How a northern beaches couple found love after surviving the Holocaust

Thousands of books have been written about the horrors of the Holocaust.

There have been many stories to tell, of trauma, loss, heartbreak and survival.

But amid the devastation of the World War II genocide of about two thirds of Europe’s Jewish population, there was love.

This is a story about all of these. Especially love. And a hefty dose of serendipity.

Michel and Renee Gompes knew each other as children growing up in Amsterdam.

Mrs Gompes was just nine when the German Nazi army invaded Holland, and spent most of the war hiding in and around Amsterdam, often helped by the Dutch Resistance.

“I remember all of it,” she said.

After the Resistance ran out of safe houses, until a friend of her mother offered a bold solution — to hide them in almost plain sight in the storeroom of a post office in the heart of Amsterdam, and right across the road from the German Club, where Nazi soldiers stayed.

Mrs Gompes now knows she was hiding about four kilometres away from where famous schoolgirl Anne Frank was also hiding.

When the war ended, she and her family were free to walk the streets again and celebrated the miracle that they were all still alive.

“I was luckier than Anne Frank, I survived, she didn’t,” she said.

Read the article by Amanda Sheppeard in The Daily Telegraph (Manly Daily).