119 Lives Unlived 08 July 2015 3 117
She knew Flip. She was thirteen years old in 1942 and recalls how during some nights Flip and his closest friend in the camp, Simon Loonstijn (who was last seen at Monowitz concentration camp or Auschwitz 3 – his mother never gave up hope of finding him until she died in 2000) would come to her parents' house for food. The Vrijlinks are a Christian family who owned the farm next to Molengoot and at risk to themselves, would feed the boys. Flip writes about them in his letters - especially about the oldest sister Gees.
Hermina remembers Flip always smiling and being full of fun. She shows me letters that her family kept written by Flip and Simon thanking the Vrijlinks for their kindness and assistance.
Hermina was always kept upstairs in her bedroom when Flip and Simon came past – presumably because her parents were afraid she’d say something in school and get the family into trouble. When I ask why her family helped Flip and Simon she replies, “This is normal” – much like what Jan Slomp tells me. As much as the Holocaust brought out the worst in people, it also brought out the best - amazing acts of human kindness in the most unimaginable circumstances.
Watch Paula's film 119 Lives Unlived