The Holocaust Educational Trust is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend Eve Oppenheimer. 

Eve was born on 23 June 1936 in London into a secular German Jewish family. Her father Johann had worked for the Mendelssohn Bank in Berlin but, fearing for his family’s safety after the rise of the Nazis, had sent his wife Rita and sons Paul and Rudi to stay with his brother in Britain whilst he arranged a transfer to the Netherlands. Although the family joined Johann in Heemstede, by the Dutch coast, after six months in London, Eve’s British birth certificate would prove crucial to the family's story.

The German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, when Eve was not yet four years old, was followed by a barrage of legal restrictions on Dutch Jews and in May 1942 the Oppenheimers were forced to lived in Amsterdam. They were eventually deported to Westerbork transit camp in June 1943. However, as Eve had been born in the UK and was a British citizen, the family were classed as ‘Exchange Jews’, earmarked for possible exchange for Germans prisoners of the Allies. This allowed the Oppenheimers to remain in Westerbork until February 1944 when they were deported to Bergen-Belsen, which at that stage held many Exchange Jews. However, as tens of thousands of Jews from camps in the East were deported to Belsen over the next year, conditions deteriorated dramatically. Eve’s mother died in January 1945 and her father in March – Eve was just eight years old.

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On 10 April 1945, Eve, Rudi and Paul left on the last train from Bergen-Belsen. During the confusion, Eve was separated from her brothers and they were not reunited until after they had been liberated at Tröbitz in eastern Germany two weeks later. The children managed to return to the Netherlands in June, almost exactly two years after their deportation. Eve returned to the UK in September 1945 to be looked after by the uncle with whom the family had stayed when she was born; Rudi and Paul soon followed her. Eve later spent time in a children’s home for Holocaust survivors but she remained close to her uncle and worked for his firm after leaving school.

Eve is survived by her brother Rudi.