A Holocaust Survivor Shares Her Story

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

When Dina Oppenheimer was 21 years old, her life in Amsterdam changed instantly and would never again be the same. On May 9, 1940, the German Army invaded Holland and the terror began.

Her eyes have seen evil, death, and unspeakable horrors when the Nazi Army invaded Holland; measures to suppress the Jewish people began instantly. First there was the registration.

"Anyone who had 2, 3, 4 Jewish grandparents, they got a "J" in the middle of their paper, and you had to carry the papers with you all the time," says Oppenheimer.

Soon Jews were restricted from riding bikes, using the train and streetcars, and going to school.

"We were not allowed to go out of our home after 8 o'clock at night, and we were not allowed to look out of our window, because the Germans had a plan. They never said anything, everything was kept totally secret," says Oppenheimer.

On August 18, 1942 the Gestapo, the Nazi detectives, arrived at Dina's family's doorstep and ordered her father to come with them for a talk.

"I said, ‘I'll see you in a little while.’ In those days, even if it was a warm day, the men wore a hat and nice suits. And there I saw my father leave. I've never seen him again," says Oppenheimer.

Two weeks later, a journalist arrived at Dina's home. He said he knew of a hiding place. With unwavering strength and courage, she followed his instructions. A day and a half later, she arrived at a farm home in southern Holland.

"For the next two years I stayed there. This was the place I stayed in hiding and these people saved my life. We had a hiding place in the hiding place, otherwise we wouldn't have survived. The Germans were in the house, they never found us," says Oppenheimer.

A baron and baroness, Dutch nobility, hid Dina, her mother and brother in their home.

"Terrific people, they did it because as good Christians, they were told by the queen to help your Jewish brothers and sisters," says Oppenheimer.

For 47 years Dina has been telling her story. She talks, she says, for the six million Jews whose voices were murdered, Dina has just completed a book, a promise that her story will live on and never be forgotten.

Ninety of Dina's family members were murdered in the Holocaust, and of the 140,000 Jews that lived in Holland pre-WWII, 110,000 perished. We'll let you know when Dina's book becomes available to the public.


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