The Murder of a 12-Year-Old Girl

The number 12 is significant in religious, mythological and magical symbolism, generally representing perfection, entirety, or cosmic order in traditions since antiquity. It is also the number of full lunations in a solar year, thus the number of months in a solar calendar, as well as the number of signs in the Western and the Chinese zodiac.

It is also significant in both Judaism and Christianity. The significance is especially pronounced in the Tanakh. Ishmael, the first-born son of Abraham, has 12 sons/princes (Genesis 25:16), and Jacob also has 12 sons, who are the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. This is reflected in the Christian tradition, notably in the twelve Apostles. When Judas Iscariot is disgraced, a meeting is held (Acts) to add Saint Matthias to complete the number twelve once more. The Book of Revelation contains much numerical symbolism, and many of the numbers mentioned have 12 as a divisor. 12:1 mentions a woman—interpreted as the people of Israel, the Church and the Virgin Mary—wearing a crown of twelve stars (representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel). Furthermore, there are 12,000 people sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (the Tribe of Dan is omitted while Manasseh is mentioned), making a total of 144,000 (which is the square of 12 multiplied by a thousand).

According to the New Testament, Jesus had twelve Apostles. The “Twelve Days of Christmas” count the interval between Christmas and Epiphany.

There are 12 units on a clock. Twelve was also the number of years that Keetje van Zanten lived. She was born in Rotterdam on 16 May 1930. Twelve years after she was born on 16 May 1942, the Sobibór extermination camp became operational.

Keetje’s Mother was Esther van Zanten-Bekkers born in Rotterdam on 10 December 1898, murdered at Sobibor, 11 June 1943. Her father was Marcus van Zanten born in Rotterdam on 7 February 1899 and murdered in Auschwitz on 28 February 1943.

Keetje also had 2 older brothers, Aron van Zanten born on 17 Augusts 1923 and Benjamin van Zanten on 24 February 1927. Both were murdered in the aforementioned, Sobibor Camp on 9 July 1943.

In her 12 years, she witnessed the invasion of the Netherlands on 10 May 1940.

She also witnessed societal changes. On 7 January 1941, the Dutch Cinema Association decided that Jews would no longer be allowed access to cinemas. On 12 January 1941, this measure was published in the newspapers.

From 1 September 1941, Jewish children had to go to separate schools and were no longer allowed in public schools. In Amsterdam, this became law on 1 October 1941.

The Compulsory Star of David was introduced on 3 May 1942 and required to be worn by all Jews over the age of six. It had to be visibly at chest height. The star was distributed by the Jewish Council and cost 4 cents each.

In July 1940, the freedom of Jews in the Netherlands was curtailed by the introduction of anti-Jewish measures, the first of which was the ban on working for the air defence service. From 1942, the measures followed each other in rapid succession, with the most visible on 3 May 1942: the introduction of the Star of David.

About 104,000 Jews from the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust. Keetje was one of them. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 28 January 1943. She had reached 12 years of age.

A 12-year-old girl was murdered only because she was Jewish.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Keetje-van-Zanten/02/176698

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/125673/keetje-van-zanten

Babies Deported to Westerbork Concentration Camp

The one I can’t get to terms with, and even refuse to get to terms with, is the murder of babies during the Holocaust.

I know one of the reasons behind it was the purification of the Aryan race. But, how pure are you as a race when you murder babies? Another reason was that they were afraid that when these babies grew up, they would possibly look for revenge for the death of their families. The only time you expect revenge is when you know you did something wrong.

The picture above is of Roosje van der Hal. She was born in Groningen on 17 March 1942 and murdered in Sobibor on 21 May 1943. She reached the age of one.

Nehemia Levy Cohen was born in Amsterdam on 20 December 1940. She was murdered in Sobibor on 7 May 1943. She had reached two years of age.

Both babies had been deported to Westerbork on 25 January 1943. From there they were deported to Sobibor where they both were killed. These were only two of the 1.5 million children. The scary thing is that there have been genocides, albeit on a smaller scale, after the Holocaust where babies once again were victims.

I want you all to look into the faces of these two sweet angels and ask yourself, “What can I do to stop this from happening again?”

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/191815/nehemia-levy-cohen

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/26236/roosje-van-der-hal

The 73 Days of Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum

We now live in an era when we consider 73 years a young age to die. Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum lived for only 73 days. He was born in Amsterdam on 19 January 1943. He was murdered in Sobibor on 2 April 1943.

His father was Ephraim Izak Levie Rosenbaum, who lived with his wife and children until 1943 at 13 JD Meierplein (Houtmarkt 13 at the time). He was a pharmacist in the building on the Hoek Amstel–Nieuwe Heerengracht 1, Amsterdam.

His wife Johanna Frederika Suzanna Zion and son Izak Michel Max went into hiding in Neede (Gelderland). They were betrayed and sent to Sobibor via Westerbork, where they both were murdered on 2 April 1943.

Ephraim Isaac Levie Rosenbaum was murdered three weeks later in Sobibor.

73 Days- 7 + 3 = 10, that’s what you were Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum—a perfect 10.

73 days, just over two months, you were a product of love, but you became a victim of hate.

73 days, but it should have been 80 years because that is what you would be today. Happy Birthday, young Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum—no longer a human made from flesh and bone, but a star in heaven.

His sister survived the Holocaust.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/200751/izak-michel-max-rosenbaum

Behind the Star

Starting in May 1942, wearing a yellow fabric star in the Netherlands, called the “Star of David,” was made compulsory by the Nazis. This measure made it easy to identify Jewish people and was designed to stigmatize and dehumanize them. This was not a new idea; since medieval times many other societies had forced their Jewish citizens to wear badges to identify themselves. With the coming of the French Revolution in the 18th century and Jewish emancipation in the 19th century, the “Jewish badge” disappeared in Western Europe.

However, in the 1930s the Nazis brought it back to Germany, and in May 1942 in the Netherlands. During the war, it was compulsory in all occupied countries. The one thing that puzzles me today is the eagerness of so many people and groups to put ‘badges’ on themselves. In my opinion, the only badge that matters is that of a Human Being, and the only rule that should apply is mutual respect for each other.

Behind every star was a life, a story.

The picture at the start of this post is of the admin team in Westerbork.

Group photo of the De Miranda and Lachmann families in the garden of De Miranda’s house on Sterrelaan in Hilversum, 1942.

From left to right: Alexander (Lex) de Miranda, 7-year-old Michael (Max) Lachmann, Heinz (Hans) Lachmann, standing 12-year-old Frank de Miranda, Anny de Miranda-Meijler and Tea Lachmann-Warszawski on the beach chair. The photo was probably taken by the other son Hugo de Miranda. Both sons tried to flee to Switzerland via France but were arrested. None of the family survived the war. The Lachmann family went into hiding in Limburg with the help of Pastor Henri Vullinghs and survived the war. Henri Vullinghs was a pastor in Grashoek and Grubbenvorst in Limburg and a Dutch resistance fighter during World War II. He was one of the largest organizers of pilot aid and hiding in the entire province of Limburg.

On 1 May 1944 sexton Stappers in Grubbenvorst was warned that the Sicherheitspolizei was on its way from Venlo to arrest the pastor. Stappers hurried to the monastery where Vullinghs lived because his own parsonage had been hit by a bomb. Unfortunately, he did not find him at home because the pastor had already left for the church on his bicycle. Just before the church on the street, Vullinghs was arrested and imprisoned. On 1 June 1944, he was transferred to Camp Vught where he was severely mistreated. On September 6, 1944, he was deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and from there he went to the Bergen-Belsen camp, where he arrived at the end of March 1945, critically ill. Two weeks later he died there of dysentery.

Camp Westerbork. Outgoing transport, with a converted freight train, April 1943.
Nearly 107,000 people were deported from camp Westerbork in the 97 transports. On 15 July 1942, the first transport left for Auschwitz-Birkenau. From 2 March 1943–16 November 1943, there was a weekly rhythm: every Tuesday a train departed with a thousand to sometimes more than three thousand people. The last transport left on 13 September 1944.

Sander Waterman in boxing position. The Star of David is visible on his shorts. He was born in London on 10 June 1914, He was a boxer and boxed at Joop Cosman’s boxing school at the Jodenhouttuinen.

Because of his birth, he had a British passport despite his parents being Dutch. Sander was in the resistance. He was arrested for forging identity cards, but his brother Morest had done so. If he had said that, they would both have been imprisoned, so he kept quiet about it. Unfortunately, his brother Morest was murdered in Mauthausen.
Sander survived the war just like his wife Elisabeth Gobetz and their two children Sal (1941) and Joop (1943). The Waterman family was deported to Westerbork in 1943, where Joop was born, and then to Bergen-Belsen.

The British passport initially ensured that the family could stay for a longer period of time in Westerbork.

Johanna Winnik, at the age of about eight at her house on the Afrikanerplein in Amsterdam’s Transvaal neighbourhood, 1942. She was murdered at Sobibor on 2 April 1943 at the age of 8 years.

Annie de Jong-Wijnman and Maurits (Mau) de Jong from Zaltbommel with the Star of David on their wedding day, Sunday, August 23, 1942, in the synagogue N. Molstraat 13 in The Hague. They didn’t even get to celebrate their first anniversary. They were both killed on 16 July 1943 in Sobibor.

These were just a few of the many who were forced to wear the star of David. The pictures all came from the NIOD. They also have a theme on their website titled behind the star, I added a few more details.

source

https://www.holocaust.org.uk/star-of-david-identifiers

https://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/voices/info/yellowstar/theyellowstar.html

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/jewish-badge-during-the-nazi-era

Then Suddenly, the Classroom was Empty

The murder of children during the Holocaust is what haunts me the most. Sometimes I try to be poetic and philosophical when I try to memorialize them, but often seeing the raw cold data is the most effective way to remember these young innocent lives. So many futures were destroyed.

The picture above is from a class at the Joodsche School in Rotterdam. I don’t know if all children were murdered, I can only presume they were. Below is the data of those who certainly were murdered.

Hartog Berkelouw, born in Rotterdam on 5 January 1932. and murdered in Auschwitz on 14 January 1943. He reached the age of 11 years old.

Mijntje Belia Koppels, born in Rotterdam on 29 December 1931. He was murdered in Sobibor on 28 May 1943 at the age of 11 years.

Abraham Sanders was born in Rotterdam on 8 August 1932. He was murdered in Sobibor on 23 April 1943 at the age of 10 years.

Betsy Jacobs was born in Rotterdam on 2 May 1931. She was murdered in Sobibor on 23 April 1943 at the age of 11 years.

Sophia Aandagt was born in Rotterdam on 19 April 1932. Murdered in Auschwitz on 5 August 1942. She was 10 years old.

Hinda Sanders was born in Rotterdam on 18 August 1932. She was murdered in Sobibor on 23 April 1943 at the age of 10 years.

Kaatje Ensel was born in Rotterdam on 23 June 1932 at Auschwitz on 16 August 1942 at the age of 10 years.

Doortje van der Horst was born in Rotterdam on 7 March 1932. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 9 August 1942 at the age of 10 years.

Gizela Minc was born in Danzig on 12 December 1932. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 19 November 1943 at the age of 10 years.

David Ossendrijver was born in Rotterdam on 5 September 1932. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 8 April 1944 at the age of 11 years.

Never forget what a twisted ideology and false promises can do.

Two Murdered Families

There were, of course, millions of families murdered during the Holocaust. The reason why I am focusing on only two families today is that they were young families. Both families had a child who would have had their 80th birthday today.

I am only giving the details of their births and their deaths, The only thing that we have to know is that there was absolutely no reason for these families to be murdered.

André Schelvis was born in Amsterdam on 9 January 1943. He was murdered in Sobibor on 23 July 1943 reaching the age of six months.

Aron Schelvis was born in Amsterdam on 4 May 1915 and murdered in Sobibor on 23 July 1943. He reached the age of 28.

Julie Schelvis-de Rosa was born in Amsterdam on 14 December 1915 and died at Sobibor on 23 July 1943. She was 27 years old.

Elisabeth Julia Benavente was born in Amsterdam on 9 January 1943 and murdered in Birkenau on 10 February 1944, reaching the age of one.

Rebecca Benavente-Roselaar was born in Watergraafsmeer on 19 July 1919. She was murdered at Birkenau on 10 February 1944. She reached the age of 24 years.

Benjamin Benavente was born in Watergraafsmeer on 1 October 1911. He was murdered at Birkenau on 30 April 1944, reaching the age of 32. He was a physician.

Dina Benavente was born in Amsterdam on 26 June 1941 and murdered at Birkenau on 10 February 1944. She was two years old.

Sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/31953/andr%C3%A9-schelvis

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/160652/elisabeth-julia-benavente

Born and Murdered in Captivity

There are no ratings in relation to which Holocaust story is saddest. Each death was a tragedy and a reminder of how cruel man can be. However, there are some stories that punch right in the gut.

Friedel Levie was the daughter of Jozef Levie and Else Metzger. She was born in Westerbork transit camp. There are no cute baby pictures of Friedel only a certificate mentioning her birth and her death.

Friedel’s mother, Else Levie-Metzger, was 32 years old and pregnant from Friedel during the deportation to Westerbork, in early October 1942. After her flight from Germany in 1938 to the Netherlands, Else lived with her husband Joseph and daughter Marga at the H.W. Mesdagstraat 13 in Groningen. Friedel’s grandparents and aunt Rosa also lived at this address.

Friedel was born in camp Westerbork on 6 January 1943. Her sister Marga was then six years old. By that point, almost all of her father’s family has already been killed. When Friedel was four months old, her father took his own life in Westerbork.
Three weeks later, Friedel, her mother and her sister were deported to Sobibor, where all three were murdered immediately upon arrival on 21 May 1943.

Friedel was four months old when she was murdered.

sources

https://www.openarch.nl/gra:22e3e1f1-dbf5-73ca-be76-3db4ea073280/en

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/217301/friedel-levie

Remembering Children on Their Birthday

This post is about just a few of the 1.5 million children murdered during the Holocaust. These children have three things in common, today would have been their birthday, they were all Jewish and they were all murdered.

Pictures above:

Betje de Vries-van de Kar was born in Amsterdam on 28 December 1923 and was murdered in Auschwitz on 3 September 1942. Reached the age of 18.

Sylvia Ubersfeld was born in Antwerp on 28 December 1929. She was murdered in Sobibor on 23 July 1943. She reached the age of 13.

Hans Joachim Straus was born in The Hague on 28 December 1935. He was murdered in Auschwitz on 10 September 1944. He reached the age of eight.

Tom Michael Rudolf Cohn Bloch was born in Amsterdam on 28 December 1936. He was murdered in Auschwitz on 18 July 1942. He reached the age of five.

Samuel Frank was born in The Hague on 28 December 1938. He was murdered in Sobibor, 28 May 1943. He reached the age of four.

Edith Poppelsdorf was born in Amsterdam on 28 December 1941. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 16 August 1942. She reached the age of seven months.

Robert Harold Gillhaus was born in Amsterdam on 28 December 1942. He was murdered in Auschwitz on 28 January 1944. Robert reached the age of one year.

May they all be remembered on their birthday.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/217194/robert-harold-gillhaus

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/187500/edith-poppelsdorf

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/146148/samuel-frank

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/180717/tom-michael-rudolf-cohn-bloch

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/28543/hans-joachim-straus

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/180088/betje-de-vries-van-de-kar

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/27012/sylvia-ubersfeld

Just Three Names of the 1.5 Million

Sometimes I feel like just giving up posting about the Holocaust, but I know I can’t.

It is not always the images that upset me, more often it is that lack of images that gets to me. There are no images because the victims were just too young and were born in captivity, so there were no facilities to have a baby portrait taken. Parents could not show off their beautiful angels to friends and families.

These are just three names, with three connections and one fate.

Leo Jack Mathijse: Born in Amsterdam on 26 November 1942. Murdered in Auschwitz on 27 August 1943. He reached the age of nine months.

Max Jack Stern: Born in The Hague on 26 November 1942. Murdered in Sobibor on 5 March 1943. He reached the age of three months.

Roosje Gobets: Born in Amsterdam on 26 November 1942. Murdered in Sobibor on 2 April 1943. She reached the age of four months.

The connection—all were born this day 80 years ago. They were born under occupation, and all were in Westerbork at some stage.

The one fate; they were all murdered before they were one year old.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/164272/leo-jack-mathijse

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/219765/max-jack-stern

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/204362/roosje-gobets

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/thema/Kamp%20Westerbork?Foto%27s=2

Improvised Wedding Photo

I remember when I was getting married, one of the aspects that needed to be perfect was photography. It was going to be a special day and the photographs needed to reflect that.

But what do you do when your every move is watched and you are seen as an enemy of the state? You have watched so many being arrested and deported. The last thing you want to do is to draw attention to yourself.

Gustaaf van der Wijk and Mina van der Wijk-de Vries got married on August 17, 1942. On that day wedding photos were taken in Amsterdam under improvised circumstances.

The Dutch Jews had been subjected to a great number of restrictions, these are just some of them.

On January 7, 1941, the Dutch Cinema Association decided that Jews would no longer be allowed access to cinemas. On January 12, 1941, this measure is published in the newspapers.

The Registration of Jewish Residents was Ordinance no. 6/1941 of Reichskommissar Seyss-Inquart, issued on January 10, 1941. It obliged all Jewish residents of the Netherlands to register with the Population Register, which cost one guilder. Those who refused to do so could be imprisoned for up to five years. Moreover, this information was already known to the Jewish municipalities and the population register.

From September 1, 1941, Jewish children had to go to separate schools and were no longer allowed to go to public schools. In Amsterdam, this applied from 1 October 1941.

The Compulsory Star of David was introduced on 3 May 1942 and required all Jews over the age of six to wear the Star of David. It had to be worn visibly at chest height. The star was distributed by the Jewish Council and cost 4 cents each.

As for the newlyweds Gustaaf van der Wijk and Mina van der Wijk-de Vries. Mina was born in Leiden, on 17 July 1916 and was murdered in Sobibor, on 20 March 1943.

Gustaaf was born in Amsterdam, on 28 December 1917. He was murdered in Auschwitz, on 13 November 1942. Less than two months after his wedding day.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Gustaaf-van-der-Wijk/02/175455

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/153998/gustaaf-van-der-wijk

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/131361/mina-van-der-wijk-de-vries

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