The destruction of education and the murder of Students

It is strange how things can turn sometimes. I was going to do some research on Eva Braun.

When I typed in the name, another name first came up, The name of Eva Brandon. When I looked into her details, I discovered that Eva Brandon was born in Amsterdam, on 26 July 1929. She was murdered Auschwitz, on 9 August 1942, 80 years ago today. She reached the age of 13 years.

But Eva Brandon’s story is part of a much bigger one

She was a student at the “Joodsche 5-jarige HBS” which was a college in Amsterdam. Eddy Mannnheim was another student at the college, eh survived the war and wrote down a summary of the school after the war. The majority of the students were murdered

“As of the 1941/42 school year, Jewish children were prohibited from attending regular schools. The Jewish Council had to establish all kinds of schools for Jewish children and to appoint Jewish teachers for them.

The ‘Jewish HBS with Five-Year Course’ was opened in October 1941 at Mauritskade 24 in Amsterdam. (This name was still above the entrance decades after the war). Director was E. Frenkel and deputy director M. Belinfante. The appointed teachers, all of whom had lost their previous jobs due to the anti-Jewish measures, were happy to return to work.

As a starting HBS student, the undersigned, like his later wife Rosalie Vlessing, entered class 1C. This class mainly consisted of students from Amsterdam-East, a minority came from South. In addition, there were two other first classes: 1A exclusively for girls and class 1B with mainly students from South. There were also the higher classes from 2 to 5, but we had little contact with them.

In the first school year, 1941/1942, despite the difficult conditions outside the school, the situation at school was fairly normal; education was no different from other similar schools. Most teachers were able to keep order, with a few exceptions. In general, there was decent teaching. The students behaved just like other first-class students, sometimes some of them turned things upside down. For example, during one of Mrs. Caro’s lessons, a mouse was once released into the classroom, resulting in a lot of noise. But in general it worked quite well.

The students, who lived further away from the school, could use the bicycle or public transport. This came to an end when, in May 1942, public transport for Jews was banned and the bicycles of Jews had to be handed in. From then on, teachers and students had to walk from home to school. Given the great distance, this was extra difficult for the students from South and we always had to take a bag with school books with us. That bag, if geography was on the schedule, was even heavier because of the large Bosatlas that had to be carried along as well.

After we were in class 2A from the 1942/1943 school year, the situation changed drastically, because the deportations had started on July 15, 1942. There were regular roundups in the city and fewer students showed up at school. There were many empty places for students at school, the majority of whom had been deported and a small number went into hiding. Originally I walked to school with a group of six students, but in the end I was the only one. At one point the number of students had shrunk so drastically that in December 1942 the teachers and remaining students were transferred to the Joodsche Lyceum in the Stadstimmertuinen.

From January 1943, teachers were also deported and the empty places at school kept getting bigger. In February 1943 I also ended up in Westerbork. In May 1943, the remaining students of the Joodsche HBS and the Joodsch Lyceum were merged with the Orthodox Jewish HBS, which had existed since 1928, across the street in the Stadstimmertuinen. There were already so few students and teachers left that teaching was no longer an issue. Time was spent playing ping pong and other recreation, including with the teachers still present.

On June 20, 1943, a large raid took place in Amsterdam-South and East. Almost all Jews still present were arrested and sent to Westerbork. My wife and her family were able to flee and go into hiding just before the roundup.

This de facto brought an end to the Jewish HBS and the other Jewish schools. The school continued to exist until September 1943, when the last Jews still living in Amsterdam were rounded up and sent to Westerbork. Below were the few teachers still in office and the students still present.

That was the definitive end of school.

Class 1C originally contained 29 students, of which the following 21 were murdered by the Nazis:
Aldewereld, Salomon; Agsteribbe, Selma; Blog, Jannie;
Bouwman, Bernard; Brandon, Eve; Brandon, Lion; Citroen, Roelof; Courant, William; Gobes, Maurice; Garnet, Maurice; Levy, Paul G; Polak, Louis; Polak, Pete; Schenkkan, Mary; Schuit, Robert; Swaab, Samuel; Uijenkruiser, Jacob G; Fish Scraper, Samuel; Vries, Bernard A. de; Vries, Coenraad L. de; Winnik, Alex.

Class 2A originally contained 21 students, of which 11 were killed:
Attention, Gretha; Guttmann, Eva Hermine Carla; Joosten, Joseph; Koster, Stefan; Ledermann, Susanne; Loewenthal, Willy; Meents, Louise Kea; Oppenheimer, Rudolf; Stuiver, Henriette; Wijnberg, Ina; Wolf, Ruby.

To my knowledge there is no photo of classes 1C and 2A, so unfortunately no faces can be given to the names mentioned.”

Who knows just how much knowledge was destroyed. Just imagine all the potential scientists .


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