Boycotting the Cinema-A small act of resistance.


The majority of the Jews in the Netherlands were killed during the Holocaust, The estimates vary from 100,000 to 104,000. It would be too easy to say that this was because the Dutch were willing participants in the Nazi ideology, because for the majority this wasn’t the case.

The large number and percentage of Jewish victims in the Netherlands compared to say to Belgium and France can be explained in the first place by the fact that in the Netherlands, the German police had sole authority over the organization and execution of the deportations, independently of the occupying regime and the local authorities. This doesn’t mean the German police weren’t helped by the Dutch,because the were . Some of the Dutch collaborators made a profit out of it.

On the other hand there was also the fact that the Dutch had a very efficient citizens registry, which made it easy for the Nazis to find the Jewish citizens.

What I find most disturbing is the fact that although the majority didn’t help the Nazis, many did turn a blind eye. or simply did nothing, which I think is just as bad as collaborating.

The persecution of Jews did not happen overnight, Gradually new laws were introduced undermining the Jews in daily life.

On January 8 1941 Jews were forbidden to enter cinemas, this led to a call to boycott cinemas. Posters with the texts “Boycott this Cinema” and “No hate for Jews in the Netherlands” were posted on the doors of cinemas. Sometimes they also had posters protesting low salaries.


In February 1941 there was also a nationwide workers strike,in defense of persecuted Dutch Jews and against the anti-Jewish measures and activities  the Nazis in general.The strike was organized after a number  of arrests and raids  by the Nazis in the Jewish area of Amsterdam. It started on 25 February 1941 ; on 26 February, 300,000 people joined the strike. The strike was violently stopped  by the German occupiers after three days

Despite the inaction of many Dutch there were many others who risked their lives helping their Jewish neighbours.


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Albert and Ida Claessens-Pastoor Vonckenstraat 51-Geleen


One of the difficulties I have in telling or writing stories about the Holocaust is the sheer volume of victims. I believe the best way of keeping the memories alive is to personalize the stories. Rather then talk about millions ,talk about individuals and show that they were human beings like every one else.

To give an indication, if I would only focus on the 6 million Jewish victims and I would tell 5 stories a day, it would take me more then 3000 years to tell them. That’s why I am focusing on the stories that are near to me in an emotional way or in a geographical way.

The story of Albert and Ida Claessens is one I have geographical ties to. Yet another story I was blissfully unaware of ,despite the fact I would have passed by the house they lived in at least once a week. In the map below I have highlighted how, Circled in red is the Supermarket I would frequent at least once a week, Circled in yellow is the area of the apartment block I lived in. The white line is Pastoor Vonckenstraat, the Claessens lived on number 51.

Pastoor Voncken str

It would take me 5 minutes to cycle that route.

The story of Albert Claessens is also a good way of dispersing the myth that all Jews were wealthy. Albert worked as an Excavation worker in the coalmone Maurits in Geleen, anyone who has worked in a mine or knows someone who worked in a mine will know how dirty and dangerous that work is.

On April 4 1938 Albert married the Polish immigrant Ajga (Ida) Krzanowska. They got settled in -Pastoor Vonckenstraat 51-Geleen.

On May 10,1940 the Netherlands was invaded by the German army. Initially not much changed for the Dutch Jews, but gradually new laws were introduced by the Nazi regime. On April 1,1941 Albert was fired from his job in the mine.

Some Jews had already gone in hiding at that stage, but Albert did not think he needed too.He still thought that the Jews were brought to work camps in Germany.On August 25 Albert,Ida and Albert’s brother and wife were all put on transport via Maastricht to Westerbork and then from there to Auschwitz on August 28,1942.

In a Police report from the Police department in Geleen it states that all perishable goods were removed from the Claessens home on August 25,1942 , the same day they were put on transport.

Ida and her sister in law arrived in Auschwitz on August 31, 1942  were gassed immediately.

Albert and his brother were taken off the transport on the journey to work in the work camp  Kosel, abut 80 kilometers away from Auschwitz.

It is not clear where Albert died nor is the exact date known. His death was only registered in 1952 and the date of death was et on April 30,1943. Place of death was registered ad middle Europe.



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






Betsie ten Boom-Hero and Righteous Among the Nations


On this day 75 years ago a real Hero died.

Betsie ten Boom died in Ravensbruck on 16 December 1944, at the age of 59. Sge ended up in Ravensbruück for one reason and one reason only, She died because she did the righteous and decent thing. Together with her family she hid  numerous Jews and members of the Dutch resistance.

Many others looked away and did nothing, she did not and could not. Despite illness and mistreatment she always looked for the best in circumstances.

She was a member of  the Dutch Reformed Church and strongly believed that all man were equal in the eyes of God.She remained steadfast in that believe untill the day she died.

Rather then write a whole story about Betsie, and I easily could, I feel this hero deserves more then that. That’s why I am asking everyone who reads this to do their own research on Betsie ten Boom and her family. A good starting point is the book The Hiding Place.

Betsie and her father, Casper, were honored by the State of Israel in 2008 as Righteous Among the Nations.


You didn’t have to do it.


You didn’t have to do it. You didn’t have to kill me.

You didn’t have to do it, you wanted to.

You didn’t have to do it, but you hated me and didn’t think twice.

You hated me, why?

You hated me, because someone told you to hate me. Were you really that stupid that you couldn’t make up your own mind?

No one could make you love someone you didn’t want to love. Yet they could make you hate someone you didn’t know. A child you didn’t know.

You hated me, but I did not hate you. How could I? I didn’t know you. I got have been a dear friend because that is my name Liebfreund, Dear Friend.

Aren’t you embarrassed that a 9 year old boy knows more then you. A 9  yar old boy whp knows that it is wrong to hate. Because hate turns to anger, anger turns to bitterness, bitterness turns into self pity. It is this self pity that turned you into this pathetic excuse of a human being. Some people call you a monster, but you are not, You are a human being . You are responsible for your actions.

I am Gemmi Liebfreund. I was born on 7 October 1933, in the Hague. I was killed in Sobibor on 13 March 1943.

The Final insult

1 form

I am Dutch and I always be proud to be Dutch, but there are somethings in my country’s history that really trouble me, even to an extend that it nearly sickens me.

The Dutch bureaucracy is well known to be very efficient, that can be very beneficial but it can also be destructive and dangerous. The Nazi regime were great fans of the Dutch civil service and its bureaucracy . It was the efficiency of the system that enable the Nazis to identify so many of the Dutch Jews , with the result that more then a  100,000 Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

Dutch Jews

The final insult was that ,the few survivors had to fight to get death certificates issued for their loved ones by going to court. Many of these certificates only came years after the war.The document at the top of the blog is the death certificate of Ernst Otto Lichtenstein, the brother in law of Max Baum, a man I have written about before. I passed by his house many times before not realizing the historical significance of the place.

Below is another version of the certificate. What is so disturbing about both documents is the lack of information.

All it says  is that the district court in Assen is requesting of the municipality of Westerbork to register that Ernst Otto Lichtenstein died on a train on transport between Teckoceniwitz(Czechoslovakia) and Oranienburg(Germany) on January 5th 1945. Occupation Butcher. Birthplace Jülich (Germany)  born December 6,1913

Last place of residence was Westerbork.

It fails to mention that he was imprisoned in Westerbork. Wher he was mistreated ,malnourished and who knows what other torments. The forms makes it look like he lived in Westerbork as a regular citizen who died on a train journey.

It was Sophie  Lichtenstein Baum the widow of Max Baum who had to get the certificate issued via the district court, for her brother  Ernst Otto Lichtenstein.

The certifcate was issued on January 6,1948. Three years after the murder of Ernst Otto Lichtenstein.

form 2


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




My letter to Santa


This piece is probably my most personal piece to date..It is not based on historical facts although the Holocaust victim was a real victim. It is based on my own personal life as a young child, combined with a thought I had about that time.

I came across some pictures of me as a child with St Nicholas(the Dutch Santa).

me 2

At the time time I did not realize that the man dressed as St Nicholas was actually my Father.

When I was 9 my parents divorced which lead to me losing contact with my Father for 18 years. It was only after I got married we reconnected again, due to a few tragedies in the Family. But I don’t want to bore you with those stories, suffice to say we did establish a good relationship from that time onward.

However I do remember writing a letter to Santa when I was 9. All I asked then was for my Father to return. The irony was that the man I asked for my Dad to return was actually my Father.

But here is the thought I had over the last few weeks. How many children must have written letters to Santa asking for nothing but for the friends or classmates to return. Classmates,friends or neighbours who had been deported and murdered in the death camps.

Although the St Nicholas celebration is a Christian tradition, some Jewish children did and still do participate in it.

I still remember what I wrote to Santa when I was aged 9 so I thought I’d use that letter as template but replace the references of my Father with the name Joseph Elias Cohen, the boy whose picture is at the top of this blog, he was born on 8 February 1934 in Amsterdam and killed on 4 June 1943, in Sobibor.


“Dear Santa my Friend Joseph Elias Cohen is gone. I don’t know where. All I know that he just vanished without saying goodbye to me.

I am not angry, all I want to know is if he is alright. I miss him.

So Santa this year for Christmas I don’t want any gifts or treats. All I want is when I wake up on Christmas day and walk down to the living room that my Friend is standing next to the Christmas tree, with his arms open wide , ready to give me a hug.

So if you have already wrapped my presents, that is okay , you can give those presenst to other children, all I want is my Friend to come home.

Do you think you can do that?”

As I said except for my own life story and the details of Joseph Elias Cohen, this blog has no historical facts, but I do believe it does make it personal and brings a bit of life into a story of an innocent 9 year old boy who was killed simply for being Jewish.




I will NOT be silenced.


I will not be silenced , no matter how often people try to silence me.

I will not be silenced despite the threats.

I will not be silence although a small voice in my head sometimes says”just give up”, but there is a louder voice screaming “No you fool, you have to keep going. You have a purpose so serve it. God gave you a talent so use it”

I will not be silenced because there are 1.5 million voices of Children pleading with me to tell their untold stories, To implant their names in people’s minds.

Children like Alex Weijel born 24 November 1939 in Enschede ,the Netherlands. Killed a few weeks before his 3rd birthday on 12 October 1942 in Auschwitz.

Alex eyes look at me and in my head I hear him say “Do not forget me”

How could I forget him if I had been born that time it could have been me who was killed.

I will not be silent because of the screams of those who never even saw the light of day, because they were carried in a womb of a mother who was seen as an inconvenience and were shot,stabbed,gassed or worked to death.

I will not be silenced; I will not be silenced.

We will never see you smile again


We will never see you smile again

Your life ended before my life began

We will never hear you sing again.

Your were 7 when you took your last breath.

Not because you were ill. No the opposite was true you were full of life and energy. It was evil men and women who wanted you dead and they succeeded.

It was evil that interrupted your life but is was good that stood by and let it happen. The good said they had no choice, but there is always a choice. It is up to each individual to determine what the good choice is.

However you did not have a choice, you were taken away from your friends and family and put on a train, not for a holiday but to a place where they would end your life.

They did not only want to destroy your life but also erase your existence any trace that you ever existed.

Your life I can not return to you but your memory I will keep in tact.

You are Rita Krammer born January 5th 1937,Groningen, he Netherlands. You were killed in Auschwitz, 26 October 1942.

We will never see you smile again . But your smile will never be forgotten

Geleen Capital of Rock.

Flag Geleen

The name Geleen will mean little to most, but it is where I was born and raised.A small industrial city in the province of Limburg, the south east of the Netherlands. Just because I don’t live there anymore doesn’t mean I am not proud to be from there or that I don’t love it anymore, because I do love it and I am still proud to be a Gelener..

This doesn’t mean I can’t be critical. Many mistakes have been made in the past which resulted in professional football.motor racing  to disappear from the town. Where there used to be a vibrant city centre there are only a few shops left at the moment, all because a mayotr had some grandiose plans for the city, grandiose but not well thought through.

The biggest loss howver was the loss of Pinkpop , one of Europe’s biggest Rock festivals. I I am not going to dwell on the reasons ,but I will recapture some of my home town’s great Rock legacy.

However the very first edition wasn’t held in Geleen but in the nearby village of Gulpen. The festival was called PinkNick at the time , the date May 26 1969.


But from 1970 the festival was renamed to PinkPop(pink taken from the word Pinksteren, meaning Pentecost). and the new venue  was Burgemeester Damen Sportpark in Geleen, where it remained until 1986. In 1987 it moved to Baarlo , the year after Landgraaf was to become the new venue where the festival is still being held to date.

Below are just some impression of  artists who played in Geleen.

David Lee Roth of Van Halen with a broken nose at the Pinkpop Festival in Geleen . May 26, 1980.


1979 Poster


U2 in 1981


The Cure 1986


Fleetwood Mac 1971


Thin Lizzy 1978

Thin Lizzy

ZZ Top 1982


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



You Tube

Your smiley face makes me cry.

11 months

Your smiley face makes me cry.

It makes me cry because I know you were born on June 13,1942 in The Hague , the Netherlands and you were killed June 11,1943 in Sobibor. You were not even given the opportunity to blow one candle on your first birthday cake.

I cry but I no longer have tears because they have dried up due to crying for the 1.5 million childer that were killed.

There is one question that occupies my mind constantly. Why?

I know why, but I just can’t comprehend.

Ywo days before your birthday you were murdered.

You are Joseph Blok, you could have been an  inspirational musician or a motivation speaker, or  just simply the father of my best friend.

The biggest fear of your parents  should have been to keep you safe from the measles,chicken pox ,mumps and rubella, but it was men who probably had children themselves, perhaps even babies like you.

Men, who did not see you as human being they though of you as vermin, but it was these men who were the real vermin.

Men who felt heroic for killing babies who could not defend themselves.

Rest in peace young Joseph Blok.