Descendants of Dutch farmers and Jewish couple they hid to meet at San Francisco event

The grandson of a Jewish couple hidden in the Netherlands during World War II and the grandson of the Dutch couple who sheltered them will meet for the first time on Sunday,  May 1, during a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at the JCC of San Francisco.

Abram and Cornelia van Dorp hid a Jewish couple in 1943-44.

Andy David, consul general of Israel, will present the Righteous Among the Nations Award to John van Dorp of Santa Rosa, grandson of the late Abram and Cornelia van Dorp. The State of Israel presents the honor to non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jewish lives.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed to believe this is happening, and I am humbled to accept this award on behalf of my grandparents,” van Dorp said in a phone interview. “They lived by a moral standard, and whatever it took, they were there.”

The van Dorps, who were retired farmers, hid Helena and Solomon Nihom for nine months in 1943-44 in an apartment in Schipluiden. Jack Menco, the Nihoms’ grandson who lives in Forest Hills, N.Y., also will be at the presentation. Menco and John van Dorp have talked on the phone, but have not met.

The Yom HaShoah event “Out of the Shadows: Rediscovering Artists, Musicians and Poets” will include performances, workshops and a memorial ceremony focusing on the young artists, musicians and scholars whose lives were cut short.

The event begins at 1:30 p.m. with a screening of “Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh,” a documentary about the young poet who tried to rescue Jews persecuted in her native Hungary. A discussion will follow with Jewish literary scholars Chana Kronfeld from U.C. Berkeley and Giddon Ticotsky from Stanford University.

The program also will include five workshops with survivors and Holocaust authorities. A continuous reading of names of victims of the Holocaust will begin at 3 p.m. Individuals who would like their loved ones’ names included may fill out a form at or call (415) 449-1213.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services’ Holocaust Center, Lehrhaus Judaica, the JCCSF and the Jewish Community Relations Council are sponsoring the free event. To register or for more information, see

Patricia Corrigan

Patricia Corrigan is a longtime newspaper reporter, book author and freelance writer based in San Francisco.