Hartog Phillips

Title: Just Call Me Harry: Growing up in a Dutch Village
Author: Hartog Phillips
Publisher: Makor Jewish Community Library
Place of publication: Melbourne
Year of Publication: 2005
Location of Book: Rare Books Collection, Sir Louis Matheson Library, Monash University Clayton Campus
Cities/town/camps: HollandGroenlo, Enschede
Note: those cities/towns/camps underlined are those which are most central to the narrative

Just Call Me Harry tells the story of Hartog Philips’ life growing up in Holland, up until the end of the war. Pages 1-90 give Hartog’s family background and tell of life in Groenlo up until the outbreak of war. Pages 90-133 tell of his hiding out in Groenlo and Enschede until liberation. Pages 66-77 and 114-123 contain photos of his family and home town in Holland. Just Call Me Harry was published in 2005 by the Makor Jewish Community Library - after Hartog’s daughter discovered his written notes following his death in 1996.

Hartog (Harry) Philips was born in the village of Groenlo, Holland, in 1918. Hartog’s father and much of his extended family worked in the family meat business. Even as a child, Hartog helped out around the abattoir. A mischievous youngster, Hartog often got into trouble with his teachers or into fights with other students.

In 1939 Hartog was drafted in to the Dutch army, fighting against the German onslaught until the capitulation of the Dutch government in 1940. Hartog then returned to Groenlo only to face a steady increase in anti-Jewish persecution under the Nazi occupation. Jews were forced to wear yellows stars and their assets were confiscated. In 1942 Jewish men began to be captured and sent to work camps, or deported eastwards. Hartog narrowly escaped capture, often sleeping in farmhouses outside the village. In 1942 Hartog was approached by a patriotic Dutch humanitarian organization, led by a Protestant minister, Dr. Overduin, with an offer to help hide him from the Nazis.

Hartog hid out the remainder of the war in numerous safe-houses in Enschede. Hartog was liberated in April 1945 and upon returning to his home town, managed to reclaim his house from Dutch Nazi’s who had moved in. Unfortunately, all of Hartog’s family perished during the war. Hartog married in 1946 before moving to Australia in 1950.

Just Call Me Harry is a heart-warming story told with humour and enthusiasm. Hartog recounts pre-war life in Holland with some detail, the war years, however, receive a more general treatment.