Gesina Groen-Murdered on her first Birthday.

Gesina Groen would have been 80 today. But she was murdered on her 1st birthday.

She was born on July 26,1941 in Amsterdam and murdered in Auschwitz July 26,1942, together with her mother.

There are no pictures of Gesina, just a picture of the house she lived in. The address is Nieuwe Keizersgracht 70, Amsterdam, which is a prime location in Amsterdam nowadays. The house would be too expensive to afford for most people now.

All I know though is that when Gesina lived there, there were in total 12 people living in that building. None of them survived.

The oldest resident was Sophia Cohen-Rosenberg, she was murdered April 9, 1943 in Sobibor, aged 78.

There may have been another child on the address, Abraham de Vries he was the foster son of Marcus Rooselaar. Abraham de Vries was murdered in Sobibor ,July 16, 1943, aged 11. However it is not certain that he lived on the address.

Sources

http://nieuw.schaduwkade.nl/app/fsm.php?vwr=lijst&mid=103

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/186652/gesina-groen

The Holocaust in Thessaloniki, Covid 19 Vaccine and Viagra.

Some people will probably accuse me for using specific words in the title as ‘clickbait’, and to an extend that is true. But anyone who writes a blog, and especially one with an extraordinary story, want readers to click on that link to read that story.

I make no excuse for the use of the title, basically because all the words are linked.

There were an approximate 50,000 Jews in Thessaloniki ,Greece, before World War 2. Only 2000 of them survived.

In the summer of 1942, the persecution of the Jews of Thessaloniki started. All men between the ages of 18 and 45 were conscripted into forced labor, where they stood for hours in the hot summer sun and were beaten and humiliated. The Jewish community was depleted of its wealth and pride. Jews were ordered to wear the yellow Star of David and forced into an enclosed ghetto, called Baron Hirsch, adjacent to the rail lines.

On March 15, 1943, the Nazis began deporting Jews from Thessaloniki. Every three days, freight cars crammed with an average of 2,000 Thessaloniki Jews headed toward Auschwitz-Birkenau. By the summer of 1943, the Nazi regime had deported 46,091 Jews.

Two of the survivors were the parents of Albert Bourla. For many of you the name Albert Bourla will mean very little. However is the CEO of a company which will have made an impact to millions ,and possibly billions, of people across the globe. The company if Pfizer, the first company ,the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was the first approved vaccine used to provide protection against infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus in order to prevent COVID-19. Of Course Pfizer is also known for Viagra, initially used as a treatment for heart-related chest pain. But is now primarily used as a treatment of erectile dysfunction (inability to sustain a satisfactory erection to complete sexual intercourse). Its use is now one of the standard treatments for erectile dysfunction.

Dr. Albert Bourla joined the Sephardic Heritage International on January 28th for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, where he shared his family’s story of tragedy and survival during the Holocaust.

Below is an excerpt of his speech.

“My father’s family, like so many others, had been forced from their homes and taken to a crowded house within one of the Jewish ghettos,” recounted Bourla. “It was a house they had to share with several other Jewish families. They could circulate in and out of the ghetto as long as they were wearing the yellow star.”

“But one day in March 1943, the ghetto was surrounded by occupational forces and the exit was blocked. My father and his brother (my uncle) were outside when it happened. Their father (my grandfather) met them outside, told them what was happening and asked them to leave the ghetto and hide because he had to go back inside as his wife and two other children were home. So later that day, my grandfather, Abraham Bourla, his wife Rachel, his daughter Graziella and his youngest son David were taken to a camp outside the train station and from there, left for Auschwitz. My father and uncle never saw them again,”

“When the Germans had left, they went back to Thessalonki and found that all of their property and belongings have been stolen or sold.”

Bourla’s mother was well known which caused her to hide at home “24 hours a day” out of fear of being recognized on the street and turned over the Nazis . She left the house very rarely, but it was during one of her rare ventures outside that she was captured and taken to a local prison.

“My Christian uncle, my mother’s brother-in-law, Costas de Madis approached a Nazi official and paid him a ransom in exchange for a promise that my mother would be spared,”

“However, my mother’s sister, my aunt, didn’t trust the Germans. So she would go to the prison every day at noon to watch as they loaded the truck of prisoners. One day, her fear had been realized, and my mom was put on the truck. She ran home and told her husband, who then called the Nazi official and reminded him of their agreement – who said he would look into it. That night was the longest night in my aunt and uncle’s life because they knew that next morning, my mom would likely have been executed.”

“The next day, my mom was lined up with other prisoners. And moments before she would have been executed, a German soldier on a motorcycle arrived and handed some papers to the men in charge of the firing squad. They removed my mother from the line. As they rode away, my mom could hear the machine gun slaughtering those that were left behind. Two or three days later, she was released from prison after the Germans left Greece.”

Eight years later Bourla’s parents met by way of matchmaking, through which they agreed to get married.

I fully respect anyone’s decision whether to take or not to take the vaccine, or any vaccine for that matter. Once this decision is based on sound, verified and peer researched information, and not by social media memes or sources which can’t be traced or verified.

However I will never condone the current vaccinations being compared to the Holocaust, it is absolutely vile and disgusting.

Just imagine i

sources

https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/pfizer-ceo-shares-his-familys-tragic-story-during-the-holocaust-658818

https://www.ushmm.org/information/exhibitions/online-exhibitions/special-focus/holocaust-in-greece/thessaloniki

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/my-familys-story-why-we-remember-albert-bourla/

Vel’ d’Hiv-July 16-17 1942-Round up of the French Jews.

It always amazes me how easy it was for some Europeans to give up their Jewish neighbours. I know it is easy for me to say that in retrospect, because I don’t know how I would have reacted if I was put in that situation. But I have a feeling I would have least spoken out about it.

In the Netherlands 75% of all Dutch Jews, or Jews residing in the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust. It wasn’t so much that all Dutch were complicit in this crime. A big factor was the very efficient Dutch civil administration which enabled the occupiers to carry out their plans for the final solution. As I stated before only relatively few Dutch were complicit, but there were a great number that were complacent and hid for the facts that were so plain to see.

In France however, it was the French Vichy government that were complicit and were quite happy and eager to help the Nazi occupiers.

I remember a scene in the movie “Mr. Klein” about a man profiting off the misfortune of French Jews during World War II. In the scene it was the French police knocking at the door of the Jews and not the Gestapo. Although the film is fictional, it does give a good indication of the French attitude towards their Jewish neighbours. This 1976 film directed by Joseph Losey. Alain Delon plays the immoral art dealer, Robert Klein, leads a life of luxury, until a copy of a Jewish newspaper brings him to the attention of the police, linking him with a mysterious doppelgänger.

On July 16th 1942, French police acting on orders of the Nazi occupiers began rounding up thousands of Jews living in Paris. They were assembled at the city’s indoor velodrome the victims were held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver, cycling stadium in Paris’s 15th arrondissement. From there they were being deported to Auschwitz. Many died at the velodrome itself, left in searing heat with almost no food, water or sanitation. This shameful chapter in France’s history is known as “la rafle du Vel d’Hiv'”. The French police, code named the round up Opération Vent printanier (“Operation Spring Breeze”)

The roundup was one of several aimed at eradicating the Jewish population in France, both in the occupied zone and in the free zone. According to records of the Préfecture de Police, eventually 13,152 Jews were arrested including more than 4,000 children. They were all put in rail cattle cars to be deported to Auschwitz for their mass murder.

Over 3,000 children remained interned orphaned, until they were deported to Auschwitz as well.

Many wartime French authorities and police played an active role in the deportations, but one Paris policeman, Théophile Larue, took a stand. He warned his Jewish neighbors, the Lictensztajns, of the upcoming “Vél d’Hiv” roundup. He arranged for the family to escape to southern France and obtain false papers. The Lictensztajns were saved by one man who made a choice to uphold his position to protect all citizens, but unfortunately, not all French Policemen took that position.

Théophile Larue didn’t save only the Lictensztajn.

In March 1941, the Larue and his wife Madeleine offered their hospitality to Léon Osman, who thus managed to avoid being sent to the Pithiviers camp. He remained under their care until July 1942, when he was able to escape to the south of France. Osman was on the Gestapo’s list of wanted people; giving shelter to such a person was a grave offense and carried a heavy punishment.
On July 15 1942, Larue gave advanced warning of the planned large-scale roundup of Jews that was to start the next day to eight Jewish families who lived in his building, thus allowing them a chance to flee and find refuge.
The Larue couple sheltered Chuma Brand, and her daughter Fanny in their apartment for a week, in July 1942. Then Théophile accompanied them to the train station in his uniform so as to facilitate their flight to the unoccupied zone. In November 1942, Simon Glicensztajn, also on the Gestapo’s list, found refuge in the Larues’ home for a few days. Moreover, one night, Larue broke in to the police-sealed apartment of Glicensztajn’s sister, Laja Tobjasz, to help remove a stock of merchandise that would provide the family with a livelihood.
Once, when Mrs. Tobjasz returned to Paris from southern France, she was arrested and taken to the prefecture. When Larue heard this, he donned his uniform, went to the prefecture and asked to speak to the prefect.

He said that Mrs. Tobjasz was Catholic and his daughter’s godmother. Although skeptical, the prefect must have had a change of heart, because he released her into Larue’s custody. Théophile Larue believed that it was his duty as a man of honor, and one who had respect for human values to help people in need, even at the risk of putting his family in harm’s way. As a member of the French Resistance, Officer Larue took part in the battle for theliberation of Paris. After the liberation, the Larues continued to be in touch with the families of those they rescued. On September 23, 2007, Yad Vashem recognized Théophile and Madeleine Larue as Righteous Among the Nations.

German authorities continued the deportations of Jews from French soil until August 1944. In all, some 77,000 Jews living on French territory were murdered in concentration camps and killing centers—the overwhelming majority of them at Auschwitz.

For his pivotal part in the deportation of Jews from France, Pierre Laval, formerly the French Prime Minister, was arrested and tried after the liberation of France. He was shot by firing squad on 15 October 1945.

The fate of two German officials most involved in the Vél d’Hiv mirrored the common fates of high-ranking SS administrators. Theodor Dannecker was arrested by American officials in Bad Tölz, Bavaria, in December 1945, and committed suicide while in custody. Helmut Knochen, sentenced by a British court to 21 years in prison for a separate offense, was sentenced to death by a French court in 1954. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and Knochen was released on orders of French President Charles de Gaulle in November 1962.

sources

https://www.france24.com/en/focus/20140716-france-vel-hiv-roundup-jews-nazi-death-camps-deportation-survivor

https://apnews.com/article/9603cd8d7461de30c1fe5c192b14c98c

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-velodrome-dhiver-vel-dhiv-roundup

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/theophile-larue?parent=en%2F11768

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Margot Frank-Cohen-Full life interrupted

I could have picked any name out of millions of victims to write about today. So why did I pick Margot Frank-Cohen? No particular reason other then that she would have been 100 years old today.

A few decades ago it would have been utter nonsense to talk about someone’s 100th birthday. Hardly anyone would reach that age. However nowadays there are more centenarians then there have ever been. So it could have been well possible for Margot to still be alive today, but as you can see on her wedding picture, the people around all have a star on their clothes. We all know the color of that star was yellow. We also know that those stars were given to Jews so that they could be identified as such.

The word on their stars reads “Jood” the Dutch word for Jew. Margot wasn’t Dutch but she was born in Bocholt.

Bocholt is a city in the north-west of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, part of the district Borken. It is situated 4 km (2½ miles) south of the border with the Netherlands.

When she moved to the Netherlands I don’t know. I presume it was in 1939 the same time as her parents moved to Amsterdam.

Or it could be the case that her parents moved here because Margot already lived in the Netherlands. Because in 1939 Margot married Hein Lindeman, she was 18 at the time. The marriage didn’t last too long but the couple did have a daughter together, Sophia Juliana Senta Lindeman, born on February 10, 1940.

When you look at the dates 1939 and February 1940, things were still normal for the Jews living in the Netherlands. It was only in May 1940, after the German occupation, things started to change gradually for the Jews.

As stated earlier the marriage between Margot and Hein didn’t last long they divorced in 1941.

This is the astonishing bit, neither of them gave up on love. Despite the fact that so many of their friends and families were already deported, both Margot and Hein re-married. Hein married Alida (Ali) Druyf in May 1942. Just over 4 months later Alida was murdered in Auschwitz on September 28,1942. Hein was murdered in Sobibor on April 23,1943.

Margot married Siegfried Frank in 1942 in Camp Westerbork. The picture at the start of the blog is from their wedding day.Margot was Murdered in Auschwitz together with her 4 year old daughter on October 6,1944. They were put on transport Transport XXIV/7, no. 194 on September 6, 1944,Westerbork the Netherlands to Terezín Then from Terezin via transport En, no. 47 on October. 10. 1944, Terezín to Auschwitz

The irony is that her husband died on the 2nd anniversary of her ex husband. He was murdered in Buchenwald on April 23 1945, just a few days after it was liberated.

Despite Margot’s young age, she had already lived a fuller life then most people. A full life only to be interrupted by an evil ideology

Sources

https://www.holocaust.cz/en/database-of-victims/victim/149922-margot-frank-cohen/

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/195704/margot-frank-cohen

https://www.geni.com/people/Margot-Frank/6000000164906549161

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/195703/sophia-juliana-senta-lindeman

https://www.geni.com/people/Siegfried-Frank/6000000065602842922

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Dagobert Stibbe- Not just a name or statistic, but a Human Being.

Dagobert Stibbe was born in Amsterdam, 13 October 1918. He was murdered in Auschwitz, 23 June 1943.

He was a student at the Technische Hogeschool(Technical University)Delft. He tried to escape to Switzerland, but this failed. He was caught on 2 June 1943 just 15 meters away from French-Swiss border. He was sent to the transit camp Drancy in France From there he was deported to the ‘Aussenkommando Jawischowitz’, that was part of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

There he had to work in a coal mine. His last letter was sent on June 18,1943.

But he was not just a victim of the Holocaust. He was also a student, a son, a friend. A Human Being who contributed to society. A young man who still had a life to live.

His fellow students from the Lyceum in Amsterdam, where he as a student in 1935, were very fond of him. He was described as a spontaneous, lively young man. He played the accordion, and his awkwardness endeared him to the people around him. His honesty and his bravery to stand up for his convictions made him stand out. He was overall a fun guy to be around.

His fellow students were so fond of him that they couldn’t bother finding out the actual date he died. In a memorial piece about him they said that he died after July in the coal mine. The memorial was posted in 1947, 2 years after the war. However in their defense the date of June 23, appears to be an estimate. On his death certificate the date is given between June 23,1943 and May 1, 1945.

I often see these types of memorials of victims of the Holocaust, written or compiled by friends or colleagues. But to me they really are quite hollow. I don’t want to be judgmental, but what did they do to help the victims?

I know it is easy for me to say because I was never put in that situation, but I would hope I would at least have some level of bravery, even if it was to speak out.

Sources

https://www.oorlogslevens.nl/tijdlijn/Dagobert-Stibbe/02/148282

https://www.wiewaswie.nl/nl/detail/85029256

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/149814/dagobert-stibbe

https://www.geni.com/people/Dagobert-Stibbe/6000000000351944519

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Born in Westerbork

I have 3 children and I witnessed the birth of all 3 of them. The birth of a child must be the greatest miracle, Sure the sex beforehand is wonderful, but just imagine it, a sperm cell from a fertile man swims up through the vagina and into the uterus of a woman and joins with the woman’s egg cell as it travels down one of the fallopian tubes from the ovary to the uterus.

This is when the baby is conceived. There is no better moment in a parent’s live to see that first glimpse of the tiny human being, a product of a sexual act and love of 2 people. Seeing their baby for the first time and the feeling that goes with is something which is impossible to describe. The only word that gets close is a miracle.

But what if that baby is born in captivity and you are not sure how long the child will live, or indeed how long you will live, how does that feel? It is something no one wants to experience, yet it was a reality for many people.

The picture above is of Marie Majerowicz she was born in Camp Westerbork.

Camp Westerbork was a concentration and transit camp in Drenthe province, north east of the Netherlands.Established by the Dutch government in the summer of 1939, Camp Westerbork was meant to serve as a refugee camp for Germans and Austrians (German and Austrian Jews in particular), who had fled to the Netherlands to escape Nazi persecution.

But after the Nazis occupied the Netherlands ,the camp was repurposed and was utilized as a staging ground for the deportation of Jews, from 1942 to 1945. Only one-half square kilometer (119 acres) in area, the camp was not built for the purpose of industrial murder as were Nazi extermination camps. Westerbork was considered by Nazi standards as “humane”. Jewish inmates with families were housed in 200 interconnected cottages that contained two rooms, a toilet, a hot plate for cooking, and a small yard. Single inmates were placed in oblong barracks which contained a bathroom for each sex.

Marie Majerowicz was born in camp Westerbork on December 30,1942. In September 1944 she was deported to Theresienstadt from where, on 6 October 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz. She was murdered in a gas chamber after selection. She was not even 2 yet.

Marie wasn’t the only child born in Westerbork. Most of the children died or were murdered when they were still babies. Some only lived for a few days.

Abraham Moritz Benjamins, born February 21,1943. Murdered in Auschwitz October 8,1943.

Tine Bloemendaal, born April 30 1943. Died in Westerbork June 5,1943.

Emanuel Snatager. born May 9,1942. Died in Westerbork May 26,1943.

Karin Walg,born June 19, 1943. Died in Westerbork, June 23,1943.

Bernard Gosschalk, born December 21,1942. Murdered in Auschwitz October 26,1943.

Benjamin Vleeschhouwer, born August 10,1943. Died in Westerbork October 26,1943.

These were just a few. There are so many and to be honest I don’t think I can go through all of their details, my heart just can’t take it.

Aside from the human cost and the sheer evil and horror of it. So much potential talent has been lost. Who know, the scientist who discovered a cure for all cancers could be one of these children. We will never know just because of the warped ideology of Nazism.

sources

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1066255

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Seeing takes a second- The thoughts will last forever.

The title is the translation of a line of a Dutch song called ‘Blauw’ or “Blue”. I was listening to it in my car yesterday, while is was on my way to the Covid 19 vaccination centre.

That particular stuck with me. That is exactly what I go through every time I do an article about the very young Holocaust victims. Seeing them, or rather seeing a picture of them, only takes a second but the thought last forever. I don’t how may seconds I have seen pictures of children, all I know there faces stay with me

The picture above is of Rolf Dirk Ullmann, he was born on March 31,1943 in Westerbork, the Netherlands and was murdered in Auschwitz on October 8,1944. He was only about 18 months old.

He was first transported to Theresienstadt on January 20,1944. On October 6,1944, he was transported to Auschwitz. He arrived on October 8, he was murdered.

His first and last steps he took were in a concentration camp. His first words, if any, were uttered in a concentration camp. He got his first and his last feed in a concentration camp. All I ever knew was captivity and hate from those who put him there.

His mother Edith Ullmann-Fleischmann was born in Ebeslbach, Bavaria, Germany on October 31,1912. I don’t know for sure but I reckon she escaped Germany when the Nazis took power. More then likely she would have ended up in Westerbork, which was a refugee centre for Jews who escaped Germany and Austria prior to the outbreak of World War 2.

She ended up in Westerbork again during the war. This time it was a concentration camp, a so called transit camp. Here she gave birth to her son, Rolf Dirk Ullmann.

Edith also had a daughter, Ellen Wilhelmina Ullmann. She was born in the Netherlands on September 15,1939 in the town of Oud-Beijerland, which translates in to Old Bavarialand.

Ellen Wilhelmina was also murdered in Auschwitz on October 8,1944. Only a few weeks after her 5th birthday.

Edith Ullmann-Fleischmann was murdered on October 9, 1944 , a day after her children, In Auschwitz Birkenau. I don’t know why she was murdered a day later. I can also imagine after seeing her children being murdered, she gave up the will to live. As a parent I can fully understand that.

These 3 innocent souls are just a few of the 6 million Jews killed during the holocaust. Six million seconds, 1.666.66 hours or 69.44 days. But as the title said already, to me seeing every picture takes a second, the thoughts will last forever.

It is up to all of us to NEVER EVER let there be another Holocaust.

sources

https://map.stolpersteine.app/en/utrecht/locations/handelstraat-48

https://www.oorlogsgravenstichting.nl/persoon/156474/edith-ullmann-fleischmann#

https://www.oorlogslevens.nl/tijdlijn/Rolf-Dirk-Ullmann/01/36729

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/41302/rolf-dirk-ullmann

Martin Sealtiel, born May 19-1935. Murdered September 3-1943

It is strange sometimes how little you can find out of a person, yet you can still tell a story about him.

Martin Sealtiel was born on May 19,1935. There are no pictures of him. The only indication that he was born was a newspaper announcement in a local newspaper, placed on May 20-1935 by his parents. The announcement was of the birth of their son Martin. Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In neighbouring Germany, the first section of the Reichsautobahn, connecting Frankfurt and Heidelberg, was opened by Hitler in Darmstadt.

Weather wise May 19,1935 was not a pleasant day. The temperature that day was between 3.9 °C and 13.0 °C and averaged 8.0 °C. There was 1.9 mm of rain during 2.0 hours. There was 8.6 hours of sunshine (54%). The average windspeed was 3 Bft (moderate breeze) and was prevailing from the west. T

Martin’s parents, Esther Sealtiel-Waterman and David Sealtiel, got married on January 31,1934.

The family lived in the Cronjéstraat 17 in Amsterdam. Martin’s dad was a sales rep for a Metal company. Martin’s mom sold lamp shades which she made herself.

On May 10,1940 Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands. Although the lives of Jews didn’t change too much initially, gradually laws were introduced with the aim to eradicate every Jew in the Netherlands. The Nazis nearly succeeded.

On July 17,1943, the Sealtiel family is deported to Westerbork transit camp. On August 31,1943 Martin and his Mother are both transported to Auschwitz in Poland. They arrive on September 3,1943, they are both murdered on arrival. Martin was aged 8 at the time.

Martin’s dad ,David, is sent to a labour camp Warsaw,Poland. Here he has to clear rubble and debris from the ghetto. He died on June 30,1944 off pneumonia(at least that is what is death cert says) just over 9 months after his wife and son were murdered.

The whole Sealtiel of the Cronjéstraat 17, wiped away because of the warped ideology of Nazism.

I wish I could say that this was the only family, but that would be a lie. Millions were murdered and not only Jews. Homosexual, people with a disability, people with a different political point of view, Jehovah Witnesses and others were subject to the evil of the Nazis.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/207967/martin-sealtiel

https://westerborkportretten.nl/westerborkportretten/martin-sealtiel

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Holocaust Testimonies

There are millions of Holocaust stories I could write, but none will be as powerful as the testimonies of those who survived the darkest era.

Following are some of those testimonies.

Written by Zdeněk and Jiří Steiner, born 20. 5. 1929 in Prague, residents of Prague, former prisoners in the concentration camps of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, residing in Prague XI., Vratislavova 13, Czech nationality.

“We left Prague bound for Theresienstadt on 22. 12. 1942 together with our parents and a great number of relatives. We spent 8½ months Theresienstadt, where things had been so-so for us. We left Theresienstadt on September 6th, 1943, and, after a miserable two-day journey, we finally arrived at the Neu-Berun train station. From there, they took us to the concentration camp in Birkenau. We were told that it was only a quarantine. After the usual procedures, such as a bath and a getting a tattoo (we were given the numbers 147742 and 147743), we were clothed in old rags (children in adult clothing) and housed in camp B II b, where we spent 6 whole months. We experienced so much in this place. Through the efforts of Fredy Hirsch, a children’s home was established. We children were better off than the adults because we didn’t have to work, our food was a little bit better, and, later, our clothes were better as well. Such was our life in the Birkenau children’s camp under extremely harsh conditions. A doctor arrived in December (each camp had a building for the sick and a single German doctor, who generally didn’t know how to do much else besides sending as many people as possible to their graves, served several of these buildings). With a wave of his fingers, Dr. Mengele decided who lived and who died, just like Nero did in ancient times. This renowned doctor was very interested in us twins, which was actually what saved us despite the fact that we came down with so many illnesses. Once, Dr. Mengele took a closer look at us, but then he contracted spotted typhus. In addition to him, we were tortured by the SS man Buntrock, who had a preference for beating children.

Another SS man, probably a Russian spy, who helped one of our people escape, was shot by other SS officers after he returned.

In the meantime, the fateful month of March began. This month took away our parents and all of our closest friends — the only thing that we still had in our lives. At the start of the month, it was rumored that the entire transport that had arrived in September 1943 would be taken to the labor camp in Heidebreck. And that’s exactly what happened. On March 5th, postcards on which we were supposed to write to our relatives that we were healthy and doing fine were handed out. These cards were sent dated March 25th-27th. We weren’t allowed to write about our departure. On the morning of March 6th, as usual: Blockälteste antreten — an order for the entire transport to go to the lower section of the camp immediately. From there they took us to camp B II a. There were so many rumors going about, for example that it wasn’t a labor transport, but a chimney. We didn’t believe it because we thought it was impossible. We waited all day, and in the evening we were told that the transport couldn’t depart because 100 persons were to be reclaimed. This news greatly disturbed us. A terrible sleepless night wreaked havoc with our nerves. The people, who were now extremely distraught, didn’t pay attention to anything; everyone just wished for this uncertainty to end. Midday, on March 7th, a call: Ordnung am Block, Raportführer Buntrok geht. And he really came, read the names of several doctors, and then we heard our names. We became very frightened, because father’s name wasn’t read, and mother wasn’t present on the block. Buntrok assured father that we would see one another in the evening, and we were taken to the Krankenbau of camp B II b. There, we found out what it was really all about. There were 32 of us in total, twins and doctors combined. Mengele reclaimed us twins because he was interested in us, as we’ve already mentioned. He came to see us the next day. When we told him that our parents had left on the transport, he said: Schade. In the meantime, we found out that the cars had driven off during the night ¨

“In the direction of the crematorium. The camp was empty; flames shot up from the crematorium. We will never forget this scene. But we didn’t believe that our parents were dead. However, we soon found out the truth from a doctor who was a member of the Sonderkommando, who was forced to do this work. Mengele arrived the following day, and took us by car to the Roma camp, which was where his station was. There, he precisely measured and weighed us, measured the length and width of our fingers and nails, the length and width of our noses, and anything else that could be measured and weighed. He also took down the color of our hair and skin. He carefully inspected us. He took fingerprints of our hands and feet. He worked alone; he never entrusted anyone else with the tasks he was performing. Then they brought us to the Krankenbau and life went on. We received 2 liters of soup per day, otherwise the food was the same as before. We were also photographed and x-rayed. Jewish doctors, who guaranteed the correctness of the examinations with their lives, had to examine our nerves, eyes, teeth, and ears.
The first labor transport from camp B II b left on 1. 7. In the meantime, another transport from Theresienstadt with 7½ thousand people arrived in May. This brought the number of people in the camp to 12,500, 3,000 of whom left to work. The rest were incinerated within 2 nights. We were taken to B II f. In this new camp, they drew our blood, which made our weakened bodies feel even worse. There is one horrible experience that we will never forget: one of our torturers, the camp doctor Thilo, was making a selection, i.e. choosing the people who would be sent to the crematorium, and he took our names down. What we felt when he did this cannot be described. Fortunately, Mengele heard this and saved us because he still needed us.

The front was approaching and the mood in the camp lifted. During this time, I became a Pipel in the Krankenbau, i.e. a runner, and so I was slightly better off. But then came winter and a new year, which was happier because we could hear the thunder of cannons. A rumor went around that the camp was going to be liquidated, but nothing happened. Finally, on January 16th, they led the first transport on foot out of Birkenau. The following days were extremely vexing, because one transport after another departed. Everyone left voluntarily and we children were the last to leave, partly because we didn’t want to go. People had to walk 60 km in the cold and frost, poorly clothed and hungry. We expected to be told that trains would come pick us up. We finally got what we wanted on January 20th, the day the last SSman left the camp. This was a wonderful time for us. We went wherever we wanted, ate whatever we wanted, did whatever we felt like doing. We roamed around the SS camp. In short, we were having a great time. We went without supervision for 5 days. Then, a group of SDmen arrived. They wanted to do us in, but didn’t get the chance. They, too, fled, and so we stayed until January 27th, when the victorious Red Army took over.

On March 27th, the Czech Svoboda’s Army took charge of us and brought us to Prague. Out of our family of 18, only 3 of us survived.”

Letter from Gerta Sachsová addressed to family friends. Gerta was deported with her husband from Prague to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in July 1943, from where she was sent to Auschwitz in autumn 1944. Her parents and husband were murdered . Gerta describes their fate and her difficult postwar adaptation..

“My Dears,

We are overjoyed that we are finally in written touch with you and that we can write to you in our mother tongue. We have so much to tell you that there isn’t enough paper in the world that could contain it all. Unfortunately, it’s mostly all bad news. So little of it is good. As you have perhaps already learned from Maruška, out of our whole family only Hanka and I returned, but we are happy that at least the two of us were reunited. I must tell you all about our departure from Prague. As you know, Kurt and I were transported to Theresienstadt in July 1943 to be with our parents and Hanka. We were together there for 1 ¼ years. We were doing rather well, all told. Kurt and my parents worked in the office, Hanka in the bakery, and I mostly did nothing because I was sick. Then, in the fall of 1944, we were gradually transported — father left separately, mother with Hanka, and I with Kurt. All of the transports went to Auschwitz. You cannot imagine what we suffered through. I don’t want to describe our experiences and so it’s perhaps a little cruel of me to write and tell you so directly that our dear mother died there. Father, who successfully made it past the selection process, was shot on the Czech border on May 3rd, 1945, just 5 days before the end of the war, during the evacuation of the labor camp where he was sent. Kurt was separated from me in Theresienstadt near the train and it was only when I returned to Prague that I learned that he was held for about 3 weeks in the Small Fortress and was supposedly shot there. We are positive regarding father since he was with Hanka’s young man, who returned. Jirka also returned and we’re living together with him now. I ran into Hanka by happy chance in Prague. She had come back one month earlier than I and she no longer believed that I would return. I’m sure you can imagine what our life is like now. Our financial situation is miserable; we don’t have enough clothes to wear.

I’ll likely find an office job. Hanka is graduating in September and then she’ll probably make her living as an illustrator. In short, this is all that we wanted to tell you about what we went through. We don’t know what the future holds. We are in touch with Maruška. Her little Jana is so adorable. We have visited them several times. Please write us soon and let us know if you are coming. We would love to see you, we have so much to tell. You can’t imagine how we are faring. But at least we are happy that you will come and see us.

sources

https://candlesholocaustmuseum.org/learn/mengele-twin-stories.html?page=3

https://early-testimony.ehri-project.eu/

Donation

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Kindertehuis-Home for Children

I came across date about the ‘Voormalig Rotterdams kindertehuis’ or Former Rotterdam home for Children. Initially I was a bit confused. I wanted to find out more so I looked in some Rotterdam archives, then I noticed that the actual home was in Arnhem. To make it even more confusing the address was Amsterdamscheweg 1, as in Amsterdam way 1.

The story behind this home is very sad and disturbing. The original name was Villa Marguerita , but after the bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940, Dr Wolff who was an ENT(Ear Nose Throat) Doctor originally from Berlin, became the director of the boys home. Eventually it became home for about 80 Jewish boys and girls, and later on some elderly Jewish citizens from Arnhem. For a short time it even functioned as a Jewish Hospital.

In December 1942, the deportation of the residents of the home , to Westerbork started. From there they were send to Auschwitz,Sobibor and Bergen Belsen. As far as I could find out none of the residents survived.

The youngest resident was Esther de Leeuw ,born 4 September 1942 in Arnhem. Murdered in Sobibor, 23 July 1943. Only 10 months old.

Kurt Rosenbaum was born in Berlin 2 April 1927 and was murdered Bergen-Belsen, 9 April 1945, a week after his 18th birthday.

I don’t know when this picture was taken, but the look in Kurt’s eyes is chilling. He clearly had got to the age where he knew what was happening around him and what fate would await him.

NEVER AGAIN

Sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/35441/voormalig-rotterdams-kindertehuis