- Semmy Woortman walks along a street in Amsterdam with her stepdaughter Hetty (left, Joop's daughter) and her Jewish foster child, Rachel (right).
- 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]