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The campus and wider public is invited to the public testimony of Otto Verdoner, a child survivor of the Holocaust. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, May 1, at 3:30 pm in Eaton Humanities 150. The event is organized by the Program in Jewish Studies and part of this year's Yom HaShoah events that started with the talk by Yad Vashem Center Director Prof. Guy Miron (Jerusalem) and will end with a public reading of names of European Jews murdered by the Germans and their allies during the Shoah.


Otto Verdoner was born in 1939 as the third of three children to Gerrit and Hilde Verdoner, a Jewish couple in Hilversum, central Netherlands. In May 1940, when the German army overran the Netherlands, a German-appointed Reich Commissar and the Dutch civil service under his command promulgated a flurry of decrees that aimed specifically at Jews abd forced Gerrit out of his business and Yoka, Otto's sister, out of her second grade class. When their home was taken, the Verdoners went to live with Gerrit's parents in Amsterdam. Shortly thereafter, Gerrit and Hilde decided to place the children in hiding. Their foresight enabled the children to survive. Otto did so with a Gentile Dutch farming couple in the countryside, who pretended he has their nephew. His mother Hilde was forced to enter Westerbork on December 18, 1942, while Gerrit had a job with the Jewish Council. On September 29, 1943, after the collapse of the Jewish Council and Gerrit's narrow escape, Gerrit found refuge in a hideout on a farm. On January 8, 1944, Hilde, by contrast, was sent to Auschwitz, where she was murdered within days of her arrival. After the war, Gerrit managed to reunite with his children and other surviving family members. The Verdoners emigrated to the US in 1946.


Free and open to the public. No tickets required. For more questions, please contact the interim director of the Program in Jewish Studies at

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