Nicholas John Briejer

The Sweet Dell

Arrested on October 6,1943, Dr. Pieter Schoorl listened to the heavy iron doors of a basement cell in the Gestapo's Amsterdam headquarters close behind him.  It had been easy for him to hide the first Jew—a blonde-haired, blue-eyed three-year-old.  And had Dr. Schoorl and his wife Anne helped only the one child, this would be a far simpler story.  But the pleas for help never ended.  Dutch commandoes met at the Schoorls' kitchen table, and shot-down Allied pilots shared breakfast with their five children.  Jews continually arrived at the Schoorls' farm unannounced in the dark of night.  The couple eventually filled their two homes with “guests.”  When there was no room left, they searched the countryside for more hiding places.

Nearly seven decades later their American grandson, Nicholas Briejer, travels to Europe in search of the grandparents he did not know.  Through the memories of Piet and Anne’s elderly children, he discovers not only their secluded farm, but the qualities of the heart that drove the couple to—in the words of his grandfather—do “what any man should.”
333 printed pages



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