"Hearing one person tell their story gave a completely different perspective to what happened, as it wasn't about statistics or about a nation as a whole, but one person who lost his family and home." ~O. Avery (student)
You can download and easily print Arnold's biography here (pdf)
Arnold Vanderhorst was born in 1935 in Arnhem, Holland. His family owned a bakery and delivered the loaves to customers on the weekends. Life was pleasant and in 1940 his sister Theodora was born. That same year, the Germans invaded Holland.
In 1942, the Nazis ordered that all Jews older than 6 were required to wear a Yellow Star with the word “Jood” on it. Arnold had to wear his on the way to school while being taunted by his former friends with “Rotten Jew!”
One day when the family returned home they found their home sealed by the Nazis. The Vanderhorsts broke the seals, taking their necessities. His mother dropped Arnold and Theodora off at trusted neighbors and then gave herself up to the Nazis.
Arnold was introduced as the nephew of the family to his new neighborhood. Only on the rare occasion was he allowed to play outside with the other children.
In September 1944, Allied paratroopers descended on Arnhem with hopes to liberate the city and the nearby bridges. To avoid the war, Arnold’s foster family fled to the woods and built a makeshift tent from wood taken from their home.
Arnold lived in the woods for three days with his foster family and survived through the Hungerwinter from September 1944 until May 1945, when the Canadians liberated them.
Malnourished, Arnold was sent to England to a camp for children to recuperate for three months. He then moved from various families and orphanages until he finally immigrated to America in 1963. He is married and has two adopted children.