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Arie van Mansum

Arie van Mansum describes the work he carried out as part of the Dutch resistance.

Arie van Mansum was born in 1920, in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Arie’s family included his parents Gerrit and Neeltje,  two sisters, Margaretha and Gerrie, and one brother, Gerrit Jr . The family was active in the Reformed Church of the Netherlands. Arie’s father worked for the Dutch railroad, and the family eventually moved to Maastricht.

Life changed in 1940, after the German invasion of the Netherlands. All Dutch citizens had to carry identification cards, and Jews were forced to wear the Yellow Star on their clothing. Arie and his family vehemently disagreed with the persecution of the Jews of the Netherlands. With the help of his church, Arie helped many Jews find hiding places to evade capture by the Nazis. Arie was also involved in creating hundreds of counterfeit food stamps and false identity cards to assist in the hiding of Dutch Jews.

In 1943, Arie was arrested by the Gestapo and taken to Maastricht. He was brutally interrogated by the Nazis who were looking for information on the Dutch resistance, as well as Jews who had gone into hiding. Arie was imprisoned and eventually sent to the Amersfoort concentration camp in Holland. He was there for several months until he was transferred to another camp in Utrecht. He was liberated in 1945 by the Canadian Armed Forces and he returned home to Maastricht. He assisted the local police with their investigations into war criminals and in 1946, Arie appeared as a witness at a war crimes trial.

In 1952, Arie married Doris Van Diggele and immigrated to Ottawa, Canada in 1958. In 1969, Yad Vashem recognized Arie van Mansum as Righteous Among the Nations. Arie published his memoir A Friend among Enemies was published in 1992. Arie remained in contact with many of the people he had helped during the war.

Arie van Mansum died in 2014, having lived quietly in Ottawa, Canada. His full testimony is part of the Canadian Collection of Holocaust survivor testimonies. It is preserved in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive and accessible through the Ekstein Library.

Arie van Mansum

 My part was only helping people.