Marga Grunberg

11.08.1924 - 21.12.2022
Marga Grunberg © Dutch Resistance Museum

Marga Grunberg was a 17-year old Jewish refugee from Germany. In the Netherlands she joined the resistance and distributed false papers, took people into hiding and helped to set up an escape route to France.

Because of anti-Semitism in Hitler Germany, Marga Grunberg fled to the Netherlands with her family in 1934. When the Netherlands was occupied in 1940, one anti-Jewish measure after another was introduced.

From 1941 Marga had to attend a separate Jewish school and as for all Jews a large ‘J’ was stamped in her personal identity card. From 1942 she had to wear a Star of David on her clothes. “In June 1942, the roundups and deportations began. As I was walking along the street close to home, a raiding van suddenly arrived to pick up Jews.” With help from a stranger Marga managed to escape. “But, from that anxious moment, I decided to adopt a new identity and dyed my hair blond.”

Through Piet Landweer, head of the Amsterdam Registry Office, she received a false identity card by reporting her card as lost. He issued her a new one without the required ‘J’. Marga also removed the Star of David from her clothes.

Piet and Marga began to work together. Piet Landweer provided false identity cards using the personal details of deceased Amsterdam residents. In the wake of an attack on the Amsterdam Registry Office by the resistance in March 1943, this became a bit easier: the chaos provided more opportunities to tweak documents. Marga’s job was to distribute forged papers, to find housing for people in hiding and provide them with ration coupons.

Marga went to live in Amsterdam with her mother and brother in the apartment above a Nazi sympathizer. “She saved our lives several times, without knowing it herself. When houses on our street were raided, for example, she opened the door and said that only pro-Nazis lived in her house. ‘In the lion’s den you are safest.’”In the apartment, Marga and her brother Manfred provided housing for people in hiding and organised an escape route to France.

Marga survived the war. Piet Landweer was arrested and executed along with five colleagues in the summer of 1944.