Anna Constam describes life in Holland, in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
Anna Constam was born in 1907, in s-Hertogenbosch (den Bosch) the Netherlands. The youngest of nine children, the family was well integrated into Dutch life. Anna’s father was a respected musician and composer who received a knighthood from the Dutch Queen.
As a young woman, Anna experienced the systematic discrimination and loss of rights imposed upon the Jewish community such as restricted shopping hours, loss of jobs and wearing the yellow star on their clothing. Still, her father like many could not imagine how much worse things could get and initially did not think the family needed to go into hiding.
A large family posed specific challenges when seeking hiding places, and Anna was able to secure false identity papers and worked as a labourer at Zuidwyn Castle. With the exception of one brother and one sister, all of Anna’s family members survived.
After the liberation of Holland, Anna met a young Canadian soldier and soon a romance developed. They married on October 23, 1945, and immigrated to Canada on May 2, 1946, to start a new life.
Anna Constam died in 2000 and her full testimony is part of the Canadian Collection of Holocaust survivor testimonies. It is preserved in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive and accessible through the Ekstein Library.
I often ask myself, why am I here? Why, why are the others not here?
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