Chatham High School renames library to honor Maud Dahme

Chatham High School dedicated the Maud Peper Dahme Library on Mar. 7, and held an event to honor Dahme.

Dahme is a “hidden child,” one of the survivors of the Holocaust who lived with other families in order to hide their identities.

Dahme started her presentation discussing how silence became the language of the child survivor, recollecting how her parents would never speak of it, so she didn’t for many years.  But, after moving to the United States and hearing a comment from a Holocaust denier on a television program, she felt compelled to share her story. 

Dahme reflected on how the Netherlands initially became a refuge for the German Jewish population who were escaping Hitler’s rule and the expansion of the Third Reich. Once Germany invaded the Netherlands, Dahme spoke of how quickly the Jewish population was deprived of rights and their property, leading to their eventual deportation to concentration camps. Dahme’s parents arranged for her and her sister to escape to a rural section of the Netherlands through a friend working for the Dutch resistance.

Dahme recalled how, as a six-year old child, she and her sister were given new names by their host families. She recalled many stories of how others hid in barns and underground. Many of those who were in hiding were discovered due to the large number of Nazi conspirators who shared locations and hiding places with the authorities.

Dahme recalled someone sharing a piece of chocolate with her during the liberation celebrations, which led to the title of her 2015 memoir, Chocolate, The Taste of Freedom. Dahme talked about her trepidation at being reunited with her parents after three years. Both of Dahme’s parents survived by hiding in a friend’s attic. Dahme told the audience that the reason her family survived was because there were people who cared enough to hide them, risking their lives doing so. 

After Dahme’s presentation, she shared photos of her life and her family, while answering questions from the audience.