Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust
A young Dutch woman evades capture by the Gestapo
When the Gestapo came for Flora Bader in 1943, she hid in a closet while her husband persuaded them to take him instead
Listen to audio
"So I went into the room, the living quarters, saw my sister and the cousin of my mother-in-law and walked around when he, when [Dutch Nazi] Blonk did so, walked around, didn't even look at my husband, [and then] stepped in the closet. Didn't even look at my husband anymore. I saw him standing, watching me.
My mother-in-law was in the first moment totally unaware that anybody would follow her. Said, 'Hmm, hmm, hmm.' And I knock, knock, but she opened and I came next to her. Of course we were not thinking straight and none of us was normal at those moments. The door was shut and I heard them say, 'Es werde eine Juden hier. Es werde eine blonde Juden noch dar.' ['There will be a Jewish woman here. There will still be a blonde, Jewish woman there.']
[My sister] Ann knew about the closet. Next to the closet was the WC [lavatory]. Ann said, 'I flushed her through the toilet.' I heard that. I say, 'They're going to look for me. They were running up and down and as they were not finding me they were very elated that they had a few more because they went out to catch one Jewish girl and they came home with three.'
So as they were walking down the steps the impact dawned that my husband was going, and Ann and I had the eeriest feeling. 'How could I have done that? Go in the closet?' I had forsaken him. Why didn't he go in the closet for that? Why didn't he say, 'Save me?' I wasn't even aware of what I had done."
Bader Interview, Tape 5, Side 1
Transcript page 79 (PDF, 798 KB)