Got an hero dad. Hiddink

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Australia's soccer coach Guus Hiddink’s father faked break-ins to the food-coupon offices in his small Dutch village during World War II to feed several Jews who were in hiding in farmhouses

Australian soccer coach Guus Hiddink’s father, Gerhardus (Gerrit) Hiddink, stole food coupons during World War II in order to feed Jews who were hiding in his Dutch village of Varsseveld, according to Guus Hiddink’s brother Hans.


In a telephone interview from Varsseveld, Hans Hiddink also recounted his father’s efforts for the Dutch Resistance to save downed Allied pilots - for which he was cited by then US president Dwight D Eisenhower.


Hiddink senior would carry pilots downed in the Varsseveld area 40 kilometers to the south on his bicycle, where they were picked up by members of the Resistance and eventually spirited to safe havens in Spain. Hiddink senior’s assistance to the Jews was first mentioned in a Sydney Morning Herald profile titled “A beautiful mind”, published earlier this year.


Hans Hiddick told the AJN that his father, an unemployed teacher during the war, was appointed by the local authorities of Varsseveld - a township 150 kilometers east of Amsterdam - to manage the distribution of food coupons to the local population.


fake break-ins


According to Hans, Gerrit Hiddink and his cousin would fake break-ins to the food-coupon offices and claim that coupons had been stolen. They would then use these coupons to feed several Jews who were in hiding in farmhouses in the area.


The son of one of the families fed by Hiddink, Joop Levi, is an Amsterdam Jew who comes on an annual pilgrimage to Hiddink senior - who will be marking his 90th birthday this year - to pay his respects for helping save his parents’ lives.


But while Hans seems to believe that all the Jews hiding in Varsseveld survived the war, records indicate that only a few families survived - with the help of the local population - while the rest suffered a fate similar to that of 107,000 Dutch Jews, 80 per cent of the prewar Jewish population, who were exterminated by the Nazis.


Reprinted with permission of The Australian Jewish News


פרסום ראשון: 06.08.06, 12:46
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