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Chocolate, The Taste of Freedom
The Holocaust Memoir of a Hidden Dutch Child

by Maud Peper Dahme ©2015, Paperback, ISBN: , 192 pp

“This is story of a terrible evil and of those who at the risk of their own lives decided that evil must not triumph. It is a story of endurance and hope. It is the story of a gentle and courageous woman who emerged from the desperation of the European Holocaust to become a leader in her community in the new world.”


—Former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean

Preface i

Chapter 1 Bashert 1

Chapter 2 Restrictions 3

Chapter 3 Rescued 12

Chapter 4 The Spronk Farm 18

Chapter 5 New Lives 20

Chapter 6 Living on the Farm 26

Chapter 7 Moop Winnink 30

Chapter 8 Elburg Fishing Village 34

Chapter 9 Hunger Winter 39

Chapter 10 The Taste of Freedom 42

Chapter 11 Parents in Hiding 44

Chapter 12 Reunion 46

Chapter 13 Rebuilding Our Lives 49

Chapter 14 Deciding about Emigration 56

Chapter 15 Post-War Amersfoort 58

Chapter 16 Across the Ocean 60

Chapter 17 Settling in 63

Chapter 18 A TV Bride and Groom 67

Chapter 19 The Airlines 72

Chapter 20 Educating Youth 75

Chapter 21 Epilogue 80

Appendix 85

Timeline 86

Selected Awards and Honors 89

Acknowledgements 91

Works Cited 93

Endnotes 95

Maps 120

Photographs 124

Chapter One


My story begins with my parents who were from two

different countries but who, luckily for me, met and married.

Their meeting was bashert (fated).



My father, Hartog Jacob Henri Peper, known as “Harry,”

was born on January 5, 1913, in Hilversum, the Netherlands,

30 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam and 20 kilometers north

of Utrecht. He was a Kohen. According to the article “Jewish

Names,” “kohein, the Hebrew word for priest, and refers to

patrilineal descendants of Aaron.”1 His parents were Wolf

Peper and Rebekka Peper-de Jong. My father had an older

sister, Marie Evaline, or Miep, as she was called, born in 1908.

My father’s nickname was Broertje, “little brother.” My mother,

Lilli Eschwege, was born December 31, 1911, in Saar Louis,

then a German territory, in an industrial region, Le Territoire

du Bassin de la Sarre (The Territory of the Saar Basin),2 so her

first language was French; then her parents, Simon and Meta

Eschwege, moved to Frankfurt am Main, Germany where my

grandfather Simon was a cantor at the synagogue and taught at

the yeshiva (Hebrew school).3 My mother was their only child.



You may wonder how they met. Well, my mother came

to the Netherlands for the Jewish holidays, visiting her parents’


friends. She met my dad there. He was younger than she;

therefore, his family made them wait until he was twentytwo

years old to marry. They married on January 16, 1935.



My mother became a Dutch citizen, and they moved to the

B.W. Laan in Amersfoort, an ancient Dutch city in central

Netherlands. It was, however, the largest garrison town in

the Netherlands. Amersfoort was a smaller, less sophisticated

city than Frankfurt. My mother, who wore the latest fashions,

remembers wearing a hat with a veil and hearing the children

yelling, “Look at the lady with the chicken wire on her face.”



My father, who had studied to be a chef, worked with my

grandfather, Wolf, in the family restaurant, Restaurant de Oude

Tram, at the train and tram station in Amersfoort. Amersfoort

had one of the largest railroad junctions in the country, so

they had lots of business. My father had also learned how

to roll cigars. He sold these, along with newspapers, candy,

and cigarettes, at a kiosk, also owned by my grandfather, on

the other side of the rail station. My mother, Lilli, was a

homemaker. I remember that she was an avid bridge player.



I was born on January 24, 1936, and named Maud

(Jewish name: Miriam) after Meta, my German grandmother.

My mother did not like the name Meta, so she just used the

M. My sister, Rita (Jewish name: Rebekka), after my paternal

grandmother, was born on February 23, 1938. We were not

given middle names. The feeling was that my father had too

many middle names, and my parents, therefore, didn’t want to

burden us. I don’t remember too much of my childhood before

the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940. At that time

I was four, and Rita, two.

Of the 1.6 million Jewish children who lived in Europe before WWII, only

100,000 survived the Holocaust. Most were hidden children. Dahme was one of those

hidden children, hidden from the Nazis by righteous gentiles in the Netherlands. In

July of 1942, six-year-old Maud and her four-year-old sister, Rita, were taken to the

Spronk farm in Oldebroek and later to a fishing village, Elburg, where they were

hidden with the Westerinks for the rest of the war. In 2014, in The Netherlands, Jo

(Frederica von Gulik-Westerink) and her parents, Jacob and Henriette Westerink,

were honored as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust

Museum. The Spronks were honored at a ceremony in November at the Hague.



Chocolate, The Taste of Freedom chronicles not only the wartime adventures of

Dahme but also her post-war experiences—reunion with parents, immigration, U.S.

schools, marriage, and Holocaust education advocate.



In 2014, Maud Dahme was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame as one of the

state’s “Unsung Heroes.” Dahme’s memoir, her story of courage, hope, and bravery, will

inspire generations of young and old. She will no longer be an unsung hero.

Chocolate, The Taste of Freedom

  • Chocolate, The Taste of Freedom
  • Chocolate, The Taste of Freedom

Price: $19.95




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