Law abiding citizen

Louis

I don’t know what it is but the last few days I have discovered several accounts of victims of the Holocaust which are very near to me. Not so much that I was related to these people or that I knew them, but I knew the locality and the addresses where they lived. In fact I passed these places by on a daily basis and in the case of Louis van Dam , sometimes even more then 10 times a day.

At the back of my secondary school there was a square . It was really a small park with a few benches and some trees, surrounded by houses. The square was known(and still is) as the Jubileum plein (Jubilee square)

We would often use this square for physical education lessons. One of the tests we had for PE was a run around the small park, We had a certain time (I believe it was 10 minutes) to run around the park as often as we could. 10 times or more would be a pass, anything below 10 was a fail.

plein

You probably are thinking “where is he going with this” ? Well the name I mentioned earlier was Louis van Dam, Louis and his family lived in one of the houses on the square, Jubileumplein 12,Geleen from 1930 to 1939. In 1939 they moved to a village a few miles south, Doenrade. The reason why they moved was because of health reasons. Louis’s wife  Sophie Silbernberg-van Dam, had asthma and the pollution caused by the nearby coal mine was bad for her health. However Louis also wanted to live in a remote spot near the German border so he could help Jewish refugees. who crossed the border.

In that same year Louis became a bit of a ‘celebrity’ but not in a beneficial way, He had overheard a smuggling scheme in a local pub. Some smugglers had been smuggling Dutch army uniforms to Germany(the uniforms were to be used by the German army for the invasion of the Netherlands). As a law abiding citizen Louis reported this to the Police. Two men were arrested as a result.A newspaper article was published about the incident.

Artikel

Despite the fact that Louis van Dam’s name only appeared in an abbreviated from in the newspaper, it was still known that he had reported the smugglers. Louis and his family received death threats afterwards because of this they moved again, this time to Amsterdam.

A few months after they moved, the German army invaded the Netherlands. Louis’s son Guus got involved in a students resistance group and was arrested at the end of 1941 or start of 1942.

Guus

Although the intended target for the arrest was Louis himself, some neighbours had betrayed him for listening to an English radio station, which was forbidden by the Nazi authorities. But Louis was ill and Guus was arrested instead.

Guus was sent to Auschwitz on November 10th,1942 via Scheveningen, Amersfoort and  Westerbork. It is not known where he died , his formal death certificate states date of death March 31,1944 in middle Europe, aged 22.

Louis, his wife and 2 daughters, Roos en Mimi, went into hiding.

van dam

Louis van Dam had gone into hiding using the alias Christiaan Willem Zijlstra. He died while in hiding and was buried under his alias at the Algemeene Begraafplaats Crooswijk in Rotterdam on 23 April 1945.

After the war  his remains were exhumed and  reburied at the Jewish cemetery Toepad in Rotterdam. Louis van Dam’s wife and daughter survived the war.

It just goes to show you can be passing by a house every day without being aware of the historical significance of it.

12

 

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Sources

Stichting Stolpersteine Sittard-Geleen

Joods Monument

Google Streetview

 

 

Karl Peter Berg commander of Camp Amersfoort.

Kampcommandant K.P. Berg

Karl Berg was originally the third man in the chain of command at Camp Amersfoort and in 1943 he was appointed camp commandant. He had a reputation for being cruel and merciless. Berg was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of prisoners.

amersfoort (51)

A group of 101 Russian prisoners who had arrived at the camp in 1941 were among those who died. Part of the them were starved to death; the other 77 were killed in group executions. Berg was later responsible for a number of retaliations, including the one carried out after SS and Police leader Hanns Albin Rauter was ambushed by the Resistance in the hamlet of Woeste Hoeve on the Veluwe, a wooded area in the Dutch province of Gelderland. The day after this unexpected March 1945 attack, Berg had 49 men executed on a rifle range. Following the Liberation in 1945, Berg was forced to point out the location of the mass graves where his victims had been dumped.

95.-Kleinveld0010_edit

At that moment he was still wearing these boots, but later they were taken from him.

95.-Laarzen-kampcommandant-Amersfoort

One of the most notorious SS-officers of PDA Amersfoort was Joseph Kotälla. He was appointed in September 1942 by Karl Peter Berg.

Kotälla

He was famous for his so-called ‘Kotälla-kick’, a very hard kick in the testicles with his army-boot. He also took part in many of the firing squads and he took a special interest in Jewish prisoners and priests, which he physically abused most frequently and fanatically.

In 1948 the camp commandant and guards of Amersfoort were tried and convicted for their crimes. Karl Peter Berg was sentenced to death and was executed in 1949.

prison

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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