Hans Angress

Hans describes his experiences living with the Kooy family.

They took my ID, took the red J out of it, changed my name to Hans Herbert Andreas and changed the address to a bombed-out address in Rotterdam. And since all the archives of Rotterdam were destroyed in the bombardment, there was no way of tracing it. And because of that I also could get food coupons, and the only thing that they decided I should not do was go to school because in Dutch I have as much of an accent as I, a German accent as I have in English, and that that would be a bit hard to explain, and I was of the age where I didn’t really have to, I was fifteen years old then and in Holland many kids at fifteen didn’t go to school anymore. I didn’t, initially I stayed inside a lot, I was you know helping with the, they did not have any visual neighbors, so I mean there was nobody, and I played it low key but after a while I started going out at night and later on I ventured out in daytime and people got used to me. I assume that most people had a hunch that I was Jewish, but again the chances of running into a Dutch person who would turn you in were rather slim...

Well, I mean the mere fact of, when I went into hiding was, I mean, taking off the star, that in itself was a tremendous burden lifted because I had the feeling that somehow, from that point on, I have some, some control over my life which I didn’t have before, or very very limited ... So my, so as soon as I went into hiding it was almost as if a heavy burden was lifted off me, even though I knew, okay, I could get caught. And by the way my mother always instructed my brother and me, if you ever get caught, look for an opportunity to run, and if you can run, if you see half an opportunity to run, run, because the worst that can happen to you then is get shot, and believe me, she was so right, it’s a helluva lot better than what you find at the end of that train ride.

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