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May 7, 2021 11:33 am
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Trevor Noah Hosts 98-Year-Old Jewish Resistance Fighter, Holocaust Survivor on His Comedy Central Show

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Selma van de Perre and Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.” Photo: Screenshot.

A Jewish resistance fighter and Holocaust survivor talked about her experiences in World War II during her guest appearance Wednesday night on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”

Noah, who changed the name of his show to the “Daily Social Distancing Show” due to the coronavirus pandemic, introduced Selma van de Perre by saying she has “lived a life that is remarkable, filled with triumphs, trials [and] tribulations.”

Van de Perre, 98, lived in the Netherlands during the Holocaust, where she tried to help Jews obtain passports, travel papers, food, and transports during the Nazi occupation. When she was captured, she was sent to Germany’s Ravensbrück concentration camp and forced to work on an assembly line manufacturing gas masks for German soldiers.

Van de Perre — who recently published her memoir, “My Name Is Selma” — was not raised as a practicing Jew but said that after the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, all Jews were made to feel “like an outsider.”

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“My great grandparents were very religious, but my father was a very great liberal,” she explained. “We lived a life among Christian people, and we were just one of them. It was not felt [that] we were Jewish — that changed when the Germans came in.”

She added, “We were thinking the end would come soon, in fact it came later than we thought, but it was said at the time that [the Nazi occupation] would only be six months. The Netherlands was neutral in the First World War and the whole population thought that this time we would be neutral as well, and no occupation would be considered. So when it did come, it was a great surprise.”

The Holocaust survivor made her appearance on the talk show the same day that the Netherlands celebrated 76 years since its liberation from Nazi occupation. She talked about the important of commemorating the Holocaust and said every year she visits Ravensbrück with a group of men and women who are training to be teachers, so she can share her story with them.

“Every morning when I wake up I’m glad that I’m alive,” she told Noah. “[And] I very much realize the fact that I’m alive and many, many, many thousands of people are not.”

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