What is courage? Yettie Mandels is the definition of courage. She had strength in times of pain and grief and hope for a better tomorrow. Yettie was willing to do the unthinkable in outrageous circumstances. Courage is a thing we all strive for, and Yettie achieved it. She was literally fearless and never afraid to face her fears. Lets face it , she was one of the many lucky survivors of the Holocaust.That is courage.
Pregnant and struggling to stay free, Yettie Mendel was a very brave and courageous woman. Yettie grew up in a very large family as a Dutch Jew. In 1942, she married, and the next year she became pregnant. She has always been trying to escape the NAZI’s. A year before she got married she received a letter from German authorities telling her to got to the train stations at once. She refused and pushed everything away knowing she was wanted by the NAZI’s. She was determined to survive. Going against German authorities was a very brave decision, but it was the only thing she could do in order to survive. In October, the first round up of the Jews took place. They took Yettie and her family to the Amsterdam ghetto. The rest of her family never made it to the ghetto. She was alone. Alone in an unknown location with people she didn't know. Yettie explained it as,” You could never feel safe, not even for one hour.” Alone in an Amsterdam ghetto all by yourself. I could only imagine how lonely and hard it would have been.
She had enough courage to leave the ghetto without her husband. Her friend that was helping them escape said that they would come back the next day to get him. It was too risky to take both at the same time. Yettie was pregnant so she needed to leave first. Unfortunately, the next day brought bad news for her. Her husband was taken to Sobibor, after a raid, where his life was ended. Yettie stayed in the Hague. After a few months of living there the Gestapo came to their house looking for Yettie’s brother. He ran out the back of the house when they came, Yettie was the only one left. Because she was nine months pregnant she could run away. Instead she pretended she was in labor. It scared the NAZIS. They left her alone. That same night she meet a woman who gave her her own identity papers. Yettie was now an unwed mother. She changed who she was. Not only did she become fearless against the NAZIS, but she changed her whole identity.
Her son, Bobbie was born soon after. It was hard to find a family to go to with her and her son. In fact, it was impossible. She made the courageous decision to send her son away to safety in north Poland. She was willing she sent her 3 month old baby boy away. She was alone, yet again. Yettie said,” You can't imagine what its like- utterly impossible.” Yettie escaped the NAZIS a couple times more. One night after the Germans invaded the house she was in (not taking her) ,she said,” I wasn't at all afraid. I felt very secure. I don't know why, but I didn't believe that anything more could happen to me after that horrible night when I was nine months pregnant and the Germans tried to take me away. From that moment I had lost my fear.” Those words in itself explain Yettie and her extreme courage. Fear was no longer an option for her.
After staying with that family for a while longer she took a job as a live- in maid. While cleaning out one of the drawers in the house she discovered that she was working for the Dutch National Socialists-- NAZIS. She stayed knowing it was one of the safest places to be according to a man that also worked there. Later,she left and took a job to be a nurse. She worked with a very nice man that always had a smile on his face. She worked there until the end of the war. As for most people, she attempted to have a normal life again. I would assume that would be a very hard thing to do. One day being chased down by people wanting to kill her, and the next being told to live as it was before the war.
Yettie Mendels is a extremely courageous woman along with millions of other Holocaust survivors. She put her life, and her sons life on the line, not just once, but five. She didn't let the yellow star sewn onto her clothes take over her life. In fact, it made her stronger. It made her stand up for her religion and go against the NAZIS. The Holocaust permanently scared people and left them scared that this might happen again. There could never be a feeling of safeness brought back to them. Courage and willpower helped all of the millions of survivors and rescuers heal. The survivors of this horrific event should all, including Yettie, be respected, and never forgotten.