Aid to Dutch Jews

According to Yad Vashem, Karst Smit was responsible for bringing approximately 150 Jews from Amsterdam to the Dutch-Belgian border or Brussels.  Only a few of the people are known.  I would like to correspond with members of the families of any of these people.  They are as follows:

  • Citroen, C. – Later, under the pseudonym of John M.S. Lenck, he and Vigeveno wrote the book, Vlucht Over Vier Grenzen (Flight Across Four Borders), (1946?) about their experiences.
  • Cohen, J. from Amsterdam.
  • De Jong, David and his wife Ré De Jong-Koster of Amsterdam.  Ré Koster was a well-known concert singer in the 1930s, having made her debut in 1927.  She taught singing in Rome, Paris, and the US.  She later wrote the book, The Commonsense of Singing (1990).
  • De Leeuw, Mr. and Mrs. and three children from Deventer.
  • Hoek, Dries – from Enschede
  • Goudsmit, Alfred
  • Keesing, Mr. and Mrs. and their three children.   Mrs. Keesing and  her children were guided across the border on Christmas Eve, 1942 but were later arrested in Brussels.
  • Krol, Mme. , Nassaukade 36, Rijswijk
  • Mann, Gertrude.  Karst Smit guided her across the border in late May 1943 and later brought her money and clothing supplied by one of her friends.  Karst met Gertrude Mann through one of her friends, Marguerite Speyer (see below).
  • Menko – A family from Enschede.
  • Nieuwkerk, Hugo Benjamin – Frans van Mierisstraat 10, Amsterdam
  • Nieuwkerk, Renee Carla
  • Nijkerk, M.F.
  • Retel, Jacobus
  • Speyer, Marguerite.  She was a friend of Gertrude Mann.  Karst Smit guided Speyer across the border in September 1943.
  • Staal.  Eugene van der Heijden listed a “Mr. Staal and his wife, a dentist from Dordrecht” as among the Jews they helped.  It appears likely that they were Betsy Staal-Fresco, a dentist from Dordrecht and her husband, David Leonard Staal, a lawyer.
  • Van Emden, first name unknown
  • Vigeveno, M. – See Citroen.
  • “An elderly tobacco dealer who had a tobacco shop with his younger wife and daughter in the Vijzelstraat near the Carlton Hotel in Amsterdam.”

Information on Cohen and Goudsmit appears in the book Over de Grens by F. Gerritsen and G.A. Gerritsen.  The other names appear in a report written by Karst Smit in 1945 and correspondence by Karst Smit and Eugene van der Heijden with Yad Vashem.  The reference to the tobacco dealer appeared in an article by Eugene van der Heijden, “Was Chance Their Compass, or Was it Love After All?” (“Was Toeval Hun Kompas, of Toch de Liefde?”) in the Escape Nieuwsbulletin, No. 87, December 1995.

For the text of the address by Sjef van der Heijden to Yad Vashem on his family’s  help to people in need, click here.

One response to “Aid to Dutch Jews

  1. Beginning july 1942, 8 or 9 july, my father, mother, little sister of 9 and I crossed the border to Belgium near Baerle-Hertog. Farmers accompaned us, they were tilling the ground with a rake and at the same time watching around if there were any German patrols. We arived safely in Belgium at about 8 pm. in a little village called “Weelde”. A car was waiting there to take us to Antwerp. Unfortunately, there was not enough room for all of us and one had to sleep in the farm. They asked my sister to stay but she wanted to stay with her parents, so I slept that night between the farmer and his wife. I was 16.

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