Wednesday | October 17, 2018

Boeki, Jack

Jack Boeki’s World War Two story is a unique one.  Born in Rotterdam in 1925, Jack grew up with fond memories of the city and its people, and of his family and childhood.  All of it was shattered in May 1940, when the German blitzkrieg turned west towards the Netherlands, and Jack’s city came under assault.  The family lost everything in the bombing and was forced to start all over, amid mounting restrictions on Jews which saw Jack go into hiding. The family he was staying with soon after warned him that it had become too dangerous and Jack took off to avoid capture. From there, Jack obtained a fake identity and began his series of remarkable escapes, repeatedly eluding the grasp of the Nazis.  Jack left the Netherlands and escaped to France, where the underground put him in contact with agents of the American OSS, the original version of the CIA.  They arranged to get Jack to Britain, where his talents were recognized, and Jack was dispatched to the United States for military training.  In March 1944, as the liberation of occupied Europe drew near, Jack’s unit was ordered to England. Now an agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), he had received special training to uncover war criminals and would soon put his skills to use on his most important missions yet. On June 8, just two days after the initial D-Day landings, Jacks team of agents landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, France.

Jacks unit followed the US advance fighting forces that liberated France, Belgium and Luxembourg  liberating camps and arresting spies, collaborators and anyone who posed  a threat to the Allies.  When WWII ended in May 1945, Jack and his unit were assigned to the security force at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials.
Jack returned to Holland a few years later, only to learn that entire generations of his family were murdered in the Sobibor death camp. He was completely alone in the world. Soon after, he emigrated to Canada to start a new life and create his own family. Jack wrote his memoir to share his moving story of hope, bravery and perseverance against all odds, and we were very proud to host this sprite 92 year-old at Crestwood in December 2017, when he shared his memories with Mr. Hawkins’ and Mr. Masters’ students.  We would also like to extend our gratitude to Jack’s family, who helped us to set up his presentation and shared their materials with us.

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