The former ‘Maison Mazard’ in Le Soler, now destroyed, was a safe house for Dutch refugees, Jews and resistance members fleeing the nazis in the 1930s.
Dutch vice-consul working in Perpignan, Joseph Willem Kolkman was honoured posthumously in May 2013 as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem for taking in, providing food and shelter, and arranging safe passage for many thousands of escapees.
Herman Grishaver passed through Maison Mazard in January 1941.
He tells us more……
“Kolkman’s rescue work was from 1940 to early 1943. He rented the Maison in January 1941 to house the refugees while engineering escapes over the Pyrenees or exit visas out of France for them.
He did other underground resistance work which put him on the German hit list.
He was captured in early January 1943 trying to escape to Spain himself, and eventually sent to Camp Dora (slave labour making rockets) where he fell ill, and then died on a train to a concentration camp in Poland.
My family, with me as a 1 year old, passed through Maison Mazard in January 1941.
Check out Yad Vashem’s entry regrading Kolkman for more details.”