I miss you.

Marianne

I miss you , even though I don’t know you and we’ve never met.

I miss you ,because you could have been the composer who composed my favourite piece of music.

I miss you, because you could have been the poet who wrote my favourite poem

I miss you ,because you could have been the painter who painted my favouite painting.

I miss you, because you could have been the author who wrote my favourite book.

I miss you, because you could have been the comedian who maked me laugh the most.

I miss you, because you could have been the director of my favourite movie.

I miss you, because you could have been the teacher who taught me right from wrong.

I miss you, because you could have been the chef whose recipes I like the most.

To me it doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish,Catholic,Protestant,Muslim,Buddhist or Atheist. All that matters to me is that you are a human being. Just like me, like the words of a song, from flesh and blood you were made.

But there were those who had a different opinion on that, A twisted, evil opinion. They did not want you to live, They killed you brutally.

In my thoughts I see you.

In my prayers I remember you.

I miss you Marianne Nunes Vaz, born 31 May 1935 in Amsterdam. Killed 5 Feb 1943 in Auschwitz.

I miss you although we never met, but in my heart I have a place for you.

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Lets keep it personal.

Jozua

The biggest group of people who were murdered during the Holocaust were the Jews. An estimated 6 million were killed.

The number of 6 million should have really been zero, because none of these people had done anything wrong, They were only killed because they were Jewish or had been Jewish, there was no other reason.

This may sound strange coming from somebody who writes a lot about the Holocaust but I really don’t care about that number of 6 million. It has become a statistic which often has been disputed and manipulated by people who want to use it for a political agenda. Personally I believe the number is higher.

What I am interested in ,is the personal individual stories.Because that is what each of all the 6 million people were, all unique individual.

People like the Croonenberg family. Their number was 3, a Father-Jacob Croonenberg; a Mother-Elisabeth Croonenberg-Grishaver and a Son Jozua Croonenberg.

Jacob was a Diamond worker in Amsterdam. He reached the age of 35 and was killed on June 11, 1943 in Sobibor.

Elisabeth was a housewife or homemaker in Amsterdam , he reached the age of 34 and was killed on June 11,  1943 in Sobibor.

The lovely smiley boy Jozua, was just that, a lovely beautiful smiley boy. When he was killed on June 11,1943 he had only been 7.

The document at the start of the blog is a questionnaire which was filled in by I presume Jacob.

It asked the names, birth dates and addresses of the family. What I find disturbing is the matter of fact questioning on the form and even more disturbing is the last question, which was left blank.

It asks “Specifics of family members who have already been sent to a camp or to Germany” It is clearly proof that the authorities( in this case Dutch authorities)were well aware of the camps.

In the case of the Croonenbergs there are only 5 numbers that matter. The umber 1 as in one family. The number 3 as in three family members. The numbers,35,34 and 7 as in their ages when they were killed. We should not get distracted by statistics, we should keep the memory of the victims personal.

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Joods Monument

 

One man can make a difference-Salo Muller.

Salo

The Dutch Football club AJAX  FC is often seen as a Jewish football club, although it doesn’t actually have any Jewish roots. Although it has had a Jewish connection since the 1930s when the home stadium was located next to a Jewish neighbourhood of Amsterdam-Oost and opponents saw many supporters walking through the Nieuwmarkt/Waterloopleinbuurt (de Jodenhoek—the “Jews’ corner”) to get to the stadium.

Additionally it did employ several Jewish players like Sjakie Swart and Eddy Hamel for example. Another legendary member of staff was Salo Muller, seen above with another Ajax legend, Johan Cruijff. Salo  is a former physiotherapist at the club and was there at the time when the club saw some of its biggest successes.

But to me he is a hero for a different reason. Salo’s, parents were murdered at Auschwitz.

In 1941, when he was five, his parents were arrested by the Nazis and put on a train from the capital Amsterdam to Westerbork, where they spent nine weeks before being deported to Auschwitz and murdered.

He decided to act when he heard that the French government had agreed a $60m compensation fund with the US to be distributed among thousands of survivors and their relatives.He started a campaign to force the Dutch Railways to follow suit to pay compensation to the Dutch survivors of the Holocaust

In 1941, when he was five, his parents were arrested by the Nazis and put on a train from the capital Amsterdam to Westerbork, where they spent nine weeks before being deported to Auschwitz and murdered.

He decided to act when he heard that the French government had agreed a $60m compensation fund with the US to be distributed among thousands of survivors and their relatives.

According to NS, several thousand people could be eligible for the payments, including about 500 survivors and their direct descendants.

Nonetheless, the committee set up by the company acknowledged that “there is no reasonable or appropriate amount of money that can compensate in any way for the suffering inflicted on the persons covered by the scheme.”

When considering the amounts to be paid, the committee said, it noted that “although NS was an essential link in the transport to the concentration and extermination camps, it cannot be held responsible for the existence of these camps and the crimes that were committed there.”

The NS decided that it would pay each survivor  €15,000 (£13,000; $17,000), while €5-7,000 will go to children and widowed spouses of victims.

It had been a long struggle fro Salo Muller, several times he had been rejected by the NS, He was told that he was a nice man and they still knew him from his Ajax days, butthe NS  were never forthcoming in relation to payments. They had officially apologized for their role in the Holocaust, But only Yesterday they decided to pay compensation.

Just goes to show one man can make a difference.

ns

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BBC

New York Times

Volkskrant

I don’t hate you..

gIDEON

I don’t hate you. I don’t even understand what that word means.

There are things I don’t like, like Spinach. I’d rather have an ice cream or a lolly pop.

Hate is a concept made by grown ups, not by children like me.

I only see the good in people.

Why should I hate you? I don’t even know you.

Yet you hate me and you don’t know me either.

Your hate for me is so strong that your desire is to kill me.

Granting me one more sunrise is too much for you to bear< why?

I don’t hate you, but you hate me.

I am Gideon Prager born 4 June 1942 in the Hague. Murdered 6 March 1944, in Auschwitz.

Anne Frank- Just a teenage girl.

Anne Frank

When you look up in formation on Anne Frank, the first thing you will see is that she is described as a German born or Dutch Diarist as if she was a well established author or Journalist, but she wasn’t.

She was just a teenage girl who happened to write a diary, like so many other girls did in that time and probably still do. If she had been a teenager now, I am certain she would have been on Instagram.Snapchat, Facebook and other social media. She was a very bubbly girl who like to express herself.

Does this make her diary less valuable? No of course not, it makes it even more valuable because the diary was not written by a professional author but by a young girl who described her daily life , a life which so few can even fathom nowadays.

Her diary became her closest friend and ally. A tool to express her fear, boredom, and the struggles as a teenager growing up. On 16 March 1944, she wrote: “The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I’d absolutely suffocate.”

12 days later on March 28,1944 the exiled Dutch minister for education,Gerrit Bolkestein, gave a speech on Radio Orange where he appealed to listeners in the occupied Netherlands to record their everyday experiences on paper.

“If future generations are to realize to the full extent what we as a population are going through and what we are experiencing in this time of war, then it is clear that we will need simple documents: a diary, letters from a laborer forced to go to work in Germany, sermons spoken by a clergyman”.

Bolkesijn

Anne Frank, was one of the many who heard Bolkestein’s appeal at the time. That night she wrote about her housemates: “…of course, everyone rushed for my diary all at once”. She started to rework her diary and called it The Secret Annex.

Next week , June 12th will be Annelise Marie Frank’s 90th Birthday . I had planned to write a blog about Anne on that day, but I will be busy make a preparations for a trip I am taking with my teenage daughter.

Next time when you read about Anne Frank and you see her described as a German born or Dutch diarist please do not forget she was also just a teenage girl, who happened to have written a diary.

A teenage girl who still could be alive today, but her life was cut short by a brutal fascist regime. A regime which had no regard for life.

anne frank diary

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Sources

geheugenvannederland.nl

History Extra

 

Marcus Lelyveld-Jewish Footballer-Killed.

marcus

The Dutch are a proud footballing nation, the sport is part of our DNA. But there is a part of our footballing history which has been forgotten.

Marcus Lelyveld born September 9,1905 in the Hague, the Netherlands. His father made furniture but in 1914 he changed from furniture to selling fruit.

Marcus was  a talented football player. When he was 17 he managed to secure a place in the first team of VUC, a club based in The Hague.He was a defender and sometimes played as a defending midfielder.In 1930 Marcus was selected as part of a elite The Hague team to play a match against a Belgian team from Brussels.

Later that year he was selected to play with the B-team of the Dutch National squad.In 1931 the head coach  of the National team, Bob Glendenning selected him for a match against France in Paris, Although Marcus was selected he didn’t get a chance to play.

However on February 14 ,1932 he finally got a chance with the mighty Dutch national team. Mauk Weber, of ADO Den Haag, wasn’t fit enough to play so Macus took Mauk’s spot. The match was a friendly match against Belgium and was played in the Amsterdam,Olympic Stadium. The Belgian team won by 2-3.

11 tal

Unfortunately that was the last official international match he played for the Dutch national team. He did play several international matches on club level against the Irish Champions F.C. Bohemian,, and also against English teams like Port Vale and Stoke.

In 1934 he was sacked by VUC but the Dutch FA(KNVB) intervened and he was reinstated. However it would be the last season he played Football.

On June 19,1935 he married a single Mother Theodora Antonia Schoonen, unlike Marcus she was not Jewish.

In 1942 a Dutch judge sent Marcus to jail for a minor offence,due to the overcrowding of jails he was sent to Camp Erica,near Ommen instead, in June 1942.

Erica

The camp was designated mostly for Dutchmen convicted of black market trade or resistance to the occupational authorities; only eight Jews were detained here.The camp was notorious for the brutal behaviour of its personnel.

Herbertus Bikker aka The Butcher of Ommen was a member of the Waffen-SS. In this function he served as a guard at the prison and work camp Erika.

Although there were a few Jewish prisoners there, they were particularly harshly treated.

Marcus Lelyveld suffered severe physical abuse in the camp and he eventually died on September 5,1942 as a result of the abuse.

On 19 januari 1943, a second Jewish prisoner,Salomon Roet, dies as a result of severe physical abuse.

What I find very disturbing about these deaths is that they were personal, it wasn’t done by a bullet or by gassing, but by beating, kicking on a one on one basis. Whoever abused these men most of looked in their eyes.

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Joods Monument

WO2 Slachtoffers

 

Frederik Goldsteen- Holocaust Victim , whose shop I often visited.

Frederik

I remember as a kid , my neighbor and I made our own bows and arrows, We used it to target practice on a spare door we had in the storage rooms in the basement of our apartment block.

We bought the materials for these ‘weapons’  in a shop in the center of our town,Geleen, in the Netherlands. It was a DIY shop, called Hubo, located on Annastraat 24.

2019-05-29

Also later in life when I needed something DIY related I would frequent the establishment and would purchase what I required.

I can’t remember how often I went in there, it would not have been an awful lot because when it comes to DIY I am pretty much double left handed. But I would have been in there at least a few dozen times, and would have passed by the shop on a daily basis.

Never did I realize the fate of one of its former occupants.

Frederik Goldsteen was born on  the 9th of  july 1918 in  Rheydt-Germany. As a student he lived with his brother in Voorburg a suburb of the Hague in the Netherlands . He studied to become a a radio technician. Between 1937 and 1940 he would reside in Geleen with his widowed Mother and in the Hague with his fiancee Elfriede.

Shortly before they got married  they moved back toLimburg, the south of the country.They got married on May 9th ,1941 in Vaals, Elfriede’s mother lived in Vaals. Vaals is the place where the Netherlands borders with Belgium and Germany, It is  in the foothills of the Ardennes–Eifelrange, and with 322 metres it is the highest point of the Netherlands.

3 landend

Shortly after they got married the couple moved to Geleen. Frederik opened a Radio repair shop “Radio Technisch Bureau F. Goldsteen” located on Annastraat 24. In  October 1941, the couple were blessed with a baby girl,Carolina .

On March 12 ,1942. Frits was ordered by the German occupiers to close the shop. As a Jew he was not allowed to built or repair radios.

He did find a job with a company that worked for the coal mine Maurits.

maurits

However on the 19th of May, 1942 he was arrested for secretly still working on radios and also for being critical about Hitler.

He was sent to Camp Amersfoort via Maastricht . On July 16,1942 he was deported to Auschwitz , where he was killed less then a month later, on August 15,1942.

His wife and daughter both survived the war.

What amazes me . and kind of disturbs me is how close the Holocaust was to me to an extend. Over the last few months I have come across stories of Jewish fellow citizens and town folk, whose addresses I have passed by a multiple of times and U was never award of their fates.

I got most of the information about Frits Goldteen from a foundation called Stichting Stolpersteine:Geleen-Sittard. At the bottom of Frits’s page they state the motivation of his persecution was for being Jewish. No other reason, just for being Jewish and therefor seen by an evil regime with a warped ideology as sub human. Where the real sub humans were those who subscribed to that warped fascist ideology.

When I go visit my hometown in 2 weeks time I will go into the shop again, but this time armed with the knowledge of its history.

Hubo

 

 

 

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Heinz Sommerfeld-Transport Ek no. 1458 (28. 09. 1944, Terezín -> Auschwitz)

Heinz

Around this time of year many 17 year old kids are getting ready for school exams. And although they may think it is unfair that they have to sit for hours and hours, to do their exams(I know I thought it was unfair). They don’t actually realize how lucky they are.

Education, even though it is a basic human right.it is not a certainty and it should be seen as a privilege when it is given to you.

I am sure Heinz Sommerfeld would have loved to have done his exams when he was 17, but he never got the chance. His biggest worry was staying alive, and because of an evil regime he did not succeed in that either.

He was born in Berlin on March 26th, 1927. On January 5th, 1939, aged 11, he  came to the Netherlands as a refugee without his parents on a  Kindertransport. (children’s transport)

Kinder

When he arrived in the Netherlands he was first in an orphanage in Amsterdam, but in November 1939 he was put in foster care with the Lipschits family in Maastricht . However a few months after the Nazis invaded the Netherlands he was moved again to an orphanage, this time in Utrecht.

In February 1942 he was deported to Westerbork. On January 20th, 1944 he was put on the train to Theresienstadt, from where he was deported to Auschwitz on September 28th, 1944 on transport 1458. A total of 2499 persons were registered on that transport. Heinz was one of them.

The train arrived in Auschwitz on September 29th,1944. What happened to the other 2498 I don’t know, but Heinz was murdered in the gas chambers upon arrival.

He was murdered not because he was bad but because he was perceived to be different, He was Jewish that was enough for the Nazis to kill him.

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Dr. Leonhard Levy.

LRVY

I often wonder how many really died during the Holocaust and where they did stop being considered a fatality of the Holocaust?

I think the real numbers are much higher because I don’t think the numbers include victims who died after the war as a direct result of the Holocaust.

Dr. Leonhard Levy was born July 14, 1898, in Hamburg .He married Gertraud Friedländer  in April 1943. I wish I could say more about him, but unfortunately there is not much more I found out. The only thing I know, but I don’t even know for certain is that at some stage he moved to the Netherlands.

What I do know for certain is that he had been imprisoned in Bergen Belsen concentration camp and was liberated from there. However due to the hardships he had endured while imprisoned, he had become very ill.He eventually still succumbed to the horrors of Bergen Belsen and died on November 23,1945,in Vaals , the Netherlands more then 6 Months after the liberation of the Netherlands.

Dutch Notification

He was laid to rest on November 26,1945 in a Cemetery in Maastricht.I know it’s not much but the only consolations is that he died a free man surrounded by people who loved him. His wife survived the war.

begraaf

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Wim Kan’s World War 2 years.

WIM

Anyone living outside the Netherlands or the Flemish speaking part of Belgium will probably have never heard of Wim Kan.

It is actually not that easy to describe what he was, his title was cabaretier ,which is French for Cabaret performer. But I think the term ‘stand up comedian’ would be more relevant nowadays, even though that doesn’t really describe it accurately either.Because he cracked jokes, sang songs he had written himself, told stories.

He was one of the ‘Great 3’ cabaret acts of the Netherlamds, together with Win Sonneveld and Toon Hermans.

3

In 1936, he established the ABC Cabaret, which soon became one of the most successful Dutch cabaret groups, in which several artists debuted who later became famous.Wim Kan’s wife,Corry Vonk, was also a member of the group.

In 1940, the ABC Cabaret was touring the Dutch East Indies.(Now called Indonesia)While they were on tour in Indonesia, which was a Dutch Colony at the time, Germany invaded the Netherlands therefor Wim Kan and his Cabaret company could not return to the Netherlands.

POSTER

On 8 December 1941, the Dutch government-in-exile declared war on Japan. Wim Kan was called as a conscript with the KNIL. The Royal Dutch Indies army. He was assigned to  the Department of War as a radio broadcaster.By March 1942 all of Indonesia was occupied by Japan.On Friday the 13th of March, Wim Kan was made a prisoner of war, with POW number 71502.

He survived 13 Japanese camps. Probably because of his fame he ,did enjoy some protection of hard physical labour, but he was not completely exempt from working on the Burma railway.

railway

While he was in the camps he did do what he always done, entertain. He continued doing shows albeit in adapted form, and he continued writing songs. He also kept a diary of his years under captivity. These diaries were only released relatively recently.

Mt Dros, who was one of the 15,170 Dutchmen who survived the Burma Railway, said in an interview with a Dutch newspaper” The performances of Wim Kan were like small rays of light, and made us feel like we were home in the Netherlands again albeit for a short time.”

Shortly after the war ,on November 6,1945 Wim Kan staged a benefit show in Bangkok  for former prisoners of war. The show was called ‘Mystery in Budapest’

AFFICHE

Wim Kan and his wife returned to the Netherlands in 1948, where he became an even bigger star as when he was before the war.

When the Japanese Emperor Hirohito came for a state visit to the Netherlands October 1971, Wim Kan strongly protested and urged the Dutch government to get the Emperor tried for war crimes.

Wim Kan died age 72 on September 8, 1983.

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Sources

Trouw.nl

NIOD.nl

New York Times

Dutch Wikipedia

 

 

 

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