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Interview With Grandpa David
I’m Shaina and I interviewed my Grandpa David. I interviewed him, because he is a Holocaust survivor and I want to know more about what he went through while he was in hiding. Also, his parents died so I want to hear more about my family history and what they were like when they were alive.
Question: When were you born?
Answer: I was born in December 1938 on the 30th in Belgium.
Question: Where did you grow up in Belgium?
Answer: Well, the first four years I was with my parents. Then my father was arrested by the Gestapo somewhere in October in 1942-that’s when they started rounding up the Jews in Belgium. One of the people from work came and told my mother and she took me into hiding, I believe it was in February of 1943. About four or five months after that she found somebody to take care of me and that was the L’bo family in the Southern part of Belgium, not far from the Northern border of France. I was with them until March of 1946. I was them three years. Then I came to the United States by ship.
Question: While you were in hiding what was your experience?
Answer: Well, I should state that there were two other Jewish boys living there, they preceded me. In other words they placed with the L’bos through the Belgium underground. They found a place for them through the local church. The L’bo’s were members of a Protestant church. The very few Protestant in Belgium, I think it was only about 2%. The two boys were about four or five years older than I was. They were seven and eight and I was four. Their names were Joche, who was the older one, and Marcel, who was the younger one. Well when I came, I came in an unusual manner. From what the story was told to me by one of the boys who actually wrote a book about the experiences and actually the daughter of the L’bo family, who’s still alive and I’m still in touch with her. She’ll be 87 this year in May.
Question: When you were living with the L’bo family, did they give you a new name?
Answer: Yes, they gave me Daniel. Daniel Ven Dan Broek. Everybody called me Daniel, even after the war. So yeah, that was my name. Daniel Ven Dan Broek.
Question: How many years were you in hiding again?
Answer: Well, I was with them from February 1943 and the liberation, in other words when the British army liberated the Brussels which was I believe in September of 1944. So, that was about a year and a half. The war continued, but the area that I was in was liberated. In other words, there were no longer Germans in that area. I remained with them for another year and a half. None of our parents, of the three boys, came back from the concentration camp. Everybody was killed, or died. But, the two older boys found homes with relatives that came to claim them. I think it was about the spring of 1945. They were brothers by the way. The mother of the one married the father of the other. But I remained for another year, because I had an aunt in the United States. Somehow she found out that I was still around, because apparently my mother, after she found a place for me, told somebody else. I really don’t know who, but obviously she told somebody and the word got out. So, after the war, the United States opened up the ships. There were a lot of people displaced persons in Europe following the war; people that no longer had homes to go back to, or parents, in my case to pick them up. So, I was of the first one’s let in under the certain displaced persons program. Especially for people that had no relatives or homes to go back to.
Question: So you went to go live in America.
Answer: Yes, I came to America with my aunt and uncle and was later adopted by them.