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Portrait of Dutch rescuer Joop Woortman.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 90675

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    Portrait of Dutch rescuer Joop Woortman.
    Portrait of Dutch rescuer Joop Woortman.


    Portrait of Dutch rescuer Joop Woortman.
    1939 - 1944
    Amsterdam, [North Holland] The Netherlands
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust
    Event History
    The NV (Naamlose Vennootschap or the Limited) group, was one of several Dutch underground cells involved in rescue efforts to find shelter for Jewish children living in Amsterdam during the German occupation of Holland. Between 1942 and 1943 approximately 4,000 Jewish children were funneled through an assembly center located in the former Jewish daycare center known as the Creche. The Creche was situated across the street from the Hollandse Schouwburg, the Jewish theater that served as the main holding area for the Jews of Amsterdam prior to their transfer to the Westerbork concentration camp. When Jewish families reported to the theater, children were separated from their parents and sent to the Creche to await deportation. The NV group under the leadership of Jaap Musch and Joop Woortman, focused its efforts on rescuing these children. Since the Creche was not guarded, it was possible for members of the Dutch underground to pick up small groups of children who had been prepared by Jewish staff members inside, and wisk them away by streetcar or other means. The children were then taken to private homes in Amsterdam until they could be transferred to host families elsewhere. Alternatively, the children were taken directly to the railway station and escorted by couriers to their new homes outside the city. They were sent to homes as far north as Friesland and as far south as Limburg. After depositing their charges, the couriers made a point of visiting them periodically to check on their situation. The attitudes exhibited by the host families to the Jewish children ranged from loving to indifferent, and many children had to be moved repeatedly. It is estimated that as many as 1000 Jewish children in the capital were rescued by the combined efforts of all of the underground cells. The NV group is credited with having saved about 250. Sixteen members of the group were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations, including their leaders, Jaap Musch and Joop Woortman, both of whom were arrested in 1944 and died in captivity.

    [Source: Paldiel, Mordecai. The Path of the Righteous, KTAV, Hoboken, NJ, 1993]

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust
    Copyright: Unknown
    Published Source
    Rescuers: Portraits in Moral Courage in the Holocaust - Block, Gay and Malka Drucker - Holmes & Meier - p.72

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Joop (Johannes Theodore) Woortman (1905-1944), a member of the Dutch underground who played a leadership role in the NV group that rescued approximately 250 Jewish children from a deportation assembly center in Amsterdam known as the Creche. These children were spirited out of the former daycare center in small groups and placed with Dutch host families in the countryside. Woortman's rescue work began early in 1942 when he helped to secure false papers for a Jewish musician who worked in the same Amsterdam theater as he. Subsequently, he offered his assistance to Jews he would meet at the train station. Later, when he learned that children were being concentrated for deportation at the Creche, he decided to focus all his efforts on finding them places of refuge. Members of Woortman's family, including his wife Semmy (later Semmy Riekerk), and his mother, also took part in his rescue efforts, securing and delivering false papers and hiding children in their homes. Joop Woortman was arrested in Amsterdam in July 1944 and deported to Bergen-Belsen. Following his arrest, Semmy carried on his mission. Using the register he kept of the 300 children he placed in hiding, she made sure all of his charges received their monthly stipends and ration coupons. A year after the war the Red Cross confirmed Woortman's death in Bergen-Belsen. He was posthumously recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1981.

    [Sources: Block, Gay and Malka Drucker. Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust, Holmes & Meier, New York, 1992; Paldiel, Mordecai. The Path of the Righteous, KTAV, Hoboken, NJ, 1993]
    Record last modified:
    2002-09-20 00:00:00
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