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The Creche, as the nursery was called, was located across the street from the Hollandsche Schouwburg, a former theater the Germans used as a deportation center for sending Jews to Westerbork. The Hollandsche Schouwburg and Creche were closely linked, as the former held Jewish adults, while the latter kept babies and small children. ,
Those running the buildings, however, devised a plan. Walter Suskind, the thirty-five-year-old Jewish manager of the Hollandsche Schouwburg, started by recruiting Felix Halverstad, an associate at the theater who kept the books for both venues. Next Suskind brought in Henriette Henriques Pimentel, the sixty-six-year-old Jewish director of the Creche. ,
The escape would be enacted in two stages. First, Felix would alter the books of the Creche to eliminate names of babies taken out. If the Germans reviewed the records, there must be no trace that these children had ever been at the Creche. Second, Walter would coordinate with Henriette on transporting the infants. The scheme was tricky, though, as the German guards across the street at the Hollandsche Schouwburg monitored the Creche. ,
Still, the rescue was complicated. Walter, Felix, and Henriette—coordinating with Betty Goudsmit-Oudkerk, a seventeen-year-old nurse—planned to smuggle the children out in backpacks, boxes, shopping bags, or laundry baskets. From there they would need to be escorted to a close hideout where they could be housed for a few hours. Henriette enlisted the aid of Johan van Hulst, headmaster of the Reformed Teacher Training College next door, who agreed to hide the children in his building. He would then work with the underground, the plan went, to transport the children by train or tram to Limburg or Friesland, where they would be relocated to accepting families. ,
Larry Loftis is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and international bestselling author of the nonfiction spy thrillers "THE PRINCESS SPY: The True Story of World War II Spy Aline Griffith, Countess of Romanones"; "CODE NAME: LISE: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy"; and "INTO THE LION'S MOUTH: The True Story of Dusko Popov—World War II Spy, Patriot, and the Real-Life Inspiration for James Bond." His fourth book, "THE WATCHMAKER’S DAUGHTER: The True Story of World War II Heroine Corrie ten Boom," will be released by HarperCollins on March 7, 2023.,
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2023 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.