The subject compelled us but at first we couldn’t tell you why. Many people, Jews and non-Jews, read every book and see every film but we had never done that. We questioned the fascination. Maybe, the Holocaust’s grip is in its revelation of new frontiers in human behavior. We ask Semmy Riekerk, a Dutch rescuer, what she had learned from the war and she answered: “I saw the best and the worst in human beings.” The Holocaust redefined our understanding of human character.
After the first interview, Gay and I knew our reason for meeting the rescuers was intimate and immediate. These people who had risked their lives to save others seemed to have found the meaning of life. Many of us struggle to find our purpose, our true work in the world. We earn money, win prizes and gain positions, and yet we still do not feel fulfilled. In their old age, the rescuers were at peace, knowing that the sacrifice they had made in their youth had given them far more than they had lost.
Seine, his wife and Arnold Douwes were part of a network of 250 in the town of Nieuwlande, the Netherlands, that found and provided shelter for hundreds of Jews.