Just call me Harry

Philips, Hartog (Harry)

Growing up in a Dutch village.


Hartog (Harry) Philips was born at the ends of World War I in the village of Groento in Eastern Holland. The eldest of four boys, Harry grew up in a close and loving family. They were butchers who also owned the only abattoir in the area. Harry’s hardworking mother could discuss politics and play cards with the men, give good counsel to the many who sought it, and bake the best cakes in the village. His father was secretly amused at the mischief his sons and their cousins got up to.

When the Germans occupied Holland, Harry was hidden by a remarkable organisation led by a Protestant minister, Dr Overduin. They found refuge for him with Jenny and Jaap MIgchelbrink,  a working-class family who hid him in their attic for almost two years, despite great risk to themselves. Harry writes, ′Apart from my own family, I count these wonderful people as my only mishpoche.′

This is a heart-warming story, told simply but with humour and insight.