The Story of Tootje (Cato) Granaat 1926 – 2020
Tootje (Cato) Granaat was born in Amsterdam in 1926, the youngest in her family. She had a Jewish upbringing and happy childhood until the outbreak of the War, which in the Netherlands began in May 1940.
Her daughter, Melanie, explains what happened when the Granaat family tried and failed to flee to England and their experiences during the rest of the war. With increasingly harsh measures taken against Dutch Jews, some of the Granaat family went into hiding, some worked with the Resistance, and others were transported to Westerbork transit camp. Faced with deportation from Westerbork to Auschwitz, Tootje’s mother, Lily, declared her non-Jewish status which up until then had been kept secret. Tootje’s sisters Kitty and Liesje, both in the prime of their lives were compromised by the Nazi’s Nuremburg laws.
Life in occupied Amsterdam, resistance activities, deportation, death marches, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Sobibor are all covered by Melanie, as well as some acts of supreme kindness which contributed to the survival of Melanie’s mother, her aunts and uncle. Other members of the Granaat family were less fortunate and suffered the harshest of concentration camp conditions. A total of 41 were victims, murdered in the Holocaust.
Using interwoven first-hand accounts from Tootje and her immediate family, of what happened in Nazi occupied Amsterdam and in the concentration camps, Melanie’s presentation provides a story of bravery, endurance, loss and love supported by carefully researched historical content. The presentation slides are richly illustrated with personal and historical photographs, video clips, letters and maps.
Presented by Melanie Martin
Melanie Martin was born in Newbury and has lived in Australia, Norwich and southwest London. She enjoyed a happy childhood not strongly influenced by any particular religion. Melanie achieved a degree in Development Studies and a Masters level professional qualification in Human Resources. During her career Melanie worked in HR Management for Norfolk County Council and Singapore Airlines. In 1997 she became a reward strategy specialist consultant and in 2004 co-founded a company delivering HR consultancy and professional HR qualifications. This business was sold in 2022 which enabled Melanie to devote more time to travelling, writing and presenting.
Melanie published her debut book, War and Love in 2019. Her research for War and Love uncovered some previously untold events and included interviews with her mother and other family members, helping them to recall events which were painful to live through but which should not be forgotten. Melanie feels compelled to share their fascinating stories and ignite an interest in the Dutch Holocaust among a wide audience.