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Oral history interview with Harry Jaarsma

Oral History | Accession Number: 1984.1.1.8 | RG Number: RG-50.157.0008

Harry Jaarsma, born June 3, 1914 in Balk, Netherlands, describes growing up in the Christian Reform Church and how his religion influenced his decisions during the Nazi occupation; losing his laundry business in Amsterdam when he was called to serve in the Dutch Army; being aware that patients and staff of the Jewish psychiatric hospital in Apeldoorn, Netherlands were taken away by the Nazis, but feeling he could not do anything to intervene; becoming an inspector of the Evacuation Service in 1943 and inspecting homes in the countryside to find places for people who had been evacuated by the Germans; encountering Jews hiding in homes and not registering them; obtaining a quarantine sign from a doctor to hang on the door of a home where Jews were hiding to deter the Germans from entering the house; working with the underground in various ways, including identifying hiding places for Jews and transporting Jews to safety, aiding those wanted for slave labor by the Nazis (including non-Jews), and hiding a Jewish woman in his home; hitting a car of SS officers while transporting two Jewish boys to a hiding place; stealing supplies from a German office, being investigated, and avoiding punishment because the detective was his friend; hiding his underground work from his family; not knowing the names of those he helped; being arrested by the German police but being let go on the recommendation of an officer whose bicycle he had helped fix earlier in the day; leaving the Netherlands in 1949 after failing to get financial help to restart his business; resettling in the United States; not keeping in touch with others with whom he worked in the underground; feeling that his experiences strengthened his religious beliefs; and sharing his story with his children.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Jaarsma, Harry
interview:  1984 September 17
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Council
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:20:55
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