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Geertruida (Truus) Wijsmuller-Meijer, mother of 1001 Jewish children.

25-05-2019

Geertruida (Truus) Wijsmuller-Meijer, born in Alkmaar, April 21, 1896 , was a Dutch war hero and resistance fighter and probably after Raoul Wallenberg,  the greatest savior of Jews in the world.

She has been appointed to Justice among the Peoples by the Yad Vashem Institute in Israel . In all probability, together with her helpers and helpers, she saved 10,000 Jewish children, more than in Lithuania, the Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara , who, like the Dutch consul in Lithuania Jan Zwartendijk , saved about 2300 Jews; Oskar Schindler  also saved a lot less people, namely 1000, and Sir Nicholas Winton  with his Prague children’s trains 900.

Gertruida Meijer went to the Handelsschool in Alkmaar. In 1912 the family moved to Duivendrecht. In 1914 she got her first job at a bank. There she taught her husband, the banker J.F. Wijsmuller (Amsterdam, February 25, 1894) knew that they married in 1923. After her marriage, she stopped working, expecting to become a mother soon. But when this became apparent, she began to do more and more social work. She started rescuing Jewish children in 1938, doing illegal work in the war and became a councilor for the VVD in Amsterdam after the war.

Child transport

She was friends with Ms. Boissevain-van Lennep, the resistance woman, who she knew from the Vereeniging for Women’s Rights and Equal Citizenship (VVGS). From the 1930s, Aunt Truus? (As was soon mentioned) together with, among others, Mies Boissevain  child transports for, among other things, the Committee for Special Jewish Interests, which saved a total of 10,000 Jewish children from Germany and Austria via the Netherlands in England. In Germany she worked in this area together with Recha Freier, the wife of a Berlin rabbi. She did not intimidate, stamped in a hurry, trampled trackmen and German officers with charm to save a child. Among other things, she had to negotiate with the man who would later become the organizer of the Jewish eradication, the SS’er Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann wanted to take a joke with her: no negotiation, she could immediately get 600 Jewish children . That ended and within a few days they brought them to Hoek van Holland, from where five hundred of them traveled directly to Great Britain. The other hundred children were taken in The Hague.

After that, the transports became more structured and a maximum of 150 children were agreed at a time. A couple of times a week, “Aunt Truus” traveled to Germany to pick them up until the occupation ended the rescue work on this scale because the borders went to England.  On the day of capitulation, she managed to get another 75 children away from IJmuiden, on the SS Bodegraven, the same ship to which the famous art dealer Goudstikker and his family traveled to England (and by Jacques Goudstikker

  through an accident).

During the occupation she continued her rescues illegally. Before the Dutch Red Cross, she brought packages to refugee camps in southern France. As the occasion allowed, they took Jewish children and smuggled them to Vichy-France or Spain. In 1942 she stuck to the Gestapo in the Euterpestraat in Amsterdam shortly. The Gestapo suspected her – rightly – of an operation to smuggle dozens of Jews to Switzerland, but had to release her because there was no evidence and “Aunt Truus” did not give any useful information.

As the war progressed, she dedicated to the food supply. She sent thousands of packages to camps like Westerbork   and Theresienstadt and delivered weekly duck eggs to elderly homes in Amsterdam. During hunger winter they continued to care for the malnourished children in the Randstad. She brought many across the IJsselmeer to Groningen, Friesland, Overijssel and Drenthe to strengthen.

After the war, she became a member of the Amsterdam City Council in 1945, and stayed for the VVD until 1966. She was further involved in the creation of handicapped places.

Truus died Amsterdam, August 30, 1978, age  82. A mourning card after her death: “Mother of 1001 children who made the salvation of Jewish children to her lifestyles”.

 

  
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