Matching family tree profiles for Hedwig (Hedy) d'Ancona
About Hedwig (Hedy) d'Ancona
Hedy d’ Ancona,
born in the Hague on October 1 1937.
By Janny Nieboer
She is a Dutch white woman with a Jewish father. Her father was brought up in a religious Jewish family, but he himself was not religious. He was a socialist and an intellectual. The oppression by the Nazi occupation force made him rapidly into a “Jew”. Her father was in concentration camps for 4 years. He died during transportation in open cattle-carriages during the winter of 1945 in Poland, 2 weeks before the liberation. She was an only child until the age of 9. Her mother remarried a widower with 4 small children and her second husband died, when Hedy was 14 years old. Then she was the oldest of 5 children. Hedy has not been brought up with active religious practise. I do not know her class background, probably middle class, but when her mother widowed again, she became poor and had a very hard life.
Hedy had experience with migration through her grandfather, who had fled the Russian-Polish army and could not return home. In his moods of nostalgia, she comforted him with her cheering character. Hedy has no active memories of her father. She moved around a lot during the Second World War. Hedy went to the Secondary School HBS-B for only girls until 1955. After finishing this she studied Social Geography and Sociology at the University of Amsterdam and graduated in 1963. She was active in student’s cabaret. She worked in the very new public television from 1962 until 1965. After that she started working as a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam for 10 year, was the director of a policy research institute, went to be a member of the Dutch Senate, was the secretary of state for Emancipation policy for 9 months in 1981- 1982. From 1984 she went to be a member of the European Parliament and was the chair of the Commission on Equal Right for Women. She later came back as the Minister for Welfare, Health and Cultural Affairs for 5 years. Ending her active working in Politics with another 5 years in the European Parliament. Hedy d’Ancona was one of the founders of the Second Wave of the women’s movement. She founded the feminist magazine Opzij in 1971 and was editor-in-chief for the first 10 years. She also was one of the cofounders of the organisation Men/Women and Society. She was always a social democrat and a leftwing organizer and politician. She was a good friend of Joke Smit, and encouraged her to write the article ‘Het onbehagen van de vrouw’ (Women’s unhappiness) in ‘67, that started the second wave of feminism in the Netherlands.
She was married and had 2 children, divorced and raised the kids by herself, while being in Belgium and France to work in the European Parliament during the week. Her daughter Hadassah, born in 1971 is now also working in television. Hedy is now a grandmother, active in various national and international public organisations, like Oxfam International and the National Ethnology Museum. With her goodbye at this museum in 2003 she organised a small exhibition with the theme ‘The Personal is Political’, which is showing now. In 2001 she made 3 documentaries about top women in Europe.