“I live in crazy times,” Anne Frank wrote in her attic on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. Lodewyk “Lou” de Beer might have echoed that sentiment, though his life was not in immediate danger. The son of American parents, Lou was born in Amsterdam. As a boy he witnessed the arrival of the German troops in 1940 and lived through 18 months of occupation. When the US joined the war against Germany, the de Beers were declared enemy aliens and subjected to a lengthy odyssey through concentration and internment camps in Holland, France, and Germany. On the periphery of the war and the Holocaust, Lou caught glimpses of devastation and oppression without fully grasping their significance, though he would experience the hardship of war firsthand during his service in Korea in the fifties. His experience adds an important and generally overlooked angle to the history of the Second World War in Europe.
Sponsor: Holocaust Living History Workshop (UC San Diego Library and Jewish Studies)