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A Dutch Jewish woman holds her newborn baby on her lap outside her home in Eindhoven.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 21274

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    A Dutch Jewish woman holds her newborn baby on her lap outside her home in Eindhoven.
    A Dutch Jewish woman holds her newborn baby on her lap outside her home in Eindhoven.

Pictured are Mrs. van Engel and her son, Max.  The other woman is unidentified.

    Overview

    Caption
    A Dutch Jewish woman holds her newborn baby on her lap outside her home in Eindhoven.

    Pictured are Mrs. van Engel and her son, Max. The other woman is unidentified.
    Date
    1937
    Locale
    Eindhoven, [North Brabant] The Netherlands
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Miep Kaempfer

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Miep Kaempfer

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Miep Kaempfer (lborn Miep van Engel) was born in March 23, 1939 in Eindhoven, slightly more than a year before the German invasion of The Netherlands. Her older brother Max was born on October 15, 1936. Miep's mother passed away from Hodgkin's disease in 1941 shortly before Miep's second birthday. After her death, another Jewish couple, Ro and Ron Bierman came to live with the van Engels. Miep's father, Bernard van Engel, worked for the Phillips Company. Following the invasion, the factory created a special division called SOBU for Jewish workers. At first, these workers were exempt from deportation and told they would be able to leave for Spain. However, after the Germans changed their minds, sometime in 1943, Bernard decided he and his two children needed to go into hiding. A member of the underground in Eindhoven contacted her sister, Miss Dikland, a Protestant school teacher in a small town who in turn asked friends to hide the little girl. A woman brought Miep by bicycle to the home of Dirk and Sjoukje (van Houten) Hellinga, in Nieuw Beets, Friesland. Dirk directed the village post office and also ran general store. Dirk and Sjoukje Hellinga were religious Dutch Reformed Protestants and active in the underground. The Hellingas had no children of their own but cared for an undernourished girl from Amsterdam named Janny Sluimer. They told Miep to pretend she also was from a big city and that her mother also was too ill to care for her. The Hellingas even manufactured fake letters from home to support this alibi. They gave Miep a false identity card in her own name but without the identifying "Jew". The Hellingas also had an illegal radio and collected ration cards and extra stamps for those hiding from labor camps. One day the Germans conducted a round-up while Dirk was away and arrested Sjoukje for having an illegal radio in their home. At the time, she also had sensitive papers from the underground hidden in her bosom. Luckily, she managed to burn them while in jail, and they were never discovered. Sjoukje was kept in jail for two months during which time Miss Dikland cared for Miep. After her release the Hellingas obtained a new radio and resumed their underground activity. In April 1945 Miep was supposed to start school for the first time. However, the school director was afraid to admit her since he heard she was Jewish. Dirk feared that villagers would be suspicious if Miep, then six years old, remained at home. The church minister, who also belonged to the underground, helped convince the school to admit Miep. Soon afterwards the war ended, and Bernard who had survived in hiding began to look for his children. He found Miep totally by coincidence that June, but everyone agreed that she should remain with the Hellingas for an additional half year. In 1990 Yad Vashem recognized Dirk and Sjoukje Hellinga as Righteous Among the Nations.
    Record last modified:
    2020-06-17 00:00:00
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