28 July 2009

Het book van Wim - The book of Wim

My colleague M. was out of the office yesterday and when I asked him this morning what he'd been up to, the last thing I expected was to hear that he had been at a ceremony for his grandfather, Frans Pakker, who was being recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

In 1942, in Arnhem, The Netherlands, Frans and his wife Rie took seven-week old baby Bram into their home and cared for him for three years while his mother was in hiding elsewhere. Bram was renamed Wim (a more Dutch name; Wim = William and Bram is a short for Abraham), and Frans's wife kept a journal of his life -- "Het book van Wim," the first page of which is in the image here. The journal was buried in the garden in 1944 near the end of the war, but later recovered. After the war ended Bram was reunited with his mother and today they live in Israel. Bram applied for posthumous recognition for both Frans and Rie, and it was granted recently, hence the ceremony.

I can't help thinking there is more to the story of the book of Wim, but this was all that my colleague was able to tell me.


  1. What a wonderful story. These tales of such courage and kindness never fail to move me. I hope I would be as brave in the same situation.

  2. Many kind Belgians and Dutch hid Jewish families during the war. I remember one of my friends lived in a house where a family had been hidden in a crawlspace in the basement. It's good to know that these rescuers are being recognized for what must have been astounding courage given the circumstances.