When I do posts on the Holocaust, I always try to do them with as little emotion as possible. I try to be objective as humanly possible. The reasoning I use to write without emotions is if I didn’t, I think I would get mental problems down the line.
However, sometimes, I let my emotions get the better of me on purpose. It works as a relief valve, especially when it is about children, As was the case when I was researching the two brothers, Nico and Lodewijk Bonnewit. I cried before I sat down with my keyboard to write about these two angels.
Nico was born on 30 July 1936, and Lodewijk, his brother, was born on 28 February 1940, both in Amsterdam. Their parents hid the boys to keep them safe from deportation. They were found and deported. The Nazis murdered them in Sobibor on 21 May 1943. Nico was six years old, and Lodewijk was three.
Due to a maid’s carelessness, the boys were caught by the Nazis. Their parents, Ben and Eva Bonnewit-Fresco had been hiding at the Jonker family home at the Bloemendaalsestraatweg in Velsen. When their host heard about the arrest of the children, Mr Jonker went to Amsterdam and tried to get them released. At that same time, Lodewijk and Nico transferred to a children’s home in The Hague. A day later, Mr Jonker tried to get the boys, but they were on a list, and their disappearance would not have gone unnoticed. The management of the home did not dare to let them go. A plan emerged for the next day. They would take the children for a walk in a park, and Mr Jonker would kidnap them. He agreed, but when he arrived in The Hague the next day, the children had been transferred to Westerbork early that morning.
The boys’ mother Eva Bonnewit-Fresco wanted to volunteer to be able to come to Westerbork with her children, but her people in hiding managed to talk her out of that.
The parents survived the war and searched for their children for years after the liberation, but in vain because the boys had met their fate at Sobibor on 21 May 1943.
I am a parent, and I can’t imagine how Benedictus Bonnewit and his wife Eva Bonnewit-Fresco felt. It must have been the ultimate nightmare, which repeated itself in their minds every night as they slept. They may have survived physically—but mentally—they probably died.