On 2 March 1943, a train with 1105 people left camp Westerbork for the then-unknown Sobibor extermination camp. After a three-day journey, the train arrived on the 5th of March. It was the first transport from the Netherlands to this camp.
The first transport, like the second, was carried out by passenger train. Then cattle trucks were used. No one survived the first transport.
A few days earlier on 26 February 1943, there was a raid on the Israeli Orphanage in Rotterdam. During the raid at least 50 children were arrested and taken to Westerbork. On 2 March 1943, the children were taken to Sobibor. There they were murdered on 5 March 1943.
Two of those children were Ella Mia Broekman and her younger brother Hans Max Broekman. They were transported to Westerbork on 27-2-1943. On March 2 1943 they were deported to Sobibor together. Their mother, Schoontje had already been murdered in Auschwitz on 26 January 1943. Their father, Abraham was murdered in Vught Transit Camp on 31 January 1943.
Ella Mia Broekman was born in Deventer, the Netherlands, on 5 November 1935. She was murdered in Sobibor on 5 March 1943. She was 7 years old.
Hans Max Broekman was born in Hilversum, the Netherlands on 11 July 1937. He was murdered in Sobibor on 5 March 1943. He was 5 years old.
The orphanage wasn’t the only place that was raided on 26 February 1943.
The Megon Hatsedek (Abode of Beneficence) was established in 1837. The first building was on Hoogstraat, but after it became too small, the hospital was relocated to Houtlaan. This building also turned out not to meet the requirements, and in October 1900 it moved again, this time to the Schietbaanlaan. The hospital was still located here during the outbreak of the Second World War. It continued as a hospital during the war.
On 26 February 1943, the hospital was raided by Dutch WA officers (the paramilitary arm of the Dutch Nazi party) and the Sicherheitsdienst. Even patients who were too sick to be transported were taken. One patient was transported to another hospital in Rotterdam where she later died. A total of 261 patients, residents and staff members were brought to the warehouse, Loods 24 by truck located in the port area. It had been used by Nazis, as a gathering place for Jewish Rotterdammers who had been called up in Rotterdam and on the South Holland islands.
From Loods 24, the 261 patients and staff were transported to Westerbork on 2 March 1943 and then deported to the Sobibor extermination camp. They arrived in Sobibor on 5 March 1943 and, upon arrival murdered immediately.
Only two nurses, Sophie Huisman and Cato Polak, and the director of the hospital, Dr M. Elzas, survived the war. The director was warned about the evacuation of the hospital and immediately went to the hospital. He left with his patients instead of going into hiding. After the war, he returned to Rotterdam via Westerbork, Barneveld and Theresienstadt.
Another targeted Jewish institution that day was the “Het Israëlitisch Oudeliedengesticht” (The Israeli Old People’s Home). The Israelite Old People’s Home in Rotterdam was for the sick and elderly, founded in 1837. The home evacuated during the large-scale raid in February 1943. They transported the residents on 2 March to Sobibor.
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