This photograph is painful for me to see. My mother, Jacoba, on the beach in Scheveningen toward the end of the war. You can see how pitifully thin she is, every rib showing, her emaciated arms and legs. But look at that smile! No, nothing ever kept my mother down for long! Even in the dead of winter she would swim in the ocean. She was a vibrant, amazing person with the most generous heart.
She was a courier in the Dutch resistance, often pedaling to and fro with microfilm in her bra. She told me that one time the Nazis broke into her parents’ house and tore it apart, looking for microfilm. My grandmother, a quick thinker, put it on top of the toilet tank, which in Europe were high overhead. It was the one place they didn’t look!