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Oral history interview with Johanna Vos

Oral History | Accession Number: 1984.1.1.29 | RG Number: RG-50.157.0029

Johanna Vos, born December 29, 1909 in Amersfoort, Netherlands, discusses her upbringing and the influence her parents had on her life; her family’s religious background in the Christian Reformed Church; moving frequently as a result of her father’s job as a military officer but living in Leiden for most of her school years; dating a Jewish boy at age seventeen despite her parents’ disapproval; leaving home at age 20 to go to Paris, France; studying at the Sorbonne and working in Paris as a freelance journalist and as a delivery person for a Dutch grocer; marrying a German artist against her parents’ wishes and later divorcing; living in Laren, Holland during World War II; marrying her second husband and having children; becoming involved in activities to help Jews, first by helping her Jewish friends and then joining the Dutch underground; wearing the Star of David in solidarity with the Jewish population; falsifying papers and smuggling the belongings of German Jewish refugees into the Netherlands; serving as a messenger; hiding more than 36 people in her home, most of whom were Jews but some of whom were intellectuals or others targeted by the Nazis; her husband picking up weapons airdropped by Allied forces for the resistance; the killing of an author by the Gestapo and the capture of a fellow member of the underground; being confronted by the Gestapo at her home; facing the challenge of hiding small children who did not fully understand their situation; coping with the mental breakdown of a woman hiding in her home; her husband’s pension through the Stichting 1940-1945 and his suffering from “Twenty Year Syndrome;” and her thoughts about her actions during the war.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Johanna Vos
interview:  1984 September 11
3 sound cassettes (90 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Council
Record last modified: 2023-11-16 08:18:48
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