There are no answers, just more questions.

For several years I have been on a quest to find answers, initially about the death of my Grandfather, but also why the Holocaust happened.

In the case of my Grandfather I have found something like an answer, or at least something I can live with.

However when it comes to the Holocaust I have discovered there are no answers, just more questions. The picture above is of the Cordoza and Abas families.

Only the 3 youngest boys survived, The other 13 people were murdered. Among them was Sara Abigael Cardozo born in Amsterdam, 29 November 1937 .Murdered in Auschwitz, 21 October 1944.Reached the age of 6 years.

Below is a picture of Friedreich Josef Bier. Born in
Düsseldorf, 22 September 1927. Murdered in Bergen-Belsen, 29 November 1944 He Reached the age of 17 years. He was the son of Julius Bier and Berta Bier-Lewin. I share my birthday with his mother Berta. Friedrich’s siblings survived.

I don’t understand the hate, the randomness of the murders. Why children ? I know that especially Himmler spread the lie that the children would take revenge. But when did that actually happen after any war where Children took revenge on the death of their parents, on a large scale?

Another thing that I can’t understand is why so many stood by and did nothing. For fear? Allegedly Hitler told one of his inner circle that the world stood by when the Armenian Genocide took place and did nothing. He reckoned it would be the same with the genocide of the Jews, Gypsies, Homosexual and so many others.

Why are there still today , November 29,2022 people saying that the Holocaust never happened?

Finishing up with a poem of Martin Niemöller as a reminder that the hate and ignorance that caused the Holocaust has not gone away, it is merely lurking in the shadows waiting for the time to strike again. There are no answers just more questions, but that doesn’t mean I will stop looking

“First they came for the Communists and I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”


Karl-Heinz Rosch-Hero without glory.

History of Sorts

Hate is never good, it clouds judgement and mind. I am not only saying this to those who read this but more so to myself.

I have written so many pieces about World War 2,and although I have always been careful not to put all the blame on the Germans but more on the Nazis, for all the horrors. But because of the fact that my country was occupied by the Germans, and that my Grandfather was killed by them. Also only hearing bad thing about the Germans from my parents ,aunts and uncles, it is no wonder I developed a hate for the Germans.

However writing about the war and the Holocaust, and doing the research, has given me more balanced view. Over the years I have to come to admit that not all Germans were bad and not all Dutch were good.

Karl-Heinz Rosch was a young German…

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The Re-Burial of Hannie Schaft

There were very few Dutch who defied the Nazi occupiers, this is not to judge, because I was never put in that situation and I just wouldn’t know what I would have done. But it is a fact that there were only a few who offered resistance.

Hannie Schaft was one of those few. Born Jannetje Johanna (Jo) Schaft on 16 September 1920. She became known as “the girl with the red hair” (Dutch: het meisje met het rode haar). Her secret name in the resistance movement was “Hannie.”

On 1 March 1945, NSB police officer Willem Zirkzee was executed by Hannie Schaft and her friend Truus Oversteegen, in Haarlem. On 15 March they wounded Ko Langendijk, a hairdresser from IJmuiden who worked for the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), a Nazi intelligence agency.

Hannie was eventually arrested at a military checkpoint in Haarlem on 21 March 1945 while distributing the illegal communist newspaper de Waarheid (literally ‘The Truth’), which was a cover story. She was transporting secret documentation for the Resistance. She worked closely with Anna A.C. Wijnhoff. She was brought to a prison in Amsterdam. After much interrogation, torture, and solitary confinement, Schaft was identified by her former colleague Anna Wijnhoff, by the roots of her red hair.

She was executed by Dutch Nazi officials on 17 April 1945. Although there had been an agreement between the occupier and the Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten (‘Dutch resistance’) to stop executions, she was shot dead three weeks before the end of the war in the dunes of Overveen, near Bloemendaal. Two men, Mattheus Schmitz and Maarten Kuiper, a Dutch policeman, took her to the execution site. Schmitz shot her in the head at close range. However, the bullet only grazed Schaft. She is said to have allegedly told her executioners: Ik schiet beter! (“I shoot better!) after which Kuiper delivered a final shot to her head. Kuiper was sentenced to death after the war.

Hannie was buried in a shallow grave in the dunes. On 27 November 1945, Schaft was reburied in a state funeral at the Dutch Honorary Cemetery Bloemendaal. Members of the Dutch government and royal family attended, including Queen Wilhelmina who called Schaft “the symbol of the Resistance.”


I’m Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust

The title of this post is from a 2005 documentary produced by MTV(yes MTV) It stars a number of famous actors reading excerpts from diaries of young people who lived during the Holocaust, most of them were murdered.

The full length movies is included in this post, but I also picked out 2 excerpts of two of the diarists mentioned in the documentary.

The first one is from the diary of Dawid Rubinowicz., dated April 10,1942. The reason why I picked that day is because April 10 is my birthday. Dawid Rubinowicz was born 27 July 1927 in Krajno, Poland, and murdered in September 1942, aged 15, in the Treblinka extermination camp. He was a Polish Jewish boy. His diary was found and published after the end of World War 2.

April 10, 1942

“They’ve taken away a man and a woman from across the road, and two children are left behind. Again it’s rumored that the father of these children was shot two days ago in the evening. …The gendarmes were in Slupia and arrested three Jews. They finished them off in Bieliny (they were certainly shot). Already a lot of Jewish blood has flowed in this Bieliny, in fact a whole Jewish cemetery has already grown up there. When will this terrible bloodshed finally end? If it goes on much longer then people will drop like flies out of sheer horror. A peasant from Krajno came to tell us our former neighbor’s daughter had been shot because she’d gone out after seven o’clock. I can scarce believe it, but everything’s possible. A girl as pretty as a picture—if she could be shot, then the end of the world will be here soon.”

He was still 14 when he wrote this. What strikes me in his words is that he talks about Gendarmes. Let that sink in for a second and think of it what you like. I know what it means but if I say is I know I will be getting emails from certain organizations threatening me with legal actions, because the truth is not there to be told.

The second excerpt is from the diary of Ilya Gerber. It is dated November 27,1942, 80 years ago today.. He was 18 at the time. The excerpt is about life in the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania. Ilya was murdered on April 28, 1945, on the verge of liberation, Gerber was shot and killed while marching forcibly from Dachau to Wolfsratshausen, Germany. He was not yet 21 years old.

November 27, 1942.

“I haven’t written since the nineteenth because there was no very important Jewish news, except that brigades have lately been smuggling in [food] not in their pockets, and not in little packages, but in fact in whole bundles… Mostly, when the ghetto commandant stands by the gate, the bundles or packages are confiscated and you sometimes feel his whip. But if he is not there it costs you whatever it takes to grease the palm of the partisan [Lithuanian auxiliary serving the Germans] or the policeman and you pass through undisturbed.”

Similar to Dawid Rubinowicz’s observation Ilya makes a reference to partisan, what that means is mentioned in the excerpt too, I don’t know if it was added by Ilya or of it was added later to put it in context for the readers. But also if you read between the lines you will recognize the implication of this.


Sinterklaas in WW2

One thing that always surprises me in any war, any particularly World War 2, is that so many aspect of normal life still happened. The Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas (St Nicholas aka Santaclaus) on December 5, but he usually arrives in the country mid November.

This is one of the celebrations which still continued during World War 2. Following are just some impressions.

Mobilized Dutch soldiers surprised with a visit from Sinterklaas and his servant. The good saint hands out surprise gifts to the soldiers, December 1939.

Commando troops of the Commando-Brabant/Regiment Commando-Brabant during the Second World War. Soldiers of the 8th company during a Sinterklaas celebration in December 1944.

Sinterklaas or collaborator? Visit of Arthur Seyss-Inquart to the Leerdam glass factories, where a large St. Nicholas party was organized for poor Leerdam children. Here Sinterklaas shakes hands with Seyss-Inquart.

Seyss-Inquart was the Reich commissioner for the German-occupied Netherlands. he shared responsibility for the deportation of Dutch Jews and the shooting of hostages.


Just three names if the 1.5 million.

Sometimes I feel like just giving up posting about the Holocaust, but I know I can’t.

It is not always the images that upset me, more often it is that lack of images that get to me. There are no images because the victims were just too young and were born in captivity, so there were no facilities to have a baby portrait taken. Parents could not show of there beautiful angels to friends and families.

These are just three names, with three connections and one fate.

Leo Jack Mathijse: Born in Amsterdam, 26 November 1942. Murdered in Auschwitz, 27 August 1943 Reached the age of 9 months.

Max Jack Stern: Born in The Hague, 26 November 1942. Murdered in Sobibor, 5 March 1943.Reached the age of 3 months

Roosje Gobets:Born in Amsterdam, 26 November 1942.Murdered in Sobibor, 2 April 1943 Reached the age of 4 months.

The connections; they were all born this day 80 years ago. They all were born under occupation, and they all were in Westerbork at some stage.

The one fate; they were all murdered before they were 1 year old.


Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor

On November 27 1936, the movie ‘Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor’ was released. The movie has brought me quite a bit of childhood trauma. It was used to facilitate a lie. I was told that if I would follow the diet of Popeye I too would get his superhuman powers. But I never did .

Ok, joking aside who wasn’t told that if you would eat spinach you’d become as strong as Popeye?

Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor is a 1936 two-reel animated cartoon short subject film in the Popeye Color Feature series, produced in Technicolor and released to theatres on November 27, 1936 by Paramount Pictures.[3] It was produced by Max Fleischer for Fleischer Studios, Inc. and directed by Dave Fleischer, with the title song by Sammy Timberg. The voice cast includes Jack Mercer as Popeye and J. Wellington Wimpy, Mae Questel as Olive Oyl and Gus Wickie as Sindbad the Sailor.

In 2004, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

This short was the first of the three Popeye Color Specials, which, at over sixteen minutes each, were billed as “A Popeye Feature.” It was also the first Popeye color cartoon in general. Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor was nominated for the 1936 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons, but lost to Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony The Country Cousin. Footage from this short was later used in the 1952 Famous Studios Popeye cartoon Big Bad Sindbad, in which Popeye relates the story of his encounter with Sindbad to his 3 nephews.

The Popeye Color Specials, also including Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves, and Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (both of which were also adapted from a story featured in One Thousand and One Nights) are in the public domain, and are widely available on home video and DVD, often transferred from poor quality, old, faded prints. A fully restored version with the original Paramount mountain logo opening and closing titles is available on the Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Volume 1 DVD set from Warner Bros.

Producer and special effects artist Ray Harryhausen stated in his Fantasy Film Scrapbook that Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor was a major influence on his production of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

In 1994, the film was voted #17 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field, making it the highest ranked Fleischer Studios cartoon in the book.


Nineteen trains Westerbork-Sobibor

History of Sorts

In 1943, 19 trains left Westerbork for Sobibor. Over 34.000 men, women en children from The Netherlands made this journey. Not knowing where they would go, thinking they would be resettled. Most these people were all murdered within a five-month time span, after arriving in Sobibor. Only 18 people out of all these Dutch transports to Sobibor survived the war.

On March 2, 1943, the first train with 1105 people departed from Westerbork camp to Sobibor. After a journey of three days, the train arrived on March 5.

The last train that left Westerbork for Sobibor left Westerbork on Tuesday, July 20, 1943. This was transport 19. In the cattle cars, there were 2209 men, women and children. No survivors.

I am not able to tell the stories of all 34,000 victims, but I can tell the story of a few of them.

Catherina Veffer-Appelboom arrived in Westerbork on 23…

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The 80th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Death Camps – Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka 27.2.22

History of Sorts

Once again I had the privilege to attend a session organised by the Ghetto Fighters’ House museum. A very informative session and also very chilling the witness accounts.

The third program in the series, “Rethinking the ‘Final Solution’ and the Wannsee Conference 80 Years Later”, will present a multidisciplinary look at the three Operation Reinhard camps and how they operated. Dr. Tamir Hod, historian at the Ghetto Fighters’ House, will present his most recent research on the daily life of the Ukrainian collaborators in Belzec and Treblinka. The archeologist Yoram Haimi will discuss his long-term work in the Sobibór Archaeological Project and the importance of his findings.Hannah Wilson, a PhD candidate at Nottingham Trent University and Content Director for World ORT, took part in the project with Haimi, and will discuss the Sobibor uprising that took place in October 1943 whose narrative has marginalized the experiences of women in the…

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The Jedwabne Pogrom-July 10,1941.

History of Sorts

I knew this is going to be a controversial blog, even though there should not be any controversy about it. It is based on facts, but unfortunately there are quite a few people who don’t want to accept the facts.

Today, July 10, marks the 81st anniversary of the Jedwabne pogrom, a horrific event in the Holocaust when Polish residents of the town of Jedwabne, in cooperation with German police, massacred at least 340 Jews living there.

Polish-American scholar Jan Gross published a controversial account of the pogrom entitled Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish community in Jedwabne, Poland, which revealed that while Germans allowed the pogrom to occur, it was the Polish townspeople who murdered their Jewish neighbors.

Jedwabne was one of the territories occupied by the Soviet Union following the respective Nazi German and Soviet invasions of Poland at the start of the war, and the Russians even put…

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