In Cellars, Pits and Attics
Theodorus and Maria Schouten, and their daughter Cornelia Anna
In the winter of 1942/1943, five-year-old Lore Baer was smuggled by two men on a bicycle to the Schouten family in Oosterblokker, northern Holland. Most of the time, Lore slept in a room with the Schouten’s daughter Cornelia, but at times of danger, when house to house searches were being conducted, she was hidden in a secret room concealed behind a closet in the shed. Sometimes there were others in the dark, small space.
Lore stayed with the Schoutens until the end of the war. They were the only ones who knew her true identity. Before leaving her parents, she had been told by her mother never to use her own name, tell anyone that she was Jewish, or reveal who her parents really were. At first Lore used the name Lore Kruck, but later it was decided that it would be safer for her to adopt the Schouten family name. They told neighbors that she was a relative whose house had been destroyed at the beginning of the war. Lore attended the local Catholic school, and took communion at the age of seven. During the course of the war, the Schoutens provided shelter for 39 people for varying periods of time. When Lore’s parents came to pick her up after a separation of two years, Lore refused to go with them at first. Her ultimate farewell proved to be a traumatic experience.
From the testimony of Lora Beer concerning the time she spent in the hideout during the time when searches were conducted:
I was never there for more than a couple of hours at a time, but it probably seemed like an eternity to me… What I remember is that it was very dark, and scary, and you had to keep very quiet, and you heard… sounds from above. You know, like boots. Trampling. Just a lot of loud noises, very gruff voices, which you heard but you weren't sure what they were...
There were other people hiding there, with the Schoutens. But who they were, I don't remember. A lot of them seemed like strangers, you know, people I didn't know. But I know that it seemed like there were a number of people. I wasn't by myself in there. There was always someone else.
On December 22, 1992, Yad Vashem recognized Theodorus Dirk Schouten, his wife, Maria Schouten-Stam, and their daughter, Cornelia Anna Schouten, as Righteous Among the Nations.