Leo V. testimony 1984 [video recording]
Date of Recording07 March 1984
Duration1h 57m 41.0s
SynopsisLeo V. was born on July 7, 1940 in Amsterdam. He describes his first memories of his father telling the family they had to leave their home and being taken to the hospital on the basis that he was suffering a contagious disease. He explains that he was kept in an isolation ward. He discusses his aunt’s memories of these events and how they are different from his. He describes being taken to a foster family in Schaesberg that was working with the underground resistance. He discusses how the family learned after the war that everyone in the small town knew that Leo was a Jewish child in hiding. He describes his hiding place. He recalls liberation. He explains that he stayed with the Reimerink family until he was eight or nine. He discusses learning that he was Jewish from his foster family and his reconciliation with his Jewish identity. Leo explains how he learned how his family perished and how only his aunt and her infant son survived. He describes how his aunt found him and took from his foster family. He describes how his aunt placed him in an orphanage where he lived for three years. He describes the conditions in the orphanage. He discusses his education. He describes being sent to other foster families, some of whom were concentration camp survivors, and settling with one family when he was twelve. He explains that he wanted to stay with this family because they were immigrating to Canada. He describes living in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, and Montreal. He recalls conflict between himself and the foster family. He describes receiving help from another Dutch immigrant family. He describes his education in Canada. He describes his career as a psychiatric social worker. He discusses his motivation for giving testimony and sharing his experience with his wife. He describes visiting the Reimerink family as an adult and returning to his childhood home. He discusses his identity and birthdate. He discusses reuniting with a surviving cousin. He describes his children and discusses how his experiences have influenced raising them. He discusses his sense of humour and survival. He discusses guilt and shame. He discusses his experience with Holocaust films, documentaries, and books.
Funding NoteCataloguing and digitization of this testimony was supported by funding from the Government of Canada.