UGR Final Report
Kuno van der Horst’s family reached out to Prof. Hearst earlier this year telling him that they had found our previous paper, “The Helpers of the Secret Annex – A Study Guide,” from last summer while working through the Undergraduate Research Program. They were excited to find this information seeing as they had never seen anything about their father like this. They began to exchange emails and soon agreed to let us do another paper focused on Kuno. This is how we gathered most of our information. The van der Horst’s kindly allowed us to use the documents they had regarding their father and his family. This opened up the doors to Henny, his wife, and Catharina, his mother. We began to learn more about the family and the connection they had to Miep Gies, one of Anne Frank’s helpers.
From the help provided by the van der Horst family our research was practically complete. Since the family hardly had any information about them online the majority of our information came from the family themselves or previous research we had done last summer. It was a majority of personal memories from Kuno, Catharina, or Henny that we used and some interviews. These memories gave us their stories during World War II and the experiences they went through while living in Holland. The memories held details of Kuno hiding in Amsterdam with Miep and Jan Gies, Catharina helping to hide Jews before they personally lost their home from Nazis and of the things they all did to survive during the war.
This paper Prof. Hearst and I did this summer is similar to our paper from last summer and the experience has been just as great. It’s been very eye opening to read their personal stories during this time period and gain a little bit more knowledge on the environment of World War II. Having the opportunity to read their memories and to hear from their personal family has left me feeling in awe of how little time has passed from then to now. This has truly just left with me with a stronger sense of what to do during times like these and to read about people who set the example of not backing down during hard times has been a fulfilling experience. World War II has always been one of my favorite topics to learn about due to the intricacy and historical prominence it has inflicted for years to come and to get to discover more details that not many know about has only left me feeling proud of the work we’ve done.
As this is now my second year participating in the program I’ve learned so much and grown since when I first began. My research skills have expanded and my ability to write has improved tremendously throughout the entire experience. It has helped me learn how to communicate with professionals and also my time management in getting things done to respond for the benefit of the project. At times I would get stressed feeling as if I had no idea what I was doing, but Professor Hearst would help me and I would find that it wasn’t that stressful and I did know what I was doing but I needed to push myself.
Ever since I first met Professor Hearst back in the 2017 spring semester he has helped me grow a writer and given me opportunities to expand on my writing credits. He has diligently worked with me to improve my technical skills and critical thinking when it comes to writing and researching. Through him I have also gotten to learn more about people I would have probably never gotten the chance to learn about. The last two papers have been a wonderful learning experience and it is all thanks to Professor Hearst.