Child psychologistBloeme Evers-Emden

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Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Evers was forced — like other Jews — to attend a special Jewish high school. Her class kept getting smaller and smaller as her classmates disappeared — from deportations to concentration camps by the Nazis. By the time of her final exams, she was the only student left, thanks to a “sympathetic German” who stamped her deportation order as “Released.” The school gave her all of her exams the same day, and she passed and was awarded her diploma. She was tipped that the Nazis were looking for her, and sure enough she was grabbed — but she managed to slip out with some younger kids and went into hiding. One of her high school friends had already fled into hiding: that girl’s name was Anne Frank. After hiding out in place after place for a year, she was arrested and sent to the Westerbork transit camp, where she was put on the last train to Auschwitz — on September 3, 1944. Also on that train: Anne Frank and her family. Evers was liberated by the Soviets in May 1945; by that time, the Frank family was dead. Evers and several friends walked back to the Netherlands: it took six weeks, and she arrived to find the rest of her family had been sent to the Sobibor extermination camp, and were all dead.

After recovering physically, Evers married and went to school to study child psychology. She taught the subject at the University of Amsterdam in the 1970s, and after earning her doctorate in the 1980s began hosting group therapy sessions for others who had been “hidden children” so they could get through “our grief, our anger, our aggression and our mourning.” In the 1990s, she wrote four books to help those who had survived the Nazis as children. She was decorated by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands as an officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau, which is awarded to those who have “earned special merits for society.” Evers-Emden died July 18, at 90.

From This is True for 17 July 2016