Remembering the Jews of Geleen

The photograph above might appear strange for a Holocaust story, but I posted it for a good reason. It is a chemical plant called DSM. At the edge on the top of the photo, you can see a few apartment blocks where I grew up, in the town of Geleen in the Netherlands.

The DSM was a daily reality for me. When I looked at it again today, I realized that there were several fellow-Geleen citizens that would have loved it if that chemical plant, ugly as it was, had been their daily reality. They never saw it because they were murdered. Below is a small poem I wrote for them a few years ago and the names of those murdered.

You are not different from me.

You eat the same food.

You read the same books.

But yet you are not free.

You are not free because of someone’s idea of you.

You are given a yellow star.

You are catalogued and numbered like cattle.

But yet you’re not an animal but a human too.

You are being killed in the vilest of ways.

You are a man, a woman, a child, a parent.

You are erased as if you were never here.

But yet you are remembered on many days.

You are not different to me but you are also not the same.

You are merely a number and a name on a list.

You are not listened to for you have no voice

But I pledge I will shout for you in loud acclaim.

 Last nameFirst nameBornDied*
1Freimark-AdlerHermine12-12-1876 Urspringen (D)14-05-1943 Sobibor
2BaumMax04-01-1907 Bauchem (D)31-03-1944 Auschwitz
3Cohen-Ten BrinkEsthella Carolina05-06-1904 Ootmarsum31-08-1942 Auschwitz
4Meyer-CahnJeanette (Jetta)18-12-1859 Leutesdorf (D)10-05-1943 Westerbork
5ClaessensAlbert19-04-1905 Obbicht30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
6CohenFrieda11-07-1924 Vaals31-08-1942 Auschwitz
7CohenHenny30-10-1925 Vaals26-09-1942 Auschwitz
8CohenJosephine09-07-1930 Geleen31-08-1942 Auschwitz
9CohenSimon01-05-1889 Midwolda31-08-1942 Auschwitz
10FreimarkErnst12-08-1936 Frankfurt (D)31-08-1942 Auschwitz
11FreimarkFriedrich27-10-1902 Marktheidenfeld (D)30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
12FreimarkKurt21-12-1939 Heerlen31-08-1942 Auschwitz
13Levy-GoldschmidtIrene15-02-1907 Rheda (D)30-11-1943 Auschwitz
14GoldschmidtJosef24-10-1867 Rheda (D)28-05-1943 Sobibor
15GoldsteenFrederik09-07-1918 Rheydt (D)15-08-1942 Auschwitz
16Levi-HarfRosalie27-10-1880 Mönchengladbach (D)28-05-1943 Sobibor
17Goldschmidt-JacobFrieda19-02-1869 Rheda-Wiedenbrück (D)07-10-1943 Maastricht**
18May-JacobsohnKlara14-05-1871 Neckarbischofsheim (D)14-05-1943 Sobibor
19Meyer-KaufmannBerta03-01-1912 Köln (D)31-08-1942 Auschwitz
20KaufmannMargard10-11-1928 Gronau (D)03-09-1943 Auschwitz
21KaufmannRichard30-06-1886 Moers (D)03-09-1943 Auschwitz
22Heimberg-KlestadtBertha28-12-1891 Büren (D)25-01-1943 Auschwitz***
23Claessens-KrzanowskaAjga17-03-1909 Zawiercie (Polen)31-08-1942 Auschwitz
24LebensteinIda16-05-1888 Ochtrup (D)28-05-1943 Sobibor
25LevyArnold27-05-1880 Wuppertal-Elberfeld (D)28-05-1943 Sobibor
26LevyHans Erich22-03-1911 Düsseldorf (D)31-03-1944 Polen
27LöwenfelsLuise05-07-1915 Trabelsdorf (D)30-09-1942 Auschwitz
28Freimark-MayGertruda16-02-1902 Niedermendig (D)31-08-1942 Auschwitz
29Winter-MayIrma Johanna30-08-1908 Niedermendig (D)31-08-1942 Auschwitz
30Goldsteen-MendelCarolina06-07-1880 Tetz (D)22-10-1943 Auschwitz****
31MeyerMax23-01-1900 Remagen-Oberwinter (D)30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
32RoerHelene14-09-1921 Zülpich (D)31-08-1942 Auschwitz
33RoerIlse20-02-1925 Zülpich (D)31-08-1942 Auschwitz
34Baum-SalmagneSophia12-06-1867 Eilendorf (D)16-11-1943 Bergen-Belzen
35WillnerPaul Siegfried05-06-1902 Aachen (D)30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
36WinterGustav01-11-1897 Korschenbroich (D)30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
37Kaufmann-ZilversmitAdele07-12-1890 Gronau (D)03-09-1943 Auschwitz

Anton de Kom—Son of a Slave and Resistance Fighter

History of Sorts


It is a well known fact that the Dutch like the British, French and Portuguese were a colonial power for centuries. The Dutch influence is still noticeable around the globe.

One of the Dutch colonies was Surinam a small country (but yet considerably bigger then the Netherlands) in South America between Guyana(former British Guyana) and French Guyana.

A fact that a lot of Dutch historians appear to overlook or ignore that the Dutch were also one of the biggest slave traders in the world.Slaves were also used in Surinam by the Dutch for the rich colonial occupiers, this was until 1 July 1863 when the Dutch, like other European countries abolished slavery.

Cornelis Gerhard Anton de Kom Born  22 February 1898 (1898-02-22) Paramaribo, Suriname. Died  April 24, 1945, Sandbostel, Germany.Was the son of a former slave.

A Surinamese resistance fighter and anti-colonialist author.

De Kom was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, to farmer Adolf de Kom and…

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Willem Arondeus—Dutch Resistance Fighter

History of Sorts

Willem Arondeus,often referred to as the gay resistance fighter. This always puzzled me because I really don’t know why his sexual orientation would bear any relevance to the brave acts he did. Willem Arondeus was a Dutch resistance fighter who gave his life trying to protect his Jewish countrymen from the Nazis

Willem Arondeus (22 August 1894 – 1 July 1943) was a Dutch artist and author, who joined the Dutch anti-Nazi resistance movement during World War II. He participated in the bombing of the Amsterdam public records office to hinder the Nazi German effort to identify Dutch Jews. Arondeus was caught and executed soon after his arrest.

One of six children, Willem grew up in Amsterdam where his parents were theater costume designers. When Willem was 17, he fought with his parents about his homosexuality. In a time when nearly all gay people were in the closet, Willem’s parents could…

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Forgotten History—Boy Ecury: Dutch Aruban Resistance Fighter

History of Sorts

Segundo Jorge Adelberto Ecury, better known as Boy, was born in Oranjestad, Aruba on April 23, 1922. He was an Aruban-Dutch resistance fighter in the Netherlands during the Second World War.

Ecury Boy Herman Morssink

He was born in Oranjestad, Aruba, an island of the Dutch Antilles.

His given name was Segundo Jorge Adelberto Ecury. But he went by the nickname Boy and it is by that name that he is remembered.


Ecury, was born the seventh of thirteen children from a Catholic family as the son of a wealthy businessman Dundun Ecury. He went from high school here to the Netherlands in 1937, where he graduated in trade education at the boarding school St. Louis Institute in Oudenbosch.


Being confronted early with violence, misery, domination and discrimination it led him on to be active in the resistance at the beginning of the war. Initially with his best friend, Luis de Lannoy, a fellow…

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Dr. Martin Földi at Eichmann’s Trial

Adolf Eichmann was executed on midnight 31 May 1962, in Tel Aviv. He was one of the main architects of the Holocaust.

Dr Martin Földi was one of the witnesses during the trial. There are a few lines in his testimony that describe the horrors of the Holocaust, from the perspective of a parent, better than any other testimony, at least in my opinion. Describing the moment in April 1944 when he lost his family forever:

“I couldn’t see my wife any more, she was swallowed up in the crowd. I couldn’t see my son any more either, he was swallowed up in the crowd, but my little daughter […] had a red coat, and that little red dot getting smaller and smaller—this is how my family disappeared from my life.”

That image of the girl in a red coat was used in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.

Dr Földi said:

“My daughter Orli was exactly two and a half years old, and I had bought her a red coat two weeks before.”

The question is often asked, “How do you get over a tragedy like that?” The answer is—you don’t. You just live your life the best as you can and look for those few moments that bring comfort and cherish them.


Confession of a Hitler Youth

I was going to give this piece the title Confessions of a Young Fan of Hitler, but I decided to stick with the one I am using.

Hitler thought that he who had the youth, had the future.

Alfons Heck (3 November 1928 – 11 April 2005) was a Hitler Youth member who eventually became a Hitler Youth officer and a fanatical adherent of Nazism during the Third Reich.

In the 1970s, decades after he immigrated to the United States via Canada, Heck began to write candidly of his youthful military experiences in news articles and two books.

Thereafter, he joined up with Jewish Holocaust survivor Helen Waterford, each presenting their differing wartime circumstances before more than 200 audiences, most notably in schools and colleges.

In 1991 he recalled his time in the Hitler Youth during an interview for HBO.

“I was captured on the seventh of March, 1945 in my hometown. During my captivity, I was forced to look at documentary footage of concentration camps and death camps. And I didn’t accept them.”

And I said to my friend, are they nuts? This is staged. I mean, anybody can pile up bodies.

The French were so incensed by our insensitivity when they showed us this that they began to wade into us and beat us with rifle butts. They said, “You goddamn Nazis. Don’t you know this? This is what you people did.”

In Germany in the 1930s, an army of approximately eight million children pledged their lives personally to Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. They were called the “Hitler Jugend,” the Hitler Youth. This is the story of one of these children. He would rise to high command, receive the Iron Cross from Hitler’s own hands, and live to tell this cautionary tale.

“I grew up in a small town in the Rhineland of Germany. Peaceful, small town. 8,000 population. Life was very quiet.

The first significant event in the life of the town occurred on the 7th of March in 1936, when Hitler decided to move German troops into the Rhineland. I was sitting on my Uncle Francis’s shoulders. The people just went stark raving mad when they saw German troops. And they were screaming, heil, heil. And he lifted me up and he said over there in the Mercedes– that’s Hitler.

I was infected by the obvious feeling of a nation that the whole town felt. Two months after Hitler became the chancellor of Germany I started elementary school, and I believe this is an aspect that is totally overlooked in our history books. Almost immediately, the Nazis exercised their very first priority, which was to captivate the young.

Twice a week we were taught racial science, which was a specific instruction to be able to differentiate us from the so-called inferior races. That’s when I heard for the first time the term master race.” They taught us about racial purity by the shape of your skull. They matched eye colour as an additional measure of the purity of the Aryan race. Very specifically, I remember clearly, our teacher indicating why, for instance, the Jews were different from us.

We were surrounded by newspapers that told us that the Jews had made war on us for the last 4,000 years. I remember seeing one movie that went much further. It was called Der Ewige Jude, which means The Eternal Jew.

Rats spread typhus, cholera, and plague. Just as rats are the lowest form of animals, so are the Jews the lowest form of mankind.

One thing we knew for sure– that you had to be on constant watch for Jews. The movie that made the biggest impression on me was not about Jews but about a Hitler Youth boy. It was called Hitlerjunge Quex.

It was modelled on the life of a real Hitler Youth boy, Herbert Norkus. He was a member of a Berlin Hitler Youth unit and he was giving out leaflets. He was caught by a bunch of young communists. They stabbed him, and he died with the words of the Hitler Youth anthem on his lips.

To me, it looked like heaven for the Hitler Youth, and I certainly wanted to go there.

Even before I reached 10, as soon as I could, I joined the Hitler Youth, on Hitler’s birthday in 1938.

I promise at all times to do my duty for the Führer, so help me, God. I had accepted the ideology. I had accepted what was being taught in school– in racial science. I had accepted fully the notion of the master race, but it really didn’t come together until I went to Nuremberg.

Nuremberg was the Nazi showcase. It was the annual Nazi Party conference, a high honour, indeed, to attend. It was my first long trip away from home alone. But more important than being away from home for the first time was the feeling, almost immediately, that you belonged to a very vast and important movement.

We 50,000 were a highly select group from all over Germany, representing eight million members of the Hitler Youth. Suddenly, at the tribunal, the Führer appeared with Baldur von Schirach, the vice leader of the Hitler Youth.

“Heil,” he said. “Heil, youths.” He called us his youths.

I stood in the first row because of my size, maybe 40, 50 feet from the podium. I said to my bunkmate, the Führer looked directly into my eyes. And he said, he looked into mine.

Hitler said we will be one people, one nation, and you, my youths, you are going to be that people and that nation. After he had uttered this sentence, I belonged to Hitler, body and soul.

He said before us lies Germany. In us, Germany marches, and after us comes Germany. It was mesmerizing to hear the Führer speak. That’s the feeling that I had at the end of Hitler’s speech. Suddenly, you had become invincible.

After my return from Nuremberg, life in the town seemed quite boring. But all of a sudden, on 9 November 1938, excitement broke loose. It was Kristallnacht, the night of the broken glass. It seemed like a frenzy of hatred, all of a sudden.

As we were crossing the marketplace, a van stopped, and there were perhaps 18, at the most 20 people on it.

One of them was shouting, let’s get to the synagogue and take it apart. Literally seconds later, the stained glass window came crashing into the road, and a few minutes later, one of the stormtroopers was up on the roof. And he released the rolls of the Torah, and he was shouting, wipe your asses with it.

Even to me, as a 10-year-old, the events of the Kristallnacht, my witnessing the brutality committed on townspeople that I had known all of my life, signified the end of German innocence. From now on, not one of us could ever maintain that we did not know what was in store for the Jews.

By the fall of 1940, the first deportations of the Jews of Germany began. One of the first ones occurred in my hometown. I recognized all of them, naturally, but there were some I had known intimately as a boy. I had no personal animosity toward them, but I felt, what a misfortune that they are Jewish. And I thought it was completely justified that for the survival of Germany, they needed to be deported.

Despite the fact that the first friend of my life, Heinz Ermann, was Jewish, within the space of six years, the constant Nazi indoctrination had made me totally indifferent to their fate. And I accepted the deportation as a just measure.

I fully believed that we, as the master race, were entitled to eventually rule the world. All Nazi functions worked on the principle of music and song. You always had the music in your ears. The Nazis really, in that sense, were unsurpassed masters.

I don’t know if the Germans are more sentimental than other people with singing, but as soon as you begin to sing, the words in a song seem to acquire meaning. In our Hitler Youth anthem, the flag version, these weren’t merely words. All of a sudden, they became a conviction. I think you can compare it to a religious revival meeting. It was soul-stirring.

By 1943, we had been fighting Russia for two years.

I was approaching 15 years of age when the German army surrendered at Stalingrad. I remember hearing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony followed by the announcement of Hans Fritzsche.

He very bluntly stated that our brave men in Stalingrad had surrendered. Stalingrad was the first time that I conceived that a German defeat might be possible. It was a terrible disaster.

The newsreels carried the call for the German people to defend their nation.

Goebbels asked, do you want total war?

And we said yes. The only coherent units in every German town were the Hitler Youth. Anything that normally would be done in the function of a city was run by the Hitler Youth. All young boys 11– 10, even, were asked to paint curbs in fluorescent colours, so they would be visible during the night during the air raids.

On 6 June, we were told at noon by our commander that the Allies had landed on the beaches of Normandy.

It was called D-Day, but for us Hitler Youth, it meant the enemy was on European soil. June the 6th was the most decisive day since Stalingrad for the Hitler Youth because it became quickly apparent that from now on, the total war effort would take all of us.

Hitler decreed the creation of the Volkssturm, the last-ditch defence of your own home territory.

Two things we had in abundance– bazookas, Panzerfausts, which were very effective up to a range of 200 yards. Even women were taught how to use them.

People who could still barely walk were being inducted into the Volkssturm, and they were rounded up by members of the Hitler Youth. Within two weeks, the age limit was lowered to 14, and at the very end of the war, in my own unit, I had boys of 12. It was the last sacrificial effort of the Hitler Youth to turn the tide for Germany.

Our greatest moment occurred early in October of 1944 when my gun crew shot down a B-17 Flying Fortress. The youngest boy in my unit was 13 and a half, and I was the oldest at 16 and a half.

We were so elated that we pulled into spontaneous shouts. The death-defying attitude of the Hitler Youth was such that even boys of 11, 12, and 13 had no greater wish than to earn a medal, the Iron Cross, for the survival of the fatherland. The idea of facing death, at no time, was that terrifying, because our fanaticism had prepared us for that possibility for years. The thing that you could do for Germany most was either to win or to die. It was better to die than to live in slavery.

Only 10 days before his suicide, it is fitting that Hitler chose to appear for the last time in public with members of the Hitler Youth. These were the only Germans he fully trusted. These were the only Germans eager still to die for him, even iwith the knowledge that Germany would go down. It was a fatal bond that bound us to the Führer to the very end.

The fatal bond between Hitler and his Hitler Youth was not even crippled by his suicide. Many thousands of members of the Hitler Youth kept on fighting to the very end, preferring to die rather than live in a country without their leader.

I was in the basement of my gymnasium in Wittlich, and I told Monika Mohn, who was Scharführer of the Hitlerjugend, as well as my schoolmate, that it was all over. And she said to me, we almost had it all. And I stood at attention, and I said, heil Hitler– the last time I did it.

I watched through the slit of our basement window as Sherman tanks moved into the centre of my hometown. And at that moment, I admitted to myself that Germany was finished. It was the only time in my life that I actively contemplated suicide. I pulled my pistol, and I stuck it in my mouth, and I didn’t have the courage to pull the trigger. I threw it against the wall, and I decided then to try and make it back to the German lines.

I was captured on 7 March 1945, in my own hometown. During my captivity, I was forced to look at documentary footage of concentration camps and death camps.

And it is the first time that I was shown the atrocities committed by our nation. And we looked at this. And I said to my friend, who do they take us for? This stuff is staged. And one of us began to snicker. And our captors became so incensed that they started yelling at us, you goddamn Nazi bastards, do you think this is a comedy? This is what you have done.

It was almost a year later before I was able to accept the veracity of the films that I had seen. And it occurred at the war crimes trials in Nuremberg in 1946.

When I arrived in the city of Nuremberg, I was stunned by the total change of the Nuremberg I had seen at the Nazi Party rally of 1938. While I listened on the loudspeakers outside, I heard the full evidence of the accusation directed at the 22 top Nazis who were on trial. One of them was my leader, the former leader of the Hitler Youth, Baldur von Schirach. He was the principal reason why I came to Nuremberg. I wanted to know what he had to say in particular in regard to the activities of the Hitler Youth.”

Von Schirach told the court–

“It is my guilt that I have trained youth for a man who became a murderer a million times over. Baldur von Schirach received 20 years for crimes against humanity, and that, in turn, implicated me, too, in the count of mass murder, because I had served Hitler just as fanatically as von Schirach.

I had an overwhelming sense of betrayal in Nuremberg, and I recognized that the man that I had adored was, in fact, the biggest monster in human history. It’s a devastating feeling. If you follow it to the conclusion that you are part of the human race, the experience of the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany constitutes a massive case of child abuse.

Out of millions of basically innocent children, Hitler and his regime succeeded in creating potential monsters. Could it happen again today? Of course, it can. Children are like empty vessels. You can fill them with good. You can fill them with evil. You can fill them with hate. And you can fill them with compassion.”

So the story of the Hitler Youth can be repeated, because, despite Auschwitz, the world has not changed for the better all that much.


Comrade Putin

Dear Comrade Putin,

I heard your ambassador to the UK this week that he was implying that Ukraine was the aggressor in this so-called “Military Operation.”

He appeared to be a bit confused, as we all might believe. However, I understand you are confused now, as you have a lot on your plate. You’ve started a war and are building the foundations of genocide—that would take a lot out of any man. Of course, your previous jobs at the KGB and Stasi have probably made you a little bit paranoid.

I feel it’s my duty—to help you. I’ll gladly give you information, which you may use to educate your ambassadors.

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a ‘military operation’ in Ukraine. You see, that is where you went wrong—the actual term is an invasion of a sovereign state. But in a way, you are correct when you say you didn’t start the war in 2022. That happened in February 2014 when you invaded Crimea.

I don’t know why the world didn’t react. It had to be confusing for you too. Then a few months later, on 17 July 2014, you shot down flight MH17. For some reason, you thought the 298 people onboard had already been dead. You believe that the Dutch authorities put 298 corpses on the plane in Schiphol Amsterdam, including the pilots and cabin crew. The Dutch—of course, are well known for carrying out these types of acts. There are a few things that puzzle me. Who flew the plane from Schiphol too close to the Russian border—if the pilots were dead? Also, an acquaintance of mine, the sister of a good friend, with her husband and stepson, also boarded that flight and were very much alive at the time. Maybe this confuses you too?

You may not be aware of this, but in general, killing innocent civilians is not the thing to do in the 21st century.

I hope this bit of information, will assist you in preparing your ambassadors for interviews with the press.

Kind regards,

Corporal Wojtek Reporting for Duty

History of Sorts

_56736853_wojtek-feedingDuring World War II, the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the 2nd Polish Corps had an unusual soldier among its ranks, a 440-pound Syrian bear named Wojtek.

Wojtek first came to the company as a cub, but over the course of the war he matured and was given the rank of corporal in the Polish army.


.Amid a long journey to join forces with the British Army in World War Two, one unit of the Polish II Corps stumbled upon an unlikely, and invaluable, comrade: A Syrian brown bear.


Poland bore a bulk of World War Two-related traumas. After the Nazis invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 — only to be followed by the subsequent Soviet invasion on the 17th — the country had only experienced a couple of decades of independence before it found itself under occupation once again.

Following the invasions, Stalin and Hitler agreed to a nonaggression…

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The Ohio Hitlers—What’s in a Name?

History of Sorts


Pickaway, Ohio, is a town filled with things named after Hitler: Hitler Road, Hitler-Ludwig Road, Hitler-Ludwig Cemetery, Hitler Park, among others. In most states this would be considered scandalous, but since we’re talking about Ohio it merely rises to a local curiosity of moderate interest. The Circleville Herald reports that this is simply because a prominent local family of Hitlers has deep local roots.

The first Circleville Hitler was George Hitler. Born in 1763 — more than a century before Adolf — George married Susannah Gay in Pennsylvania, and together they had four children.

One of them was George Washington Hitler.

And — just as you thought it couldn’t get better — George Washington Hitler had a son named Gay Hitler.

In 1922, Gay became the local dentist.

Dr. Gay Hitler. That was a real person’s real name.

The only thing funnier than this family tree is the complete nonchalance with…

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Hate is Mankind’s Worst Disease!

History of Sorts

Ever since I was 13 or 14, I have played the guitar. Over the years, I have bought hundreds of songbooks. In one of those books, they put words to Beethoven’s 9th symphony or more precisely, the bit commonly known as Ode to Joy. In the book, they renamed it, Hate is Mankind’s Worst Disease.

The first few lines are as follows:
What’s the use of killing and fighting?
What’s the use of any war?
Oh, did history still did not show us,
nothing is worth dying for

As the title suggests, the song deals with war and the hate it creates, or rather war created by hate. I could give examples of so many wars, but I am focusing on the war, which had an unprecedented level of hate, and the period before it, World War II.

Below are some examples of the hate that triggered…

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