Looking for Butterflies

rachelmankowitz

Sometime in the midst of prepping for Mom’s hip surgery, Duolingo announced that I was in the running for the semifinals, of something. I spend some time every day on Duolingo, practicing my Hebrew and French, learning Spanish or German or Yiddish. I’m sure that part of my language learning adventure has been about wanting to feel smart and impressive, but first and foremost I’m fascinated by what languages can teach us about who we are and how we understand ourselves. I don’t practice each language every day, some days I do a little of a few different languages, some days I do a deep dive into one of the languages, sometimes I just do enough to keep my streak alive for another day.

But then there was this tournament. It wasn’t hard to get into the semifinals: I just had to do the same number of lessons I usually…

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Plague: Ancient teeth reveal where Black Death began, researchers say 

The informant

Researchers believe they have discovered the origins of the Black Death, more than 600 years after it killed tens of millions in Europe, Asia and north Africa.

The mid-14th Century health catastrophe is one of the most significant disease episodes in human history.

But despite years of research, scientists had been unable to pinpoint where the bubonic plague began.

Now analysis suggests it was in Kyrgyzstan, central Asia, in the 1330s.

A research team from the University of Stirling in Scotland and Germany’s Max Planck Institute and University of Tubingen analysed ancient DNA samples from the teeth of skeletons in cemeteries near Lake Issyk Kul, in Kyrgyzstan.

They chose the area after noting a significant spike in burials there in 1338 and 1339.

Dr Maria Spyrou, a researcher at the University of Tubingen, said the team sequenced DNA from seven skeletons.

They analysed the teeth because, according to Dr Spyrou…

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Josephine Cohen just a girl from Geleen.

For anyone who is not from Geleen or the province of Limburg ,in the south East of the Netherlands, the name Geleen will mean very little. Yo may have visited the town perhaps while it was still hosting the annual Rock festival of PinkPop. Maybe you even visited the former mining town during one of the street theater festivals. But to me it is the place where I was born, it is where my roots are.

Josephine Cohen was also born in Geleen, albeit 38 years before my birth.

Her father was Simon, a shop owner. The shop was situated on Mauritslaan 110, in Geleen. A address I would have passed by many times a week because it was near my school.

There were 6 in the Cohen family.The Father Simon, the Mother Esthella Carolina Cohen-ten Brink. Daughters Josephine, age 12, Henny age 16.Frieda age 17 and 1 son Gerrit. Gerrit is the only one who survived the war. He died on September 22, 1998, age 76.

Josephine was the youngest, she was born on July 9.1930.

Simon Cohen’s clothing warehouse was closed with effect from 1 November 1941. The reason for this is uncertain, but it is plausible that Simon refused to accept an ‘Aryan administrator’ imposed by the occupying forces. In August 1942 the Cohen family was called up to report for the ‘Arbeitseinsatz’. The call was for men between the ages of 16 and 65, including their wives and children. As in many families, this led to heated discussions in the Cohen family. Son Gerrit, whose friends urged him to go into hiding, argued strongly in favor of this, but at the express wish of his law-abiding father, he waited with the whole family on 25 August 1942 for the arrival of the police. When the dreaded knock was finally heard at the door, Gerrit fled after all. He reached the flat roof and the attic of the neighbors through a skylight. Then he went into hiding. Rumors of Gerrit’s suicide may have been deliberate so that the police wouldn’t look for him.

The other family members, along with many other Jews, were taken by bus from the Markt in Geleen to Maastricht that afternoon and arrived in Westerbork on August 26, from where they were deported to Auschwitz on August 28. Simon and Esthella and their daughters Frieda and Josephine were gassed there on arrival on August 30 or 31, 1942. Sixteen-year-old daughter Henny was selected for forced labor, but she died less than a month later, on September 26, 1942, according to the death certificate of influenza.Gerrit was the only survivor of the Cohen family. He is said to have hid in the vicinity of Stein-Meers. Gerrit Cohen married in 1947 and continued to live in Geleen for the rest of his life.

Josephine was only 12 when she was murdered.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/485066/simon-cohen-and-his-family

Cats in World War 2.

I am not really a cat person to be honest. I always preferred dogs. There is a saying “A dog thinks you are God. a cat thinks he is”

I knew about the efforts of dogs, horses, elephants and other animals during WW2,but I had not heard about the heroics of cats during World War 2, one of my blog followers pointed it out to me(thanks Parker).

A stray cat wandered into St Augustine’s and St Faith’s Church in London in 1936. She was named Faith and adopted by the rector and parishioners. She would sit at the pulpit while Father Henry Ross preached. In 1940, Faith gave birth to a single kitten named Panda. On September 6th, Faith demanded access to the church basement. When a door was opened for her, she carried her kitten down to the dark cellar. Father Ross retrieved the kitten twice, but Faith carried him back downstairs -twice. She even missed a church service, which was unusual. The next day, air raids began in the Battle of London, and by the 9th, 400 people had been killed and eight churches were destroyed by bombs. Father Ross returned to the church to find it ruined. He called for Faith and heard faint meowing in return. He retrieved both Faith and Panda from the rubble just before the roof collapsed. Faith was nominated for a Dinkin Medal, for which she was not eligible as a civilian, but she was awarded a special medal for bravery anyway. Faith was presented with the medal in a special ceremony in 1945 attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury. When Faith died peacefully at the age of 14, the church was again packed for her funeral.

Faith

Cats were often adopted along the way by soldiers and sailors who found an abandoned cat or kitten, and were used as mascots.

Cats were also thought to be able to detect bombs ahead of time, like dogs sniffing out explosives. Soldiers theorized it was due to cats being attuned to atmospheric pressure, or possibly just their “sixth sense.” During World War II, some families would rely on their cat’s senses to alert them ahead of a bomb being dropped and would retreat for safety to air-raid or bomb shelters.

The most famous of these fearless felines was aptly named “Bomber” and he could identify the difference between German aircrafts and planes in the British Air Force.

It’s no secret that cats are adept hunters – which is why the military originally requested feline aid. Cats were first brought aboard ships to protect the soldiers’ food supplies. With mice, rats, and other vermin vying for the opportunity to nibble away at the troops’ food rations – and leaving their disease-carrying droppings behind – cats were the perfect companion on Naval vessels and in soldier camps.

The cats kept the vermin populations at bay and, by extension, kept the soldiers nourished and healthy. Thankfully, the cat hero battalions were happy to do the job in exchange for an endless supply of squeaky snacks.

Marine Cpl. Edward Burckhardt found this kitten at the base of Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, the scene of some of the most brutal fighting of the war.

sources

https://time.com/5396568/simon-cat-war-medal/

https://ontariospca.ca/blog/the-incredible-accomplishments-of-cats-during-war/

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know 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

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Jacques Swaluw-murdered aged 10 months.

The title is about Jacques Swaluw but it really is about just more then Jacques.

Jacques was born in Rotterdam on the 19th of June 1942.

Esther Swaluw was a daughter of Isaäc Swaluw and Maria Melkman. 2 December 1913 she married Izak van Been in Rotterdam, a son of Abraham van Been and Sientje Bacharach. Esther and Izak however divorced, which was registered in the Civil Registry of Rotterdam 13 June 1936. Together, they had a son Abraham who after the divorce grew up in the family of Izak van Been and his 2nd wife Hanna Boeki.

After her divorce, Esther had three more children: 16 June 1936 her daughter Maria was born. Her possible father was Izak van Been, however no name of a father was registered. But she was “a Jewish child” according a note at the registration card of her mother, made out by the Jewish Council of Rotterdam.

Esther had a relationship with the non-Jewish Jan Houtkamp in Rotterdam, from whom she had a son who was born 17 September 1940 and his name was John Houtkamp. According the registration card of Esther Swaluw, Jan Houtkamp acknowledged John as his at 2 December 1940, being the father of this child. Whether there was a formal marriage or not, could not be researched.

19 June 1942 Esther had another child, named Jacques. He received the family name of Swaluw so it is not clear who Jacques father was. At Esther’s registration per 1 October 1941 by the Jewish Council, her civil status was listed as “divorced”. Also a note made in April 1943 by the Jewish Council reveals that the 3rd child (Jacques) has not been acknowledged by Jan Houtman.

One of the many notes made at Esthers registration card of the Jewish Council is an attempt of 2 April 1943 by Esther Swaluw, to safeguard her children from deportation, where Esther has mentioned that her children Jacques and John were non-Jewish, while Maria Swaluw was Jewish. The note of 9 April 1943 is perhaps the most prominent, whereby “the person concerned (Esther Swaluw) 8 April has made a request that her children Jacques and John are G 1”. (G 1 – Mischiling Ersten Grades / half breed first degree). However, all attempts were in vain.

Her daughter Maria Swaluw was deported to Camp Westerbork already on 26 February 1943 and stayed in barack 84. Her mother Esther Swaluw and her children John Houtkamp and Jacques Swaluw were registered together in Westerbork 31 March 1943 and they stayed in barack 70. 4 May 1943 they were all put on transport to Sobibor and upon arrival there 7 May 1943 immediately killed.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/124551/jacques-swaluw

Fathers Day

Father’s day 2015 was the last time I saw my dad. It wasn’t a usual meeting but a quick hello via Skype. With the help of one of my nephews he had tried to reach me earlier that day, but I had been out to the shop.
We did finally connect later that evening, June 21,2015. The last words he said to me were”Ik heb eigenlijk niets meer te zeggen” -I actually have nothing more to say- He had been pleasntly surprised by the technology. even though my family and I were hundreds of miles way, he could still see us and talk to us.
A week later I got a call from my sister telling me that he had died, two days later I was on a plane home.
He wasn’t the standard father, but he was my dad and to me that is all that matters. 7 years on I still miss him.

Aktion Arbeitsscheu Reich -work-shy Reich

So many people think that the Holocaust only lasted as along as WWII. But they could not be further away from the truth. It could be argued that the foundation of the Holocaust goes back to 1879, when Wilhelm Marr becomes the first proponent of racial anti-Semitism, blaming Jews for the failure of the German revolutions of 1848–49. I started to watch a series on Netflix called ‘Knightfall’ which is set in the 13th century, it is inspired by events of the time although with fictional characters. In the show there already is a portrayal of hate against the Jews and there is a scene where they are forced to leave Paris, and the order is given to kill all of them once they have left the outskirts of Paris. In the show they are saved by the templars, but I know there have been pogroms going back as far as that.

In 1933 the first concentration camp became operational,Dachau. Between 13–18 June 1938, the first mass arrests of Jews begin through Aktion Arbeitsscheu Reich.

In the course of the “work-shy Reich” campaign carried out by the German police between June 13 and 18, 1938 against people classified as “asocial”, more than 10,000 people were arrested and deported to concentration camps. Around 6,000 prisoners were taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp alone and marked as “asocial” with a brown, later black triangle.

During the Nazi regime, the accusation of work shyness served to characterize the so-called asocial. According to an implementing regulation from 1938, anyone who “shows through behavior contrary to the community, even if it is not criminal, that he does not want to fit into the community” was considered antisocial.

According to the ordinance, anti-social persons were those who “through minor but recurring violations of the law do not want to submit to the order that is taken for granted in a National Socialist state”. Tramps, beggars, prostitutes, gypsies, drunkards and people suffering from contagious diseases, especially venereal diseases, were listed by name.

The wave of arrests was primarily intended to discipline the so-called sub-proletarian groups. During the “June Action” there were also targeted mass arrests of Jews. In Berlin, the police arrested between 1,000 and 2,000 Jews under the flimsiest of pretexts, crossing a street crossing incorrectly was enough. An anti-Semitic speech by Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels acted as the initial impetus. At a meeting in the Ministry of Propaganda on June 10, 1938, he stirred up the atmosphere. In his diary, Goebbels noted: “Spoke in front of 300 police officers in Berlin. I really got excited. Against all sentimentality. The slogan isn’t the law, it’s harassment. The Jews have to get out of Berlin. The police will help me with that.” Encouraged by the actions of the police, pogrom-like anti-Semitic riots broke out in Berlin and other large cities in the German Reich. Jewish shops were smeared and Jewish shopkeepers forced to close their shops; several synagogues were demolished.

Dr Christian Dirks, curator of the exhibition of diplomatic dispatches on the 1938 pogrom, suggests a connection with anti-Semitic attacks in Berlin, which, starting in May, escalated from June 13–16, 1938 with boycotts of Jewish shops, marking shops, raids on cafes and arrests.

In 2013 Dr Dirks also called an Irish report on Kristallnacht ,which was issued by Ambassador Charles Bewley in 1938, disgraceful.

Bewley, who described the events as “obviously organised,” began his report in the tone of a dispassionate diplomatic observer and identified with Germany’s claims that Jews dominated in areas of finance and entertainment and used their influence to promote “anti-Christian, anti-patriotic and communistic” thinking.

Charles Bewley

He went on to say their corrupting moral influence helped explain the “elimination of the Jewish element from public life.”

Bewley condemned the Irish media for following the “British press, itself in Jewish hands”, and “Anglo-Jewish telegraph agencies” by prominently displaying news of oppression against Jews but suppressing news of crimes perpetrated by Jews and anti-fascists.

He refrained from advising Dublin on how to correct what he believed was Ireland’s one-sided view of what he called the “Jewish problem”, but left no doubt that he viewed Jews themselves as the key issue.

sources

https://www.irishcentral.com/news/pro-nazi-irish-ambassador-report-on-kristallnacht-to-go-on-display-in-berlin-231342571-237786911

https://www.nd-aktuell.de/artikel/1091388.aktion-arbeitsscheu-reich-das-bezeichnete-bleibt-beiseite.html

https://www.dhm.de/lemo/kapitel/ns-regime/ausgrenzung-und-verfolgung/aktion-arbeitsscheu-reich-1938.html

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know 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

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The destruction of innocence and beauty.

The girl in the play penis Renee Sara Gottschalk, born in the Central Refugee Camp Westerbork on 21 June 1941. The two girls in the dark dresses are the daughters of chief physician F. Spanier. The lady on the right is Rosa Strauss; Renee Sara’s mother. Her father is
Erich Gottschalk. Renee and her mother Rosa were killed in Auschwitz on 6 October 1944. Father Erich survived the war.

Rosa Strauss was born on February 24, 1911 in Bochum. Her parents were Emil Strauss and Johanna Strauss-Mendels. Her father was a cattle dealer and butcher. On February 5, 1937, Rosa married Erich Gottschalk, 5 years her senior in Bochum.

Shortly after the wedding, Rosa’s family fled to England via the Netherlands. From there they fled to South Africa. Rosa and Erich did not want to be chased out of Germany.

Erich was trained as a textile merchant, but under pressure from the Nazi measures, he was forced to work in his parents’ company, a wholesaler of advertising materials. The place was completely destroyed during the Kristallnacht. The next day he was arrested and taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Rosa was left alone. Because Rosa could prove that they had plans to emigrate, Erich was released on December 11, 1938.

Rosa and her husband fled to the Netherlands, where they ended up in a relief camp in Hoek van Holland. They planned to flee further, but were overtaken by the German invasion in May 1940. Rosa and Erich were taken to the Westerbork refugee camp. Their daughter Renée was born there on June 21, 1941. Because they were already in the camp during the refugee period, they were not put on transport for the time being.

They were ‘Alte Lagerinsassen’ but on September 4, 1944, Rosa, Erich and Renée Gottschalk were sent to Theresienstadt on transport. They only stayed there for a month. A month later, the family was sent to Auschwitz from Theresienstadt. Rosa and Renée were murdered here immediately after arrival, on October 6, 1944. Erich was chosen to work.

He survived the outside command Tschechowitz. Just before the liberation, he was sent on the death march ahead of the advancing Russian army. Erich Gottschalk was weak and collapsed, but was helped by Polish peasants. On 6 June 1945 he returned to Amsterdam as the only survivor of his family. His beautiful wife was murdered age 33. His beautiful and innocent daughter was murdered age 3.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/591473/rosa-gottschalk-strauss

Testimony by Joseph Berman regarding atrocities committed by Oberscharführer-SS Rudolf Seck and others in Latvia

They say that a picture paints a thousand words, and that is true, but it never tells the full story. It is just a snap shot of time. Especially when it comes to the Holocaust, pictures are powerful but I believe the testimonies of those who survived and lived through the horrors are much more powerful.

Rudolf Joachim Seck was an SS officer during World War II during the course of which he committed a large numbers of crimes against humanity, for which he was later sentenced to serve life in prison by a West German court. Seck held the SS ranks of Unterscharführer and later Oberscharführer (Staff Sergeant). He was the commander of Jungfernhof concentration camp, near Riga, Latvia. His office was at the Gestapo headquarters in Riga on Reimerstrasse. According to Joseph Berman, a Jewish man from Ventspils and a survivor of The Holocaust in Latvia, who was assigned to the work detail cleaning Seck’s automobile, Seck was closely associated with Rudolf Lange, the main SS leader in occupied Latvia.

Rudolf Lange

Seck made it a habit to meet, at the Skirotava railway station, trains of Jews deported from Germany, Austria, or Czechoslovakia. Theoretically these Jews were to be sent to the Riga Ghetto or the Jungfernhof or Salaspils concentration camps, but usually this did not occur, as Seck would instead take them to Bi ernieki or Rumbula forests, near Riga, and shoot them.

Following the war, Seck was tried in West Germany before the Landsgericht Hamburg with other Nazi personnel who planned or participated in the murder of Jews in Latvia. In 1951, Seck was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Below is the testimony of Joseph Berman against Seck

“I am the Joseph Berman mentioned in the House of Commons White Paper on Buchenwald, Advisor to the Prosecution and first Rebuttal Witness in the Buchenwald Trials held at Dachau in 1947; former Intelligence Investigator of the Office of Military Government for Bavaria.

I, Joseph Berman, born on the 25th June 1925 at Ventspils, Latvia, and now living in London, was a political prisoner during the German occupation, first at the main headquarters of all concentration camps in Latvia – Kaiserwald, Riga and later on in the extermination camp Dondangen, Kurland, Latvia. I hereby make the following declaration:-

Rudolf SECK was the man I saw almost every day, beginning from 1941, either coming from or going to the headquarters of the Gestapo for the Baltic States, which was situated at Reimerstrasse, Riga. Mostly he travelled with his car to and from Jungfernhof, Salaspils, the Headquarters, Central Prison, and sometimes also the Riga Ghetto.

He was always with “Sturmbannfuehrer” Dr. Lange’s group, which met the incoming transports of Austrian, Czech and German Jewry at Skirotawa Station. These people were supposed to be taken by him to Salaspils, Jungfernhof or the Riga Ghetto, but usually did not arrive at their destination, because he took them to the Bikernieku or Rumbuli forest to be shot. These facts are known to me because, when cleaning the car of Seck and all the other cars every day, they used to stand next to me and I could hear them brag about their shooting abilities.

I used to see Seck leaving Reimerstrasse with the various convoys that set out from Riga to other parts of the Baltic States and White Russia to quell partisan uprisings and liquidate certain camps or Ghettos or the so-called special “Himmelfahrtskommando.”

I also saw Seck at Peterholm Street, the Clothing Depot of the Gestapo, from where he took away suit-cases full of new clothing, Jewelry, etc., after the unfortunate victims had been taken care of by him.

I also saw him during the “actions” in the Riga Ghetto in 1941, and he was a visitor of Scherwitz at Auseklu Street, and later at Lenta.

Although he never asked me to come with him when he went out on these criminal expeditions, I am aware of the fact that he was one of the leaders of the N.C.O.s at Gestapo headquarters, Riga, who were in charge of Jewish affairs during the German occupation, and I know that he definitely accomplished his mission and ruthlessly liquidated European Jewry.

I was present one day in 1942, in the yard of Motor Pool in Reimerstrasse, when “Untersturmfuehrer Reese, Nickel, Seck, Tekemeyer and Mohr searched the home-going (to the Ghetto) “Reichsjuden” column, after a transport of foodstuff including delicacies had arrived from Paris (stolen by the Riga Gestapo from the Wehrmacht). It consisted of tinned fruit, best chocolates, etc. Hardly anything was found on the unfortunate victims; some had a few potatoes or a piece of bread. 15 people were brought into one of the newly finished garages (they were Jews from either Germany, Austria, or Czechoslovakia); I had to run away when I saw the above-mentioned SD-men lead these men into the garage. To our great surprise, a Jew by the name of Heppy, who, together with Otto Mohr was working in the kitchen of Gestapo headquarters and was responsible for supplies of provisions, and who was respected for his work and organising ability, initiative and personality by all who had contact with him, was also locked up with the above mentioned 15 unfortunate victims. Heppy was a Latvian Jew and had been a sailor for many years; he was an example of cool thinking and open resistance against the Nazi beasts. He must have saved thousands of people by the many favours he bestowed on them.

These 16 people were kept at Reimerstrasse for one night, and the next day the whole Gestapo in Riga turned out to watch them being taken away to Salaspils in a Renault lorry. I still remember the numberplate of the lorry, which was Pol. 91088. They were liquidated in Salaspils in front of all the inmates of that camp. The personalities of the Gestapo headquarters in Riga that day, smiling and in very high spirits, followed the procession to Salaspils; 1 saw them later return to Reimerstrasse. Whenever people were being shot or hung, the same 20 or 30 high ranking officers of the Riga Gestapo had to have their transportation ready in a matter of a few minutes.

I was often maltreated by Rudolf Seck, and whenever he came to Reimerstrasse or to any other place where I was present, he used to kick everybody around.

I saw him many times with an automatic pistol (some of theirs were the small type used by airborne troops), and I saw him carrying an extra large pistol, whenever he went out on one of his criminal expeditions.

(signed) JOSEPH BERMAN

London, 16 February 1949.

I herewith certify that the above is a true copy of the English original.

(signed) H. MICHELSON

London, 16 February 1949.

sources

https://www.testifyingtothetruth.co.uk/viewer/image/106498/2/

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/latvia

https://www.dodax.com/en-us/books-audiobooks/lexica-reference-work/betascript-publishing-rudolf-joachim-seck-dpCH6QFIS3006/

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know 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

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Happy Birthday Stan Laurel

History of Sorts

Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson on the 16th of June in Ulverston, Lancashire in England, 1890. His father was a vaudeville performer and this led Stan to being a stage performer too. He didn’t get much schooling and this resulted to the joining of Fred Karno’s Troupe where Stan understudied the future star, Charles Chaplin. In 1912 they went on a tour to America where Chaplin remained, but Stan went straight back to England. In 1916 he returned to the States and did an impersonation of Charlie Chaplin and the act was called “The Keystone Trio” and it was quite successful. What I find ironic is that although there is no doubt that Charlie Chaplin was a genius, his comedy dated badly. Whereas Stan Laurel’s comedy, and especially as part of the comedic duo Laurel and Hardy, it still is fresh today. It was actually quite progressive. The…

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