Her Story

Vera Nathans was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on August 1, 1943. To protect her from the Nazis, her parents, Ans and Hemmy Nathans, placed her in hiding with two nurses from a children's hospital in Haarlem, Netherlands, before they were deported to Bergen-Belsen. Nathans was hidden with two other children, including a boy nearly the same age named Nico Visjager. One of the hospital’s nurses, Corrie Blauuw, claimed that Vera and Nico were her illegitimate twins. Vera's parents survived Bergen-Belsen and she rejoined them in Beverwijk, Netherlands.

Vera married Sandy Semel in 1965 in Bussum, Netherlands. The couple relocated to Scarsdale, New York, and had three children, Susan, David, and Adam.


Vera Nathans Semel

Image Information here
False ID belonging to Vera's mother, Anna Philine Nathans-Paerl; she used this until it was discovered that she was Jewish. Her parents were in hiding at the time, someone told on them, the sculptress who was hiding them was killed, and they were sent to Bergen-Belsen. They were hidden underground, under the wooden floor in the living room—her father developed a huge stone on wheels to go under the loose planks in the floor. Other people were in hiding with them, and one of them was so impressed with the rock that he talked about it, and thus they were revealed.