Sallie Lindeman lived with his wife in the town of Wierden, the Netherlands. After the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and the start of the deportations of Jews to the Westerbork camp, Sallie was arrested and sent to the camp. Thanks to the intervention of a member of the underground from his hometown, Sallie managed to escape the camp and find a safe haven in the home of the van der Sluis couple. He hid there from 1942–1945.
Willem van der Sluis created a space behind the walls of the attic that could serve as a hiding place if the Germans carried out a search. On occasion, Sallie would come out at night and work in Willem's workshop, fashioning wooden ornaments. On one of the house doors, he painted a Dutch farm scene.
On one occasion, the Germans searched the house for hidden Jews. Gerritdina coolly told them that there were no Jews concealed there. At that moment both Sallie and a member of the underground were hiding, tense and fearful, in the attic. Her confidence and presence of mind convinced the Germans and they left.
Willem van der Sluis was betrayed by an informant and picked up by the German authorities in January 1945. He was executed with other underground members. Before the sentence was carried out, Gerritdina and her baby daughter Wilna were able to see him once last time.
Following Willem's arrest, Sallie left the hiding place. After the war he was reunited with his wife. The Lindemans kept in touch with Gerritdina and her daughter.
In 2013, Wilna de Groot-van der Sluis contacted Yad Vashem to recognize her parents as Righteous Among the Nations. She donated the decorated ornaments that Sallie Lindeman had made while in hiding including the decorated door, which she requested from the family who had moved into her childhood home.
October 23, 2017, Yad Vashem recognized Willem and Gerritdina van der Sluis as Righteous Among the Nations.
Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection
Courtesy of Wilna de Groot, the Netherlands