Deliverance in a Dog Kennel

The Fellowship  |  November 14, 2018

Black and white drawing of five dachshunds.
Deliverance in a Dog Kennel

Hendrik and Margarete Pouw were a Dutch couple who lived with their six children on a farm near the town of Voorthuizen, where they raised cows and chickens, bred Dachshunds, and published many articles on canine genetics. But when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, the Pouw farm would find itself home to new inhabitants.

One of the couple’s daughters had attended school with a Jewish girl, Margot Herz. Margot had often visited the family farm, but the Holocaust would find her there with her life in danger. Margot’s parents and sister had been deported to concentration camps, so the girl asked the Pouw family for help.

Hendrik drove to Amsterdam where Margot was hiding. He brought her back to the farm, where many Jews had already sought shelter, including an eight-year-old Jewish girl from Switzerland and a six-year-old boy named Bernard Aak. The Dutch underground helped provide food for all of the hidden Jews.

Being close to the family already, Margot became like another daughter to Hendrik and Margarete, helping out with household chores. But that would all come to an end in October of 1944 when the Nazis discovered the hiding place.

Warned of the Nazis’ approach, all of the hidden Jews were able to escape. One of the Pouw daughters stayed behind to care for the family’s animals. But the Nazis arrested her, though she was later released, and set fire to the farm.

Margot and the other two Jewish children hid for the remainder of the war in a nearby village. And because of their actions, the entire Pouw family spent the rest of the war in hiding, as well. But their bravery was remembered when, on March 22, 1977, Yad Vashem named Hendrik and Margarete Pouw Righteous Among the Nations.

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