A profile of the people hiding in the Organ Attics and their helpers

One of the two attics high on both sides of the organ in the Breeplein Church in Rotterdam South, where the seven main characters of this grim tale had to live, for almost three years, during the Second World War.
Rebecca Andriesse as a young girl. She lived with her parents on the Kruiskade in the centre of Rotterdam. After the destruction of their house in the May 1940 bombing, the family moved to the Dordtselaan in Rotterdam South.
Wedding photograph of Rebecca and Maurice, 28 May 1942.
Both Rebecca, then 17 years old, and her fiancé Maurice Kool, 25 years old, were summoned to report themselves for transport to Germany. Instead, they decided to get married immediately because they believed the rumour that married couples could stay together. Rebecca’s grandfather found a refuge for them in the Protestant church on the Breeplein.
Wedding photograph of Rebecca and Maurice with family.
A few of Rebecca and Maurice’s family members were able to attend the wedding ceremony on 28 May 1942. Ida Kool, Maurice’s mother is at the extreme left. Meijer, the bridegroom’s father at the extreme right. The newlyweds arrived at the Breeplein Church the day after the wedding, where Jacobus de Mars, the sexton, led them to their hiding place. Ida and Meijer arrived a few weeks later. The sexton and his wife Annigje looked after the refugees. Nobody else was aware of their presence.
Chaim and Fifi de Zoete and their three daughters, Mirjam, Judith and Hadassah in Dutch Indonesia. They returned to the Netherlands in1936; Chaim was appointed chief pharmacist with the Municipal Health Department of Rotterdam. As soon as it became clear that the German occupiers wanted to exterminate all Jews, the De Zoete family went into hiding. After a gruelling search for a longer term hiding place, they sought out Reverend Gerrit Brillenburg Wurth of the Breeplein Church, who subsequently involved his sexton to help. Only then did the Reverend hear that two other couples were in hiding in the church for more than two years.
Jacobus and Annigje de Mars - Ouwens
The sexton Jacobus and his wife Annigje de Mars-Ouwens. Together with the Reverend and his wife, they looked after the refugees for almost three years.
Annie en Wim De Bruin-De Mars bij hek
Wedding photo of Annie de Mars and Wim van der Bruin. Four years after their wedding, in November 1944, they moved in with Annie’s parents together with their baby Sjaak. This was done to protect Emile, Rebecca and Maurice’s child. It would be less puzzling to the neighbours if they heard a baby cry.
Reverend Gerrit Brillenburg Wurth, offered help and solace where possible.
Gerda Brillenburg Wurth-van Leeuwen – nurse, fearless, persevering and unbeatable. She helped also during the birth of Rebecca’s son.
Dr. Leo Lashley
Dr. Leo Lashley, ophthalmologist, faithful churchgoer, and temporary gynaecologist. He counselled Rebecca, who, in the meantime, was pregnant, during the months of her pregnancy. He also helped during the childbirth, together with Riet Dekkers, a lady in the resistance and Gerda Brillenburg Wurth. Emile Kool was born on 6 January 1944.
The board for Dr. Lashley’s practice, with the hours of opening.
Annigje de Mars met Emile Kool in de tuin
Annigje de Mars with baby Emile Kool in the garden behind her house.