1942 - 1943: Operation Kidnap
efforts to save as many people's lives as possible was
aided by members of the Dutch Resistance, who driven by
their humanitarian hearts, selflessly risked their own
lives. These accomplices to Walter's operation
transported captive children to verified addresses of
people who would home them. However, the Operation Kidnap
itself would have been impossible to accomplish if it was
not for certain key players. Suskind was responsible for
organizing and running the show.
The basic structure of the organization was to change Nazi files by taking off names from lists and forging signatures of approval. A few others were allowed into Suskind's world of secrecy; among them was Felix Halverstad, whom Suskind trusted a great deal, and S.S. Lieutenant Alfons Z˝ndley, who was among a small minority of Nazi members to realize the dreadful immorality of what was taking place. Then, when the people on the original list were brought to the theater for transport, the people whose names were deleted would virtually disappear with the aid of Suskind and the Dutch Resistance.
Many did not learn of the gas chambers until late 1943; therefore, Suskind and his aides would usually take off the names of children in families with the hope of returning them to their parents when they come back from whenever they were being taken. However, it soon became obvious that the parents who had passed off stuffed pillows as their children would never be reunited with their young ones.
The details of the operation are revealed in an October 21, 1990 Boston Globe article:
But little did they know that Suskind stopped at nothing to interrupt the flow of lives into the eternal darkness. He had hired prostitutes to work on the third floor of the theater so as to distract the guards and allow crucial rescues to take place. Many times, the children were sedated so that they would not expose the whole remarkable ploy. Etty Rottenburg was one of the most important helpers Suskind had. Working as a nurse in the Amsterdam day-care center, she had held numerous tiny trembling hands and looked into questioning eyes as she snuck away children who saw their parents carted away to their deaths.
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