Parting Once Again
Hermanna van Corbach
An example of the heartrending decision to give one's child away can be found in the letter written by Marie Ijzerman in Amsterdam on 13 March 1943. She gave the letter to the members of the underground who took her baby son, Andy.
Andy’s parents turned to NV (Naamlose Vennootschap), an underground Dutch resistance group, also known as the "Anonymous Group," which saved more than 200 Jewish children. NV transferred the children to Christian families, kept an eye on how they were doing, and supported the rescuers with falsified documents and ration cards. The members of the group found a place for little Andy Ijzerman to be hidden, and in retrospect, it was that heartbreaking decision that saved the baby’s life. The parents’ fate was less fortunate: after being denounced, they were arrested in February 1944 and sent to Auschwitz, where they were murdered. The hope the mother expressed in her letter that her child would find a warm home was not realized immediately – Andy was not well treated in the first home in which he was placed. However, after the underground discovered that he was being neglected, they moved him to a better home, that of a 43-year-old widow in the Overijssel district named Hermanna van Corbach-De Vries, who hid him until the end of the war. After the war, Andy was adopted by relatives. He was deeply scarred by the terrible events of his childhood, and died at the age of 36. He asked to be buried with his mother's letter, and thus the only copy that remains is a poor quality Xerox.
Letter from Marie Ijzerman, 13 March 1943:
My beloved child: I am forced to write you a few words before I leave you, hopefully not forever. But, it so seems, there is little hope that I will ever see you again. My dearest Andy, I must bid you farewell now, when you are only nine months and three weeks old. God knows what a terrible price this is for us, but it is better this way than to take you with us to the unknown. I hope that you will grow into a brave young man and that you will love the people raising you as if they were your parents. And now, my dearest child, only God knows if we are doing the right thing or not. I always wanted you to be with me, but the situation is that it would be too dangerous for you, and I don’t want you to fall into the hands of our executioners. And now, my child, I must bid you farewell. A thousand kisses from your mother and father. May God bless you, amen.
Marie Ijzerman Trompetter
On June 14, 2009, Yad Vashem recognized Hermanna van Corbach as Righteous Among the Nations.