Yad Vashem honors Dutch couple for sheltering Jews they had never met
JERUSALEM (WJC)–Israel’s Holocaust Memorial institution Yad Vashem has named the late André Reeders and Aaltje Reeders-Wittermans as Righteous Gentiles Among the Nations for sheltering the Jewish couple Sally and Claire Gimnicher-Hirsch in their home near Amsterdam in 1942, at the request of the Dutch resistance movement.
Unlike most cases, the two couples had had no prior knowledge of each other. Yad Vashem’s inquiry into the case showed that their cohabitation through strife, occupation and want led to an unusual friendship which lasted long after the war. “My parents had about two hours to decide whether to take in this couple,” said Abert Reeders. He will accept the award for his parents, who died more than twenty years ago.
The Reeders had five children. If caught harboring the Gimnichers, the entire family might have faced execution by German soldiers. The parents told their children never to let anyone from outside the family into the attic, where the Gimnichers were living.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress