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Diaries of Love and War

David Damen, Roosendaal, Holland

In a hideout apartment in Brussels, as the Nazi noose tightened around his family, 16-year-old Moshe Flinker Hy”d wrote and wrote. Moshe’s diary was discovered after the war by his surviving siblings and published in several languages. But that wasn’t the end of the story. There was another diary belonging to a little Dutch girl, and 70 years later, the sleepy town in Holland witnessed the reunion of the remaining Flinker sisters and that little girl whose family saved them.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Roosendaal’s main shopping boulevard is deserted on this Sunday afternoon, but the hall behind the Zeelandia café is packed with a crowd so diverse it’s hard to believe they’re all attending the same event.

Gentiles with shaved heads sitting along bearded Jews, children with peyos blending with a group of local youngsters — it feels like one big family reunion.

A local Dutch band plays Dayeinu and “Siman Tov U’Mazel Tov”; passionate addresses are delivered; and then the master of ceremonies invites Mrs. Corry (Cocky) Meuldijk-Raats to the stage. An elderly woman rises from the audience, and then two other women of around the same age follow suit; the three embrace lovingly, as the crowd applauds to whistles and a standing ovation. Rebecca, Leah, and Cocky are dogged by the constant flashing of media cameras, as the photographers don’t want to miss a moment of the drama unfolding before their eyes.

After 70 years, they had come full circle. The Flinker sisters had returned to the home of their saviors, reuniting for a day in the place where a frightened, fugitive family was taken in and protected. And now Cocky, the sole surviving member of her own heroic family, would be receiving the Righteous Among the Nations award on behalf of her parents — to the applause and heartfelt blessings of this otherwise sleepy border town.

 

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