Burke was born in 1938 and raised in Utrecht, Netherlands, in a deeply religious Christian family who identified themselves as Frisians. Burke was one of three daughters of a working-class baker. Her father was a member of the resistance movement. He hid in his backyard toolshed eight Jews (consisting of three families) for three years. All of the Jews and members of her family survived the war.
Burke states that the Jews whom her family hid felt more Dutch than Jewish. Her father, a Zionist, taught them the psalms of David and educated them about Zionism.
The Jews were kept in the toolshed at all times, and the children were strictly forbidden to go near it. Often times the children would hear noises and be told by their parents that they had not heard anything. Burke saw the Jews through the window and was told by her father that they were visitors. After the war had ended, the children were still too young to discuss the Holocaust with their parents.
Burke says that she has no direct memories of the Holocaust except for one in which the Germans came to search her house. She states that everyone in her family (and even the third generation) was greatly affected psychologically by their experiences.
Her parents were awarded a Righteousness Award from the state of Israel in 1973. She believes her parents hid the Jews not for financial gain, but rather out of moral obligation. Her mother, twenty-five years old in 1939, told her, “You do what has to be done.” Burke says that when one searches for the good in others, one finds the good in oneself.
Date: March 15, 1988
Interviewer: Rabbi Charles Rosenzveig
Length: 1 hour
Format: Video recording