Jacob de Mesquita

I look at the picture of Jacob de Mesquita and I ask myself “How was this possible?”

How was it possible that this baby was selected to be send to the gas chambers?

Was there not one person among the Auschwitz staff members who thought that this was wrong?

Was there no one who saw his angelic face and got a warm feeling inside?

I remember a scene in Schindler’s List where one of the SS Guards, rubs the head of a toddler as he is being carried into the Gas chamber. Did someone do that to Jacob and thought “What are we doing?”

Jacob de Mesquita was born on January 9, 1942. He was murdered 9 months later on October 15,1942, the same day as his mother Femmetje de Mesquita-Leijden van Amstel was murdered.

When I look at Femmetje , I think “was there no one who saw her beauty?”

Was there no one who thought that murdering a young woman in her prime was wrong?

Wasn’t there even any one who would consider her for sexual gratification? I know that still would be wrong but it would have been better then being gassed.

I just don’t get it how anyone could consider the destruction of innocence and beauty as the correct course of action.

Femmetje de Mesquita-Leijden van Amstel was 22 when she was murdered.

Isaac de Mesquita was the husband of Femmeke and the Father of Jacob, Isaac was murdered February 28,1943 in Auschwitz.

All 3 were born in Amsterdam , all 3 murdered in Auschwitz.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/188096/jacob-de-mesquita

Three People of the Holocaust.

There were three groups of people in the Holocaust. The criminals who tortured and murdered. The victims who were murdered and those who survived were scarred for life, mentally and physically. The helpers, the people who helped the Jews and others to escape and survive. .

These are just examples of each group.

The criminal

Hildegard Lachert was known to the prisoners as “Bloody Brigitte”; as she would always strike them repeatedly until blood was showing. She was a female guard, or Aufseherin, at several concentration camps.She became publicly known for her crimes at Ravensbrück, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau. After the war, she was sentenced to a total of 27 years in prison for her brutal treatment of inmates during her camp service, but she only served 10.

In November 1947, she appeared in a Kraków, Poland courtroom, along with 40 other SS guards in the Auschwitz trial. Because of her war crimes at Auschwitz and Płaszów, the former guard and mother of two surviving children was given a sentence of 15 years in prison. Lächert was released in 1956 from a prison in Kraków. In 1975, the German government decided to put her and other SS guards from the Majdanek concentration camp, on trial again.

The testimonies heard in relation to Lächert’s sadistic behaviour were extensive and detailed. One former prisoner, Henryka Ostrowska, testified, “We always said blutige about the fact that she struck until blood showed,” giving her the nickname “Bloody Brigitte” (Krwawa Brygida in Polish). Many other witnesses characterized her as the “worst” or “the most cruel” Aufseherin, as “Beast”, and as “Fright of the Prisoners.” For her part in selections to the gas chamber, releasing her dog onto inmates and her overall abuse, the court sentenced her to 12 years’ imprisonment. But due to time served in custody and her time in Krakow, she was released.

The Victim

Frank Emanuel Polak was born on December 19.1941, in Amsterdam He would have been 80 today. But he was murdered age 2. In February 1944 he was deported to Auschwitz and murdered in a gas chamber after the selection. It looks like his parents and siblings survived.

His smiley face will haunt me for a long time.

The Helper

Carlos Sampaio Garrido was a Portuguese diplomat credited with saving the lives of approximately 1,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary while serving as Portugal’s ambassador in Budapest between July and December 1944.

In 2010 he became the second Portuguese to be recognised as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

“Ambassador of Portugal in Budapest, from October 1939 to June 1944. When Hungary was conquered by Germany in March 1944, the neutral countries did not recognize the new government. Responding to the request of the Allies, the dictator of Portugal, António de Oliveira Salazar, reduced the level of diplomatic representation in Hungary, and Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido was called back to Portugal. Until his departure from the city in June, Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido dedicated his efforts to helping Jews. The presence of the SS in Budapest in those days accelerated the persecutions of all residents, without excepting diplomatic representations. Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido granted asylum in his home to a dozen persecuted, mostly Jews, without notifying his ministry. On April 28 at 5 in the morning, his residence was raided by agents of the political police of the Hungarian fascist regime and his protégés were taken to the central prison in Budapest. Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido resisted the arrest of his guests and presented an official protest to the government, demanding his release, the investigation of those guilty of the affront and an official apology for the violation of the extraterritoriality of the Portuguese embassy. With this attitude, he achieved the liberation of those people but was declared Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido resisted the arrest of his guests and presented an official protest to the government, demanding his release, the investigation of those guilty of the affront and an official apology for the violation of the extraterritoriality of the Portuguese embassy. With this attitude, he achieved the liberation of those people but was declared Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido resisted the arrest of his guests and presented an official protest to the government, demanding his release, the investigation of those guilty of the affront and an official apology for the violation of the extraterritoriality of the Portuguese embassy. With this attitude, he achieved the liberation of those people but was declared persona non grata in Hungary. Faced with this situation, he had to inform the Foreign Ministry about the diplomatic projections of his performance: the ministry had already warned him, on May 11, about the “irregularity” of it. Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido moved to Switzerland on June 5, from where he continued to send instructions to his successor in charge of the embassy, ​​Alberto Branquinho, to continue helping persecuted Jews.”

sources

https://www.yadvashem.org/es/holocaust/encyclopedia/sampaio-garrido-carlos-de-almeida-afonseca-de.html

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/174871/frank-emanuel-polak

https://www.stewartandel.co.uk/hildegard-laechert

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildegard_L%C3%A4chert

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Happy Birthday Simon Herman van den Bergh

Simon Herman van den Bergh would have been 80 today.

He would have reached 960 months today.

He would have reached 29,200 days today, plus an additional 20 days if you include leap years.

But Simon Herman van den Bergh didn’t even reach 2 years. He didn’t even reach 19 months.

He was born on December 14,1941 in Amsterdam and he was murdered on July 2,1943 in Sobibor.

On December 19.1941 his proud parents announced his arrival in “Het Joodsche Weekblad” the Jewish weekly. With the words “With gladness we would like to announce the birth of our Son .Simon Herman” It also gives the Dutch date of birth 14 December 1941 as well as the Jewish date 24 Kislew 5702.

His parents knew the uncertainty of their and his future. But could they have envisaged that their baby boy would have been considered a threat to the security of the Nazi regime? Maybe, they did. But poor little Simon wasn’t a threat to anyone, nor were any of the 1.5 million children murdered by the Nazis.

Happy Birthday Dear Simon. Tonight I will look up at the stars and will say a prayer for you, that is the only present I can give you.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/224924/simon-herman-van-den-bergh

Hans Weinberg murdered in Dorohucza

Hans Weinberg would have celebrated his 100th birthday today. Although there is not that much data on Hans, and the data which is available his very clinical, it does illustrate the horrors of the Holocaust.

Hans was born on November 22,1921 in Amsterdam He was murdered-although some may say died- on November 30,1943 in Dorohucza a labor camp in Poland.

I had not heard of Dorohucza before. This is how Dutch historian and Holocaust survivor Jules Schelvis described the camp.

“In Dorohucza, we lacked the most basic amenities. The inmates who were there were sleeping in dilapidated barracks. The roof had large gaps, so that lying on the bare floor, one had an unobstructed view of the sky. There was always a penetrating stench of dirty clothes and unwashed bodies. Drinking water was not there. We were given black gunk they called coffee and soup, which consisted of half a liter of water with pieces of sauerkraut and an almost transparent slice of dog food. The water from the river that flowed past the camp was undrinkable. It was very dirty, because the river also served as a laundry room by the prisoners when they unsuccessfully tried to get rid of their lice after work.”

Dorohucza was the location of a forced labor camp of the Lublin Reservation complex. According to Jules Schelvis, at least 700 Dutch Jews were imprisoned there building latifundia of Generalplan Ost for the German settlers. Jules Schelvis and Hans Weinberg were both prisoners there.

Hans Weinberg’s timeline.

Born November 22,1921 in Amsterdam.

May 10,1940, German troops invade the Netherlands. Hans is 18.

January 7,1941 Hans and other Jews were no longer allowed to go the cinema.

May 3.1942 ,all Dutch Jews including Hans had to wear a Yellow star.

Hans was imprisoned in Camp Westerbork, the Netherlands until July 20,1943.

On July,20 1943, Hans was deported to Sobibor, Poland. There were 2245 people on that transport. Age 0 to 12-19;age 13 to 18-297;age 19 to 25-179; age 26 to 35-179; age 36 to 50-375;age 51 to 65-563; age 66 to 80-380; age 80+ 253

November 30,1943 Hans is murdered in Dorohucza. The sad thing is he came from an extermination camp to be murdered in a labor camp.

Sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Hans-Weinberg/02/168909

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/213905/hans-weinberg

https://www.geni.com/projects/Dorohucza-Labor-Camp/38202

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Michel Polak and Mirjam Brilleman- 1 year old and 8 month old enemies of the state.

There are no pictures of Michel Polak and Mirjam Brilleman.

There is only a picture of one the place they were murdered. Auschwitz and more then likely Auschwitz-Birkenau.

There are no pictures of the 2 children because they were born on November 20,1941 in Amsterdam. The Nazis already had a tight grip on Dutch society at that time. The live of Jews had already been made difficult and they were denied a great number of luxury items. The parents of both kids probably could not afford a camera or were simply not allowed to have one.

There were still professional photographers, but many Jews just wanted to keep a low profile.

Mirjam Brilleman was murdered on July 23, 1942 aged 8 months

Michel Polak was murdered May 21.1943 in Sobibor aged 1.

Never Forget what hate can do.

Happy Birthday Edward Jonas Ossendrijver.

Edward Jonas Ossendrijver was born on November 8,1941. Today would have been his 80th birthday.

On his 10th birthday he may have listened to Cold, Cold Heart, sung by Tony Bennett which was released that day.

On his 20th birthday he may have heard about the Imperial Airlines Flight 201/8, a Lockheed Constellation aircraft, which crashed near Richmond, Virginia, killing 77.

On his 30th birthday, he may have heard of the birth of Twan Scheepers, who would become a Dutch soccer player.

On his 40th birthday, he may have heard the disturbing news on TV or Radio of the Aeroméxico Flight 110 crash, near Zihuatanejo, Mexico, killing all 18 people on board.

On his 50th birthday, his friends and his neighbours may have put a big figure of a man outside his house, in his garden. With the sign 50 Abraham, A Dutch tradition where they say on your 50th birthday you see Abraham.

On his 60th birthday, he may have still been worried about the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

On his 70th birthday, he may have been intrigued by the potentially hazardous asteroid 2005 YU55 passing 0.85 lunar distances from Earth (about 324,600 kilometres or 201,700 miles), the closest known approach by an asteroid of its brightness since 2010 XC15 in 1976.

Today on his 80th birthday he may have been getting ready to blow out all 80 candles on his birthday cake.

But Edward Jonas Ossendrijver never reached any of those ages. In fact he didn’t even reached his 3rd birthday. He was murdered on February 11,1944 in Auschwitz.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/202649/edward-jonas-ossendrijver

Etty Hillesum-A young woman’s life not fulfilled.

Like Anne Frank ,Etty (Esther) Hillesum, also kept a diary during World War 2,describing her experiences of the Holocaust. She was born in the city of Middelburg in the southwest of the Netherlands, on January 15,1914. She was the daughter of Levie Hillesum and Riva Bernstein. In 1932 she moved to Amsterdam to study law and Slavic languages.

She started her diary on March 7 1941, possibly at the suggestion of her analyst Julius Spier, whom she had been attending to for a month. Although his patient, Etty also became his secretary and friend and eventually his lover. His influence on her spiritual development is apparent in her diaries; as well as teaching her how to deal with her depressive and egocentric episodes he introduced her to the Bible and St. Augustine and helped her develop a deeper understanding of the work of Rilke and Dostoyevsky.

Etty was an intensely alive and sexual young woman, yet she felt herself plagued by what she called her ‘confounded eroticism”. But what healthy woman in her 20s isn’t interested in sex?

Rather then go to deep into her life, I feel it is better to reflect on what she felt by using some excerpts from her diary.

“This is a painful and almost insuperable step for me: committing so much that has been suppressed to a blank sheet of lined paper,” The thoughts in my head are so clear and sharp and my feelings so deep, but writing about them is hard. The main difficulty, I think, is a sense of shame. So many inhibitions, so much fear of letting go and allowing things to pour out of me, yet that is what I must do if I am ever to give my life a reasonable and satisfactory purpose. It is like the final, liberating scream that always sticks bashfully in your throat when you make love.”

“Only a few months ago I still believed that politics did not touch me and wondered if that was ‘unworldliness,’ a lack of real understanding. Now I don’t ask such questions any more”

“If there were only one decent German, then he should be cherished despite that whole barbaric gang, and because of that one decent German it is wrong to pour hatred over an entire people”

“I am not easily frightened. Not because I am brave but because I know that I am dealing with human beings and that I must try as hard as I can to understand everything that anyone ever does. And that was the real import of this morning: not that a disgruntled young Gestapo officer yelled at me, but that I felt no indignation, rather a real compassion, and would have liked to ask: ‘Did you have a very unhappy childhood, has your girlfriend let you down?’”

“MONDAY MORNING, 9 O’CLOCK. Come on, my girl, get down to work or God help you. And no more excuses either, no little headache here or a bit of nausea there, or I’m not feeling very well. That is absolutely out of the question. You’ve just got to work, and that’s that. No fantasies, no grandiose ideas and no earth-shattering insights. Choosing a subject and finding the right words are much more important. And that is something I have to learn and for which I must fight to the death: all fantasies and dreams shall be ejected by force from my brain and I shall sweep myself clean from within, to make space for real studies, large and small. To tell the truth, I have never worked properly. It’s the same with sex. If someone makes an impression on me, I can revel in erotic fantasies for days and nights on end. I don’t think I ever realised how much energy that consumes”

“Last night I asked Han in bed, ‘Do you think someone like me ought to get married? Am I a real woman?’ Sex for me is not all that important, although sometimes I give the impression that it is. Isn’t it cheating to allow men to be taken in by that impression and then be unable to give them what they want? I am not really an earthy woman, at least not sexually. I am no tigress and that sometimes gives me a feeling of inferiority. My primitive physical passion has been diverted in many different ways and weakened by all sorts of intellectualisations, which I am sometimes ashamed of. What is primitive in me is my warmth; I have a sort of primitive love and primitive sympathy for people, for all people. I don’t think I am cut out for one man”

“And yesterday I lay on that bed, for the first time naked in his arms, and it was less a night of love than that time. And yet it was good. It was not exciting, there was no ecstasy. But it was so sweet and so safe”

“Those two months behind barbed wire have been the two richest and most intense months of my life, in which my highest values were so deeply confirmed. I have learnt to love Westerbork”

“Can love one person and one person only one’s whole life long strikes me as quite childish. There is something mean and impoverishing about it. Will people never learn that love brings so much more happiness and reward than sex?”

“The misery here is quite terrible; and yet, late at night when the day has slunk away into the depths behind me, I often walk with a spring in my step along the barbed wire. And then time and again, it soars straight from my heart—I can’t help it, that’s just the way it is, like some elementary force—the feeling that life is glorious and magnificent, and that one day we shall be building a whole new world.”

“A lot of unimportant inner litter and bits and pieces have to be swept out first. Even a small head can be piled high inside with irrelevant distractions. True, there may be edifying emotions and thoughts, too, but the clutter is ever present. So let this be the aim of the meditation: to turn one’s innermost being into a vast empty plain, with none of that treacherous undergrowth the impede the view. So that something of “God” can enter you, and something of “Love,” too. Not the kind of love-de-luxe that you can revel in deliciously for half an hour, taking pride in how sublime you feel, but the love you can apply to small, everyday things.”

Her last words though were not written in her diary, but on a postcard she threw out of the train on transport to Auschwitz.

“Opening the Bible at random I find this: ‘The Lord is my high tower’. I am sitting on my rucksack in the middle of a full freight car. Father, Mother, and Mischa are a few cars away. In the end, the departure came without warning…. We left the camp singing…. Thank you for all your kindness and care.”

Etty was murdered in Auschwitz on November 30,1943, aged 29.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/136401/esther-hillesum#intro

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/04/04/feminize-your-canon-etty-hillesum/

https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/hillesum-etty

https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/brexit-news-life-of-dutch-author-murdered-at-auschwitz-64044/

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Dutch Olympian Athletes Murdered during the Holocaust

It is strange sometimes how one thing can draw your attention to another. I did a piece recently on the German national anthem, that led me to look at the Dutch national anthem. “Wilhelmus van Nassouwe”, usually known just as “Wilhelmus” is the national anthem of the Netherlands. It dates back to at least 1572, making it the oldest national anthem in use today.

I mostly associate it with sporting events like the Olympics. It still give me the goosebumps every time I see the Dutch flagged being raised and the anthem is played during the Olympics, or any other sporting event for that matter. Although the Dutch do punch above their weight when it comes to sport, considering the size of the country. it only hosted the Olympic games once, in 1928. It was held from 28 July to 12 August 1928.

It was the first time that female athletes were competing in the field of gymnastics. Five women on the Dutch Olympic gymnastics team were Jewish: Helena-Lea Nordheim, Ans Polak, Estella-Stella Agsteribbe, Judikje-Judik Simons and Elka de Levie. The team’s trainer, Gerrit Kleerekoper, was also Jewish. The team won the gold medal for women’s gymnastics at the 1928 Olympics, and the Dutch press elevated the women to the status national heroines.

“Everything was taken care of down to the last detail. Nice practice material – not too heavy – logically composed, neatly executed in class, wonderful order and leadership, in one word sublime. …The jury was also enthusiastic and awarded the Kleerekoper corps a total score of 316.75 points, leaving the other teams far behind. With their well-deserved success the gymnasts were the first female Olympic champions in the Netherlands. At a quarter past five, the Dutch flag fluttered above the Olympic Stadium and the National Anthem sounded over the central area. However, the cheers rose when HRH Prince Hendrik stepped forward and shook hands with each of the participants. …and then they, our ladies, to whom we owe the first victory, disappeared under the grandstand to their dressing rooms.”

The Dutch Olympic women’s gymnastics team at the Amsterdam Olympics, 1928. The team won the gold medal. The coach was Jewish, as were five of the team members.The Jewish team members are standing on the first row: From left: Helena-Lea Nordheim (second), Anna Polak (third), Estella Agsteribbe (fourth), Judik Simons (last) and Elka de Levie (second row, first from right). Courtesy of NOC-NSF Gelderland collection

Less then 12 years later that status was forgotten. On May 10 German troops invaded the Netherlands and a few days later the country was fully occupied by the Germans who quickly found collaborators and a Nazi regime was put in place.

Leah, Estella and Elka trained at the “Bato” sports club in Amsterdam, which had been established in 1902 and was one of the largest Jewish sports clubs in the city. In September 1941, the Germans banned Jews from all sports activities, but even after the club’s closure, Jews continued to train and exercise illegally until 1942. From the summer of 1942, Dutch Jews were deported to the East.

Judik Simons married Bernard Solomon Themans in 1935, and they had two children, Sonja (b. 1937) and Leon (b. 1940). After the team’s win, Simons and her husband ran an orphanage in Utrecht, where they lived with their own two children. During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the family was given a chance to escape deportation to the death camps, but Simons and her husband refused to leave the orphans. On March 3, 1943, the entire family and dozens of children from the orphanage were gassed at Sobibor.

Helena Nordheim married Abraham Kloot, and their daughter Rebecca was born in 1933. Lea and Abraham were both hairdressers. In 1943, they were arrested and sent to Westerbork. On 29 June 1943, a deportation train left Westerbork, arriving at Sobibor three days later. The deportees included Helena Kloot, her husband and their ten-year-old daughter, and Gerrit Kleerekoper-the coach of the team- his wife Kaatje and their 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth. They were all murdered. There were no survivors from this deportation. Gerrit and Kaatje’s 21 year old son Leendert was murdered on 30 July 1944 at Auschwitz, according to the Totenbuch des KL Auschwitz-Monowitz (death register)

In 1936, Anna-Ans Polak married Barend Dresden, a tailor, and in 1937 their only daughter Eva was born in Amsterdam. In May 1943, the family was arrested and sent to the Vught concentration camp in the Netherlands. Approximately one month later, Anna and Eva were transferred to Westerbork. On 20 July 1943, a deportation train left Westerbork, arriving at Sobibor three days later. Among the deportees were Anna Dresden and her six-year-old daughter Eva. They were both murdered. There were no survivors from this deportation. Anna’s husband Barend was deported from Vught to Auschwitz on 15 December 1943. He survived the selection, and was sent to forced labor in Auschwitz III: Buna-Monowitz. On 30 November 1944, Barend was murdered at Auschwitz.

In 1928, Stella Agsteribbe competed in the first ever Olympic gymnastics competition for women. Despite placing 13th in the Dutch team selection event, she was elected to compete in the group competition. The Dutch quite comfortably earned the gold in the five-team competition. Individually, Agsteribbe placed 3rd at the Dutch all-around championships in both 1930 and 1934. At the latter event, she competed as Stella Blits, having married Samuel Blits, also a gymnast with her club BATO. Like several of her team mates (Lea Nordheim, Ans Polak, Elka de Levie, alternate Judikje Simons and coach Gerrit Kleerekoper, Agsteribbe was Jewish. During World War II, she was deported to Auschwitz with her husband and children. She was killed shortly after arrival on 17 September 1943, along with her six-year-old daughter Nanny, and two-year-old son Alfred. Her husband, Samuel Blits, died at Auschwitz on 28 April 1944.

Elka de Levie managed to evade the tragic fate of her fellow Jewish teammates, and survived in the Netherlands. She passed away in Amsterdam in 1979.

Mozes Jacobs competed in the men’s gymnastics team. He didn’t win any medals, I believe he came 8th. He taught physical education. He joined the resistance and participated in acts of sabotage and helped those in hiding. On 1 April 1943 he was caught in Vierhouten and held at the house of detention in Arnhem. From there he was deported to Germany via Westerbork. He was murdered on July 9,1943 in Sobibor.

Cornelis Compter was of Jewish descent. He was a truck driver by profession. He competed in the featherweight weightlifting event at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, where he achieve the 19th place. Hewas a memer of the the Hague communist resistance. He was involved in the distribution of the resistance magazine De Vonk. He was arrested on August 4, 1941 by Johannes Hubertus Veefkind, a member of the Hague Police Intelligence Service before the war. Compter was arrested as a result of an infiltration action by Johannes Hubertus van Soolingen, ordered by Mayor De Monchy in May 1940. In March 1942 he was transferred from the Oranjehotel to Kamp Amersfoort. The same month he was transferred to Buchenwald. In 1944 he was transferred to the Nacht und Nebelkamp Natzweiler. In September 1944 he was transferred to Dachau and shortly afterwards to Mauthausen, where he died of exhaustion on 23 February 1945.

Elias Hyman Melkman was a member of the gymnastics association Plato in Amsterdam. He took part as a gymnast in the Olympics of 1928 in Amsterdam. He was murdered in Auschwitz on January 3,1942.

Israel Wijnschenk was also a member of the Dutch men’s gymnast team. He competed in seven events at the 1928 Summer Olympics. He was murdered in Auschwitz on January 31,1943.

Pierre Marie Robert Versteeghwas a Dutch horse rider who competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics and in the 1936 Summer Olympics. In the 1928 Summer Olympics he won the bronze medal in the team dressage with his horse His Excellence after finishing ninth in the individual dressage. Eight years later he finished fifth with the Dutch team in the team dressage and placed eighth in the individual dressage.

Pierre Versteegh trained for the Dutch military, enrolling at the Royal Military Academy in Breda in 1906. In June 1909 he was appointed second lieutenant and assigned to the Third Division in Ede. In the years before World War I, and also after the conflict, Versteegh became an active equestrian participant, winning numerous local competitions. In 1925 he was promoted to captain and in 1936 to major in the Army. In 1931 Versteegh had been awarded the Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau with Swords.

When the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, Versteegh held the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and was also concerned because his wife was Jewish. After the Dutch Army surrendered, Versteegh joined the Dutch Underground, working with the Ordedienst (OD), a fusion of several underground groups. On 2 May 1941 Versteegh was arrested after being found to be a member of the OD. He and several other OD members were kept in the state prison in Scheveningen, later called the Oranjehotel. In March-April 1942 Versteegh and many of his compatriots were tried in Amersfoort, and all were found guilty, and sentenced to death.

On 1 May 1942 the convicted OD members, among whom were included Richard Schoemaker, a Dutch fencing Olympian, were taken by train to Oranienburg, near Berlin, and then transported by truck to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. On 3 May 1942 all of the convicts were executed by firing squad, in groups of 12 each. Pierre Versteegh was among them.

Jan Geert Ankerman was a Dutch field hockey player , he was born in Wommel in Friesland, the Northwest of the Netherlands. He competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics. He was a member of the Dutch field hockey team, which won the silver medal. He played all four matches as halfback.

He did not die in any of the Nazi deathcamps. He was murdered in another concentration camp, by another axis power. He died on December 27,1942 in a Japanese prisoners of war camp in Burma.

Although the Japanese camps were not to the scale as the Nazi camps, they were nonetheless horrific and inhumane and often described as hell on earth

sources

https://www.olympedia.org/lists/3/manual

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/535112/about-elias-hyman-melkman

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/158818/israel-wijnschenk

https://peoplepill.com/people/pierre-versteegh/

https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-jewish-olympians-among-hitlers-victims/

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/sport/dutch-gymnastics-team.asp

https://peoplepill.com/people/jan-ankerman

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Jan Gies-Miep Gies’s Husband

The saying goes “Behind Every Great Man There Is A Great Woman” but of course it can also be said that behind every great woman there is a great man.

The Anne Frank foundation said about Miep Gies’s husband. “Jan was not a person to stand in the limelight, not even amid all the publicity surrounding Anne Frank. He was throughout his lifetime a man of few words, but many deeds.”

Most of us will have heard about Miep Gies. But probably not so much about her Husband Jan Gies.

He was a member of the Dutch Resistance who, with his wife, Miep, helped hide Anne Frank, her sister Margot, their parents Otto and Edith, the van Pels, and Fritz Pfeffer from Nazi persecution during the occupation of The Netherlands by aiding them as they resided in the Secret Annex. Helping Jews brought the risk of severe punishments, even death, if you were caught.

Jan met Otto Frank and his family through his fiancée, Miep Santrouschitz. From 1936 onwards, he would frequently visit them on Saturday afternoons, when the Franks invited friends and acquaintances. When Jews were no longer allowed to own or even rub businesses, Otto Frank was grateful for Jan’s help. Together with Victor Kugler, Jan founded the company Gies & Co. to take over Otto’s company Pectacon, and Jan took on the role of supervisory director. This was a way to keep Otto’s business safe from the Nazis and to avoid it to fall under the control of the Nazis.

Miep had been living in the Netherlands since December of 1920, she had always kept her Austrian nationality. However because Austria no longer existed due to its annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938, Miep tried to obtain the Dutch nationality in 1939 by writing a letter to Queen Wilhemina.

Jan and Miep married on July 16,1941. Otto Frank was a witness at their wedding and Anne accompanied him. Edith did not attend because both Margot and Grandmother Holländer were ill. The wedding celebrations took place at Otto’s business premises. On behalf of her family and the office staff, Anne presented them with a silver plate.

Jan became involved in the resistance during the war. Because of his work as a social worker , he could easily visit people and thus, for example, distribute illegal papers. His contacts also helped him to obtain distribution coupons, and securing British newspapers free from Nazi propaganda. The couple also hid a Jewish man in their own home, and Mr. Gies provided ration coupons to members of the underground resistance. All of these activities were punishable by death.

The exact nature of his work for the resistance is unclear. Jan kept quiet about it. During the war it was a matter of course that he could not talk about what he did, and after the war he did not feel compelled to discuss it in detail.

When Otto Frank arrived on Miep and Jan’s doorstep in the summer of 1945, he would continue to live with them until 1953. His wife Edith and daughters Margot and Anne had died in the camps. Miep who had found and kept Anne’s diary safe was able to give Anne’s diary to Otto , and he saw to it that they were published in 1947. Jan and Miep’s son Paul was born on 30 July 1950.

Otto Frank, Miep and Jan Gies with son Paul, January 1951, Amsterdam

They continued to live in Amsterdam until Jan passed away in 1993.Jan died on January 26,1993.

The date January 26 has a personal meaning to me and it also has a special meaning in the context of the Holocaust victims of the Netherlands. My mother passed away on January 26,1996, and the Dutch government issued a formal and official apology on January 26,2020, to the family of the Holocaust victims in the Netherlands.

Today marks the 116 the Birthday of Jan Gies, and I often wonder how many lives could have been saved if there had been more people like him and his wife.

sources

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/main-characters/jan-gies/

https://www.miepgies.nl/en/biography/jan%20gies/

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Four murdered babies.

Whoever has the youth has the future. Whoever kills the youth destroys the future.

I can never understand the mindset of murdering innocent lives. No matter what ideology, any normal human being must know that killing a little healthy, happy child is wrong, more then wrong, it is evil and despicable.

Yet there were so called sophisticated people who had no issues murdering babies. They more then likely had children themselves, because having children was one of the priorities in the Nazi doctrine. Yet they murdered infants who were not considered ‘pure’. They did not realized that every child is pure?

The picture above is of Margaretha Bertha Aussen, she was born October 4,1941 in Amsterdam and was murdered in Auschwitz, September 10,1942 aged 11 months.

Jack Vleeschdrager was also born in Amsterdam on October 4,1941 and was murdered in Sobibor on June 4,1943 aged 20 months.

Abram Winnik, another child born in Amsterdam on October 4,1941. He was murdered in Sobibor on April 23,1943 aged 17 months.

Eva Kövesi another young citizen of the Dutch capital ,Amsterdam, also born on October 4,1941. Murdered in Auschwitz September 21,1942, aged 11 months.

All these 4 kids would have been 80 today, but they didn’t even make it to age 2. I hope that by writing down their names they will be remembered for generations to come.

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