During the second world war my parents, Bert and Annie Bochove lived in Huizen, Noord Holland. For three years they opened their home and offered protection to a total of 36 Jewish people whose lives were threatened by the Nazis. One of those families were Abraham and Lea Rodrigues with their children Henry and Elly. At one point our family was betrayed and the Rodrigues parents were harbored in Utrecht while Henry and Elly ended up at other addresses. Abraham and Lea were arrested and sent to Auschwitz. They were murdered there. Henry and Elly survived the war and eventually ended up in the United States.
I was born in August 1945 in the same house called De Zonnehoek. The last months of the war my mother, Annie Bochove Smits, was ill with tuberculosis. Shortly after my birth, she was admitted to a TB sanitarium in Holland and finally sent to a TB sanitarium in Davos, Switzerland. In 1949 she was back in Holland and died on July 16, 1949.
My father married Betty Sprenkeling in 1953 and in 1956 we emigrated to the United States.
An American acquaintance of my parents asked my father how he had experienced the war. By this time I was a teener. Gradually the hiding story came loose. It was only in the 1980s that he told the stories more extensively and ended up in various books such as: "To Save a Life: stories of Holocaust Rescue", written by Ellen Landweber, and a photo book, "Rescuers: Portraits of the Holocaust", by Gay Block and Malka Drucker.
It was during that time that my father was often invited to tell the war story in synagogues and temples. Because his Dutch accent was rather heavy, I went with him as his spokesperson.
In 2009 I wrote a book, "De Zonnehoek Vertelt ...". I told my parents' story from the point of view of the house, the Zonnehoek. I also wrote the book in English: "The Zonnehoek Story" We lived in the Czech Republic at the time, and it is also translated into that language, the Rodrigues story is included in the book.
In the meantime I have contact with the grandchildren (Elly's children) Rodrigues. After the war, Elly met and married Ernest Cassutto in 1949. In 1974 the book, "The Last Jew of Rotterdam," written by Ernest Cassutto was published. It is the war story of Ernest and of Elly. In 2001 a second edition, including a tribute written by their son Benjamin Cassutto, was published. Elly's experience in the Zonnehoek is also described in this book.
For me it is an honor that I keep the story of the Rodrigues family alive in this manner. The Holocaust must never happen to us again!
Marise Rinkel Bochove
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