Jan-Peter's father, Heinz, was a German-Jewish refugee who married Henriette De Leeuw, a Dutch-Jewish woman. Frightened by the Nazi dictatorship and the murder of Heinz's uncle in a concentration camp, they emigrated to the Netherlands when Henriette was nine months pregnant. They settled in Amsterdam.
1933-39: Jan-Peter was born soon after his parents arrived in the Netherlands. He was 18 months old when Tommy, his baby brother, was born. In 1939 the parents and brother of Jan-Peter's father joined them in the Netherlands as refugees from Germany. Jan-Peter and Tommy grew up speaking Dutch as their native language, and they often spent time at their mother's family home in the country.
1940-44: The Germans occupied Amsterdam in May 1940. Despite the German occupation, 6-year-old Jan-Peter did not feel much change in his day-to-day life. Then just after his ninth birthday, the Germans sent his grandmother to a camp called Westerbork. Six months later, Jan-Peter and his family were sent to the same camp, but his grandmother was no longer there. During the winter, the Pfeffers were sent to a faraway ghetto called Theresienstadt where Jan-Peter felt cold, scared, and hungry.
On May 18, 1944, Jan-Peter was deported with his family to Auschwitz. He was gassed on July 11, 1944. Jan-Peter was 10 years old.