The 73 Days of Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum

We now live in an era when we consider 73 years a young age to die. Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum lived for only 73 days. He was born in Amsterdam on 19 January 1943. He was murdered in Sobibor on 2 April 1943.

His father was Ephraim Izak Levie Rosenbaum, who lived with his wife and children until 1943 at 13 JD Meierplein (Houtmarkt 13 at the time). He was a pharmacist in the building on the Hoek Amstel–Nieuwe Heerengracht 1, Amsterdam.

His wife Johanna Frederika Suzanna Zion and son Izak Michel Max went into hiding in Neede (Gelderland). They were betrayed and sent to Sobibor via Westerbork, where they both were murdered on 2 April 1943.

Ephraim Isaac Levie Rosenbaum was murdered three weeks later in Sobibor.

73 Days- 7 + 3 = 10, that’s what you were Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum—a perfect 10.

73 days, just over two months, you were a product of love, but you became a victim of hate.

73 days, but it should have been 80 years because that is what you would be today. Happy Birthday, young Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum—no longer a human made from flesh and bone, but a star in heaven.

His sister survived the Holocaust.


Behind the Star

Starting in May 1942, wearing a yellow fabric star in the Netherlands, called the “Star of David,” was made compulsory by the Nazis. This measure made it easy to identify Jewish people and was designed to stigmatize and dehumanize them. This was not a new idea; since medieval times many other societies had forced their Jewish citizens to wear badges to identify themselves. With the coming of the French Revolution in the 18th century and Jewish emancipation in the 19th century, the “Jewish badge” disappeared in Western Europe.

However, in the 1930s the Nazis brought it back to Germany, and in May 1942 in the Netherlands. During the war, it was compulsory in all occupied countries. The one thing that puzzles me today is the eagerness of so many people and groups to put ‘badges’ on themselves. In my opinion, the only badge that matters is that of a Human Being, and the only rule that should apply is mutual respect for each other.

Behind every star was a life, a story.

The picture at the start of this post is of the admin team in Westerbork.

Group photo of the De Miranda and Lachmann families in the garden of De Miranda’s house on Sterrelaan in Hilversum, 1942.

From left to right: Alexander (Lex) de Miranda, 7-year-old Michael (Max) Lachmann, Heinz (Hans) Lachmann, standing 12-year-old Frank de Miranda, Anny de Miranda-Meijler and Tea Lachmann-Warszawski on the beach chair. The photo was probably taken by the other son Hugo de Miranda. Both sons tried to flee to Switzerland via France but were arrested. None of the family survived the war. The Lachmann family went into hiding in Limburg with the help of Pastor Henri Vullinghs and survived the war. Henri Vullinghs was a pastor in Grashoek and Grubbenvorst in Limburg and a Dutch resistance fighter during World War II. He was one of the largest organizers of pilot aid and hiding in the entire province of Limburg.

On 1 May 1944 sexton Stappers in Grubbenvorst was warned that the Sicherheitspolizei was on its way from Venlo to arrest the pastor. Stappers hurried to the monastery where Vullinghs lived because his own parsonage had been hit by a bomb. Unfortunately, he did not find him at home because the pastor had already left for the church on his bicycle. Just before the church on the street, Vullinghs was arrested and imprisoned. On 1 June 1944, he was transferred to Camp Vught where he was severely mistreated. On September 6, 1944, he was deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and from there he went to the Bergen-Belsen camp, where he arrived at the end of March 1945, critically ill. Two weeks later he died there of dysentery.

Camp Westerbork. Outgoing transport, with a converted freight train, April 1943.
Nearly 107,000 people were deported from camp Westerbork in the 97 transports. On 15 July 1942, the first transport left for Auschwitz-Birkenau. From 2 March 1943–16 November 1943, there was a weekly rhythm: every Tuesday a train departed with a thousand to sometimes more than three thousand people. The last transport left on 13 September 1944.

Sander Waterman in boxing position. The Star of David is visible on his shorts. He was born in London on 10 June 1914, He was a boxer and boxed at Joop Cosman’s boxing school at the Jodenhouttuinen.

Because of his birth, he had a British passport despite his parents being Dutch. Sander was in the resistance. He was arrested for forging identity cards, but his brother Morest had done so. If he had said that, they would both have been imprisoned, so he kept quiet about it. Unfortunately, his brother Morest was murdered in Mauthausen.
Sander survived the war just like his wife Elisabeth Gobetz and their two children Sal (1941) and Joop (1943). The Waterman family was deported to Westerbork in 1943, where Joop was born, and then to Bergen-Belsen.

The British passport initially ensured that the family could stay for a longer period of time in Westerbork.

Johanna Winnik, at the age of about eight at her house on the Afrikanerplein in Amsterdam’s Transvaal neighbourhood, 1942. She was murdered at Sobibor on 2 April 1943 at the age of 8 years.

Annie de Jong-Wijnman and Maurits (Mau) de Jong from Zaltbommel with the Star of David on their wedding day, Sunday, August 23, 1942, in the synagogue N. Molstraat 13 in The Hague. They didn’t even get to celebrate their first anniversary. They were both killed on 16 July 1943 in Sobibor.

These were just a few of the many who were forced to wear the star of David. The pictures all came from the NIOD. They also have a theme on their website titled behind the star, I added a few more details.


The Despicable Act of Amsterdam’s City Cinema

Amsterdam City Bioscoop (cinema) is probably one of the finest film houses in the Netherlands, if not Europe. In 1995 it was bought by the Pathé Cinema Group and is since known as Pathé City. But it has one black page in its long history.

The Nazi regime in the Netherlands had passed legislation that the Jewish population was no longer allowed in cinemas starting on 8 January 1941. On 2 January 1941. The City Cinema was the first, for its own accord, to place the ‘Prohibited to Jews’ signs a week before the ordinance came into effect.


Restricted Education

The right to education is one of the most fundamental human rights. In August 1941 the Nazis passed a law to set up schools for Jewish students and teachers only in the Netherlands.

The picture above is of Jewish students of the school on Cliffordstraat, Amsterdam West. A class of 10 students, with teacher Goubitz.The municipality opened one school for these very scattered children, in the Staatsliedenbuurt, on Cliffordstraat at number 36, in a school building that was no longer in use. It was quite eccentric to the other western neighbourhoods of the city.

At the end of September 1941, when that Jewish school No. 14 opened, only 56 children showed up. The Education Department had probably assumed a larger turnout, three classes had been formed with two teachers plus the head Mozes Goubitz, who came from the Corantijnschool near the Surinameplein.

Given the enormous distances some children would have to walk every day, it is likely that many parents simply kept their children at home from September 1941 onwards. There was compulsory education, also for Jewish children, but supervision failed.
Abel Herzberg wrote in his Chronicle of the Persecution of the Jews “Sometimes a child had to walk an hour or more from home to school. After all, trams and bicycles were forbidden. Sometimes a handcart from the Jewish Council collected the heavy schoolbags from the houses.”
When it was handed over to the Education Office of the Joodsche Raad in December 1942, this small school did not escape the austerity reorganization. At that time there were only 25 pupils and that did not require 3 teachers; it became a one-class school, which, despite attempts to find accommodation elsewhere, remained located in the school building on Cliffordstraat; closing off the rest of the building. That lasted until the end of May 1943; West was also not spared by the occupier during the major raids, so almost no children showed up in the last week of May. The education board also closed this school on May 31; headmaster Mozes Goubitz had already been succeeded by Gerrit van Praag, who immediately went into hiding in those days.

Master Jakob Druijf, who lived in West and was unemployed when school no. 1 at the Oude Schans was closed, took the handful of children that were still there under his wing, at his home in the Jan van Galenstraat.
His name and his class of 10 students are still mentioned in the last report of the board of Jewish education, dated August 23, 1943.

In the summer of 1942, Mozes Goubitz went into hiding. After the war, he returns to the Postjesbuurt and to the Corantijn School where he resumed his duties as a teacher. He died on 21 March 1991 in Malaga, Spain.

I don’t know what happened to the children but I am certain most of them were murdered.


The Treatment of Dutch Jews During World War II

It would be very easy for me to say that Dutch Jews, and those who fled Germany and Austria, were badly treated by the Germans in the Netherlands during World War II. To a great extent that would be true, but the Germans were helped by a great number of Dutch. One thing I have often said before and what is very important to understand is, that not all Germans were Nazis, and not all Nazis were German.

Many Dutch were complacent whilst their Jewish friends, colleagues and sometimes family, were persecuted and murdered. Often this complacency was born out of fear. On the other hand, there were many who were only too eager to please their new “Lords.” They would put up signs like the one above saying “Restricted movement for Jews.” For the rest of the population that should have been a sign. It went against everything the Dutch society was known for, yet so little was done against it.

Below are a few more examples.

In the bottom right corner of the window a small sign saying “Forbidden to Jews.”

Vondel Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Amsterdam, during the war Jews were not allowed to enter.

Amsterdam Jews were being rounded up and no one resisted it.


Children Murdered on December 11, 1942

I find it increasingly difficult to write about the murdered children of the Holocaust. 1.5 million innocent souls who are now 1.5 million stars in the sky. This post will have the raw data of some children murdered on this day 80 years ago. But just the raw data should send shivers down your spine.

Pictured above:

Left: Alexander Katwijk was born in Amsterdam on 30 December 1934 and was murdered in Auschwitz on 11 December 1942. He had reached the age of seven.
Middle: Marianna Katwijk was born in Amsterdam on 26 January 1937. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 11 December 1942. She had reached the age of five.
Right: Elisabeth Katwijk was born in Amsterdam on 19 October 1939 and was murdered at Auschwitz on 11 December 1942 at the age of three.

Above: Bettje van Delft was born in Sappemeer, the Netherlands, on 1 February 1942. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 11 December 1942. She died at the age 10-months.

Above: [The young boy on the left] Edgar Morris Lindenfeld was born in Amsterdam on 26 August 1935 and murdered in Monowitz on 11 December 1942. He reached the age of seven. [The young girl on the right] Marion Lindenfeld was born on 2 March 1933 in Braunschweig, Germany. She was nine when she was murdered in Monowitz on 11 December 1942.

Above: Floor Spreekmeester was born in Amsterdam on 9 May 1931. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 11 December 1942 at the age of 11.

Below: This is a class photo of Floor with her classmates. Very few, if any, will have survived the Holocaust.

Floor’s name also appeared on an obituary page of the Dutch State Newspaper. I don’t know when it was published. I can only presume it was after the war. Look at the number of people on the page—they were all murdered during the Holocaust. Just one page from one newspaper from one country. Just let that sink in. Yet to this day—there are still those who say it never happened.


Under the Pressure of Circumstances

I was going to do a piece on the often forgotten-victims of the Holocaust, those who did want to be captured alive and decided to take their own lives. But when I looked at the list of suicides of Jews in the Netherlands during World War II, I discovered there were hundreds. Many of them decided to take their own lives between 11-16 May 1940, those were the first few days of the invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany of the Netherlands.

Rather than go into the hundreds I decide to focus on one family.

The picture at the top of the post is a wedding Photo of Robert Paul Belinfante and Marianne Belinfante Lisser.

Marianne and Robert attempted suicide on 13 May 1940 in their hometown of Laag Keppel. Marianne was pregnant at that time. Robert died and Marianne survived, but she lost the baby. Marianne passed away on 10 January 1944 whilst in hiding.

Robert Paul Belinfante was born in 1905 in Amsterdam. His father was Jewish, but his mother was not. It was a secularized family. That meant it was not bound by religious ties or traditions.

Robert studied medicine in Amsterdam. He took his medical exam on May 20, 1931. In Laag-Keppel, doctor Bosch was active as a general practitioner. During his studies, Robert had already replaced Dr Bosch once. Bosch then came up with an offer. If Robert were to work for a year in the practice in Laag-Keppel for room and board and Bosch would be satisfied with him after that year, then young boarder Robert could take over the practice and the associated pharmacy. However, a year before his farewell, doctor Bosch suddenly died on January 11, 1933. Robert then got the opportunity to take over the practice in Keppel and he grabbed that opportunity with both hands.

In January 1933 Bob started his practice in the house of doctor Bosch Robert married his fiancé Marianne Lisser in Bloemendaal on 20 January 1934 and the young couple settled in Laag-Keppel.

Marianne Lisser was the daughter of Hartog Lisser and Abigaël Benjamins.

For several years the Belinfantes had a good life. However, the couple must have followed the events with anxiety on 10 May 1940. Although Marianne was pregnant, the German invasion changed the perspective of a young family with Jewish roots to an extremely black scenario. Robert and his sisters Frieda and Renée were half-Jewish, but because he was married to the Jewish Marianne, he was deemed completely Jewish according to the Nuremberg racial legislation. On the evening of May 11, Robert contacted his neighbour, engineer Harry Ernst Deleth. Ernst Deleth noticed that Bob was very pessimistic. On Sunday, 12 May 1940 the Belinfantes decided to take their own lives. Robert wrote three moving farewell letters on that Sunday: one to his mother in Amsterdam, one to the patients in his practice and one to Harry Ernst Deleth and his wife. Below is the text of the letter he wrote to his patients.:

Dear Friends

I would like to say goodbye to you all with a few words.
First of all, I thank you all for your trust and your friendship, which have made my task here a joy. I would rather continue my task here for a long time. But I know that in a few days this will no longer be allowed.
That is why my wife and I have preferred to leave this sad world.
We wish you all the strength and courage in this difficult time.

This is such a heartbreaking story but also a very important one and needs to be told. They were just a few of the thousands.



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If you look at the picture, it appears to be a picture of a marketplace. Initially, you will see nothing wrong with it.

There is a man with a bike talking to another man, possibly about the weather. You can see a young boy running, and perhaps he is chasing the dog.

There are market stalls with people around them, browsing and most likely are purchasing goods. It could be a market anywhere in the world. This market is on Waterloo Square in Amsterdam.

But the apparent mundane appearance of the market is deceiving. If you analyze the picture and look closer, you will spot a few things.

In the middle, there is a signpost it says, Alleen toegang voor joden [Access for Jews only]. On the two opposite corners, two men wearing a star on their coats.

Most of those people on that market would be murdered within 2 years of that picture being taken. There would have been people then and even now who will think that things didn’t look that bad at all for the Jews, they even had their market.

The people in the photo don’t realize the significance of the picture. It was meant to deceive. The Jews were given their market and other facilities to make it easier for the Nazis to single them out. They had to wear a star so the Nazis could pick them out. They were put in ghettos to make it easier to round them up for deportation to extermination camps.



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. Thank you. 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.


Etty Hillesum—Murdered Beauty

At first, I was reluctant to use the word beauty in the title because we now live in an era where some people might find that offensive, and they will scream about it. I pity them because they lose out on so much.

Etty Hillesum was a beauty in every sense of the word. It may have been too much for the Nazis because they murdered her. She was murdered on November 30, 1943, in Auschwitz according to data from the Red Cross.

Etty (or Esther) was the daughter of Levie Hillesum and Riva Bernstein. She was born on January 15, 1914, in Middelburg in the Dutch province of Zeeland. In 1932 she moved to Amsterdam to study law and Slavic languages. In Amsterdam, she met Julius Spier. He became her teacher and great love. During the war, she worked for the Jewish Council at Camp Westerbork and other places. She wrote several letters from Westerbork and kept a diary.

In March 1937 she took a room at 6 Gabriel Metsustraat in south Amsterdam in the house of an accountant Hendrik (Han) Wegerif, a widower aged 62 who hired her as a housekeeper. He also began an affair with her. She lived in this house until her final departure for Westerbork in 1942, and it was in her room there that much of her diary was written. The small community of people who shared the house with her were important to her. In addition to Han Wegerif, there was his 21-year-old son Hans, a German cook named Kathe, a student Bernard Meylink, and a nurse, Maria Tuinzing, who became one of Etty’s close friends.

The most important relationship of the diary is with the psychochirologist (hand reader) Julius Spier. Born in 1887 in Germany, he had come to Amsterdam in 1939. Spier had worked in Zurich with Jung, who had encouraged him to develop his skill in chirology, the practice of psychoanalysis through the reading of people’s palms. He was a gifted and charismatic figure and gathered around him a group of students, particularly women. Etty became part of this group and went into therapy with Spier, developing a close relationship with him and becoming his secretary.

Etty was an intensely alive and sexual young woman, yet she felt plagued by what she called her ‘confounded eroticism”. But what healthy woman in her 20s isn’t interested in sex?

In 1942 she was given a position in the cultural affairs department of the Jewish Council. She worked there for only two weeks, which she calls hell in her diary. In August 1942, she received a call for deportation to Westerbork. Etty left and continued her social activities in Westerbork. As a member of the Jewish Council, she had a special travel visa that allowed her to return to Amsterdam many times before being deported with her family on September 7, 1943.

Just as Anne Frank also wrote a diary, which was released after the war, titled, “An Interrupted Life,” I’ve chosen a few quotes from the diary. The words are profoundly sad but also beautiful and with a sense of hope.

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”

“Each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others”

“As life becomes harder and more threatening, it also becomes richer, because the fewer expectations we have, the more good things of life become unexpected gifts that we accept with gratitude.”

“Sometimes my day is crammed full of people and talk and yet I have the feeling of living in utter peace and quiet. And the tree outside my window, in the evenings, is a greater experience than all those people put together.”

“My immediate reaction on meeting a man is invariably to gauge his sexual possibilities. I recognize this as a bad habit that must be stamped out”

“Yes, we women, we foolish, idiotic, illogical women, we all seek Paradise and the Absolute. And yet my brain, my capable brain, tells me that there are no absolutes, that everything is relative, endlessly diverse, and in eternal motion, and it is precisely for that reason that life is so exciting and fascinating, but also so very, very painful. We [women] want to perpetuate ourselves in a man.”

“I don’t want to be anything special. I only want to try to be true to that in me which seeks to fulfil its promise.”

“I know and share the many sorrows a human being can experience, but I do not cling to them; they pass through me, like life itself, as a broad eternal stream…and life continues…”

“By ‘coming to terms with life’ I mean: the reality of death has become a definite part of my life; my life has, so to speak, been extended by death, by my looking death in the eye and accepting it, by accepting destruction as part of life and no longer wasting my energies on fear of death or the refusal to acknowledge its inevitability. It sounds paradoxical: by excluding death from our life we cannot live a full life, and by admitting death into our life we enlarge and enrich it.”



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. Thank you. 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.


Improvised Wedding Photo

I remember when I was getting married, one of the aspects that needed to be perfect was photography. It was going to be a special day and the photographs needed to reflect that.

But what do you do when your every move is watched and you are seen as an enemy of the state? You have watched so many being arrested and deported. The last thing you want to do is to draw attention to yourself.

Gustaaf van der Wijk and Mina van der Wijk-de Vries got married on August 17, 1942. On that day wedding photos were taken in Amsterdam under improvised circumstances.

The Dutch Jews had been subjected to a great number of restrictions, these are just some of them.

On January 7, 1941, the Dutch Cinema Association decided that Jews would no longer be allowed access to cinemas. On January 12, 1941, this measure is published in the newspapers.

The Registration of Jewish Residents was Ordinance no. 6/1941 of Reichskommissar Seyss-Inquart, issued on January 10, 1941. It obliged all Jewish residents of the Netherlands to register with the Population Register, which cost one guilder. Those who refused to do so could be imprisoned for up to five years. Moreover, this information was already known to the Jewish municipalities and the population register.

From September 1, 1941, Jewish children had to go to separate schools and were no longer allowed to go to public schools. In Amsterdam, this applied from 1 October 1941.

The Compulsory Star of David was introduced on 3 May 1942 and required all Jews over the age of six to wear the Star of David. It had to be worn visibly at chest height. The star was distributed by the Jewish Council and cost 4 cents each.

As for the newlyweds Gustaaf van der Wijk and Mina van der Wijk-de Vries. Mina was born in Leiden, on 17 July 1916 and was murdered in Sobibor, on 20 March 1943.

Gustaaf was born in Amsterdam, on 28 December 1917. He was murdered in Auschwitz, on 13 November 1942. Less than two months after his wedding day.



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. Thank you. 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.