Baby name story: Albert Dirk Thomas Franklin

Liberation of the Netherlands, 1945
Liberation of the Netherlands, 1945

The Netherlands were occupied by German forces for most of WWII.

During that time, many Dutch Jews went into hiding. The Bouwman family of Haarlem, for instance, was split up between two homes: Parents Mozes and Sophie Bouwman hid with one family, while their children Lion and Koosje hid with another.

In early 1944, Sophie discovered that she was pregnant. Registering a baby would have been dangerous, both for her and for the family sheltering her, so a plan was hatched: a nearby childless couple (Vivian and Catherine Rowe) would stage a fake pregnancy, and, when Sophie gave birth, the Rowes would take the baby in and pretend it was their own.

On September 2, 1944, Sophie — being “attended by a doctor and nurses sworn to secrecy” — welcomed a baby boy.

The child was named Albert Dirk in honor of the two men who had helped the Bouwmans find a home for their other two children.

As planned, over the next couple of days, the baby was smuggled out of the hospital and transported (via bicycle) to the home of the childless couple.

On September 4, the Rowes “joyfully announced the birth of a son, whom they named Thomas Franklin.” Notably, they took care of him through the hunger winter of 1944-45, “selling many of their personal possessions in order to buy food for him.”

Finally, in May of 1945, the war ended. They baby could be returned to his parents.

As an expression of gratitude, the Bouwmans added the name the Rowes had given him to his original name.

Though I couldn’t find any official records for the baby, at least one family tree website suggests that he was indeed given all four names: Albert Dirk Thomas Franklin Bouwman.


Image: Allied planes over Holland – Nationaal Archief

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.