Amersfoort Memorial

What a memorable day. March 27th, 2013 at Concentration Kamp Amersfoort National Monument, euphemistically called a WWII Detention Facility. Nearly 100 guests packed the modest visitor centre along with the Mayor of Amersfoort and the ghosts of those who were tortured and ended their lives at the Shooting Range Execution Place.

And what was this event. A group of grateful citizens, many of them Rotarians, felt the moral obligation to create a Foundation to recognize those who, at great personal risk, hid the many thousands threatened with death, or imprisonment, by the WWII Nazi Occupier. The Foundation will erect a statue to honour those selfless people, as well as future heroes.

There was high risk of discovery from daily events, outright betrayal from Dutch pro Nazis, children innocently revealing "lodgers", shopkeepers reporting excessive household use of food.

Discovery involved those hidden, and the house owners and their families;  all could be shot on the spot, or immediately transferred to a transit centre for onward travel to a death camp.

The first financial contribution to the Foundation will be donated from the proceeds of sale of the Dutch translated version of Fred van Zuiden’s “Call Me Mom” (“Zeg maar mamma”). The book describes the 26 hiding places at which Fred sought refuge. His book was dedicated to those who hid him, and other citizens – thousands of them – to keep them out of Nazi Hands. The group felt Fred’s story was a good fit with the aim of the Foundation.

This special occasion saw the Author presenting the first published copy in the Dutch language to his friend and fellow chicken coop hider, Lo van Leeuwen. The audience listened intently to experiences from the Foundation’s Chairman and those who had hidden people, as well as those who had been in hiding. It was noted that the brunt of the care came down on the mothers’ shoulders and they received little recognition.

The presentation turned into an exceptional happening, especially with the sculptor present. Fred and Lo presented the great great great great granddaughter of the farmers who owned the chicken coop, with a bronze miniature of the forthcoming 3M statue.

At the conclusion Fred signed and dedicated many copies of Zeg maar mamma, followed two days later with an all day signing at a prominent book store. It is hoped the “Schuilplaatsverleners” (Hiding Place Providers) statue will be erected by year’s end. 

TWO YEARS passed and the unveiling of the Eric Claus sculpture took place on March 27, 2015 at Kamp Amersfoort. The event was presided over by the General Director of Anne Frank House, Mr. Leopold, and was witnessed by numerous Dutch TV and radio stations. A large crowd was present including local dignitaries.