Saturday, February 18, 2017

RIP | Robert Lucas "Bob" Boissevain (1922-2017)

Bob Boissevain died on Valentine's Day, 2017, at 94 years of age. 

He turned 18 the month after the Nazis invaded Holland without warning after promising to allow Holland to remain neutral as it had in World War I.

He became the family's first onderduiker–what my Dutch-born mother called "under-diver", usually translated "person in hiding". He hid  in the house to avoid being taken to Germany to work in a factory or for the Wehrmacht.

His father Robert Lucas Boissevain Sr. and his mother Sonia van Tienhoven Boissevain took in four other onderduikers who were Jewish, making five in all. Sonia had rations for seven and fed twelve people, until her husband was arrested for his Resistance (Verzet) work in 1943 and taken to Westerbork. She then had rations for six and eleven to feed.

Bob Boissevain Sr. died in a Nazi concentration on the day of liberation in 1945. His wife Sonia meanwhile was called "General Eisenhower" by her four guests.

The parents received the Resistance Cross for their bravery. The entire family including the children received Yad Vashem awards for sheltering four Jews during the war. Four trees have been planted in Jerusalem in memory of the four who were given sanctuary.

(For followers of Inez Milholland Boissevain: Bob Boissevain Sr. was her nephew by marriage to Eugen Boissevain. Charles E. H. and Eugen were my grandmother's brothers.–JTM)

Here is a translation of the Dutch text in the death notice above:

Bob was transferred to the Yarden Uitvaartcentrum Kennemerland Zijlweg 183 in Haarlem, where an opportunity to bid farewell to him is on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 from 2:15 pm to 3:00 pm. The cremation ceremony will take place on Wednesday, February 22 at 4.15 pm in Crematorium Westerveld, Dune and Kruidbergerweg 2-6 in Driehuis, meeting at 4 pm. Afterwards, we will raise our glasses to Bob's memory in the coffee room of Westervelt.

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