The forgotten crime of Paedagogium Achisomog

Paedagogium Achisomog was an institution for Jewish children with intellectual disabilities. The institution was opened in 1925 and was a subsidiary of the Apeldoornsche Bosch. At Paedagogium Achisomog about 75 children lived in small groups. In the night of 21 to 22 January 1943, Paedagogium Achisomog was evacuated together with the Apeldoornsche Bosch.

On 10 September 1933, next tothe Apeldoornsche Bosch, the first stone was laid for the children’s home Paedagogium Achisomog, which consisted of three small pavilions and a pavilion for ‘deeply disturbed children’, .

‘Benjamin’. 24 children lived in each building. Each child was treated according to his character and disposition. By living together in groups, wanted to approach the atmosphere of a family as much as possible.
The girls’ pavilion was named Ephraim Manasseh, the two boys’ pavilions were named Reuben Simeon and Naphtali Zebulun. The name Achisomog means ‘My brother for support’. The children who were admitted had an intellectual disability or were difficult to raise. Neglected children or children who were at risk of going astray could also be admitted for observation. Some of the students were taught at their own school on the site.

In the night of January 21-22, 1943, all 1250 residents of the Apeldoornse Bosch and of the paedagogium; patients and nursing staff, deported to Auschwitz by the Germans. There they were all killed immediately upon arrival.

Herman van Brakel, a boy from Dordrecht with Down syndrome, had only recently been admitted to Achisomog, the children’s ward of the Jewish psychiatric institution Het Apeldoornsche Bos.

Elsewhere on the complex on Zutphensestraat, his sister Coby worked as a nurse.
On the night of January 21 to 22, 1943, units of the Waffen-SS and the Ordnungspolizei completely unexpectedly drove all patients and fifty staff in trucks, which then drove to Apeldoorn station, to a waiting freight train with forty wagons.
Coby van Brakel, together with dozens of other employees, escaped just in time. She was forced to leave her 12-year-old brother Herman behind: she could not enter the Achisomog site and did not have a key.
The train left at seven in the morning and went straight to Auschwitz,where they were gassed upon arrival

This is Coby’s account

“You just could feel it coming, now or never, and it was just in time. I pulled everything together it was winter, it was cold. My brother was also in
the vicinity, who was at Achisomog I could reach him there. I didn’t have a key either. That simply wasn’t possible. He WAS there because my
mother couldn’t take him with her when she went into hiding.
I couldn’t take him either, it wasn’t possible . My mother understood.”

Hermanus Mozes van Brakel, born in Dordrecht, 5 October 1930 .Murdered in Auschwitz, 25 January 1943. Reached the age of 12 years

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/122037/hermanus-mozes-van-brakel

https://www.stolpersteine-dordrecht.nl/het_voorbije_joodse_dordrecht_herman_van_brakel.html

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/thema/Paedagogium%20Achisomog

https://www.geheugenvanapeldoorn.nl/bijzondere-plaatsen/oost-en-welgelegen/paedagogium-achisomog/pointofinterest/detail

The Football Tragedy of November 19, 1944

History of Sorts

The history of Sittard-Geleen is a bit of a complicating one. The city used to be 2 towns, but in 2001 the towns of Sittard and Geleen merged and is now known as Sittard-Geleen.

On September 18,1944 both towns were liberated.

With the liberation of Sittard on 18 and 19 September 1944, the war did not end for this town. On the contrary, in the following five months hundreds more were killed because it was close to the front.

Nevertheless, an emergency football competition started in November 1944 with five clubs from Sittard and Geleen. “The proceeds go to the needy Netherlands,” says Limburgsch Dagblad. On 19 November, the Sittardse Boys and Maurits played on the then Baandert stadium, in the presence of several thousand spectators. After about half an hour Harry Ehlen of the Sittardse Boys dropped to the ground, because he heard a whooshing sound. Seconds later, shells…

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The Barneveld Jews

History of Sorts

While all other concentration camps were built or configurated to facilitate mass murder on an industrial scale, there were some exceptions.

Plan-Frederiks was a plan made up by the Dutch politicians K.J. Frederiks and J. van Dam that was meant to protect Jewish people in name of the German people during World War II.

The occupying German forces did not want the Jews to hide away, so they gave certain Jews places in special reservation camps in the Netherlands. Only Jews that had been important to Germany, for such reasons as fighting in World War I or being a famous painter, in case of Jo Spier, were given such treatment. Frederiks and Van Dam wanted other Jews to show up for this plan and try to get a place in one of these camps, instead of hiding away. It would be easy to catch these people.

The reservation camps that…

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer— Defying Hitler

The picture is a still from a behind-the-scenes shot of the movie God’s Spy. The film was shot in Limerick and is now in the post-production stage. It tells the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident who was a key founding member of the Confessing Church—a movement within German Protestantism during Nazi Germany that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to unify all Protestant churches into a single pro-Nazi German Evangelical Church.

Bonhoeffer’s name is mentioned quite a bit in a book I am reading at this moment. titled, Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule.

Born in Breslau on 4 February 1906, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the sixth child of Karl and Paula Bonhoeffer. His father was a neurologist and one with plans to stop Hitler. First, arrest Hitler, next have him examined by Bonhoeffer. This would be to determine if Hitler had brain damage. That plan, unfortunately, never came to fruition.

Two days after Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, then lecturer at Berlin University, took to the radio and denounced the Nazi Fuhrerprinzip, the leadership principle, that was merely a synonym for dictatorship. Bonhoeffer’s broadcast was cut off before he could finish. Shortly thereafter, he moved to London to pastor a German congregation while supporting the Confessing Church movement in Germany, a declaration by Lutheran and evangelical pastors and theologians that they would not have their churches co-opted by the Nazi government for propagandistic purposes. Bonhoeffer returned to Germany in 1935 to run a seminary for the Confessing Church; the government closed it in 1937.

Bonhoeffer’s outspoken political opinions isolated him within his church. Throughout the 1930s many of his activities were focused abroad.

He regularly reported on events in Nazi Germany to ecumenical Protestant leaders in Europe and the United States. In September 1933, he attended the ecumenical World Alliance meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he spoke about the Jewish question, and the delegates passed a resolution condemning Nazi actions against Jews. Bonhoeffer took a copy of the resolution to the German consul in Sofia to prove that Nazi policies were damaging to Germany’s image abroad. The leaders of the German Evangelical Church in Berlin demanded that he withdraw from ecumenical activities; Bonhoeffer refused.

From September 1933 to April 1935, Bonhoeffer served as pastor to several German-speaking congregations in London, leading them to break with the official German church and join the Confessing Church. In April 1935, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany, where the Confessing Church was under increasing pressure from the Gestapo. Most church leaders refused to openly oppose the Nazi regime and criticized their colleagues who did. As a result, more radical Confessing Christians found themselves embattled on all sides.

Bonhoeffer began to train young clergy at an illegal Confessing Church seminary, Finkenwalde, which was closed by the Gestapo View This Term in the Glossary in September 1937. Bonhoeffer spent the next two years secretly travelling throughout Eastern Germany to supervise his students, most of whom were working illegally in small parishes. The Gestapo banned him from Berlin in January 1938 and issued an order forbidding him from public speaking in September 1940.

Pressed into service in the Office for Foreign Affairs/Counter Intelligence of the Armed Forces High Command in 1940, Bonhoeffer repeatedly travelled abroad to contact the Allied governments. His brother-in-law, Hans von Dohnanyi—son of the Hungarian composer Ernő Dohnányi, also was an officer at the Abwehr, the German intelligence service. Dohananyi used his position in the Abwehr to help Jews escape from Germany and worked with German resistance against the Nazi régime.

The first deportations of Berlin Jews to the East occurred on 15 October 1941.

A few days later, Bonhoeffer and Friedrich Perels, a Confessing Church lawyer, wrote a memo giving details of the deportations. The memo was sent to foreign contacts, as well as, trusted German military officials in the hope that it might move them to action. Bonhoeffer also became peripherally involved in “Operation Seven.” It was a plan to help Jews escape Germany by giving them papers as foreign agents. After the Gestapo uncovered the “Operation Seven” funds that had been sent abroad for the emigrants, Bonhoeffer and his brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi were arrested in April 1943.

For one and a half years, Bonhoeffer was imprisoned at Tegel Prison and was awaiting trial. There he continued his work in religious outreach among his fellow prisoners and guards. Sympathetic guards helped smuggle his letters out of prison to Eberhard Bethge and others. The uncensored letters were posthumously published in Letters and Papers from Prison. One of those guards, a corporal named Knobloch, even offered to help him escape from the prison and disappear with him. Plans were made for the disappearance, but in the end, Bonhoeffer declined it, fearing Nazi retribution against his family, especially his brother Klaus and brother-in-law Hans von Dohnányi, who was also imprisoned.

After the failure of the 20 July Plot on Hitler’s life in 1944 and the discovery in September 1944 of secret Abwehr documents relating to the conspiracy, Bonhoeffer was accused of association with the conspirators, although he had been in prison when the attempt happened. He was transferred from the military prison Tegel in Berlin, where he had been held for 18 months, to the detention cellar of the house prison of the Reich Security Main Office, the Gestapo’s high-security prison. In February 1945, he was secretly moved to Buchenwald Concentration Camp, and finally to Flossenbürg Concentration Camp.

The following hymn was written by him in the concentration camp, shortly before his death.

By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered,
And confidently waiting, come what may,
we know that God is with us night and morning,
and never fails to greet us each new day.


Yet is this heart by its old foe tormented,
Still, evil days bring burdens hard to bear;
Oh, give our frightened souls the sure salvation
for which, O Lord, You taught us to prepare.


And when this cup You give is filled to brimming
With bitter suffering, hard to understand,
we take it thankfully and without trembling,
out of so good and so beloved a hand.

Yet when again in this same world You give us
The joy we had, the brightness of Your Sun,
we shall remember all the days we lived through,
and our whole life shall then be Yours alone.”

On 9 April 1945, he was hanged with other conspirators. His brother Klaus Bonhoeffer was also executed for resistance activities, as were his brothers-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi and Rüdiger Schleicher.

There is so much more that could be said about this man. So many books have been written about him and now a movie had been made about this Hero. All that is left for me to say is happy birthday, Herr Bonhoeffer.

sources

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/Ethical-and-religious-thought

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/dietrich-bonhoeffer

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/defiant-theologian-dietrich-bonhoeffer-is-hanged

https://www.gdw-berlin.de/en/recess/biographies/index_of_persons/biographie/view-bio/dietrich-bonhoeffer/?no_cache=1

http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/133.html

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt26237514/?ref_=tt_mv_close

“Blanche, if it’s a boy, name him Jacob Ben Meier. If it’s a girl, name her Rachel.”

Mail was allowed to be sent from the concentration camps under strict censorship. It had to be written in the German language and the number of lines was limited. Only simple information about health and daily life was allowed. The Blockführer had to read and sign the mail and then it went to the censorship office. Jews were forced to write that they were in a labour camp to reassure those left behind. This mail was collected in bulk and sent to Berlin.

Meier Vieijra was born on 26 December 1918 in Nieuwe Kerkstraat in Amsterdam. He was the son of Jacob Vieijra and Rachel Simons and had two brothers, Joop (Joseph) and Piet (Louis), and three sisters Elisabeth, Clara and Branca. Like his father and his brothers, Meier was a tailor by trade. They all worked together in his father’s company.

• On 9 August 1939, he married Blanche Nabarro.
• On Saturday afternoon, 22 February 1941, a convoy of German trucks arrived near Waterlooplein. Meier was one of the men who were arrested during the raid in Amsterdam.
• On 28 February 1941, he arrived in Buchenwald (prisoner no. 4754).
• Then he was deported to Mauthausen on 22 May 1941.

Meier sent six letters and postcards to his wife Blanche from Buchenwald.

Below is the translated text of one of those letters

31 August 1941

Dear Blanche,

Thank you for your letters and money orders. Today I have the opportunity to write to you. Blanche, please thank Aunt Aggelen for the money order. You ask in your letter if you can send me 15 RM weekly. It is probably allowed. Blanche, if it will be a boy, name him Jacob Ben Meier. If it is a girl, name her Rachel…

Please send regards to the entire family and especially to Clara and Chellie, and consider yourself warmly greeted and kissed by your loving Meier Vieijra.

Dear Parents and Mother-in-Law!
How are you? Well, I hope. Please write to me sometimes.

Regards,
Meier Vieijr


The handwriting in the letter was not Meier’s. It had been re-written and was also censored. The text that was censored apparently expressed condolences on the death of Samuel Vieijra. Samuel, Meier’s uncle, his father’s brother, was murdered on 7 August 1941 in Mauthausen. Only the signature was original.

Even the written word was controlled, monitored and silenced by the Nazis.

On 17 September 1941, Meier Vieijra died from the consequences of his hard life in Mauthausen. He may not have been gassed or shot but he was murdered nonetheless.

Blanche gave birth to a baby daughter on 2 October 1941 and called her Rachel. In May 1943, Blanche and her daughter went into hiding in Oldebroek with the Flier family. Both Blanche and Rachel survived the Holocaust.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/205236/meier-vieijra

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/last-letters/1941/vieijra.asp

Groundhog Day

“They say we’re young and we don’t know” is the line of the Sonny and Cher song, “I Got You, Babe,” that Bill Murray hears over and over again, in the 1993 comedy (yes, that’s right, 30 years ago) “Groundhog Day.”

This will not be a movie review, although I do think it is one of the all-time great comedies, this post will be about the origin of the actual day. The first official Groundhog Day celebration took place on February 2, 1887, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The annual ritual has roots in pre-Christian traditions and was brought to the U.S. by German immigrants.

Groundhog Day’s roots come from the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day when clergy would bless, February 2nd Christians would take their candles to the church to have them blessed and distribute candles that represented how long and cold the winter would be.

Candlemas is a primarily Catholic festival but also known in the German Protestant (Lutheran) churches Germans expanded on the tradition by selecting the hedgehog to predict the weather, bringing the tradition with them to America and trading the hedgehog for a groundhog.

As time rolled on the day evolved into another form. The following English folk song highlights the transition to weather prognostication.

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

Groundhogs also called woodchucks and whose scientific name is Marmota monax, typically weigh 12 to 15 pounds and live six to eight years. The groundhog was once also known by the obsolete Latin alias Arctomys monax. The genus name signified “bear-rat”.

In February, male groundhogs emerge from their burrows to look for a mate (not to predict the weather) before going underground again. They come out of hibernation for good in March.

The first Groundhog Day took place on February 2, 1887, at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. A newspaper editor belonging to a group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, was America’s only true weather-forecasting groundhog. The line of groundhogs that have since been known as Phil might be America’s most famous groundhogs, but other towns across North America now have their own weather-predicting rodents, from Birmingham Bill to Staten Island Chuck to Shubenacadie Sam in Canada.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-groundhog-day

https://www.groundhog.org/legend-and-lore

https://worldstrides.com/blog/2016/02/the-history-of-groundhog-day/

Hooray for Hollywood

History of Sorts

I don’t think there is one person on the planet who doesn’t know what Hollywood is, or what cultural significance it has. It is a place where dreams are turned into reality, and reality turned into dreams, sometimes nightmares.

This is just a pictorial blog about that place we all love and sometimes hate, or rather what is produced there The most visible symbol of the district is the Hollywood sign that overlooks the area. First built in 1923 (a new sign was erected in 1978), the sign originally said “Hollywoodland” (to advertise new homes being developed in the area), but the sign fell into disrepair, and the “land” section was removed in the 1940s when the sign was refurbished.

Greta Garbo and the Dubliner Cairbre, he was the first lion used by MGM, and was born in Dublin Zoo.

Judy Garland on the set of the Wizard of Oz

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Fab February

History of Sorts

I am just doing something different today. There is already so much negativity and uncertainty around in the world, I think it is time for some positivity.

No mention of viruses elections, economical woes etc. just some nice relaxing and feel good music to make February fabulous. Lets just baptize this month as Fab February.

Staring off with a slightly sad song but yet very relaxing.

Buckshot LeFonque – Another Day

Right Said Fred – Deeply Dippy

Diesel – Sausalito Summernight

Centerfold – Radar Love

10cc – Dreadlock Holiday

Sandra-Mae Lux – Moment In The Sun

Rick James – Super Freak

Enjoy

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The Enterprise

History of Sorts

We all know the adventures of the Spacecraft that carries the name Enterprise. Jonathan Archer, may have been the 1st Captain of Earth’s first Warp 5 vessel, Enterprise. Of course there is the famous Captain Kirk. who commandeered the Enterprise NCC-1701.

Of course there was (or rather will be, like the other aforementioned space crafts) USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) under command of Captain Jean Luc Picard, to baldly and boldly go where no man had gone before.

However the original Enterprise had its maiden flight on on February 18, 1977, atop a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

So lets just remember this anniversary with a few impressions of the Enterprise.

sources

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/multimedia/imagegallery/SCA/201204270017HQ_SCA_Enterprise.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Enterprise

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Nederlandse Landwacht— Dutch Collaborators.

History of Sorts

In general I have some level, albeit low, of sympathy for those who choose to collaborate with the Nazi regime in the Netherlands, because maybe they felt it was the only way to survive.

However, I have no sympathy for the Nederlandse Landwacht, they were in it for their own greed and hunger for power. Their aim was to terrorize Dutch citizens, including their neighbours, and to protect members of the Dutch Nazi party, the NSB.. None of these men had to join, they were never forced to do so. They joined because they wanted to.

The Nederlandse Landwacht was a Dutch paramilitary organization founded by the Nazi occupiers in the Netherlands on November 12, 1943. It should not be confused with the military volunteer corps ‘Landwacht Nederland’, which was established in March 1943 and renamed Landstorm Nederland in October, and which became part of the Waffen-SS.

The Landwacht was…

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