A Joint Rescue Effort of Dutch Idealists and Dutch-German Zionists
The book about the Westerweel Group tells the fascinating story about the cooperation of some ten non-conformist Dutch socialists and a group of Palestine Pioneers who mostly had arrived in the Netherlands from Germany and Austria the late thirties. With the help of Joop Westerweel, the headmaster of a Rotterdam Montessori School, they found hiding places in the Netherlands. Later on, an escape route to France via Belgium was worked out. Posing as Atlantic Wall workers, the pioneers found their way to the south of France. With the help of the Armée Juive, a French Jewish resistance organization, some 70 pioneers reached Spain at the beginning of 1944. From here they went to Palestine. Finding and maintaining the escape route cost the members of the Westerweel Group dear. With some exceptions, all members of the group were arrested by the Germans. Joop Westerweel was executed in August 1944. Other members, both in the Netherlands and France, were send to German concentration camps, where some perished.