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Sentences in Kidnapping of Jewish Orphan Spur Hunt for Girl

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Following the sentencing yesterday of four persons charged with kidnapping a Jewish war orphan, 14-year-old Anneke Beekman, by a Netherlands court. Dutch and Belgian authorities intensified the hunt for the girl and two of the four persons convicted of spiriting her away from her legal guardians.

The sentences yesterday followed years of negotiations, court action and an international hunt which resulted from the refusal of two sisters, the Misses Elisabeth and Gertrude van Moorst, to return the girl to the Jewish community. They took care of Anneke since 1943, when her parents were deported by the Nazis, and brought her up as a Catholic. A number of years after the war, the Dutch courts awarded the child to the Jewish community, but the the sisters refused to give her up and spirited her away to a Belgian convent, which was raided unsuccessfully on two separate occasions in attempts to find her.

At present Miss Elisabeth van Moorst, who was sentenced to one year in absentia, and the nun, Mother Superior of the Belgian convent where the girl was hidden, are both missing together with the girl. The Mother Superior was sentenced to six months in prison, the priest to two months and the other van Moorst sister, Gertrude, to eight months. Two other suspects, another Mother Superior and a cousin of the van Moorsts, were acquitted.

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