The Journey of a Child

Edith Roseij Beek was born on April 12, 1934, in Oss, the Netherlands. She was the youngest of the two children of Arnold Beek and Clara Betsy de Jong. Brother Johan Rene Simon was born in 1930 in Oss. On November 19, 1943, she was murdered in Auschwitz, at age of nine.

When she was eight she was already wanted by the Police, an eight-year-old “hardened criminal.” This notification appeared in Algemeen Politieblad (General Police journal), nr 42, October 22, 1942, 1189, notice 2434.

“The police commissioner of Gouda requested that the schoolgirl Edith Rosey Beek be located, detained, and brought to trial. A resident of Gouda, she was suspected of having changed her place of residence without the required authorization on October 9, 1942. This description referred to Jews who had gone into hiding.”

Edith went to kindergarten at the Public Primary School on the Groeneweg and continued to attend school there until she has to leave this school in 1941. She then received private lessons from one of her former teachers, a non-Jewish woman, Mrs. Aberson. The school is now called the Casimir School. In September 1942, the family decided to go into hiding separately.

Edith hid in the presbytery of the Reformed church in Zwammerdam where Reverend Gunther and his housekeeper kept her hidden. The day after her birthday, April 22, 1943, she was arrested and so was the pastor, but he was later released.

In 1948 in Middelburg. 12 years were demanded against the constable Jan Kool, who in all likelihood betrayed her, and among other things, kidnapped Edith. One of the two Sicherheitsdienst (SD) men who picked her up was K.J.Leseman. Policeman Arie Oudenaarden, notorious in Gouda, was also involved in her arrest.

She was placed in a police cell and interrogated for five days. This was to no avail because before going into hiding the two children were taught what to say to strangers or in case they are arrested: “Father works in the mines and mother left me behind to look for my father in Germany.”

Where she was between April and June (29th) when she arrived in Westerbork (there she was in the orphanage, barrack 35) is unclear, on her index card of Westerbork there is an address in The Hague (in Bilitonstraat 18, a place established by the Nazis transit house for children) and there was a mention of a stay in Scheveningen.

She fell ill with scarlet fever, but despite the current quarantine, she was put on a transport (number 81) of 995 people to Auschwitz on Tuesday November 16, 1943. Immediately after her arrival on November 19, 1943, she was taken to the gas chambers and murdered. Her parents went into hiding in Drachten and her brother Johan on a farm in Kootwijkerbroek, they survived the war. Brother Johan died in 2011 in Barneveld, father Arnold in 1977 in Rotterdam, and mother Clara in 1978 in Apeldoorn.

Additional information regarding Edith’s hiding and arrest:

Information from a file regarding the traitor:
The person concerned was a member of the NSB and NVD and the Rechtsfront
On April 22, 1943, the SD arrested 9-year-old Jewish girl E.van Beek (so the same girl) who was hiding with the female pastor Gunther in Zwammerdam. It is believed that this girl died.
After hearing about this case, the person concerned stated that it was generally known at the time that this girl had gone into hiding with Gunther; he was also aware of this. He says that an anonymous note reached him stating that the SD had been informed of this fact. was given. In connection with this, he had discussed the matter with his group commander. When he was later summoned to the SD in Gouda about this matter—the SD had also received a letter stating that the said girl had gone into hiding with Reverend Gunther—he had informed the SD officer Renner stated that he was aware that the girl had indeed gone into hiding with Gunther. He had acknowledged this because he feared his position would be jeopardized otherwise.
After this conversation with Renner, he had gone to Reverend Gunther to warn her of the danger, but he did not find her at home. He then went to the sexton (Baars) and informed him of the case under covert terms. (The sexton Baars (he speaks of a “him”) denies, before DS. Gunther and the Jewish girl were arrested by the or anyone else to have been warned against this arrest).

The guard of the Marechaussee C.K. states in his PV dated June 28, 1945, that he heard the person concerned, say to someone at the time: “I had my daughter Ada find out whether the girl was a Jew, after which I passed it on to my son, notified the SD, but Zwammerdam was not part of their working area. They then passed it on to Rotterdam.”

Another witness story: “During the occupation, I was aware that Pastor Gunther, Pastor of the Remonstrant Church in Zwammerdam, had taken in a Jewish girl named Edith Beek in her home. This Jewish girl came from Gouda and was with her.

Rev. Gunther went into hiding because of the German measures against persons of Jewish blood. This girl was just playing with other children and so Rev. Gunther, to make it seem she wasn’t Jewish.

This girl and Rev. Gunther were both arrested by persons unknown to me, the exact date I can’t recall. I have heard that they were persons who were with the German Sicherheitsdienst. Rev. Gunther was only arrested for a short time, but we never heard anything more from the Jewish girl. I don’t think Rev. Gunther and the Jewish girl were arrested, because of betrayal by Jan Kool or were forewarned by anyone else that this arrest would take place. I am also sure that Jan Kool did not give any warning to anyone in my family about that arrest, because such a warning would certainly not have been ignored and I would have ensured that the arrest had not taken place. I cannot say with certainty that JK had introduced the Jewish girl to authority, but I do suspect him of this. At that time, the rumor in this neighborhood was that JK was absolutely to blame for that arrest. I thought K was a sneaky NSB member at the time.”

Witness story Arnold van Beek (father) doctor, 50 years old, Gouda, Extended Tiendenweg 54
“I, my wife, son, and daughter are of Jewish blood. Due to the German measures against persons of Jewish blood, we had to go into hiding during the occupation and we were assisted in an excellent way by friendly relations. On September 25, 1942, my daughter named Edith Roosje van Beek, born in Oss on April 21, 1934, went into hiding we did not know where our daughter had been taken, but we had complete confidence in it. We made no attempt to find out where our daughter had gone into hiding. About a week after our daughter went into hiding, we, my wife, son, and I went into hiding. My son went into hiding in the Veluwe and my wife and I in Friesland. We went into hiding from that time until the capitulation of Germany and fared well, except for my little daughter. My daughter went into hiding with Reverend Gunther in Zwammerdam. As I learned after the capitulation of Germany, my daughter Edith was arrested on April 22, 1943, by persons of the German Sicherheits Dienst, when she was staying with Reverend Gunther at her hiding place, Reverend Gunther was then arrested at the same time as my daughter, but she has spent only a short time in captivity. As I later learned, my daughter was transported to The Hague after her arrest and then to Westerbork. Where my daughter was taken afterward has remained unknown to me, and to this day, April 24, 1947, I have never heard anything about her. I have tried in every possible way to find out where my daughter is staying, but no investigation has had any result and I do not know whether my daughter is still alive. I now think I must assume that my daughter died as a result of the German terror during the occupation. We are very sad about this, especially because of the ignorance which we are about the fate of my daughter. As far as I know, the municipality of constable KOOL is responsible for the arrest of my daughter, because I heard that he went to the Sicherheitsdienst to tell
that my little daughter had gone into hiding with Reverend Gunther, This is what I heard from Reverend Gunther. If this KOOL is responsible for the betrayal of my daughter Edith, then I request criminal prosecution against him. And I hope, though I won’t get our sweet child back by doing so, that he will be severely punished, for he certainly deserves it. Kool must have known what the persons of Jewish blood were in for under the German occupation. I cannot explain more in this case.”




  1. historiebuff says:

    Was Rev Gunther recognized as a hero post war? 


    1. dirkdeklein says:

      I am not sure but I reckon so


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