The child is still there

The Netherlands




The Jewish boy Levi Groenteman moved through the Netherlands in hiding during the war. He never stayed at an address for very long. In 1943, the resistance brought him to Friesland, where he remained until the end of the war.

By the summer of 1942, Jews in the Netherlands had become largely isolated due to various anti-Jewish measures. After isolation and bans, the Nazis proceeded with deportation. By early October, almost all Jewish Frisians had been deported. A few escaped by going into hiding. 

Although the deportations largely occurred out of sight of the “ordinary” Dutch people, they also aroused resistance. Small resistance groups sought each other out, and a national network developed to help people in hiding. Some groups specialised in helping Jews and their children in hiding. 

A few hundred Jews were smuggled on the passenger ship “Jan Nieveen” across the IJsselmeer from Amsterdam to Friesland. It was the safest route because the Afsluitdijk was closed and the train was increasingly strictly controlled.  

Friesland was known as a relatively safe province for hiding. The farms and small villages often had many escape routes and hiding places. There was also plenty to eat. Many children in hiding could walk around freely and sometimes even go to school. The great social control in villages left little room for betrayal. Everyone knew what was going on, but no one spoke up. There was also a quick warning about German checks.  

One of the children in hiding in Friesland was Levi Groenteman. Under the pseudonym Loeki van Kampen, he ended up at various hiding addresses in the Echten area. During the war, dozens of Jewish people hid in this area, which is why it was also called “The Jerusalem of the North”.  

Levi, now Loek Groenteman, came through the war safely. On 17 April 2009, he unveiled a monument in Echten: ‘Het kind is er nog’ (the child is still there). The monument is an expression of gratitude to all foster parents in Friesland who protected hundreds of Jewish children at risk to their own safety. You can download the walk past the monument “Het kind is er nog” and over the narrow paths of Echten from IZI Travel Rinne yn Frijheid.