The Legacy of Walter Suskind

How do you measure one's work in life?

For Walter Suskind, his work is seen through each of the more than 1200 people he saved. However Suskind's story has yet to emerge into the mainstream that it deserves. After World War II, his story became public only in bits and pieces. In Dutch history books there is often a paragraph or two on his accomplishments. In Amsterdam, a bridge is named in his honor. In the Dutch Theater in Amsterdam, a third floor meeting hall is named after him. But besides these few things, little has been done to preserve Suskind's story; until Maurice Vanderpol's work. When Vanderpol immigrated to the Untied States from Amsterdam, he brought with him the inspiration he received from Walter Suskind. He felt that Suskind was the key to building a bridge between his home in Amsterdam and his home in Boston. A bridge between his past and his future.

Vanderpol had worked on a way to bring Suskind's story to the public for many years but he was met with little success. However, in the mid-1980's, the Wang Theater in Boston was searching for funding for a program that would introduce inner-city youth to the performing arts. The Vanderpols saw this as a perfect opportunity. He saw an unprecedented connection between the Dutch Theater in Amsterdam which was the site of Suskind's "Operation Kidnap," and the Wang Theater in Boston. With the help of Joseph Spaulding, the Wang Theater's president and CEO, and many others, Vanderpol created the Walter Suskind Memorial Fund.

Throughout the years this fund has financially expanded to a point where it now contains over 2 million dollars. The Young at Arts program, which was created and runs of the contributions to this fund, continues to inspire and impact the lives of thousands of youths year after year.

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