Agelink experienced the Holocaust through her friendship with a Jewish woman in Amsterdam, whom she attempted to rescue from the Germans. Agelink was born in Amsterdam in 1910. Even though she was Catholic, she had many Jewish acquaintances. At sixteen she began working at a factory in which she was the only Christian and all of her co-workers were Jewish. Here she befriended a Jewish woman with whom she had contact until 1942.
She describes the situation between the Jews and Christians in Amsterdam as peaceful and without discrimination or prejudice. This peaceful co-existence lasted until the German invasion of Holland in 1940. Jews were then forced to wear the Star of David. Agelink’s Jewish friend was able to visit her without difficulty so long as she covered her yellow star with clothing.
In 1942 orders were issued that all Jews must turn themselves in to the authorities. Agelink’s friend found a place where she could hide from dusk until 6:00 a.m. every morning. She then spent the day hiding in Agelink’s apartment. Agelink advised her friend not to pay the people who agreed to hide her in advance. Her friend, however, was only ensured a place to hide if she paid in full. Agelink is convinced that these people turned in her friend because they had already received their payment in its entirety and had no incentive to help her further.
Agelink’s friend hid for only two weeks before she was discovered. She had arranged to meet Agelink one evening but never showed. Agelink learned later that she had been deported to Westerbork. Agelink maintains that she knew nothing of gas chambers and concentration camps until after the war had ended. She notes that after the German invasion of Holland, the situation for Jews became steadily worse and worse. She remembers common street scenes in which children were being separated from their parents.
After the war had ended Agelink attempted to locate her friend and discovered that she had perished in Auschwitz. Agelink reveals that hearing the German language evokes feelings of hatred and disgust because it is inextricably linked to the painful events that resulted in the loss of a very good friend.
Date: April 15, 1986
Length: 50 minutes
Interviewer: Rabbi Charles Rosenzveig
Format: Video recording