Congressional tribute to Rabbi Nardus Groen

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.
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