My letter to Anne Frank

anne

Dear Anne,

You don’t know me, but I know you.In fact nearly everyone knows you, and yet no one really knows you.

We know you  through your personal stories you wrote in your diary. We see each word, each letter and each paragraph, but we don’t see your hopes, your fears or your anxiety. You write about them , however we cannot really imagine how it must have been. I know I can’t.

Although because of a virus which has engulfed the world now, we are all told to stay at home as much as possible, we get a bit of an inkling how it must have been for  you and your family, but not really. All we have to do is to stay at home and enjoy ourselves. We can write like you did, but we don’t have to stay silent, we don’t have to be afraid to be dragged out of our house.We can do whatever we want to do.

In your time there was also a virus,it was fueled with and by hate, a sickening ideology.

I have a daughter who is about the same age as you, she even looks a bit like you. I really don’t know what I would do if something would happen to her, I am sure I would be devastated, sad and angry and more then likely would want some sort of revenge, but those are just speculation for I try not to think of an event like that.

I once passed by your house or rather the place you hid in, I could not get in because there was a queue of several hundred meters of people who had booked a ticket to see the annex. A thought then came to me, what if there had been a similar queue on the morning of 4 August 1944, the day you and your family were arrested, and what if all the people in that queue would have protested against the arrest, would have made a difference?

You’ll be happy to know your book has become one of the biggest selling books ever, only in recent time it has been surpassed by the books about another teenager, a boy called Harry Potter, but his story is fictional whereas yours is a brutal reality. I am sure though you would have loved his stories.

Even now there are people who dispute the genuinity of your writing. They say your father tempered with it. I am not angry with those people, I pity them, their indifference blinds them to the power of your words, the lessons to be learned from them.

What saddens me the most is not so much that you died a horrible death but the fact it is not even known when you died, it says about the date February or March 1945.

Dear Anne, I am not going to say you are a hero because you weren’t really. You were a young teenage girl whose diary should never have published, but whose life should have been lived to the fullest. Nothing excuses your death, it should not have happened.

Maybe one day when I leave my earthly coil behind we may meet ,but for now know this your memory lives on. Evil was not able to silence you.

 

Yours truly

Dirk de Klein, a father of a teenage girl.

Self Isolation

anne

In many countries around the globe people are being advised to self isolate when they have or think they may have symptoms of the Covid 19 infection. The recommended period vary between 7 and 14 days.

Many people say this has never happened before.However for many this was a reality due to the virus  created by Adolf Hitler and his like minded friends in Germany and other European countries, a virus fueled by hate and indifference. The difference though the Covid 19 virus has a high survival rate whereas the Nazi virus meant a certain death for many, especially when you were Jewish,Gypsy,Disabled or or other groups deemed sub human by the Nazis.

To survive many went into hiding, which was basically an extreme  form of self isolation. There are many examples but I am sticking to the most famous account of ‘ Self Isolation’ that of the Frank family.

annex

Of the Frank family only Otto, the Father, survived. He lost hos 2 daughters and his wife to this ‘virus of hate and indifference’

Below are some diary entries of Anne and also some words of Margot.

Margot

Margot Frank

“Times change, people change, thoughts about good and evil change, about true and false. But what always remains fast and steady is the affection that your friends feel for you, those who always have your best interest at heart.”

anne frank

Anne Frank

“Last night Margot and I were lying side by side in my bed. It was incredibly cramped, but that’s what made it fun. She asked if she could read my diary once in a while. ‘Parts of it,’ I said, and asked about hers. She gave me permission to read her diary as well.”

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”

margot and anne

A vaccine against the Covid 19/Corona virus is currently in development, especially scientists in Israel are making a good progress on a vaccine and a treatment. Just imagine what could have been if the Nazis hadn’t been able to carry out their final solution.

Unfortunately there is no vaccine as of yet against hate and indifference.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

$2.00

 

Jews not welcome.

NTI JOODSThis is something I said before. I am Dutch and I am proud to be Dutch. One of the reasons why I am a proud Dutch man is because I was taught to face up to the mistakes my country made in the past.

Although there were many brave Dutch men and women who fought valiantly and risked their own lives to save their Jewish fellow citizens, there were also those who eagerly adhered to the wishes of their occupying Nazis masters.

Many signs were put up all across the country telling Jews they were not welcome. These signs were all in Dutch mostly made by Dutch companies. In a way this propaganda was very clever because the signs didn’t say “Forbidden for Jews” but “Jews not welcome” as if there was some kind of option, a guideline rather then a rule.

joden

It was not explicitly saying “You are not allowed here” but more” We’d rather you would not come in here” as if that really made a difference.

welkom

Other signs would say “Restriction of movement for Jews”

beweging

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

$2.00

 

Sources

NIOD

What is the point of killing a 102 year old.

clara

The picture above is taken from a local Dutch newspaper. It is a small article from April 30,1942. Although it is a small notification it gives a wealth of information. The article is about Klara(or Clara) Borstel-Engelsman, born in Amsterdam  the piece announces her 100th birthday and how it is celebrated.

It tells us she was staying in the hostel of the Morpurgo family, I believe this was a Jewish family. It continues to say that she still has all her faculties and still likes to play a game o Domino and that she loves to chat with the the fellow residents hostel. Her chair was decorated and above the chair there was a Jewish wish “ad meea weësriem sjana” meaning up to 120 years.

What it doesn’t say but yet makes it clear is that until that date April 30,1942 the Jewish population still had some normality in their lives. It was only a day before her 100th birthday the Jews had to wear the yellow star.This was nearly 2 years after  the Nazis invaded the Netherlands.

In May 1942 construction started on Vught Concentration camp, and in the summer of 1942 the deportations started.

In March 1944 Klara was deported to Westerbork where she celebrated her 120th birthday. From Westerbork she was sent to Auschwitz, on a cattle train, where she dies on October 12 1944, aged 102.

clara 102

Now some may say that she lived a long life, which is true. However what sense does it make to put a 102 year old woman on a train so she can get killed inn a place hundreds of kilometers away from where she was. Taken away all the emotions and looking at it with a purely clinical view, not only is it a waste of resources and time , it also makes no economical sense, she was likely to die soon anyway. And that’s another bit of information the article doesn’t give us but it blatantly , the Nazis were so full of hate that they forgot all sense of proportionality.

Klara would be the oldest Dutch Jewish citizen to be murdered during the Holocaust.

Below is another notification of her pending 100th birthday.

Clara verjaardag

Many thanks to Norman Stone for pointing out the story of Klara to me on the Facebook  page Holocaust Educators of America.

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

$2.00

 

 

Sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/228136/klara-borstel-engelsman

https://www.facebook.com/groups/418106361560509/permalink/2776891269015328/

 

When enough was enough-The February strike.

2020-02-25 (1)

On February 25, 1941 the Dutch decided that enough was enough. No longer would they stand idly by to see their Jewish neighbours being treated they way they were.

The first 8 months of the Nazi occupation did not see that much change to the Dutch, The changes were all gradual.However there were increased tensions. The WA(Weerbaarheidsafdeling-defense section), the para  military arm of the Dutch Nazi party NSB,were actively involved  provocative and intimidating actions  in Jewish areas in Amsterdam. This resulted in one of the members of the WA, Hendtik Koot being killed by a local resistance group in Amsterdam on 11 February 1941.

koot

The day after on February 12,1941, German soldiers assisted by Dutch police besieged the old Jewish quarter  and blocked it off from the rest of the city by putting up barbed wire fences , opening draw bridges and erecting police checkpoints. The neighbourhood was now forbidden for non-Jews.

a'dam

A week later on the 19th of February the German Grüne Polizei stormed into the Koco ice-cream salon, which was owned by Ernst Cahn and Alfred Kohn, both were Jewish refugees who had fled Germany. . A fight ensued and some ammonia gas escaped in the incident and several police officers were injured.

The head of the SS in the Netherlands,Hanns Albin Rauter. reported the incident to Heinrich Himmler on February the 20th, and indicated that the 2 men Cahn and Kohn had willfully attacked the police officers.

The death of Hendrik Koot and the incident at the ice cream salon were used as an excuse to initiate the first raids on Jews in the Netherlands on February 22 and 23,1941.

427 Jewish men, age 20-35 were arrested and sent to Kamp Schoorl.

raid

raid 1

Most of then were deported eventually sent to  Mauthausen concentration camp, the majority of  them died within the year, only 2 survived.

Ernst Cahn was executed on March 3,1941 and Alfred Kohn died in Auschwitz.

Following this raid, the Communist Party of the Netherlands called  for action on 24 February, during an open-air meeting they did this at their own peril because the party had been made illegal by the Nazi occupiers. Nonetheless they organised a strike to be held on February 25 and 26, 1941 in Amsterdam as a protest against the pogrom and also the forced labour in Germany.

The Dutch population listened to the call for strike and about 300,000 workers did go on strike.

On Tuesday, February 25, tram drivers and sanitation workers started it. Followed quickly by dockworkers . Workers on bicycles rang the doorbells at homes and halted traffic in the streets, imploring drivers to join them.

Rauter ordered harsh actions against the strikers and orders SS troops to shoot, 9 people were killed. The strike initially started in Amsterdam, but the following day workers in Hilversum,Zaandam,Haarlem and Utrecht.

Additionally to the 9 people killed during the strike, another 24 were injured and on March 13,1941 , 3 of the organizers were executed. Ironically those 3 actually saved 3 minors who had members of a group of 18  of the resistance group “De Geuzen” . Because of their young age their death sentence were changed to life imprisonment.

The Nazis decided to execute ,Hermanus Coenradi, Joseph Eijl en Eduard Hellendoorn, who were 3 of the organizers of the February strike instead, together with the other 15 of De Geuzen.

The Nazi regime finally showed its real face to the Dutch.

The strike was the first and only direct action against the Nazis’ treatment of Jews in Europe.

This monument called “De Dokwerker” the Dockworker is dedicated to the struikers of the February strike. It is situated on Jonas Daniël Meijerplein, the square where most of the 427 Jewish men had been arrested.

dokwerker

February 25, 1941 the day when the Dutch said “Enough is enough” unfortunately despite the brave efforts and the sacrifice of those who were killed for it, it did not stop the murder of 104,000 Dutch Jews.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

$2.00

Sources

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20110929140015/http://www.joodsmonument.nl/page/274192

https://historiek.net/februaristaking-1941-protest-jodenvervolging/7124/

https://www.verzetsmuseum.org/museum/nl/tweede-wereldoorlog/begrippenlijst/achtergrond,stakingen/februaristaking

https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/amsterdam-general-strike-february-1941

https://www.npostart.nl/2doc/22-02-2016/KN_1678989

 

 

 

 

 

Simple acts of defiance in Geleen-Greeting the Jewish neighbours.

Ster

Every once in a while I come across a story which makes me immensely proud to be a native from Geleen.

Those of you who read my blogs on a regular base, know that I was born in the town of Geleen in the south East of the Netherlands.

Most of the Jews who lived in Geleen during World War 2 were killed during the Holocaust. I am not saying that the Dutch could not have done more to save more of their Jewish neighbours , because there is more they could have done.

However on May 10,1940 the Netherlands got a rude awakening. They were too naive to believe that the Nazis would honour the Dutch neutrality. On may 10,1940 the Germans invaded the country.

Initially there was not that much change, not even for the Jewish population. But gradually new laws were introduced and often any breach of those laws was punished by death. It eventually became clear how evil the Nazis were and they ruled by instilling fear in the population.

However there were several times where the Dutch defied the Nazi regime . The biggest act of defiance was the February strike in 1941, where over 300,000 people joined the strike in protest against the treatment of the Jews. The strike was violently stopped by the Nazis.

But there were other small acts of defiance in the Netherlands. On May 2,1942 the Jews were forced to wear a yellow star on their clothes, to be visible at all time in public.

A citizen of Geleen,Rie op den Camp wrote in his diary on May 9,1942, “Silent resistance against the Jewish star. Many people greet all Jews they meet, Even if they don’t know them. Some non Jewish citizens even wear a star too. In may places people have removed the signs saying “Forbidden for Jews” The krauts have arrested some of these ‘offenders’ on several places.

verboden

I never knew about this, it is times like this when I feel a bit more proud to be from Geleen.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

$2.00

Sources

http://members.home.nl/w.brasse/vergeten_joden_van_geleen.htm#Jodenvervolging

And the world watched and did nothing.

affiche

No one in their right mind would argue that it was the Germans who are responsible for the Holocaust. However when it comes to the Holocaust there are a lot more countries that can’t say they had no blame.

They may not have started it but they did very little to stop it. It suited them better to look away and do nothing or very little.

I have heard the arguments that no one could have possibly know what Hitler and his henchmen had planned for the Jews. But that argument doesn’t hold water.

The poster at the start of the blog is from 1933, the year Hitler took power, it was issued by a Dutch organisation with the name ‘The committee for special Jewish Interests’ The organisation was set up on March 23,1933 by Dr David Cohen, a lecturer of History and Classic languages at the University of Amsterdam

The poster is an appeal for funding to help Jewish refugees and Jews who were persecuted . On the poster there is a sign in German which translates Entrance forbidden for Jews.

The appeal is for 200,000 Dutch guilders which is the equivalent of about €91.000 or $98,000. Taking in consideration an inflation between 1933 and 2020 it would be the equivalent of $1,965,000

This is a clear indication that in 1933 the fate of the Jews was already known. In 1933 Hitler had just come to power, 6 years before the war and 9 years before the Wannsee conference where the Nazis came up with the blue print for the Final Solution.

The world already knew and decided to look away.

Dr David Cohen ended up in Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943, fortunately he survived the war.

cohen

Below another fundraising poster also from 1933. The poster of artist Samuel Schwarz was published at the occasion of a night of art for funding The Jewish Refugees, which was held in City Theater of Amsterdam on 29 May 1933.

art

The Nazis and especially Hitler never made it a secret what they were planning to do with the Jews. Anyone who read Mein Kampf would have known, but even before he published Mein Kampf he published anti-Semitic articles.

If this hadn’t been ignored, more then likely the Holocaust could have been stopped.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

$2.00

Sources

NIOD

https://joodsecanon.nl/34z/1933-Komst-Duitse-Joden/

 

Harriëtte Zeeman

1

Harriëtte Zeeman just another teenager.

But she was more then that.

She was someones’s daughter.

She was someone’s sister.

She was someone’s friend.

She was someone’s student.

She was someone’s neighbor.

She was someone who annoyed people.

She was someone who made people laugh.

She was someone born in Amsterdam.

She was someone’s enemy.

She was someone who was murdered by an evil regime in Auschwitz, on 26 October 1942.

She was someone who was murdered aged 14, the same age as my daughter is now.

What could have been.

Margot

Just a young girl standing outside of her school  in Amsterdam,with a sign saying ‘memory of my school time 1936’ . The whole future was still ahead of her. The possibilities were endless.Her dream was to become a midwife, a noble profession to help deliver new life, witness the joy of the young mothers, but sometimes also the anxiety and grief when things did not go to plan.

There is no doubt in my mind that she would have become a fabulous midwife. Unfortunately it was not to be. On July 5, 1942, she received a message to report to a labor camp. She didn’t she went into hiding instead the following day, together with the rest of her family, including her younger sister, who would sell millions of books.

On 4 August 1944 the Gestapo came and arrested her and her family. She and her sister ended up in Bergen Belsen after having been in Westerbork and Auschwitz prior to that. Her sister and her were put on the last deportation from Auschwitz.

In Bergen Belsen she died of typhus either in February or March 1945, the exact date is not known. It could have been even before her 19th birthday on February 16th, but the date is not known. Her sister dies a few days later, the girls are buried in the same grave.

All the babies she could have helped deliver as a midwife. All the artiste,scientists or trades people. But she never got the chance.

The girl in the picture is Margot Frank, Anne Frank’s older sister.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

$2.00

 

Source

Rare Historical Pictures

 

Hendrikus van der Meer, killed for distributing leaflets.

2020-01-29

It is often asked “Why did the people not stand up against the Nazi regime?” I have even asked this question, especially when it came to me fellow Dutchmen.

But it is easy to judge in hindsight. I wonder how many who asked that question would have stood up against the regime(and I include myself), if they were put in that situation.Would they be willing to risk their lives?

Some men and women did stand up against the occupier and paid a heavy price for it, Mostly they were ordinary people, and would not have a military background. People like  Hendrik van der Meer.

Hendrik was a driver who worked for the local launderette in Amsterdam. On May 6 1943, he was spotted by 2 police men. Hendrik was distributing leaflets door to door, encouraging people to strike, and to refuse to report former Dutch soldiers. Previously there had been strikes between April 29 and May 3rd 1943.

When the police picked him up they found hundreds of leaflets. Hendrik was executed the same day  at an unknown destination.There was no trial.

He had a wife and 3 children who did not even know where their husband and Father was buried, or if he was buried at all. Just because he was distributing leaflets.

The picture at the top is the announcement of his execution.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

$2.00