The biblical verse Genesis 37-30 has several translation from “the boy is not there” to “And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?” But for te title of this blog I used the literal translation of the version of the text which can be found on a plaque which can be found on the facade of the central Israeli orphanage in Utrecht, the Netherlands.”The child is no more” because it is the most fitting translation for this story, although it should be children rather then child.
The orphanage was run by former Jewish Dutch Gold medal winning Gymnast, Judikje Simons and her husband Bernard Salomon Themans. Judikje had been part of the 1928 Olympics gymnast team.
At the start of 1942 the orphanage had about 50 orphans and a further 30 Jewish children of parents who had sent them to the Netherlands from Germany after the Kristallnacht, in the hope they’d be safe there.
Judikje and her husband also lived in the orphanage together with their own two children,5 year old daughter Sonja and 3 year old son Leon.. During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the family was given a chance to escape deportation to the death camps, but Simons and her husband refused to leave the orphans.
In October 1942 the Nazis deported everyone from the orphanage. First they were sent to Westerbork and later they were deported to Sobibor.
The Simons-Themans family all were murdered in the Sobibor gas chambers on March 20,1943.
Nearly all of the children from the orphanage were killed in Sobibor as were the resident carers.
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