My wife Susan and I are currently in Amsterdam, visiting friends and celebrating the Christmas and Hanukkah seasons. Yesterday we met up with 88-year-old Rudy Klijnkramer, a long-standing family friend who as a young Jewish boy of eight years old was rescued and harbored by my parents during the Holocaust. Rudy’s parents were hidden on a farm near Alkmaar and the family was reunited after the war. But more than 100,000 of Amsterdam’s Jews did not make it.

The other day Rudy took us to the memorial wall at the Jewish Museum, which contains the names and ages of all the Jews who were murdered by the Nazis. He particularly wanted me to see the name Sigmund Boekdrucker, a Polish Jew who was part of a resistance group with my parents ­– Gerald (Theo) and Gerta Van Raan — and others who firebombed a Nazi administration building that housed the identification records of the city’s Jewish population.

Sigmund was arrested and eventually executed but he never gave up any names. I am named after him, definitely a legacy of honor as well as a legacy of emotions.

In 2012 my parents were honored as Righteous Gentiles by the State of Israel for their part in the rescue of Jewish children and the resistance movement against the Nazis.

At the Jewish Museum, Rudy also took us to a spot where there are at least 20 names of Klijnkramer, all related to Rudy as cousins, uncles, aunts and distant relatives — ranging from four years old to 85 years old at the time of their murders.

Rudy put on his yarmulke and took out a paper with the Kaddish prayer. After reading a few lines, he stopped and started weeping. My wife Susan, who is also Jewish, took over the prayer reading.

As I stood watching, listening and remembering, I was reminded that holocausts happen, wars happen, in particular when we start forgetting.

After the museum visit, we went to dinner and Rudy recounted a story about a Christmas Eve he spent as a young boy with my parents in The Hague in 1943. It was a festive evening with my father’s nine siblings all in attendance. But Rudy described being sad and sullen. He missed Hanukkah, spinning the dreidel, lighting the menorah. He missed his parents.

When Rudy and my parents arrived home that night in 1943, my father asked Rudy and my mother to wait outside for a few minutes while he attended to something. When he called them inside and brought them into the dining room, they saw a small Christmas tree lit with candles, and beneath it a Christmas creche. Next to the tree was a menorah, made of a coat hanger and tin foil.

My mother grew anxious, Rudy said, knowing that displaying a menorah could get everyone arrested or worse. My father said not to worry, that the Nazis were all too drunk with their Weinachten drinking and singing.

On the floor under the menorah were presents. Rudy told us at dinner that the sight filled him with joy. My father then gave him a match to light the candles and Rudy said the prayer or as much as he knew: “Baruch A ton Adinoi. And they all lived happily ever after.”

Rudy opened his presents and received some coloring pencils, a blank book to make drawings, an orange and some chocolates. There was also a present his parents had somehow managed to smuggle to him: a small wooden barn that opened from the top and contained tiny wooden animals. Rudy placed them in front of baby Jesus in the creche and said that they would protect the baby from the bad soldiers.

Rudy told us he could still recall how cold that night was, and that while my father shoveled another bit of coal in the furnace, he snuggled on the couch with my mother who was pregnant with my older sister.

It was a cold Christmas Eve and the world was at war. But it was also Hanukkah for Rudy.

In Amsterdam, we toasted this memory, along with the photos Rudy shared of his family: two daughters, six grandchildren — all with husbands, wives or partners. There are great-grandchildren on the way, he added.

Sig Van Raan lives in West Tisbury.