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David De Groot participated in the first Gandel Holocaust Studies Program seminar this past January.
David, a descendent of a Righteous Among the Nations family, located his grandmother's name at the Righteous Among the Nations Garden at Yad Vashem along with the rest of their family’s who were also recognized.
The following is the story of their rescue of Jews in the Netherlands.
Vries de, Harmen & Trijntje (Beets) & Geertje & Harm & Hendrika
In March 1941, Moshe Davidson, his wife, Sara (Vet), and their two children, Avraham and Dina, aged 16, were ordered to move from Alkmaar to the Jewish section of Amsterdam. A few months later, Sara was arrested and perished in Auschwitz on September 30, 1942. Moshe Davidson immediately contacted the housekeeper of Dina Vet-Elzas, who put him in contact with the de Vries Family Geertje Vries and her sister Grietje arrived shortly after wards to pick up Moshe and the children. They brought them to the home of their parents, Harmen and Trijntje de Vries, in Alkmaar, North Holland. The de Vries family lived in a small apartment in a working class area of the city. Harmen made a modest living selling ice cream.
Since the couple was already hiding two other Jews, Joel Elzas of Alkmaar and Carola Fallmann, a German refugee, the Davidsons could not stay for long. The family was therefore moved to the house of the son and daughter-in-law, Harm and Hendrika de Vries, who also lived in Alkmaar. The Davidsons stayed with them for two years and nine months until the liberation in May 1945. During the war, Harm was active in the local Resistance and also found hiding places for Han Blein and a number of other Jews. He also obtained food coupons for all those in hiding in his and his parents’ homes and for others in the area.
Harm often received word of imminent house searches and was able to warn the fugitives. During the hunger winter of 1944-1945, the rations were insufficient to feed all the members of the de Vries household and the family often went on long treks to obtain food from farmers on the nearby polders. All the members of the de Vries family felt that they had a religious and duty to help people in desperate need whatever the risks. All those who hid in the de Vrieses’ homes survived the war and remained in touch with their rescuers afterwards.
On January 8, 1990, Yad Vashem recognized Harmen de Vries, his wife, Trijntje de Vries-Beets, their daughters, Geertje and Grietje de Vries, and their son, Harm de Vries, and his wife, Hendrika de Vries, as Righteous Among the Nation