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119 Lives Unlived 08 July 2015 1 105

119 Lives Unlived. Jan Slomp

Nieuwlande is the only village in the Netherlands to have been awarded the Righteous Gentile award by Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem. Between 1942 and 1943 every household in the village sheltered at least one Jewish person at the risk of being killed.

I meet and interview Jan Slomp whose father Rev Frits Slomp encouraged the village to hide Jews. Jan shows me where one of the hiding places was – out in an open field, under the ground. When I ask him if families had not been afraid – he answers that fear was not the motive, saying, “If you don’t resist, you lose your self respect”. I insist that it was extremely risky – parents risked having their children shot by the Nazis if they were found out. As Jan answered me, parents risked a lot more if they didn’t do it.

I wonder why Flip didn’t go and hide in the village – instead he chose to return to Amsterdam with false papers and hide near his parents. Perhaps he wanted to be close to them? But chances are that if he hid in Nieuwlande village he would’ve survived as all Jews hidden there saw the war through.

Watch Paula's film 119 Lives Unlived  

Related: Extras and behind-the-scenes interviews that shed more light on Paula Slier's family story

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