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Oral history interview with Harry Jaarsma

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

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

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.

Interviewee
Harry Jaarsma
Date
1984 September 17  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Council
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:41:16
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510783