I am the son of Aron Houtkruijer and Clara Houtkruijer – Duits. Besides adopting the names of my parents and grandparents, I have also adopted the names of several uncles, aunts and cousins. As a substitute teacher in New Mexico I get invited from time to time to talk about my experience as a Holocaust survivor, that is as a Hidden Child, during the last 2 years of the war. After I recently talked to several classes at the Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, the teachers expressed to me their thanks and appreciation for me sharing with them what it was like to live during that period. They told me that it gave the students a new perspective “which is not common for today’s learners”, and they expressed the hope that I “may continue to give my story to anyone who is willing to listen”.
One teacher contacted the Namenmonument and explored how his students could adopt the names of my parents as a way “to provide me with some sort of closure” that he recognized had been missing in my life. When he approached his students with this idea, they agreed and readily assembled the necessary funds. He stated that it was evident from their response that my story had indeed affected the students greatly.
It goes without saying that I am very appreciative of the feedback that the teachers and students have shown. It makes it a lot easier to continue to talk about that period and about my appreciation for what the Meijer family in Haarlem did to provide me, as a 5-year old, with a hiding place and keep me in their household after the war when no one came back to take me.
Andre J Holten
Read the letter of the teacher that organised
the adoption of my parents names (pdf opens in New window)