Flory Van Beek (1914–2010)

Author of Flory: A Miraculous Story of Survival

Includes the names: Flory Van Beek, Flory A. Van Beek, Flory A. Van Beek

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Flory Van Beek, née Cohen, was born to a Jewish family in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She was a teenager at the outbreak of World War II. She tried to escape with her boyfriend Felix Levi, a German-born Jew who would later become her husband. They obtained passage on a ship bound for South America that was sunk by the Germans in the North Sea. Flory and Felix survived and were allowed to recover from their injuries in England before being sent back to Holland. Their further efforts to leave the country were interrupted when Germany invaded in May 1940. Flory and Felix were hidden by Piet Brandsen, a member of the Dutch Resistance, in his home, where they assisted with his work. After Brandsen was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944, Flory and Felix were sheltered by another courageous Dutch family until the end of the war. Flory and Felix emigrated to the USA in 1948, taking the surname of Van Beek in honor of Flory’s mother Alijda Van Beek Cohen, who had died at Auschwitz. Flory brought with her a suitcase full of papers, diaries, and photographs that she had buried while in hiding that now represent one of the largest collections from The Netherlands in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. She published her autobiography in 1998 originally as Flory: Survival in the Valley of Death; it was later published as Flory: A Miraculous Story of Survival in 2008.
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