When Jeannine Burk was three years old, her father took her on a streetcar across Brussels. He rang a stranger’s doorbell, kissed his daughter goodbye, and left her with the woman who answered. He would be arrested by the Gestapo in a roundup of Jewish citizens, and later died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz.
From 1942 to 1944, Burk remained hidden in the home of the Christian woman. She had food and shelter but little else. When Nazis paraded nearby, her helper ordered her to the outhouse. Burk would peek out through a gap between the boards, then back into the darkest corner.
In 1944 British soldiers arrived. Soon after, her mother, back from hiding in the countryside, came for her. Burk never saw her helper again. “I am 80 years old, and I still cry,” says Burk. “I never had a chance to say thank you.”