Thursday, June 16, 2011

Johtje Vos: The SS and the NSB Arrive

Suddenly a black Gestapo car pulled up in front of the house. Aart and the hiders ran for the tunnel. The ID cards were still on the table. What was Johtje to do? Their nine-year-old son Peter had just come running down the stairs when he heard the commotion. Johtje stuffed the cards into his sweater and then told him to walk away quietly. Peter clearly understood what was going on, so he took a ball outside and began to bounce it up and down. When he passed the officers, he played his part well, greeting them politely as he walked farther and farther away.

Johtje was horrified that she had put her son in such danger, but as the men walked in, she watched Peter out of the corner of her eye until she knew that he was safe. Now she had other things to worry about. Standing in her house were a German SS officer, a Dutch NSB officer, and Jan, his faced bruised and swollen. He begged Johtje to tell the men the location of the rubber stamps they were looking for. If she handed them over, they would spare his life.

Johtje didn't know what to do. Should she save her Resistance friend and tell the truth? Or should she deny any knowledge of the stamps, thereby saving everyone in the Laren Group, both the hiders and resisters?

Excerpt from "Johtje Vos: A Group Effort" from Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue.

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