Happy Birthday Gretha Reintje Cohen

Happy Birthday Gretha Reintje Cohen. It should have been your 84th birthday today.

An evil regime did not even allow you to reach your 6th birthday. You were murdered 10 days before your 6th birthday in Sobibor, on July 9th 1943.

No matter how sad your death is, it is even sadder to see that your whole family was murdered on the same day.

Your parents,Rebecca Cohen-Maritz and Mozes Cohen married in 1934 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

You were there first child. Such an experience for any parent. The uncertainty of what lies ahead. The costs that come with raising a child, The fears of the future and so many more things that goes through a parents mind. But there is also the joy and that sense of magic of new life.

You were born in Rotterdam on July 19,1937.

On April 13,1941 your baby brother, Salli Cohen, was born. A year or so later you and your family moved to Amsterdam.

On July 9,1943 your whole family was murdered in Sobibor. Not because you were dangerous people ,but because a political idea and regime created by the Nazis, deemed all of you not worth of life.

All that is left of your family is an unclaimed life insurance policy.

Dear Gretha, up there among the stars. I wish you a Happy Birthday.

Sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/124306/rebecca-cohen-maritz

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/124308/mozes-cohen

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/124302/salli-cohen

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/124304/gretha-reintje-cohen

Bizarrovision-The more bizarre and naughty Eurovision appearances.

Tonight is the 2nd semi finals of the 2021 Eurovision song contest. I have to admit I really enjoyed the 1st semis. Lets just have a look back at some of the more bizarre moments in Eurovision history, note this blog will contain some nudity.

Starting off with one of this years presenters. No I am not talking about Nikkie de Jager, the YouTuber, I thought she was very funny during the interval explaining the ‘winners-not winners’ I am talking about Jantje Smit, anyone not from the Netherlands will know that he is quite a big star in the Netherlands(why is still a mystery to me). Not only is he a ‘singer’ he is also a presenter and has his own fashion range. He started off quite young. This is him aged 10 on German TV.

In 2014 Poland decided to send some ‘milk maids’ to the contest. I feel they didn’t get the acknowledgement they deserved. The song was called “We are Slavic” and was performed by Donatan & Cleo and some ladies working with milk in buckets.

When you think of streakers, you don’t necessarily associate that with a live televised Song contest, more with sporting events. Yet in 2017 the performance of the Ukrainian singer Jamala, was interrupted by a man who felt compelled to drop his pants, as true professional Jamala kept singing. There was probably not much to see anyway.

Spain took part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 held in Oslo, Norway. The performer Daniel Diges was interrupted during the song “Algo pequeñito” by someone pretending to be part of the act. To be honest the performance was so silly that the uninvited guest didn’t actually look out of place.

Of course then there was Dustin the Turkey in 2008, lets just move swiftly on. Nothing to see here.

Then we had Ivan the naked wolfman from Belarus. I am still not sure what that was about. The song was titled “Hep you fly” last time I checked wolves don’t fly.

Alex Swings Oscar Sings! – Miss Kiss Kiss Bang the Germany entry at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. The band was accompanied by no other then the Queen Of Burlesque’, Dita Von Teese, wife of shock rocker Marilyn Manson.

Genghis Khan was a warrior and ruler of genius who, starting from obscure and insignificant beginnings, brought all the nomadic tribes of Mongolia under the rule of himself and his family in a rigidly disciplined military state. He then turned his attention toward the settled peoples beyond the borders of his nomadic realm and began the series of campaigns of plunder and conquest that eventually carried the Mongol armies as far as the Adriatic Sea in one direction and the Pacific coast of China in the other, leading to the establishment of the great Mongol Empire. He was one of the most brutal dictators who ever roamed the earth. However this didn’t stop the Germans or rather West Germans to send a little endearing song about the man in 1979.

In general the Eurovision is really a platform for national performers to shine on an international stage. Bizarrely enough one of the biggest stars in the world, Sir Harry Webb. aka Cliff Richard competed twice. In 1968 with ‘Congratulations’ and in in 1973 with ‘Power to all our Friends’ he ended 2nd and 3rd place.

The composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier composed six Te Deum, although only four of them have survived.Largely because of the great popularity of its prelude, the best known is the Te Deum in D major, H.146, written as a grand motet for soloists, choir, and instrumental accompaniment probably between 1688 and 1698, during Charpentier’s stay at the Jesuit Church of Saint-Louis in Paris, where he held the position of musical director.

It is thought that the composition was performed to mark the victory celebrations and the Battle of Steinkirk in August, 1692. You probably wonder now what this has to do with the Eurovision Song contest? It is the piece of music which opens every Eurovision Song contest every year.

Finishing up with one of my favourite Eurovision songs, unfortunately it got no points whatsoever.

The finished product.

Some Eurovision Song contest rarities.

The highlight of the European Music world is upon us again, the annual ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ So what better time then to look back at some of the rarities of the festival’s history.

Starting off with Mister Eurovision himself, Johnny Logan, it is his birthday today so Happy birthday Johnny. That is not the rarity though. He won the contest 3 times, twice as a performer. In 1980 with “What’s another year” and in 1987 with “Hold me now”. In 1992 Linda Martin won with “Why me” which was written by Johnny Logan. What most people don’t know is that in 1984 Linda Martin finished 2nd place, also with a song written and composed by Johnny Logan. The song was called “Terminal 3” was the Irish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1984.

The first song contest was held in 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland, at the Teatro Kursaal on Thursday 24 May 1956. Seven countries participated in the first ever contest, each were represented with two songs. Two more countries, Austria and Denmark, were also expected to take part in the contest, but they missed the submission deadline and therefore could not take part.

Although there were 7 countries participating, the total number of performers were 11. Luxembourg and Switzerland used one performer for two songs. Luxembourg with Michèle Arnaud and Switzerland with Lys Assia. The winning song was “Refrain” performed by Lys Assia.

There are 20 countries who have never won the song contest:

Malta, Cyprus, Iceland, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, F.Y.R Macedonia, Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Armenia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Montenegro, San Marino and Australia. This disperses the Eastern European block voting, because if that was the case it clearly isn’t working.

Australia made its debut at the 2015 Contest with the song “Tonight Again” a song written and performed by Guy Sebastian. It was supposed to be a one off event, but since 2015 Australia has been a contender in the Eurovision Song contest.

In 1969 there wasn’t one winner but 4, Spain, United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands.

The voting systems used in the Contest have changed throughout the years. The modern system has been in place since 1975. Voters award a set of points from 1 to 8, then 10 and finally 12 to songs from other countries — with the favourite being awarded the now famous douze points. Historically, a country’s set of votes was decided by an internal jury, but in 1997 five countries experimented with televoting, giving members of the public in those countries the opportunity to vote en masse for their favourite songs. The experiment was a success and from 1998 all countries were encouraged to use televoting wherever possible. But sometimes the voting did not go as foreseen.

Norway could be found at the bottom of the scoreboard as many as eleven times. The unfortunates came last in 1963, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2004 and in the Grand Final of 2012. Nevertheless, they also won 3 times, in 1985, 1995 and 2009.

Sometimes it becomes clear how important tape can be. Javine was the UK entry in 2005, with her song Touch my Fire. During the 2005 UK final (selection) for the Eurovision Song Contest, she had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.

I could do a blog on Eurovision Song Contest without mentioning the ‘bearded lady’.

Thomas Neuwirth is an Austrian singer, recording artist, and drag queen who is known for his stage persona Conchita Wurst.Neuwirth came to international attention after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 as Austria’s entrant with the song “Rise Like a Phoenix”. Regardless what you think about Thomas/Conchita, the song was great and it surprises me that no one in the James Bond franchise has asked Conchita to do a James Bond song.

The first scandal in Eurovision history occurred in 1957 where the Danish singers Birthe Wilke and Gustav Winckler kissed for 11 seconds in the end of the song. Generating a furious reaction.

Morocco has participated in Eurovision Song Contest. But only once. It was in 1980, the performer Samira Said ended second-last. Morocco only received 7 points from Italy.

In 2020 the contest was cancelled due to Covid 19 restrictions.

The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The 2 semi finals will be held on May 18 and May 20. The grand final will be on May 22.

This was the last winner.

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

Paying the ultimate price for helping others.

Maastricht is one of my favourite cities. I grew up only about 10 miles away from it and would have visited it numerous times. It is, the most south eastern city in the Netherlands and is well known for its close proximity to Belgium and Germany. It is also the the home of violin virtuoso Andre Rieu and his Strauss Orchestra.

In Europe it is known for the treaty which was signed there on February 7,1992. It shaped the future of the EU.

But I am not going to talk about any of that. I want to add a name to the Maastricht narrative and would love it if in years to come people would say “Maastricht, oh yes that is the place where Derk van Assen and his wife Berendje are from”

Derk and Berendje van Assen were heroes in every sense of the word. They paid the ultimate price for helping their neighbours.

Derk was active in the underground resistance from the beginning of
the war, in May 1940. Initially without being part of an organised group, but later he joined the Versleyen group, a group of tax officials
within the L.O (National Organisation for help to those in hiding); he
was also a member of the Trouw group, the national Christian
resistance group.

In Derk’s Christian believes and humanist principles, all people were equal and he was prepared to risk everything to save the lives of Jews and others. Using his many talents Derk contributed during the war to illegal newspapers, organized national information networks and offered professional document forgers a place to work in his home. Derk and Berendje were friendly with Isidore and Frederika Schaap, who had come to Maastricht in 1939, together with their daughter Hetty. Isidore headed a branch of a Ladies fashion firm that was based in Rotterdam and Berendje was one of his customers.

The Shaap family had totally integrated; in the ways of the more the more Burgundian lifestyle of the southern Netherlands and sometimes they even went with Derk and Berendje to the Reformed Church on Sunday mornings.

In the summer of 1942, the Schaaps received orders to report for deportation ,Derk helped them find a place to hide. They spent their first couple of nights hiding with a family who owned an optician’s shop in Maastricht. During this time their identity cards were altered and the “J” removed, which gave them the freedom to travel with less risk. The next following day, the Schaap family took a train to Utrecht, to the home of one of Derk’s cousins. They soon moved to a family in Hillegom, South Holland, also relations of the van Assens. The Schaap family then had to split up Isidore and Frederika moved to Amsterdam, where they were later arrested.

The Police Commissioner of Maastricht had requested that Isidore Schaap and Frederika Roza Schaap-Kamerling, both residents of Maastricht, be located, detained and brought to trial. They were suspected of having changed their place of residence without the required authorization. This description referred to Jews who had gone into hiding.

On 26 July 1943 Derk was arrested in Maastricht after having been
under surveillance shadowed for some time by the SD (Sicherheitsdienst). The SD had recruited “Blonde Mien”, a resistance activist. Mien was tasked to gather information about Derk’s contacts, but before she could do so Derk was apprehended and incarcerated in the local prison. In this prison, Oberscharfuehrer Richard Nitsch interrogated Derk for seven weeks, during which time Derk’s colleagues were planning his escape. However, the authorities discovered the plot and to abort it Nitsch and two other SD men executed Derk in Horst, Limburg, on September 14, 1943.

In the meantime, Berendje was also arrested and imprisoned, first in
Maastricht, then in Haaren and finally in Vught. From there she was
deported to Camp Ravensbruck in Germany where she died on 2
February 1945.

Two heroes who gave their lives for others. After the war Derk and Berendje were decorated by the Air Chief
Marshall and Vice Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces for
“assistance to officers of the marine, land and air forces to escape
from imprisonment, or to avoid being taken prisoner by the enemy”.
On 6 September 1989 Derk van Assen and Berendina van Assen –
Grolleman were awarded the honorary title of Righteous among the
Nations by Yad Vashem.

Frederika Roza Schaap-Kamerling born Wildervank, 28 February 1894 – Murdered in Auschwitz, 28 January 1944.Reached the age of 49 years.

Isidore Schaap ,born Rotterdam, 24 April 1894 – murdered in Auschwitz, 8 April 1944Reached the age of 49 years.

I could not find out what happened to their daughter Hetty.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/130959/isidore-schaap

https://www.tracesofwar.nl/sights/67272/Monument-Derk-van-Assen.htm

Donation

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The bombing of Rotterdam,May 14-1940

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The battle of the Netherlands was really best described in biblical terms, it was a fight between David and Goliath.

Valiantly the Dutch fought the Germans for 4 days, Although they were poorly equipped and badly organized they kept fighting and caused significant damage to the Germans.

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But on May 14,1940 when the Luftwaffe virtually destroyed the Netherlands 2nd biggest city and its economical heart, Rotterdam, the Dutch finally succumbed.

This is a picture of how Rotterdam looked like before the war.

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After May 14 1940

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Bombing of Rotterdam

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All together 25.479 dwellings were lost in which 77.607 people were housed. Besides that, 26 hotels, 117 boarding houses and 44 lodgings, in which some 2000 people lived, had been destroyed. In total 79.600 persons, who represented 12,8 % of the population of Rotterdam, were left homeless. Of these people, as from June 15th 1940 onward, 20.887 were accommodated in other municipalities, while others, at that moment, had found a temporary shelter within the boundaries of Rotterdam. A lot of industrial premises were also destroyed: 31 department stores and 2.320 smaller shops, 31 factories and 1.319 workshops, 675 warehouses and storage companies, 1.437 offices, 13 bank buildings and 19 consulates, 69 school buildings and 13 hospitals, 24 churches and 10 charitable institutions, 25 municipal- and government buildings, 4 station buildings, 4 newspaper buildings and 2 museums, 517 cafés and restaurants, 22 cinema’ s and 184 other business accommodations.

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Initially, the  government of the Netherlands announced a death toll of approximately 30,000 civilians. This was later found inaccurate.

While the exact number of those killed is still contested, it is believed that around 1,000.

The Dutch military had no effective means of stopping the bombers (the Dutch Air Force had practically ceased to exist and its anti-aircraft guns had been moved to The Hague), so when another similar ultimatum was given in which the Germans threatened to bomb the city of Utrecht, the Dutch government decided to capitulate rather than risk the destruction of another city.

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As a result of the bombing Rotterdam had to be rebuild and is now one of the most modern looking cities in Europe.

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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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Sources

Brandgrens

WW2Today

WWII -In Pictures

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The most destructive war in all of history, its exact cost in human lives is unknown, but casualties in World War II may have totaled over 60 million service personnel and civilians killed.

As the saying goes ‘ a picture paints a thousand words’ even though it may paint a thousand words it doesn’t always tell the whole story.

You will have seen some of the pictures below already and others may be new to you, either way they do tell a bit of the story of WWII.

A Frenchman weeps as German soldiers march into the French capital, Paris, on June 14, 1940, after the Allied armies had been driven back across France. What is even more powerful in this picture it shows in one shot the different sentiments. As he weeps the woman next to him applauds.

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Cpl. Carlton Chapman…is a machine-gunner in an M-4 tank, attached to a Motor Transport unit near Nancy, France.

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Pfc Angelo B. Reina, 391st Inf. Regt., guards a lonely Oahu beach position. Kahuku, Oahu. Rosenberg, Hawaii, March 1945.

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Standing in the grassy sod bordering row upon row of white crosses in an American cemetery, two dungaree-clad Coast Guardsmen pay silent homage to the memory of a fellow Coast Guardsman who lost his life in action in the Ryukyu Islands. Benrud, ca. 1945.

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German troops parade through Warsaw, Poland

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The tragedy of this Sudeten woman, unable to conceal her misery as she dutifully salutes the triumphant Hitler, is the tragedy of the silent millions who have been `won over’ to Hitlerism by the ‘everlasting use’ of ruthless force.

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Two bewildered old ladies stand amid the leveled ruins of the almshouse which was Home; until Jerry dropped his bombs. Total war knows no bounds. Almshouse bombed Feb. 10, Newbury, Berks., England.” Naccarata, February 11, 1943

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Canadian Infantry of the Regiment de Maisonneuve, moving through Holten to Rijssen, Netherlands. Lt. D. Guravitch, April 9, 1945

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Captured Japanese photograph taken during the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. In the distance, the smoke rises from Hickam Field

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This picture, captured from the Japanese, shows American prisoners using improvised litters to carry those of their comrades who, from the lack of food or water on the march from Bataan, fell along the road.” Philippines, May 1942.

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This victim of Nazi inhumanity still rests in the position in which he died, attempting to rise and escape his horrible death. He was one of 150 prisoners savagely burned to death by Nazi SS troops.

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A German girl is overcome as she walks past the exhumed bodies of some of the 800 slave workers murdered by SS guards near Namering, Germany, and laid here so that townspeople may view the work of their Nazi leaders.

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The German ultimatum ordering the Dutch commander of Rotterdam to cease fire was delivered to him at 10:30 a.m. on May 14, 1940. At 1:22 p.m., German bombers set the whole inner city of Rotterdam ablaze, killing 30,000 of its inhabitants.”* Aerial view of the ruins of Rotterdam.

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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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Rotterdam Razzia

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In the early hours of 10 November 1944, 8,000 German soldiers flooded the streets of Rotterdam. They lay a cordon around the city, took up position on the bridges and squares and shut down the telephone service. They distributed pamphlets ordering all men ages 17 to 40 years to report for tewerkstelling (employment in the service of Germany.

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The men were instructed to bring specific things they would need and to wait on the street with their luggage. All other residents were told to stay inside their homes until the raid was over. For two days, the Germans searched through the city: street-by-street, house-by-house.

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There was no escape possible. Aktion Rosenstock was the German code name for what took place that day: the largest razzia (roundup) carried out by the German occupier in the Netherlands during the Second World War.

To put this into context, the south and the East of the Netherlands had been liberated a few months before.

In the icy rain, 50,000 men (from a total population of 600,000) were taken away to work as slave labourers.

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One of them was Gerard Pakker. He was sent to a coal mine near the German city of Essen. In January 1945, he managed to escape. After a roundabout journey lasting two months, penniless and in tattered clothing, he finally arrived home. The first thing his mother exclaimed was: ‘Oh poor child, just look at you!

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