Born in 1924 in the Netherlands he became involved, after the Nazi’s occupied the Netherlands, in efforts to rescue Jewish people by trying to find hiding places for them. Although 13 Jews could be saved, he was distinctly embarassed about the small percentage of people willing to assist.
Of the 81 families he visited only 7 agreed to harbour Jewish people. Particularly the reasons they gave to explain their refusal caused him great concern. These reasons never reflected anti-Semitism and were seldom based on fear for Nazi-sanctions (which he had anticipated), but were mainly reflecting a dramatically inadequate upbringing, like making kids believe that one gets in life what he or she deserves. Thus, people in trouble must have made serious mistakes!
To counteract these dangerous forms of prejudice he devoted his life to disseminate through the New York based Contemporary Holocaust Education Foundation a curriculum named "Moving Towards Respect" and an exhibit "Choices". Both assist teachers and students in overcoming educational shortcomings.
Before he entered this activity )after World War II) he became an economist and an auditor, primarily for the Dutch and the Indonesian Government.
In 1965 he met Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father and the only surviving member of his immediate family. At Otto’s request he joined the board of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Shortly after he became its managing director, serving as such from 1967 till 1989. Subsequently, till 1999, he was its International Director, mainly working with the Anne Frank Center USA.
He has been featured in numerous newspaper & magazine articles, and on A&E and History Channel networks. His planned speaking engagement for Rachel's Challenge scheduled June 20th 2014 had to be cancelled.
In 1999 he was embroiled in a deep controversy following his disclosure that he possessed five previously unknown pages of Anne Frank’s diary, which Otto Frank gave him, with the instruction not to release until he and his (second) wife could no longer be confronted with its contents.
Meanwhile the Dutch State acknowledged his ownership, whereupon he donated these papers to the Dutch government, that owns already all other parts of Anne’s diary.
The State has shown its appreciation by spontaneously undertaking to fund the aforementioned Holocaust Education Foundation, an in-service teachers training institute, he had established in 1999 and that started its work in January 2001, gradually expanding its seminar activities all over the United States.
Op 4 juni 2014 overleed in de kring van de familie,
vredig en na een ontegenzeggelijk bijzonder leven
Cornelis Suijk geboren op 10 augustus 1924 te Hilversum.
Cor heeft Mia en zijn kinderen altijd in het hart gedragen.
Hij dankt al zijn vrienden en bekenden, wereldwijd,
voor hun vriendschap, loyaliteit en ondersteuning.
De crematie heeft 11 juni
in besloten kring plaatsgevonden.
Jaap, Joop, Els, Alex, Robert, Suzan
1015 GJ Amsterdam
(15 juni in
NRC Handelsblad familieberichten)
|June 14th - text may expand coming weeks|