Simon Walvisch was born in Amsterdam, 1 on 9 March 1882.He was murdered in Auschwitz, on 1 October 1942. Reached the age of 60 years
He was a son of Jacobus Mozes Walvisch and Schoontje Zeeman. He married Rosette Abram, a daughter of Simon Abram and Judith Presser, on 29 June 1904 in Amsterdam. About four months later, on October 23, 1904, twins were born: Judith and Jacob Walvisch. However, both children died soon after birth: Judith died on November 13, 1904 and Jacob three days earlier, on November 10, 1904. After the twins, two more children followed: on April 12, 1906, Schoontje was born and on July 21, 1907 Judith. She was called Jute.
Simon’s wife Rosette Abram, however, died on December 30, 1923, and she is buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Diemen.
Less than a year later, on September 18, 1924, Simon Walvisch married Nathan Melkman’s widow, Susanna Swart, a daughter of Jeremias Swart and Saartje Leuw.
In her first marriage to Nathan Melkman, Susanna had a daughter, Flora Melkman, who was born on September 21, 1919 and who was adopted as a stepdaughter into Simon’s family after the marriage of Simon Walvisch and Susanna Swart. On October 22, 1925, another daughter was born from Simon Walvisch’s second marriage to Susanna Swart, viz. Sophia Walvis.
Flora’s father, Nathan Melkman, died on August 21, 1920, aged just 27. He is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Diemen.
Simon Walvisch was murdered on 1 October 1942 in Auschwitz together with his second wife Susanna Swart and their joint daughter Sopiha Walvisch.
Simon’s children from his first marriage to Rosette Abram also did not survive the Holocaust either ; Schoontje was married to Samuel Sluijser and had two children with him, viz. Maurice and Rosette. The entire Sluijser-Walvisch family was murdered on 9 July 1943 in Sobibor.
The youngest daughter from Simon and Rosette’s first marriage was Judith Walvisch, called Juutje. She was married to Jeremias Swart and had two children with him: Ronny and Alfred. Ronny was murdered on 11 June 1943 in Sobibor together with her mother via the Kindertransport from Vught. Her husband Jeremias eventually ended up in Bergen Belsen where he died on December 17, 1944.
Flora Melkman, the daughter of Susanna Swart and Nathan Melkman, married Dorus Abraham in 1941. Both were murdered on September 30, 1942 in Auschwitz.
Three generations of one family murdered. Why??
I could have taken any name of the 559 Dutch Jewish citizens who were murdered on October 1,1942 in Auschwitz, but the fact that Simon’s whole family was murdered just got to me.
I don’t think I have to tell anyone who Elie Wiesel is. But for those who don’t know him, I’ll give a brief overview who he is.
He was born in Sighet (in Transylvania, now a part of Romania, but part of Hungary between 1940 and 1945) on 30 September 1928 and grew up in a Chassidic – and thus Orthodox Jewish – family.
After the Nazis had moved occupied Hungary in 1944, the Wiesel family was deported to the Auschwitz extermination camp . Elie Wiesel’s mother and younger sister were murdered in the gas chamber there. In 1945 Elie and his father were sent on to Buchenwald, where his father died of starvation and dysentery. Seventeen-year-old Elie was still alive when American soldiers opened the camp.
After World War II, Wiesel became a journalist, prolific author, professor, and human rights activist. He was Distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies at the City University of New York (1972–1976). In 1976, he became the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, where he also held the title of University Professor. During the 1982–83 academic year, Wiesel was the first Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in the Humanities and Social Thought at Yale University.
For any further information on Elie Wiesel I am giving you some homework to do. We live in an era where nearly any information you want to get , is at the reach of your fingertips. Do some research on Elie Wiesel on the internet or go in to a library and find one of his books.
The title of this post is a quote from Elie Wiesel of an interview he had with Georg Klein, a fellow Holocaust survivor, in 1986. The clip below is appropriately titled “The world is not learning anything”
It shames me to admit that Elie was so right, the world isn’t learning from its mistakes and history.
On this day his birthday I hope we all pause for a moment and contemplate what world we want to live in. Do we want hate to rule once more? Or do we want love to conquer? I know what I want.
Leaving you with some of Elie’s quotes:
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
“Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.”
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”
Vital Signs is a 1984 album released by one of my all time favourite bands Survivor. I was a bit reluctant to buy the album because Survivor had changed singers, from Dave Bickler to Jimi Jamison. However it turned out to be one of their best albums.
On it there was a track called “It’s the singer not the song” and I actually forgot how good that album and that particular track were.
I also think it is a true statement that a good singer makes the song. I was never a great Bob Dylan fan but I like a lot of his songs , sung by other singers.
This blog is a tribute to some of the finest Rock singers, well at least in my opinion. So sit back, relax and enjoy.
Geleen is a small former mining town in the province of Limburg, in the south east of the Netherlands. It is not a particular famous place, although it is the place where the first professional football was played in the Netherlands, and it used to host one of the world’s biggest rock festivals’PinkPop’
It is also the place where I was born and a boy called Philibert Steinbach. Most of us will have seen the picture of his sister ,Settela Steinbach.
Philibert Steinbach was born in Geleen on September 4, 1932. On May 16, 1944, Philibert Steinbach was arrested in Eindhoven. From May 16, 1944 to May 19, 1944 Philibert Steinbach was imprisoned in Camp Westerbork. From May 22, 1944 to August 3, 1944 Philibert Steinbach was in the Gypsy Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Sinti and Roma had to live in assembly camps outside cities from 22 June 1943, such as…
In March 1938 Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany. The event is known as the Anschluß. On March 12 1938 the first German troops marched into Austria, they were met with no resistance, the majority of Austrians welcomed the Anschluß.
Five months later Mauthausen concentration camp went in to operation.
Mauthausen was a Nazi concentration camp on a hill above the market town of Mauthausen,approximately 20 kilometers east of Linz, Upper Austria. It was the main camp of a group with nearly 100 further subcamps located throughout Austria and southern Germany.
An estimated 197,464 prisoners passed through the camp system between August 1938 and May 1945. At least 95,000 died there. More than 14,000 were Jewish.
Mauthausen was one of the most brutal and severe of the Nazi concentration camps. The prisoners suffered not only from malnutrition, overcrowded huts and constant abuse and beatings by the guards and kapos,but also…
On September 29, 1943, Amsterdam was declared ‘Judenrein’. (Free of Jews) This happened after a major raid, in which 5,000 people, including the board and employees of the Jewish Council, were arrested and transported via Amstel station to camp Westerbork.
Those who were able to avoid the raids ended up in hiding places. A countrywide hunt for Jews in hiding was conducted. Several additional deportation trains left in late 1943 and early 1944. The solution of the Jewish ‘problem’ in the Netherlands was almost final. Against this background, and as Germany’s overall situation deteriorated, Arthur Seyss-Inquart wrote a summarizing report of the anti-Jewish campaign in the Netherlands.
“Reich Committee for the Occupied Netherlands Territories, The Hague to Party Chancellery Chief Bormann copies to General Commissars in Netherlands and Plenipotentiary Dr. Schroeder
February 28, 1944
Dear Party Comrade Bormann,
We have cleaned up the Jewish question in the Netherlands, insofar as now we only have to carry out decisions that have already been formulated. The Jews have been eliminated from the body of the Dutch people and, insofar as they have not been transported to the East for labor, they are enclosed in a camp. We are dealing here first of all with some 1,500 persons who have not been transported to the East for special reasons such as interventions by churches or by personalities who are close to us. In the main I have warded off the interference of the churches in the whole Jewish question in that I held back the Christian Jews in a closed camp where they can be visited weekly by clergy. About 8-9,000 Jews have avoided transport by submerging [in hiding]. By and by they are being seized and sent to the East; at the moment, the rate of seizures is 5-600 a week. The Jewish property has been confiscated and is undergoing liquidation.
With the exception of a few enterprises which have not yet been Aryanized, but which have been placed under trusteeship, the liquidation is finished and the property converted into financial papers of the Reich. I count on a yield of ca. 500 million Guilders [more than $250,000,000]. At some appropriate time the future utilization of this money is to be decided on in concert with the Reich Finance Minister; however, the Reich Finance Minister agrees in principle to the use of these funds for purposes in the Netherlands.
The question of Jews in mixed marriages is still open. Here we went further than the Reich and obliged also these Jews to wear the star. I had also ordered that the Jewish partner in a childless mixed marriage should likewise be brought to the East for labor. Our Security Police processed a few hundred such cases, but then received instructions from Berlin not to go on, so that a few thousand of these Jews have remained in the country. Finally, Berlin expressed the wish that the Jews in mixed marriages be concentrated in the Jewish camp Westerbork, to be employed here in labor for the moment. Herewith we raise the problem of mixed marriages. Since this matter is basic I turn to you. The following is to be considered with respect to marriages in which there are children: if one parent is brought to a concentration camp and then probably to labor in the East, the children will always be under the impression that we took the parent away from them. As a matter of fact, the offspring of mixed marriages are more troublesome than full Jews. In political trials, for example, we can determine that it is precisely these offspring who start or carry out most of the assassination attempts or sabotage. If we now introduced a measure that is sure to release the hatred of these people, then we will have a group in our midst with which we will hardly be able to deal in any way save separation. If, in short, there is a plan which is aimed at the removal of Jewish partners from mixed marriages with children, then the children of these marriages will sooner or later have to travel the same road. Hence I believe that it may be more appropriate not to start on this course, but to decide in each instance whether to remove the whole family or—with due regard to security police precautions—to permit the Jewish member to remain in the family. In the first case, the couple, complete with children, will have to be segregated, possibly like the Jews in Theresienstadt. But in that case one must remember that the offspring will get together to have more children, so that practically the Jewish problem will not be solved lest we take some opportunity to remove this whole society from the Reich’s sphere of interest. We are [now] trying the other way in that we free the Jewish partner who is no longer to have children, or who allows himself to be sterilized, from wearing the star and permit him to stay with his family. These Jews—at the moment there must be 4-5,000 in the Netherlands—remain under a certain amount of security police control with respect to residence and employability. For example, they are not permitted to direct an enterprise which has employees or occupy a leading position in such an enterprise. There are quite a few volunteers for sterilization. I believe also that we have nothing to fear any more from these people, since their decision indicates a willingness to accept conditions as they are. The situation with the Jewish women is not so simple, since the surgical procedure is known to be difficult. All the same I believe in time this way will yield results, provided one does not decide on the radical method of removing the whole family. For the Netherlands, then, I would consider the following for a conclusion of the Jewish problem:
The male Jewish partner in a mixed marriage—so far as he has not been freed from the star for reasons mentioned above—is taken for enclosed labor to Westerbork. This measure would signify no permanent separation, but action of a security police nature for the duration of exceptional conditions. These Jews will be employed accordingly and will also receive appropriate wages with which they can support their families who will remain behind. They will also receive a few days leave about once in three months. One can proceed with childless female partners in mixed marriages in the same way. We have here in the Netherlands 834 male Jews in childless mixed marriages, 2,775 [male] Jews in mixed marriages with children, and 574 Jewesses in childless mixed marriages. Under certain circumstances these Jews can return to their families, for example, if they submit to sterilization, or if the reasons for separation become less weighty in some other way, or if other precautions are taken or conditions develop which make separation no longer seem necessary.
The Jewish women in mixed marriages with children—the number involved is 1,448—should be freed from the star. The following considerations apply here: it is impossible to take these Jewish women from their families—the Reich Security Main Office agrees—if there are children under 14. On the other hand the women with children over 14 would in most cases have reached an age which would entitle them to request freedom from the star because it is hardly likely that they will have more children.
I am now going to carry out the Law for the Protection of Blood [prohibition of intermarriage and extramarital relations between Aryans and non-Aryans] in the Netherlands, and
make possible divorce in mixed marriages by reason of race difference. These four measures together will constitute a final cleanup of the Jewish question in the Netherlands. Since this regulation could in a certain sense produce a precedent for the Reich, even while in the long run the regulation of mixed marriages in the Reich will also apply in the Netherlands, I am informing you, Mr. Party Director, of my intentions in the hope that I may have your reactions. I wrote in the same vein to the Reichsfuehrer-SS [Himmler].
These are just a few random bits of World War 2 history.
The above picture is of Reich Commissioner Dr. Seyss-Inquart receiving a group of BDM girls: demonstration of gymnastics exercises. Netherlands, location unknown, September 29, 1941. What puzzles me is why would a 39 year old man be interested in a group of teenage girls, doing gymnastics? I can’t help but wonder if this was just the desire of a dirty old man gawking at young girls.
Germany. A submachine gun, a helmet and a Leica camera, the attributes for a war reporter/war photographers. September 29, 1941 location unknown. Ernst Leitz II was the owner of the Leica company during WW2, unlike some of the other big German companies to help his Jewish workers and colleagues, Leitz quietly established what has become known among historians of the Holocaust as the “Leica Freedom Train,” a covert means of allowing Jews to leave Germany in the guise of Leitz employees being assigned overseas. Employees, retailers, family members, even friends of family members were “assigned” to Leitz sales offices in France, Britain, Hong Kong and the United States. Leitz’s activities intensified after the Kristallnacht of November 1938, during which synagogues and Jewish shops were burned across Germany.
In October 1941, John F. Kennedy was appointed an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve, joining the staff of the Office of Naval Intelligence. After entering the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center in Melville, Rhode Island, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant (junior grade) in October 1942, and shortly thereafter ordered to report for duty as commanding officer of a motor torpedo boat in Panama. Prior to his departure, playwright Clare Boothe Luce, a close friend of the Kennedy family, sent the young naval officer a good luck coin that once belonged to her mother. On September 29, 1942, Kennedy wrote to Luce thanking her for sharing such an important token with him.
“I came home yesterday and Dad gave me your letter with the gold coin. The coin is now fastened to my identification tag and will be there, I hope, for the duration. I couldn’t have been more pleased. Good luck is a commodity in rather large demand these days and I feel you have given me a particularly potent bit of it.”
The general consensus is that once you introduce Hitler into a debate or argument you have lost that argument. I also subscribed to this opinion, however I have changed my view on this.
I believe, not comparing some current far right politicians to Hitler, is a mistake. For example, despite what Putin thinks he is, he basically has become a far right dictator, who is following a similar path as Hitler in 1936-1939. But Putin is is not only one.
Hitler didn’t start off as a dictator he gradually became a dictator, He started with legitimate political means. He also knew how to tap into the zeitgeist of the German population in the 1920s and 1930s, When I say the German population I mean the mainstream conservative German civilians. They were afraid that their values were slowly being eroded, although there was no clear evidence of that, it was the perception of the time.
They were not listened to by other politicians, Their concerns and fears were not addressed. Hitler did listen, he devised most of the Nazi policies, based on those fears.
The far right and far left movements, they are basically the same but in name, that are emerging at the moment globally are doing the exact same thing as Hitler did. But if you say that in a debate nowadays, you are immediately dismissed.
We should listen to all opinions and if there are concerns, be they real or just a perception, they need to be addresses and not dismissed.
In general I try to avoid posting graphic pictures, for 2 reasons really. Firstly I know from my own experience if something is too graphic I look away. Secondly we live in an era where so many people get offended by everything, and especially the truth, that the only option they feel they have is to get whatever offends them, cancelled.
However sometimes you have to face the reality of what the Holocaust really was, whether you like it or not.
In 1937, the Nazis constructed the Buchenwald concentration camp, 7 km from Weimar, Germany. The motto Jedem das Seine, or “to each his own” or “to each what he deserves”. was placed in the camp’s main entrance gate. The gates were designed by Franz Ehrlich, a former student of the Bauhaus art school, who had been imprisoned in the camp because he was a communist.
Below are just some examples of what the Nazis thought the prisoners of Buchenwald deserved. These photo are from a small photo album. The commentary on the album reads: ‘These photos were captured in 1945 by an American soldier, he says in the German concentration camp Buchenwald. The photos were taken by the Germans themselves, and they show what one person is capable of compared to another.’
In case you think these were bad, I have actually sanitized the pictures and didn’t post the even more graphic ones. Some of them will haunt me.
This is what well educated and cultured people are capable of doing. Give them a common cause, ‘cancel’ all other opinions and this what happens.
World War 2 officially started on September 3,1939 .Th Nazis wasted very little time in committing their first mass murder during the war. It was only hours after the war was declared.
The S.S. Athenia, was commanded by Captain James Cook, left Glasgow for Montreal via Liverpool and Belfast. She carried 1,103 passengers, including about 500 Jewish refugees, 469 Canadians, 311 US citizens and 72 UK subjects, and 315 crew. Despite clear indications that war would break out any day, she departed Liverpool at 13:00 hrs on 2 September without recall, and on the evening of the 3rd was 60 nautical miles (110 km) south of Rockall and 200 nautical miles (370 km) northwest of Inishtrahull, Ireland, when she was sighted by the German submarine U-30 commanded by Oberleutnant Fritz-Julius Lemp around 16:30.
U-30 tracked Athenia for three hours until eventually, at 19:40, when both vessels were between Rockall and Tory Island, Lemp ordered two torpedoes to be fired. One exploded on Athenia’s port side in her engine room, and she began to settle by the stern.
Chamberlain’s famous “this country is at war with Germany” broadcast was delivered shortly after 11 in the morning. The torpedo from U-30 struck the Athenia at 7:38 that evening. She was slow to go down, disappearing beneath the waves, stern first, at 11 the next morning.
At 7:38, just as the evening meal was being served, a violent explosion destroyed the engine room, plunging the dining room into darkness, sending tables and chairs skidding across the deck, and causing the ship to list to port and begin settling by the stern. The German submarine U-30 had attacked Athenia. The sinking of the S.S. Athenia, was in violation of the Hague conventions. Germany’s responsibility for the sinking was suppressed by Admiral Karl Dönitz and the Nazi propaganda.
While waiting to go to dinner, young Donald Wilcox of Dartmouth, N.S., had made his way to the very peak of the ship’s bow and was watching the waves curl away from the prow when the ship rose up several feet and then fell back down sharply. “I was almost thrown off my feet,” he remembered years later.
All the lights went out and the ship stopped dead in the water and began settling by the stern. The engine room, the galley, parts of the dining rooms and many staterooms flooded. People were separated and groped in the dark to find their way to the open decks before emergency lights came on. Crew members guided people with matches and flashlights, while James A. Goodson, 18, of Toronto, whose holiday in Europe had been cut short, swam through a flooded section of the ship to rescue struggling passengers, guiding them to what remained of the stairs.
All 26 lifeboats were launched, although there were difficulties in getting many of the women and children into them. Fortunately, distress signals were received by ships reasonably close by. Shortly after midnight, Norwegian freighter MS Knute Nelson arrived on the scene, followed by Swedish steam yacht Southern Cross, owned by the Electrolux millionaire Axel Wenner-Gren. They began taking on survivors from the lifeboats, looking after the injured and offering food and hot drinks.
As the night wore on, three Royal Navy destroyers reached the scene, HMS Electra, HMS Escort and HMS Fame. They also picked up survivors and provided food and dry clothing. In the morning, the American freighter SS City of Flint arrived and took people from Southern Cross and the destroyers before heading back across the Atlantic bound for Halifax. the navy destroyers sailed back to Scotland, sending their passengers to Glasgow. At about 11 a.m. on Monday, Athenia heeled over and sank stern first. Knute Nelson took survivors to the Irish port of Galway.
The Knute Nelson radioed to the harbour master, Captain T. Tierney, that they were making for Galway with hundreds of refugees. Captain Tierney quickly informed all the local authorities to be prepared to deal with disaster relief. A committee was formed on Monday evening, including Galway mayor Joseph F. Costello and the Catholic bishop of Galway Dr Michael Browne. The committee alerted Galway County Council, the Board of Health, the Central Hospital, local hotels and the local bus company. The mayoress, Mrs Costello, also organised a committee of 38 local women to lead the volunteers, including the Girl Guides, who would be essential in looking after the specific needs of the refugees. The Irish cabinet met in Dublin late on Monday and made £500 available to the mayor to provide food, clothing and medical care to the survivors.
Instructions were also sent to units of the Irish Army and An Garda Síochána(Police) to cooperate with local authorities in providing care and facilities, and the local schools were to be made available to house people. Seán T. O’Kelly, acting for the minister for education, made available the Preparatory College at Taylor’s Hill, Coláiste Éinde, to be used for refugees, as well as Galway Grammar School. The Irish Red Cross also started a subscription to raise money to assist the relief effort. Shortly before midnight on Monday a pilot boat went out to Black Head to meet the Knute Nelson and steer the ship into Galway roads to anchor. Some time in the middle of the night a tender from Galway, Cathair Na Gaillimhe, under Captain William Goggin, anchored in the roadstead to wait for the freighter. The tender carried a local priest, Fr Conway, Dr S. Ó Beirne and Dr R. Sandys, and below decks were a number of nurses. Units of the 1st Infantry (Irish-Speaking) Battalion were on board to carry the stretcher cases off the ship, and members of An Garda Síochána were standing by. While it was still dark, a launch took out to the tender several more doctors.
Of the 1,418 aboard, 98 passengers and 19 crew members were killed. Many died in the engine room and aft stairwell, where the torpedo hit.The British crews were said to be famous for putting the passengers’ lives before their own, and were expertly trained to handle such “events”; nonetheless, about 50 people died when one of the lifeboats was crushed in the propeller of Knute Nelson. No. 5A lifeboat came alongside the empty tanker and tied up, against advice, astern of No 12 lifeboat.Only 15 feet (5 m) separated the life boat from the tanker’s exposed propeller. Once No. 12 lifeboat was emptied it was cast adrift and began to sink. This fact was reported to the bridge of Knute Nelson. For some reason the ship’s engine order telegraph was then set to full ahead. 5A lifeboat’s mooring line or “warp” parted under the stress, causing the lifeboat to be pulled back into the revolving propeller.
There was a second accident at about 05:00 hrs when No. 8 lifeboat capsized in a heavy sea below the stern of the yacht Southern Cross, killing ten people. Three passengers were crushed to death while trying to transfer from lifeboats to the Royal Navy destroyers. Other deaths were due to falling overboard from Athenia and her lifeboats, or to injuries and exposure. 54 dead were Canadian and 28 were US citizens, which led to German fears that the incident would bring the US into the war. Besides the 28 US citizens who were killed, there were also a great number injured. Like Mrs. W.B. Sage, of Salt Lake City, Utah, shown here as she was carried from the S.S. Orizaba, which docked at New York, September 27 with 150 American survivors of the Athenia disaster, many of whom, like Mrs. Sage, were injured.
The fact that the first US casualties of war were those 28 civilians, only a few hours after the start of the war, makes me wonder why the Roosevelt Administration did not declare war to Nazi Germany.
A Canadian girl, 10-year-old Margaret Hayworth, was among the casualties, and was one of the first Canadians to be killed by enemy action. Newspapers widely publicised the story, proclaiming “Ten-Year-Old Victim of Torpedo” as “Canadians Rallying Point”, and set the tone for their coverage of the rest of the war. One thousand people met the train that brought her body back to Hamilton, Ontario, and there was a public funeral attended by the mayor of Hamilton, the city council, the Lieutenant-Governor, Albert Edward Matthews, Premier Mitchell Hepburn, and the entire Ontario cabinet.
Lemp later claimed that the fact the S.S Athenia was steering a zigzag course which seemed to be well off the normal shipping routes made him believe she was either a troopship or an armed merchant cruiser; when he realized his error he took the first steps to conceal the facts by omitting to make an entry in the submarine’s log, and swearing his crew to secrecy. Adolf Hitler decided the incident should be kept secret for political reasons, and the German newspaper Völkischer Beobachter published an article which blamed the loss of the Athenia on the British, accusing Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, of sinking the ship to turn neutral opinion against Nazi Germany. No one in Britain believed the explanation given by Nazi Germany.
As for my question in the title of the blog “Was the sinking of the SS Athenia the first Nazi atrocity in WW2?” I believe it was because they attacked and murdered men, women and children. Some of them had tried to escape the Nazi tyranny.