Bearing Witness: Stories Behind the Artifacts in the Yad Vashem Museum Collection

Bookend made by Max de Jonge in hiding in the Netherlands

A bookend decorated with the colors of the Dutch flag and orange lions – symbols of the Dutch monarchyA bookend decorated with the colors of the Dutch flag and orange lions – symbols of the Dutch monarchy   More photos

Jakob de Jonge, his wife Jeanette, and their children Ruth, Heinrich and Joachim-Max, lived in Weener, Germany close to the border with Holland. Early during the Nazi regime, Jakob was imprisoned on false charges pressed against him by a Nazi sympathizer with whom he had previously had a business dispute. When he was released, but not allowed to remain in the vicinity, he and his family relocated and after Kristallnacht, they crossed the border into Leeuwarden in northern Holland.

In August 1942, the de Jonges received deportation orders and went underground. Ruth, the older daughter, joined the Dutch underground as a scout. Jakob, Jeanette, Heinrich and Joachim-Max were hidden in Ijlst in the home of the widow Nooitgedagt, whose late husband had been the director of a carpentry business. She had a workbench and tools taken up to the attic and the de Jonges, who were blessed with good technical abilities, made wooden toys, model planes and household items which were distributed among the hidden children in the area.

The de Jonge family survived the war and donated the workbench and wooden items that remained from the war to Yad Vashem.

Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection,
Gift of Rosina de Jonge-Nathans, den Haag, the Netherlands & Jakob de Jonge, Solihull, UK