Three murdered babies in Westerbork

I wish I could write a biography of these 3 murdered children, but I can’t. They didn’t live long enough to have a whole lot of details. In fact most of their lives could be written down on a small registration card.The one thing they have in common they were all murdered on May 20,1943.

I know there will be people who will argue that these children were not murdered, but they died. These kid were forcibly taken from the safety of their homes, they were mistreated and put in a horrible place. To me that constitutes murder.

Mindel Altman, was the oldest of the 3. She was born on April 16,1942.She was murdered on 20 May 1943 in Westerbork transit camp and was cremated on 21 May 1943.

The urn with her ashes was placed at the Jewish cemetery in Diemen on field U, row 5, grave no. 24.

José Velleman’s parents Benedictus and Rebekka were married on 14-12-1938 in Amsterdam. The young family settled on 20th of December 1938 at the address Jodenbreestraat 24, 3-hoog. Rebekka’s parents live a few houses away, at number 35. In the years before the war, Benedictus was a market trader. From April 1939 he sold stockings on the Waterlooplein market. Their son José was born on April 28, 1942. Benedictus then managed to get a job at the Jewish Council,

In February 1943 disaster struck for the young family. On 24-02-1943 they are deported to camp Vught. From there on 04-05-1943 Benedict is forced to work in the Aussenkommando Moerdijk. Shortly afterwards, Rebekka and José are deported to camp Westerbork, on May 8,1943. A day later . On 09-05-1943 they are registered in Westerbork. A few weeks later, on May 20-1943, young José is murdered in Westerbork, aged 2.

Judith van Sister, is the youngest of the 3, she was only 10 months old when she was murdered. She was born on July 16,1942.


Alfred Trzebinski—Evil Under the Guise of Science

It is hard, if not impossible, to define what the most evil crime was during the Holocaust. It is not like there is a gradient scale you can apply. Without a doubt though the murder of children was among the most heinous of acts.

One especially comes to mind. On 20 April 1945, on the 56th birthday of Adolf Hitler, 18 days before the end of the war in Europe.

At that time, 20 Jewish children had been living in Neuengamme Concentration Camp outside Hamburg. Aged between five and 12 years. Ten girls and ten boys, including two pairs of siblings. For months, the SS doctor Kurt Heißmeyer has been maltreating them as test objects for medical experiments: he had injected live tuberculosis bacilli under their skin and used probes to introduce them into the lungs. These 20 children and 4 adult supervisors were sent to the Bullenhuser Damm subcamp, a disused school building.

Alfred Trzebinski was a Polish(a Polish history website states that the Trzebinski family belonged to the nobility of greater Poland) assistant physician at Auschwitz, Neuengamme and Madjanek Concentration Camps. Together with Kurt Heissmeyer and Arnold Strippel, he was held responsible for the murder of twenty Jewish children in the Bullenhuser Schule.

On the night of 20 April 1945, Trzebinski injected morphine into the children (to sedate them) after which they were hanged in the basement of the Bullenhuser Damm school.

After the war, he tried to go underground but was arrested on 1 February 1946 and sentenced to death in the Curio-Haus trial. During his trial he confessed in quite an arrogant manner, saying, “If I had acted as a hero the children might have died a little later, but their fate could no longer be averted,” and admitted, “You cannot execute children, you can only murder them.” After all, they were “only” Jews. Trzebinski was executed by hanging on 8 October 1946 by Albert Pierrepoint at Hamelin prison.



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The murder of Beatrix Romijn and her family.

Every time when I look at a picture of a young Holocaust victim, I get this uncomfortable feeling, and even feel physically unwell. But that is a miniscule price to pay to ensure that they are remembered, not as just a number or statistic, but as a human being. Made from flesh and blood, a product of love.

Beatrix Romijn was such a human being. Born in Amsterdam, on the 19th of April 1941.Murdered in Auschwitz on the 2nd of August 1942. She reached the age of 1 years.

She hardly ever experienced what it felt like to play with a toy. She never got to do that typical Dutch thing of riding a bike.

On July 31, 1943 she was deported to Auschwitz together with her parents. In total there were 1002 human beings on that transport. 54% male,46% female.

I don’t know if this is true but I believe it is safe to presume that Beatrix was named after the Dutch Crown Princess at the time .

Beatrix and her Mother, Bertha Romijn-Kool, were murdered on August 2nd 1942 in Auschwitz. 194 Dutch Jews were murdered that day in Auschwitz.

Bertha Romijn-Kool, born in Amsterdam, on the 16th of November 1913. Murdered in Auschwitz, on the 2nd of August 1942. Reached the age of 28 years.

Beatrix’s Father ,Philip Romijn, born in Amsterdam, on the 29th of December 1912. Murdered in Auschwitz, on the 22nd of September 1942. Reached the age of 29 years, occupation: Diamond worker.

May they be remembered forever.


The murder of Robert Bierman in Auschwitz

Robert Bierman was murdered on July 18, 1942 in Auschwitz, he was 4 years old. I could have done a piece on his sister ,Francisca, who was also murdered on July 18, 1942. She was aged 6.

The reason why I picked Robert because it is his birthday today. He was born in Amsterdam on April 13,1938. He would have been 88 today.

I probably could have found out more about Robert, but I have reached a point where my heart just no longer can take it, He was perceived by the Nazis as an enemy of the state. Below are just some pictures of this 4 year old enemy of the state.

With his sister Francisca and mother Marianne Bierman-Trijbetz.

With his big sister Francisca, who is skillfully driving him around the garden.

Brother and sister relaxing in the sun.

A proud father ,Herman Eduard Bierman, and his daughter Francisca and infant baby boy Robert, their lives were still safe when that picture was taken,

Herman Eduard Bierman was murdered on August 1,1942 in Auschwitz.

Marianne Bierman-Trijbetz was murdered on the same date as her children, July 18,1942.

For some reason this one had a greater impact on me than others. Perhaps it is because I could have been Robert if I had been born 30 years earlier .


The USSczaR

Dear Comrade Putin,

You are telling the world that you have carried out this military mission in the Ukraine, to protect its citizens, to rid it of Nazis. However you have not fully explained to us what you consider to be Nazis.

I would love it if you could just clarify that matter, to a simpleton like me. When you say Nazi, are you referring to the Ukraine’s Jewish president whose grandfather barely survived the Holocaust?

Or were you perhaps referring to the 10 year old school girl Polina, who was murdered on your orders?

Maybe it is the 2 year old Shpak who was murdered during a shelling ordered by you. Was he that Nazi you were referring to? Is that the type of funerals you want to see more in the Ukraine to achieve your goals?

Dear Comrade Putin, if you can’t explain it to me, maybe you can explain it to Oleh,Shpak’s Father? Because he asked “I don’t know if there is a God. What is this all for? For what?”

Dear Comrade Putin, your actions look a lot like that of a nationalised German Austrian, he also said in the 1930’s that he wanted to liberated the people in the Sudeten land and Poland. But he was a Nazi, So are you perhaps a Nazi, Comrade Putin? If so, the only thing for you to do to rid the Ukraine from Nazis is by withdrawing your troops.

Perhaps that isn’t your goal. Perhaps you long to the Russia of the days of yore? Where it was still part of the USSR and maybe you want to rule like Czar Nicholas once did. Maybe you want to become the new USSczaR.

If you ask me that is what you want to be. But people will not remember you as a Czar. They will see you like cowards such as Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. That is what you real legacy will be.

Is that what you really want? It is not too late yet, you can still change that.


Sara Barmhartigheid

There are times when I am so eager to tell the story of one of the Holocaust victims.

But then there are times. like today, where I am happy that I don’t know anything more then just the name of a child. Because I know it would have broken my heart in millions of pieces.

Sara Barmhartigheid would have been 80 today, but she was murdered in Auschwitz on October 5,1942, not even 7 months old. That she was murdered at such a young age was truly awful but what compounds this tragedy is her last name. Barmhartigheid means compassion in Dutch. The Compassion child born in Amsterdam, was murdered without compassion in Auschwitz.


A family murdered in Auschwitz

I was going to write about a young boy called Jonas van Oosten. He was murdered in Auschwitz on January 16,1943, aged 16.

When he was two years of age he won a kite competition. The kite was much bigger then himself.

He proudly posed with his kite for a photograph, in front of a house designed by his uncle. He won the kite competition on Queen’s day in 1928, which was the national celebration of Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday.

Jonas and his kite mad it into the local news paper in Assen, the Netherlands.

The caption said “The biggest kite with the smallest kite flyer”

A young proud boy.

Later on Jonas became a member of the Achilles football association in Assen. His name appears with those of seven other Jewish club members killed during World War II on a monument at the sports complex of this association on the Marsdijk.

14 years after the picture was taken, Jonas was murdered along with the rest his family. As I said at the start I was only going to do a piece on Jonas, because that picture of a boy with a kite, could have been a picture of me, or of my sons. But then I saw pictures of the whole van Oosten family, the parents and three sons. The other 2 boys were even younger then Jonas.

Father Machiel, Mother Johanna, youngest brother Maurits Henk and the other brother Israël Berty aka Iwan.. The family owned a furniture and bedding shop

called the “Walvisch” ,Whale.

There was also an uncle called Maurits.

In July 1942 the mayor of Assen requested that Maurits van Oosten, who lived at 10 Gedempte Singel in Assen, be located, detained and brought to trial. Following the hiding of the Machiel van Oosten family, his wife Johanna van Oosten-Jakobs and the children Jonas, Israel and Maurits Henk van Oosten.

Maurits Henk van Oosten. Born in Assen, on 7 January 1933.Murdered in Auschwitz, 24 September 1943He reached the age of 10 years.

Maurits van Oosten was the youngest son of Machiel van Oosten and Johanna van Oosten-Jakobs. Maurits was seven years old when the war started. He was in primary school. In September 1941 it was forbidden for Jewish children to go to regular schools any longer. From September 1941 there is a Jewish primary school in Assen, where Maurits probably was a student. The school existed until 31 August 1942. From May 1942 Maurits was also obliged to wear a yellow star on his clothing. Maurits was called ‘Maunie’ by his family. The Nazis had confiscated his parents’ shop and house. Shortly afterwards, the Van Oosten family went into hiding on a small island in the Frisian lakes. There they were discovered and arrested. Maurits father, his uncle and his eldest brother Jonnie were sent to camp Amersfoort. His mother, his brother Iwan and himself were sent to camp Westerbork.

Israel Berty van Oosten aka Iwan was born on December 27, 1927 in Assen.

He was murdered in Auschwitz, on 24 September 1943.He reached the age of 15 years.

Iwan was a student at the public school, but could no longer go there because of the measures against Jews after the summer of 1941. From September 1, 1941, Iwan went to the Jewish school. Around June 1942, the family was told to get out of the store and clear everything. At first they were temporarily housed by other Jewish families, until a barn became available behind Boele Geerts’ café that had been used as a horse stable. After a cleaning and major clean-up, the family had temporary accommodation there. But they didn’t stay long in that shed.

With the help of the café owner Boele Geerts, the family was transported to a hiding place in Hindelopen. From the police report:

Saturday, July 18, 1942. 12 noon. Commissioned by Mr. H. I. v. P., an investigation was launched into the absence of the family of M. van Oosten, Gedempte Singel 10. An investigation showed that the family of Van Oosten approx. 10 days ago moved into a barn space, behind the café Boele Geerts on the Groningerstraat, as the plot Gedempte Singel 10 had to be cleared. Wednesday evening July 15th. the family was still seen in Assen, but not anymore. The family consists of:

  1. Machiel van Oosten born April 22, 1899 in Assen, Ned. Jew.
  2. His wife, Johanna Jakobs, born 27 May 1902 in Emmen, Ned. Jewess.
  3. Jonas van Oosten, born 9 August 1926 in Assen.
  4. Israel Berty van Oosten, born December 27, 1927 in Assen.
  5. Maurits Henk van Oosten, born January 7, 1933.
    as well as the live-in brother 6. Maurits van Oosten born 26 November 1901 in Assen, Ned. Jew.

Machiel and Maurits should have reported to the Jewish labor camp near Orvelte on Sunday 19 July 1942 along with other Jewish men from Assen. Behind their names on the departing list was: missing. On September 10, 1942, a guard in Sneek reported that the van Oosten family had been arrested in De Hel-It Heidenskip. They were accidentally discovered by Germans looking for an English channel. The family was separated. Johanna ended up with Iwan and younger brother Maurits in Westerbork transit camp on 25 September 1942. And Machiel, Uncle Maurits and Iwan’s older brother Jonny went to camp Amersfoort. On September 21, 1943, after almost a year in the camp, Iwan and his brother Maurits were deported with their mother to Auschwitz. When they got there, they were immediately killed.

Jonas was called ‘Jonnie’ by his family. The Nazis had confiscated his parents’ shop and house. Shortly afterwards, the Van Oosten family went into hiding on a small island in the Frisian lakes. There they were discovered and arrested. Jonnie, his father and his uncle were sent to camp Amersfoort. His mother, his brother Iwan and brother Maurits were sent to camp Westerbork.

In camp Amersfoort, Jewish prisoners were treated very badly. The food was poor and the prisoners were mistreated. In letters from camp Westerbork, Jonnie’s mother writes about her concerns about her husband, brother-in-law and children: “The people here are full of hope and cheerful. I also think by winter the end (of the war) but I’m afraid we’re still going. My poor little boys. I want to save them so badly. And here waiting for my trio (husband, brother-in-law and son). I occasionally hope they are still alive. It’s like going crazy in this hell and then alone. Nobody knows how good it has been, and how good we had it those 18 years and that it’s gone now, that’s impossible. And my Jonneman who is now almost 17 years old. What that poor child suffers if he is still alive. You don’t have to think about that. It is said that Mau (Jonnie’s father) and Jonnie passed through Oberhauzen Essen about 20 November with 80 other Jews. And Mie (his uncle) about December 19 the same direction. Yesterday I spoke to an Aryan who was with him in Amersfoort. Mie has also said that he will do his best to make it through to the end and he thought Jonnie was a sweet good kid. He was the youngest there, but Amersfoort has been very bad.”

Johanna van Oosten-Jakobs. Born in Emmen, on 27 May 1902 . Murdered in Auschwitz, 24 September 1943. Reached the age of 41 years.

She wrote a few letters while in the camp. This one is about the worries she had about her son Maurits aka Maunie:

“What a sick boy he was, He’s like an old man and so nervous. Maunie is looking forward to tonight. He hasn’t eaten anything in four days and now Aunt Leen has promised to cook him potatoes. She will bring them tonight. That’s something he’s really looking forward to.”

In another letter she wrote:

“The people here are full of hope and cheerfulness. I also think by winter the end (of the war) but I’m afraid we’re still going. My poor little boys. I want to save them so badly. And here waiting for my trio (husband, brother-in-law and son). I occasionally hope they are still alive. It’s like going crazy in this hell and then alone.

Machiel van Oosten was the son of Jonas van Oosten and Gonda Godschalk. He had two brothers and a sister. Machiel was known as Mie. Machiel ran the furniture shop De Walvisch (which opened in 1896) with his father Jonas van Oosten and his brother Maurits. In addition to selling home furnishings, the firm arranged moves. The firm’s large orange lorry was the first transport vehicle in Assen. The extensive advertising included the song ‘De Groote Walvischtrein’, of which the words to the first of the three stanzas were:

If you want to move, fear you need not feign:

Van Oosten has a big whale train,

to bring your things without a penny of pain”

Machiel was born in Assen, on 22 April 1899.He was murdered in Auschwitz, 11 January 1943.

Everyone in the van Oosten family, including grandparents, uncles and aunts were murdered.



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. Thank you. 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.


Levie and Frouwke Swart-The murder of innocence

Everyone who was murdered in the Holocaust

But murdering a 6 month old baby and a 2 year old toddler took a special kind of evil. The little boy Levy was born on February 6,1942. Just over 6 months later on August 23,1942 he was murdered in Auschwitz.

His older sister, Frouwke(Dutch for little woman),who is watchfully minding her little brother, was born on October 22,1939. Like her baby brother she too was murdered in Auschwitz, together with their Mother Esther Swart-Sacksionie.

The Father ,Markus Swart, was murdered a month later on September 30, 1942.

Markus Swart was a merchant in Amsterdam . On July 6, 1938, he married Esther Sacksionie, daughter of the chair weaver Leman Sacksionie and Rebecca van de Kar. Esther Sacksionie was a rag sorter. Markus had already been deported when Levie was born.

Of all of the thousands of SS guards and officers wasn’t there even one who thought that murdering a family with young children was wrong?

I have heard the arguments that the SS officers were afraid that they would be killed if they didn’t carry out orders, but this is a myth, there are no records whatsoever of any repercussions against anyone in the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine and SS for not wanting to kill innocent lives. The only punishments that were handed out, were for theft and fraud.

The picture of Levi and Frouwke has broken my heart beyond repair.


1.5 Million Children

1,500,000 children by Amelia Stein

I like to visit the Limerick Gallery of Art from time to time. It is nice relaxing place.

Today I noticed this picture which was taken by Amelia Stein a Dublin born photographer and artist. The picture is a memorial to the 1.5 million children murdered during the Holocaust.

It brought these thoughts to my mind.

1.5 Million stars in the sky

1.5 million first kisses denied.

1.5 million potential geniuses discarded

1.5 million innocent souls victimized by hate and ignorance

1.5 million products of love

1.5 million futures destroyed.

1.5 million reasons to never forget

1.5 million children

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.