The following is a Congressional tribute to my father less than 1 month after his death by then Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania. [Congressional Record Volume 153, Number 112 (Friday, July 13, 2007)] [Extensions of Remarks] [Page E1512] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov] TRIBUTE TO RABBI NARDUS GROEN ______ HON. JOE SESTAK of pennsylvania in the house of representatives Thursday, July 12, 2007 Mr. SESTAK. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize and honor the life of a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, son, veteran, and community leader--Rabbi Nardus Groen, who passed away on Wednesday, June 13 after living a full life of community service. Rabbi Nardus Groen was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on December 18, 1919 and grew to become a hero and a family man. As a member of the Dutch Underground during World War II, Rabbi Groen was captured by German soldiers multiple times and heroically managed to escape each time. One particular act of heroism occurred in 1940 when Groen was guarding a Jewish hospital in the Netherlands during its evacuation. Although the patients had escaped, Groen was protecting a group of Jewish nurses as the Nazis approached. Selflessly, he slipped on a Red Cross arm band and escorted the nurses into a room. When the Nazis asked who was in the room, Groen explained that he was caring for patients with Scarlet Fever. Fearing the illness, the Nazis spared the Jewish nurses, including Groen's future wife, the former Sipora Rodriguez-Lopes. After World War II, Rabbi Nardus Groen served at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina under the American Marine Corps. Following his stint with the Marines, Groen worked as a psychologist at a Jewish orphanage for Holocaust survivors. He helped countless youths cope with one of the greatest tragedies in human history. Two years later, he began to serve as a rabbi at the oldest congregation in the Western Hemisphere in Surinam. Groen led a mixed Sephardic Ashkenazic congregation in Surinam until 1952 when he served as a rabbi in Einhoven, the Netherlands. He became one of the foremost leaders of his community, uniting two different cultures in one synagogue. Nardus Groen moved to Lansdale, PA as a renowned rabbi in 1963 where he served as Beth Israel Synagogue's rabbi for 13 years. He provided guidance and spiritual leadership to Beth Israel's community, helping his community grow to the vibrant Jewish center it is today. Groen moved back to Europe and retired in 1986 as the chief rabbi for the eastern six provinces of the Netherlands. He lived what he preached and will be remembered across the Netherlands. After his retirement, Rabbi Groen and his loving wife Sipora lived in the Netherlands and Delray Beach, Florida after his retirement before permanently settling in Florida in 2005. Rabbi Groen spent his last years as a loving father to Marcel Groen, Leo Groen, Ruben Groen, David Groen, and Debra Groen; a loving brother to Meyers Groen and Sophia Groen; a loving grandfather and great grandfather to twelve grandchildren and six great grandchildren; and a loving husband to Sipora Groen. Madam Speaker, I ask you to join me in honoring and remembering Rabbi Nardus Groen. Through his hard work, Rabbi Groen has spread hope across three continents and will be remembered as a strong leader, a caring mentor, and a true mensch.
March 26, 2012