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Tina Strobos

March 9, 2012

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Tina Strobos died at the age of 91 last week.  She is on the left in that photo above, her then fiancée Abraham Pais (a well-known physicist, Strobos also helped rescue him from the Nazis)  and her mother.  From her obituary:

During the German occupation of the Netherlands, between 1940 and 1945, Dr. Strobos and her mother, Marie Schotte, set up a sanctuary in their three-story rooming house at 282 Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, behind the Royal Palace in the heart of Amsterdam. With the help of the Dutch resistance, they had a secret compartment built to hold up to four people behind a hard-to-spot door in the attic. […]

The Gestapo searched the rooming house several times. But Dr. Strobos, a tall, soft-spoken woman, beguiled the Germans with her fluency in their language and her cool, ingenuous pose. Among the Jews she helped hide was a close friend, Tirtsah Van Amerongen; an Orthodox couple with five children who brought their own kosher food; and her fiancé for a time, the particle physicist Abraham Pais.

Dr. Strobos rode her bicycle for miles outside the city to carry ration stamps to Jews hiding on farms. She transported radios to resistance fighters and stashed their guns. She created fake identity cards — ones that were not stamped with a J — either by stealing photographs and fingerprinted documents from legitimate guests at the boarding house or making deals with pickpockets to swipe documents from railway travelers.

She was cold and hungry when she took those risks and was interrogated nine times by the Gestapo. Once, she was left unconscious after an official threw her against a wall.

”It’s the right thing to do,” she said when asked why she had taken such gambles. ”Your conscience tells you to do it. I believe in heroism, and when you’re young you want to do dangerous things.”

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Tina Strobos later earned her medical degree, studied psychiatry with Anna Freud, and became a family psychiatrist.

She tells her story in a lengthy 1985 interview which is full of thrilling and daring escapes from the Nazi occupiers – you can read that here (seven pages long).  I do recommend reading it – it is quite exciting.

Abraham Pais gives his own interview here (two pages long) and Erica van Hesteren adds to the story.  A general description of the Jewish situation under the German occupation of Holland is here.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Elias Blechman permalink
    June 20, 2012 7:50 pm

    What a fine example for humanity. May Tina Strobos’s name and memory be blessed!

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