Mirjam Rosalie de Leeuw-Murdered in Auschwitz

I usually include a photograph when I write about the youngest victims of the Nazi regime. But I could not find a picture of poor little Mirjam Rosalie de Leeuw. In a way I am happy about that, I have looked into too many eyes of the innocent souls that were brutally murdered ,and regardless how tough I think I am, it does take a toll.

The story of Mirjam Rosalie de Leeuw is particularly sad because she could have been saved. Mirjam was given up by her parents as a foundling aged 1, to save her from the Nazis. However when her parents were arrested they felt the desire to be reunited with their daughter. I know that some people may ask themselves ” Why, did they want to be reunited?” I can totally understand why, they were more then likely first sent to Westerbork, where things weren’t ‘too bad’ , and there must have been hope that they would all survive.

The de Leeuw family lived on “Stations Laan 25′ in Stadskanaal in the Northern Dutch province of Groningen. As you can gather from the address they lived near the station.

One of their neighbours ,a 12 year old girl who kept a diary, wrote the following of Mirjam and her family.

“I want to return to that time during in the war in Stadskanaal. When the first Jews were rounded up in Stadskanaal in 1942 and brought to Westerbork, panic broke out among these people.

Bertus de Leeuw, newly married, lived opposite us with his wife Nannie. They had a baby Mirjam. This woman was so panicked she didn’t know what to do. She put the child in the pram with some clothes and walked off. But where was she to go? At one point we saw her walking on the rails pushing the pram desperately in front of her . Mother sent me there to help her. She was so scared she could hardly walk. It was very difficult to get home as the boulders between the rails prevented us from making progress. She stayed with us for a while and afterwards her husband and father talked for a long time. Then they went back home and in the following days in the evening when it was dark, a bed with accessories was brought and placed in the empty back room. Two of Bertus de Leeuw’s aunts would be housed here for a few weeks. Unfortunately, these two women did something very stupid. Instead of quietly disappearing, they brought their cats to acquaintances and when asked where they were going they said that they would be staying with the Mulder family in Stadskanaal, this went around like wildfire through the village and also was brought to the attention of bad people, strangers to the family. This is why father was arrested by Blomberg(a police officer and detective in Stadskanaal during World War 2). These two ladies were arrested that same night by the S.D. the same evening. and deported.

The corner cupboard in the front room was also cleared and food from the de Leeuw family was stored there, as well as in the basement where their weck(a jar used to conserve fruit or vegetables) was kept. The de Leeuw family went into hiding. The child was abandoned (we only learned this much later, when they were arrested.) In that winter 1942/1943 Bertus de Leeuw came from time to time via the rail tracks, in the pitch darkness to get food. He would be dressed all in black with a hat pulled far over his head.”

Mirjam would have celebrated her 80th birthday today, but she and her Mother were both murdered in Auschwitz on November 19,1943. Mirjam was just 2 year old.

Mirjam’s death was registered in Stadskanaal after the war.

Her Father was murdered in Sobibor on May 28,1943. It is disturbing to know that the rail tracks he used to navigate his way to the places where he would get food, were the same rail tracks that carried him to his death. What happened to his aunts I don’t know but I presume they were murdered too.

Except for the family name I do not know the identity of the neighbour nor do I know what happened to her Father. I do know the name of her daughter who posted the Dutch text of her mother’s letter on Joods Monument.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/128978/mirjam-rosalie-de-leeuw

https://stolpersteine-guide.de/map/biografie/2353/stationslaan-25

https://www.openarch.nl/gra:5f37c20e-209c-6041-671b-4b7deff998c8

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Four murdered babies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

source

Happy Birthday Aron Polak

Aron would have been 80 today, but he didn’t even get to the age of 2. He was born in Amsterdam on September 8, 1941. He was murdered in Sobibor March 26,1943.

The fact that he was murdered at such a young age is not even the saddest part of his story. There was actually a change he could have survived.

Aron’s Father, Joseph, was sent to Westerbork, I am not sure on what date, bur sometime after November 1941. After that Aron’s Mother, Lena, went into hiding with Aron. She moved several times. Eventually she stayed with Family but due to tensions Lena decided to voluntarily report herself and Aron to Westerbork.

Lena actually believed that her Husband had a job in Westerbork, sorting out gold and silver. She probably thought that he could provide for his family, even in Westerbork.

Lena and her son Aron eventually reported themselves voluntarily in Westerbork on 27 February 1943. They stayed in barrack 72 and on the 1st of March, Joseph was also in that barrack. On March 23,1943, , the Polak family was deported to Sobibor and on arrival there on 26 March 1943 immediately sent to the gas chambers, and were murdered.

What is so disturbing about this, is that the Nazis somehow created the illusion that even when you were sent to Westerbork, there was a chance of a reasonable normal life.

As for young Aron, I will be looking up to the sky tonight, imagining he is one of the stars I will see. Happy Birthday little man, you were a star to your parents, and you are a star for all of us. A beacon to remind us of what you went through.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/649374/het-lot-van-lena-barend-haar-man-joseph-polak-en-hun-zoontje-aron.

https://geheugenvanoost.amsterdam/page/26420/geen-afscheid

Remembering Isaias(Sjakie) Degen

I wish I could say I am remembering Sjakie Degen for his breakthrough work in science.

I wish I could say I am remembering Sjakie Degen for a great book he wrote.

I wish I could say I am remembering Sjakie Degen for a great painting he painted.

I wish I could say that Sjakie Degen was the Sjakie mentioned in the Dutch song “Sjakie van de hoek” Sjakie from the corner, the mischievous boy who broke a window by kicking a ball through it.

But none of that would be true, Sjakie Degen was just a boy.

He was born on December 13.1939 the first born son of Loutje and Beppie Degen and was nearly 3 1/2 years old, when he and his parents were registered in Camp Westerbork on 23 March 1943. He stayed with his parents for a few days in barrack 60. They were all deported on the 6th April to Sobibor. Upon arrival there on 9 April 1943, Sjakie and his parents were murdered in the gas chambers the very same day.

So all I can say about Sjakie is that he was murdered 25 years and 1 day before I was born.

He had brother who survived.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/562959/about-isaias-sjakie-degen

Happy Birthday Wolf Blits

In my opinion the best way to remember the victims of the Holocaust is to personalize their stories. Rather then a number, show the human side. Because that is what they were ,all those millions were all individual human beings, just like everyone else.

I wish I could show you a picture of Wolf Blits. I could perhaps include a picture of CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, but he is not the same person.

Perhaps Wolf Blits also could have been a reporter, journalist or news anchor. But he was never given that opportunity. He was murdered when he was 4.

Wolf was born in Amsterdam on August 24,1938. He was murdered on June 11,1943 in Sobibor.

In those 4 years he travelled more then many 40 year old. In 1943 he traveled from Amsterdam to Camp Vught near Den Bosch in the Netherlands, where he arrived on June 6,1943.

From Vught he traveled to Westerbork near Amersfoort, in the Netherlands where he arrived on June 8,1943.

From Westerbork he traveled to Sobibor in Poland, where he arrived on or just before June 11,1943. There he was murdered on June 11,1943.

At the start of this blog is a picture of a card from Vught. On the card 4 year old Wolf was registered as a prisoner, as if he was a hardened criminal. Of course he wasn’t a criminal, nor were his parents or anyone else of those millions who were murdered. The criminals were those who murdered them, The disturbing fact though is that these criminals followed the letter of the law.

A law made up up by sick individuals who followed a warped ideology, an ideology based on hate.

Poor Wolf traveled quite a bit. I remember moving when I was a kid, it was only a few blocks away from where I lived, but to me it was like moving to the other side of the world. I thought they spoke a different language. I was very anxious. But I moved to a nice place. Poor Wolf traveled to be murdered.

It is his birthday today. Dear Wolf whatever star you are up in the skies, I wish you a happy birthday.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/184678/wolf-blits

https://www.oorlogslevens.nl/tijdlijn/Wolf-Blits/02/13216

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

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

Marijke Godschalk -Murdered one week before her 2nd birthday.

Marijke Godschalk was born in Assen, the Netherlands, on June 18 1941. Less then 2 years later she would be dead.

Not because she was ill or had been involved in an accident. She died because of someone’s idea of her. Although she looked like any other Dutch or even German girl, I would even say she looked Aryan, she was deemed not worthy of life because she was Jewish.

Marijke Godschalk was deported to Sobibor in June 1943 from Vught via Westerbork on the so-called children’s transport. She was 1 year, 51 weeks old when she was murdered.

The train left on June 6,1943. It was not a German train she was on, but a Dutch train. According to a representative of the NS(Nederlandse Spoorwegen), Dutch Railways, the NS had “complied with the German order to make trains available. The Germans paid for it and said the NS had to come up with a timetable. And the company went and did it without a word of objection.”

I am struggling with this. Who was more guilty? The person who murdered Marijke, or the person who put her on the train, knowing that the likelihood of her survival were slim to none?

Marijke wasn’t the only child who was murdered. She was one of 1.5 million.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/151453/marijke-godschalk

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49233817

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Happy Birthday Willem Belinfante.

Happy Birthday Willem Belinfante. You would have been 87 today. You were born on May 30 1934. in Amsterdam.

Your parents were Esther Pais Belinfante, your mother, and Wolf Belinfante, your Father. Both born in Amsterdam. Your Father was a butcher, nowadays in this Covid 19 era he would have been considered an essential worker. But he must have always been an essential worker. He made sure that people had meat for their dinners. And don’t we all need to eat?

The picture is a wedding picture of your parents. It looks like a normal wedding party. However most of the people on this picture would have been murdered just a few years later. You parents were murdered in Sobibor on July 2,1943.

Dear Willem you had 2 brothers, one whose name I don’t know, and a younger brother called Herman Isaac Emanuel Belinfante, such a cool name.

It would have been your 87th birthday today dear Willem. But you died aged 9. You were murdered in Sobibor on July 2,1943, the same day as your parents and your younger brother ,Herman Isaac Emanuel Belinfante, he was aged 6.

There is another brother but I don’t know his name. All I know is that he survived.

Your last name.Belinfante, is quite a famous name in the Netherlands. Joost Belinfante, is a musician and a composer who was linked to Dutch ska band called’ Doe Maar’. His sister Judith Belinfante was an elected member of parliament and the director of the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, She was born 13 days before you were murdered.

I wonder if you were related?

You too could have become a musician and composer, or a director of a museum but an evil regime did not think you were fit for life, they decided your fate for you.

I hope your surviving brother found a nice family after the war. But I could never begin to imaging how he must feel, the pain and the uncertainty he had to endure.

Happy Birthday Willem Belinfante. I hope you are having a beautiful cake in heaven with your family.

Source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/176736/willem-belinfante

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