Carla Meijer Benninga was born in 1928 in The Hague. Her family stayed there until they, like the rest of the Jewish Dutch, were forced to relocate to Amsterdam. Upon the beginning of the war in Holland in May 1940, Carla’s family attempted to leave but the port was crowded with people with the same intentions.
Trapped, the Meijers stayed in Holland and experienced the increasing restrictions of Nazi occupation. They wore yellow stars, lost their bicycles and radios, were banned from public transportation, forced to shop during limited hours, and only allowed to receive education in Jewish schools—all while forbidden from mingling with non-Jews. In February 1943, Carla’s family was forced to migrate to Amsterdam and in May they were separated from each other. Underground workers took Carla and her sister to different locations.
Carla stayed with a Catholic family in the south until the father was arrested and killed. For a year and a half Carla stayed with roughly a dozen different families. The underground assisted with communication between the Carla and her family. However, they did not know the locations of one another.
The American Army liberated the south of the country in September 1944. Seven months later Carla’s parents sent her a letter informing her that they were at Westerbork, a Dutch transit work camp.
After the war, Carla attended university. In 1950 she and Benno Benninga (a fellow hidden child) married and moved to the United States.