How Ruben Baer Saved His Mother’s Life

It is quite hard to describe this story because it is a tragedy and a miracle at the same time.

It isn’t clear when baby Ruben was born, some sources say he was born on 6 April 1943, while other sources say it was 9 April 1943. On his grave’s headstone, it says 9 April. The one thing we do know for certain is that he only lived for 4 days. However, most sources give April 9th as the date of birth.

Ruben Simon Hendrik Baer (aka Ruben Sally Hendrik Baer), was born on 9 April 1943. He did not grow old died four days later, on 13 April.

He was the son of the Jewish couple Leo Baer and Flora Baer-Salomon. They fled Germany after the rise of Hitler and settled in Roermond, the Netherlands, at the end of 1939.

Ruben’s brother Rolf Helmut Baer and his father Leo Baer were summoned to report on 9 April 1943, and then deported to Westerbork. From there Rolf and his father were deported to Auschwitz, where they were gassed on 26 October 1944.

His mother Flora Baer-Salomon was, at the time of their deportation, in the Laurentius Hospital in Roermond, to give birth to her son Ruben Sally Hendrik he died four days after birth.

His early death indicates that little Ruben may have been born too early. That seems to have saved his mother’s life.

Although Flora Baer lost her baby, she remained alive. Hospital staff kept Flora out of the hands of the Germans by taking her to a hiding place in the nearby village of Wessem. She was safe with the Van Rosendaal family until an NSB (Dutch Nazi party) member gave the address to the Germans in 1944.

On 8 August 1944, around 11 a.m., the German Sicherheitsdienst raided the house in Wessem. There was a pounding on the front door, after which Mrs Rosendaal opened the door and saw that the house was surrounded by German soldiers with rifles and machine guns at the ready. An NSB member from Roermond, named Gerrit Holla, was also involved in the robbery, he had forcefully entered through the back door and ran through the house with a gun drawn in his hand. Mother Rosendaal, her daughter Ria and Flora Baer-Salomon were present in the kitchen, among others. Mrs Rosendaal was then interrogated by Holla and a German officer in a brutal manner and at gunpoint. During this penetrating interrogation, she continued to deny that any other Jewish people in hiding were housed in the building. Flora Baer-Salomon was arrested on 17 August 1944, together with the Roermond couple Herz-Löb, who also stayed at this hiding place. She was then transferred to Westerbork and deported to Theresienstadt on 4 September 1944. Her husband and her son were there too at that time. However, she survived the hardships suffered and, after the liberation, returned nearly emaciated to her ‘Mietchen’, as she called Mrs Rosendaal.

In 1947 she moved to her mother in New York where she married Siegfried Schild on 11 December 1948, and died in March 1987. Whether Flora saw her husband and son Rolf in Theresienstadt is not known.



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