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
Selected Awards and Honors 89
Works Cited 93
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 â€śHarry,â€ť
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 â€śJewish
Names,â€ť â€śkohein, the Hebrew word for priest, and refers to
patrilineal descendants of Aaron.â€ť1 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 fatherâ€™s nickname was Broertje, â€ślittle brother.â€ť 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 parentsâ€™
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, â€śLook at the lady with the chicken wire on her face.â€ť
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, didnâ€™t want to
burden us. I donâ€™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, Israelâ€™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 experiencesâ€”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
stateâ€™s â€śUnsung Heroes.â€ť Dahmeâ€™s memoir, her story of courage, hope, and bravery, will
inspire generations of young and old. She will no longer be an unsung hero.