kann went to visit Dora. While they were gone, Germans searched the home where Otto Kann was hiding and the landlady revealed his Jewish identity. Otto and Jacob Kann were arrested, sent to Amsterdam, and were later sent by train to the Westerbork transit camp. On the train, Jacob Kann convinced his son to jump from the train. Before his escape, Jacob gave Otto the address of a new hiding place. Otto escaped and survived the war. Jacob Kann was wounded during the escape attempt and arrived at Westerbork transit camp. In January 1944, he was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp where he perished upon arrival. Dora Kann learned about the arrest and deportation of her husband and son. She died of tuberculosis on June 4, 1944 in Huizen and was initially buried in the garden of the house where she had been hiding. Following liberation her body was reburied in a Jewish cemetery.
Jacob Kann was sent to Badhoevedorp, Netherlands and was hidden with a family named van Andel. While in hiding, Jacob Kann went by the name of Cobus, and referred to the family as Uncle Noor and Auntie Hilde. After liberation, Noor van Andel traveled by bicycle with Jacob, to deliver him to his surviving maternal grandmother.
Juliette Spanjaard-Polak, Dora Kann’s mother, survived the Holocaust in hiding. After the liberation of Holland in May 1945, the Kann children were reunited with and raised by their maternal grandmother. Judith Kann immigrated to Israel in 1960 and married Habib Bar-Kochba. They have five children: Jecheskel, Jacob, Dorit, Gideon, and Yair Jerry Nissim. Judith and Habib Bar-Kochba live in a moshav near Jerusalem, close to their children and grandchildren.