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Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
May 19, 1940
Carry Sherman was born Carry Knoop in Amsterdam in June 1939. Her family lived in a predominantly Jewish area in the flat above their tobacco shop. Her father worked in a diamond factory. She has no memories of her life in Amsterdam.
On the 14th May 1940, her uncle came to tell the family that there was an opportunity to get out of the Netherlands as the German army was approaching. Her parents, her maternal grandfather, paternal Grandmother, one uncle and one aunt managed to board a ship, the SS Bodegraven. They brought no luggage. After their arrival in Liverpool, they were sent to Wigan, then, because of the father’s profession in the diamond trade, to Bangor and later further south. Her parents joined Neerlandia, a Dutch organisation. Her mother later returned to Holland and lived in a home there until she died. They only joined a synagogue when Carry’s older sister, Selma, got married.
After finishing school, Carry trained with Marks& Spencer and worked in the accounts department until she had her first child. She met her husband in the West Central Club, a Jewish organisation. They joined Pinner Synagogue and embraced Jewish community life. She is still involved in Pinner Synagogue and is also a volunteer with the AJR.
Key words: Knoop. Amsterdam. Diamond trade. Bodegraven. AJR volunteer
I found out for a start, my sister and I always wondered how we got to Ijmuiden, the port, and I found out that there were three – there’s either three or five bus coaches from Amsterdam that went to IJmuiden, and it was all arranged by Truus Wijsmuller who was a friend of the children of the orphanage there. All I know how we got these buses is, my uncle coming to my parents’ shop and saying he could get my sister Selma and me away. They were coming back in an hour’s time for a decision. When he came back he said, ‘There’s room for you as well.’
When I was at school- I didn’t know I was Jewish at that time, and I thought I was different because I wasn’t born here [UK], in the junior school that was. Where I got to senior school, I felt different. I did feel different then, and then it was – as I said before, I didn’t know we were Jewish, and it wasn’t until I was about fourteen or fifteen that I knew that I was Jewish.