World War 2 in the Netherlands from a German perspective.

Karl Rauscher was part of the German Air Force, the Luftwaffe. Specifically from the so-called Werftabteilung; tasked with repair and scrapping of downed aircraft. Before the war he had been a professional photographer

During the war years he was stationed in a large number of European countries. He took nearly 1500 photographs in those countries .

These are some photographs he took while in the Netherlands.

In 1940, Rauscher’s division was stationed for a few months at the Fliegerhorst Schellingwoude, Amsterdam.

The original caption reads: ‘Amsterdam.’
Rauscher and some members of his division are visiting the city of Amsterdam.

Rauscher and some members of his division are visiting the city of Amsterdam. Koningsplein towards the Spui.

The original caption reads: ‘Ju88 Absturz Schellinwade, November 1940’. A Junker 88 has crashed. Rauscher’s team is responsible for its salvage. During the occupation Schellingwoude was a support point for seaplanes of the German Kriegsmarine for laying sea mines and rescuing crashed pilots. The artificial island of Zeeburg, located in the IJmond to the east of Amsterdam, was designed as a small camouflaged fortress until 1945. This so-called Fliegerhorst Schellingwoude was developed into the largest base for seaplanes and boats in the Netherlands.

Captioned’Horst’

Also captioned’Horst’

The original caption reads: ‘Volendam, 1940’. Rauscher and some members of his division visit the city of Volendam.

source

https://beeldbankwo2.nl/nl/verhalen/detail/e08538e9-73d1-4f48-9d5d-7ebf0853cd5f/image/38

The murder of Beatrix Romijn and her family.

Every time when I look at a picture of a young Holocaust victim, I get this uncomfortable feeling, and even feel physically unwell. But that is a miniscule price to pay to ensure that they are remembered, not as just a number or statistic, but as a human being. Made from flesh and blood, a product of love.

Beatrix Romijn was such a human being. Born in Amsterdam, on the 19th of April 1941.Murdered in Auschwitz on the 2nd of August 1942. She reached the age of 1 years.

She hardly ever experienced what it felt like to play with a toy. She never got to do that typical Dutch thing of riding a bike.

On July 31, 1943 she was deported to Auschwitz together with her parents. In total there were 1002 human beings on that transport. 54% male,46% female.

I don’t know if this is true but I believe it is safe to presume that Beatrix was named after the Dutch Crown Princess at the time .

Beatrix and her Mother, Bertha Romijn-Kool, were murdered on August 2nd 1942 in Auschwitz. 194 Dutch Jews were murdered that day in Auschwitz.

Bertha Romijn-Kool, born in Amsterdam, on the 16th of November 1913. Murdered in Auschwitz, on the 2nd of August 1942. Reached the age of 28 years.

Beatrix’s Father ,Philip Romijn, born in Amsterdam, on the 29th of December 1912. Murdered in Auschwitz, on the 22nd of September 1942. Reached the age of 29 years, occupation: Diamond worker.

May they be remembered forever.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/183196/beatrix-romijn

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Beatrix-Romijn/01/2518

Love in the Holocaust

I am always amazed and in awe of people, who despite awful conditions and a very uncertain and bleak future, were still determined to not let that destroy their love for each other. Although they knew the marriage probably wouldn’t last long they still decided to get married.

The picture is a wedding picture of Leendert Vischschraper and Mietje Zendijk. They got married on 12 August 1942 in Amsterdam.

Leendert was murdered in Auschwitz on May31,1944. Mietje was murdered in Bergen Belsen on March 15,1945.

The above picture was taken on the 7th of June 1942. I don’t know who the married couple are, or what their fate was , but more then likely they were also murdered. It could be a weeding picture of Abraham (Jim) de Zwarte and Roza Wertheim, but I am not sure.

Salomon Schrijver married Flora Mendels on 16 April 1942 in Amsterdam. Salomon and Flora deported to Sobibor and murdered on July 9th, 1943.

Abraham (Jim) de Zwarte married Roza Wertheim on 7 June 1942 in the New Synagogue in Amsterdam. A film was made of their wedding , which now is in the Jewish Historical Museum.

The day started in Amsterdam South, in the Waverstraat, where the groom and his family leave for the Transvaalkade in East and then to the Retiefstraat (East). Here, in Jim’s house, the bride is picked up. The wedding will be held in the New Synagogue on Jonas Daniel Meijerplein. A title card with the text ‘star parade’ refers to the obligatory wearing of the Star of David when leaving the synagogue (since 1 May 1942).

Fur worker Abraham aka Jim de Zwarte was born on 13-10-1916 in Amsterdam and murdered in Auschwitz on 28-2-1943, at the age of 26. Seamstress Rosa (or Roza) de Zwarte-Wertheim was born on 13-3-1920 in Amsterdam and murdered in Auschwitz on 15-12-1942, at the age of 22, six months after her marriage.

Below is the link of the film of the wedding day.

https://beeldbankwo2.nl/nl/beelden/detail/7a9d9fd4-e4ff-ff3e-eba4-7e4a90209055/media/3b794541-530f-eaff-1df1-133d538b3425

These were just a few of those brave people, defying hate to seal their love.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/531767/about-abraham-de-zwarte

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/202672/leendert-vischschraper

Donation

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The murder of Robert Bierman in Auschwitz

Robert Bierman was murdered on July 18, 1942 in Auschwitz, he was 4 years old. I could have done a piece on his sister ,Francisca, who was also murdered on July 18, 1942. She was aged 6.

The reason why I picked Robert because it is his birthday today. He was born in Amsterdam on April 13,1938. He would have been 88 today.

I probably could have found out more about Robert, but I have reached a point where my heart just no longer can take it, He was perceived by the Nazis as an enemy of the state. Below are just some pictures of this 4 year old enemy of the state.

With his sister Francisca and mother Marianne Bierman-Trijbetz.

With his big sister Francisca, who is skillfully driving him around the garden.

Brother and sister relaxing in the sun.

A proud father ,Herman Eduard Bierman, and his daughter Francisca and infant baby boy Robert, their lives were still safe when that picture was taken,

Herman Eduard Bierman was murdered on August 1,1942 in Auschwitz.

Marianne Bierman-Trijbetz was murdered on the same date as her children, July 18,1942.

For some reason this one had a greater impact on me than others. Perhaps it is because I could have been Robert if I had been born 30 years earlier .

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/196421/robert-bierman

Liberation of Westerbork

Westerbork was liberated on April 12, 1945, by Canadian forces. At the time there were still 876 inmates there. Something which isn’t widely known is that this liberation nearly was a destruction. The Canadians thought the camp was a Germany military base. They had plans for shelling Weseterbork.

This was published in de Telegraaf on September 14,1998.

“Title: ESCAPED PRISONER SAVED WESTERBORK FROM BEING BOMBARDED
Publication: DE TELEGRAAF
Date of the Publication: 14-09-1993

————————————–Title————————————————

ESCAPED PRISONER SAVED WESTERBORK FROM BOMBARDMENT
————————————Summary———————————————

As now is evident, the last 900 Jewish prisoners held captive by the Germans in concentration camp Westerbork
escaped near death on the 12th of April 1945.
—————————————Text———————————————–

Escaped Jew saved Westerbork from being bombarded.
From our correspondent
WESTERBORK, Tuesday
As now is evident, the last 900 Jewish prisoners held captive by the Germans in concentration camp Westerbork escaped near death on the 12th of April 1945.
The Canadian Army, which liberated the camp that day, were about to destroy the camp by bombarding it. The Allies believed it to be a military camp housing German troops which were determined to fight to the end. A fatal error only averted in the very last moment through the intervention of a Jewish camp inmate from Amsterdam. He managed to escape in the night from the 11th to the 12th after the German SS guards secretly had fled on the 10th.
The man, who recently turned 70 years old (Ed.: in 1993) and now lives in Canada, told his perilous adventure last week for the first time to the Director D. Mulder of the herinneringscentrum – Remembrance Center Westerbork. “We keep his identity for the time being a secret because he still is quite undone by what happened to him during wartime.” according director Mulder.

Oranjekanaal – the Orange canal

In the meantime, this sensational statement has been confirmed by the second principle player in this near-drama, Brigadier-General Allard of the 6th Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division. Allard was promoted to Chief of Staff of the Canadian Army.
The escapee, who hailed from Amsterdam, managed to swim across the Oranjekanaal, in the early hours of the morning of the 12th of April. Next he was apprehended by recently arrived troops under Allard. The Canadians dit not believe the escaped prisoner who told them that only civilians were in the camp and returned him to Westerbork together with a reconnaissance patrol in order to obtain certainty. Although the patrol encountered wandering Germans with whom they exchanged shots, the soldiers managed to bring out report that the man from Amsterdam had been correct. This convinced Allard, resulting in the cancellation of the planned bombardment.
According to Mulder, the statement of the people involved is of significant importance, because very little is known about the circumstances surrounding the events dealing with the liberation of camp Westerbork. “I have arranged with Allard that together we would conduct an investigation into this matter,” according to the director.

It is unfortunate indeed that more that 60 years have gone by without having obtained a crystal clear picture as to what exactly happened on that momentous day, the 12th of April 1945. Various stories have emerged, several have been recorded on this Website. I believe all who were there and lived through the liberation period are sincere men. Each of them sheds a ray of light on an otherwise clouded over bit of history. Somewhere in between rests the truth.”

Westerbork was originally built in 1939 as a refugee camp. Given the increasing number of German Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi regime.

Jacques Schol, a Dutchman, was commander of the camp from 16 July 1940 and until January 1943. On July 1st 1942, the Germans took over the control of Westerbork and transformed it into a transit camp.

On 1 July 1942, the camp was officially placed under the jurisdiction of the SS; it was no longer a refugee camp, but a transit camp. A fortnight later, the first deportations to the east began, dozens of cattle cars left the camp every week for the death camps of Poland.  Westerbork became the biggest transit point in Western Europe.

Although it was not a death camp, it was a cynical place. The illusion was created that things were not as bad as they seemed, given the inmates a sense of hope. It had a football league, schools and an orchestra and there were regular cabaret performances.

Actress Camilla Spira, who was briefly a member of the cabaret, remembered her disbelief at the enthusiasm of the audience:

“This couldn’t be, they enjoyed themselves so, and they sat there in rags. We were the collection camp, these people were dragged here, and then it was on to Auschwitz or Theresienstadt. These volleys of laughter, this excitement – in the moment when they saw us, the people forgot everything. And it was horrible, for the next morning they went to death … they were only there for a night.”

Etty Hillesum wrote in one of her letters:

“the comic Max Ehrlich and the hit composer Willy Rosen, who looks like a walking corpse. A little while ago he was on the list for transport, but he sang his lungs out a few nights in a row for an enchanted audience including the commander and his followers … the commander, who valued art, found it wonderful and Willy Rosen was spared … and over there is another court jester: Erich Ziegler, the favourite pianist of the commanders. There is a legend that he is so amazing that he can even play Beethoven’s ninth as a jazz piece, and if that isn’t something else…”

The camp even had healthcare services and a Hospital. Again to create this illusion that life would continue as normal as possible and that the accommodation was only temporary . Soon they would be resettled. For 107,000 people this resettlement meant being murdered in Auschwitz, Sobibor and other extermination camps or labour camps.

Abraham Mol ,a former civil servant of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works and former male nurse of camp Westerbork recalled his memories of the liberation in an interview a different liberation story of Transit Camp Westerbork. This camp was located in the moors of the province of Drente, from where Dutch Jews were deported to the extermination centers in Poland.

Abraham Mol a former civil servant of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works and former male nurse of camp Westerbork recalled his memory of the liberation during an interview with ‘De Telegraaf’

“Commandant Gemmeker, together with his SS guard unit, absconded on the 11th of April, 1945, when the Allied forces moved in northern direction. They posted posters which said that the camp was turned over to the Red Cross. For the last Jewish prisoners still in the camp it said that we could remove our Jew stars. Furthermore, we were advised to remain in our barracks, seeing the camp had now become front-line.”

After the liberation, the 876 Jews that were liberated, had to stay in the camp for a few more months longer. This was initially as security measure The entirety of the Netherlands hadn’t been liberated yet. There was still fighting further up north. In addition, the Canadian and Dutch authorities first wanted to investigate why these Jewish prisoners hadn’t been deported: were there people amongst them who had worked with the Nazis and had to be imprisoned (again)? It would take to July 1945 before the last prisoners were allowed to leave Camp Westerbork. In the meantime, most people had received the heartbreaking news that their deported family members, friends, and acquaintances who went to ‘the East’ were murdered there by the Nazis and would never return.

The prisoners had asked civil servant Aad van As to take charge as soon as the SS had left. Van As belonged to one of the few Dutch citizens who held a position in the camp.

Van As issued this statement:

“Since I have accepted the position of leadership for this camp for the time being, I issue the following orders:

1e. The present “Dienstbereiche – Heads of Service” have been changed as follows:

                        Administration .......................  R. Friend
                        Field Service .........................  E. Zielke
                        Technical Service ................... E. Wachsmann
                        Guard Service .......................  A. Pisk
                        Medical Service ..................... Dr. F. Spanier
                        Clothing Repair Shop ............. G. Frank
                        Woodworking Shop ............... H. Beyer

2e. In order to maintain discipline in the camp, the above mentioned services will continue to operate.

3e. The representatives in whom I have placed my trust, and who have promised to work alongside with
me in the interest of camp life are as follows:

                         M. de Jong
                         F. Schiff
                         K. Schlesinger
                         Dr. Speijer
                         A. van Witsen

These men will form together with me the leadership of this camp.

4e. Everyone is advised to carry out his or her task in his own best interest, and to maintain camp
discipline.

5e. I will not hesitate to take corrective action against anyone who, one way or another, attempts to
disturb order and discipline in the camp.

6e. Labor hours will be changed as follows:

  women: from 8 until 12 o'clock, or when required at other times.
  men: from 8 to 12 o'clock and from 14 to 16 hours (2 to 4 in the afternoon).

  No work will be required after Saturday at noon until Monday morning.
  Should it be in the best interest of camp life these hours may be adjusted to a longer work schedule.

The office for the directors of the camp is in Barrack No. 33 as of this afternoon.

                                                                              Signed by Aad van As

     Westerbork, d. 12 April 1945.                            ( A. van As Jr.)

Translation of the Dutch order issued by Aad van As, dated 12 April 1945″

The late Ed van Thijn, former Mayor of Amsterdam and Dutch Minister for Interior affairs, was one of the 876 people who were liberated.

In the spring of 1943, Eddy van Thijn and his mother are taken from home in a raid. They end up in camp Westerbork and after three months they go on the train, not to Auschwitz but back to Amsterdam.

Thanks to a ruse by his father, the family did not have to go to the concentration camps in Eastern Europe.

However, he had to go into hiding as a 10-year-old boy.

He went into hiding in Brunssum, a town in the province of Limburg, and subsequently went to 18 different hiding places in Limburg and Overijssel. The eighteenth address was betrayed and so he ended up in Westerbork again in January 1945

Hidden in a kitchen cupboard, he heard soldiers’ boots on the stairs. He was betrayed and arrested. But because the war was coming to an end, he again avoided transport from Westerbork to the Auschwitz extermination camp. ,,I wasn’t allowed to exist, but I do exist’, said Van Thijn later. Both his parents survived. Ed van Thijn died on December 19,2021

Ed asked himself the following questions most of his life, I think we can ask ourselves some of those questions also.

“Had I not been a child in the war, how bravely would I have behaved? Would I have joined the resistance? Would I have resisted? Would I have been as untouchable as my father? Would I have had the courage to jump out of a moving train? Would I have succeeded in getting my child out of Westerbork?’

sources

https://www.normandy1944.info/blog/liberation-of-camp-westerbork-nl

https://www.annefrank.org/en/timeline/225/westerbork-transit-camp-is-liberated/

https://holocaustmusic.ort.org/places/camps/western-europe/westerbork/

https://www.ushmm.org/learn/timeline-of-events/1942-1945/liberation-of-westerbork

https://kampwesterbork.nl/en/history/second-world-war/durchgangslager/66-history/durchgangslager/268-liberation

https://kampwesterbork.nl/de-stichting/nieuws/item/in-memoriam


Donation

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The murder of Jacob Hartog Morpurgo on April 7-1944

Jacob was born on October 19,1934 in Amsterdam. He was the youngest child and only son of Rachel Morpurgo-Kijl and Abraham Morpurgo. He had 2 siblings, sisters Carla Celina Morpurgo and Vogelina Morpurgo.

This family was just a regular family, the Father Abraham, was a draper by trade. Mother Rachel is what they call nowadays a stay at home mum, or home maker.

On May 9,1941 Jacob was issued with a passport, which was valid for 2 years, until May 9,1943.

I don’t know the exact date but at some stage Jacob and his family traveled to Belgium. This must have been after his passport had expired. But that would not have mattered because he didn’t ravel there for his holidays. The Morpurgo family was send to the transit camp Mechelen in Belgium. The last day they were there was April 3,1944, because the following day they were all deported to Auschwitz on transport 24. Jacob, his mother and two sisters were murdered upon arrival on April 7,1944.

Abraham was deported to Mauthausen at some point, where he was murdered on February 1,1945. He reached the age of 43. There is a tradition in the Netherlands when a man reaches the age of 50, they say he has seen Abraham. This Abraham never got to celebrate that birthday.

Rachel Morpurgo-Kijl. born in Amsterdam, 21 July 1895. Murdered in Auschwitz, 7 April 1944. Reached the age of 48 years

Vogelina Morpurgo , Born in Amsterdam, 19 February 1925.Murdered in Auschwitz, 7 April 1944.Reached the age of 19 years.

Carla Celina Morpurgo, born in Amsterdam, 4 November 1930.Murdered in Auschwitz, 7 April 1944.Reached the age of 13 years. She had been a student at the Joods Lyceum in Amsterdam.

Vogeltje Morpurgo-van Engel, was the Mother of Abrham, and the Grandmother of Jacob,Vogelina and Carla. She was also on the same transport from Mechelen to Auschwitz and was murdered also on April 7,1944. She reached the age of 68. Her name means little bird.

On April 7,194, thirteen Dutch Jewish citizens were murdered in Auschwitz. Sic were from the same family.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/530060/about-jacob-hartog-morpurgo

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Jacob-Hartog-Morpurgo/02/106333

https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/deeds/fe69ebd2-1ba4-45cf-95df-2522dbd4aa06

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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A life through a household inventory.

All Holocaust stories are sad, even the stories of survival have elements of sadness in them. Because the survivors will have suffered physical and mental pain, and also coping with the loss of family and friends.

I came across a list of household inventory of goods that had belonged to Sara Dewijgaert-Blits. Sara was born on November 8,1868 in Amsterdam, and murdered on September 10 in Auschwitz, she was aged 73. The inventory list reflected her years alive, What makes it so sad is that all items are so recognizable, many we still use today. It is a life through the scope of a household inventory.


Bed/sitting room
small table with cloth
tea table with tea set
flower table (2)
sideboard
bookcase
cupboard
chair (2)
easy chair (3)
stool
standing table lamp (2)
fold-out bed with casing and curtains
bedding
cushion (4)
small table lamp (2)
electric hanging lamp
wall plate (8)
wall mirror (2)
wall hanging
mantelpiece runner
trinkets (on the mantelpiece)
lace curtain (4)
drape (4)
floorcloth
carpet
mat (2)
wall clock
curtain (3)

Living room
table with cloth
chair (2)
easy chair with cushions
coal-fired cooker with plate
bedside table
divan with bedding and blanket
small serving tray
waste-paper basket
linen cupboard
wall cupboard
treadle sewing machine (“Phoenix”)
medicine cupboard
small oil painting (4)
wall tapestry
mantelpiece carpet
table lamp
lace curtain (3)
drape (2)
curtain (2)
floor covering
hanging lamp

Kitchen
table with cloth
chair
chest of drawers
meat safe
hay chest
gas ring
coal (13)
coal (sack) (2)
carpet sweeper
wall cupboard
lace curtain (2)
drape
kitchen scales
wall hanging
paraffin lamp
wall plate (2)
kitchenware and house ware
floorcloth
small carpet
carpet
waste-paper basket

Corridor
runner
mat (2)
wall carpet (2)
coat hooks (2)
umbrella stand

Staircase
carpet

Attic
sideboard
chair
small round table
sideboard
suitcase
travelling case (2)
box (2)
travel baskets (2)
unknown
electric heater
coal (sack) (6)

SOURCE

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/477738/inventory-of-sara-dewijgaert-blits-and-her-family

The Rooselaar Family-Murdered April 2.1943 in Sobibor.

I wish I could tell you a long story about the Rooselaar family, but I can’t. However the few things I do know I will tell you because it is a chilling tale of evil and destruction.

The Rooselaar family lived in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. They were moved or rather deported to Westerbork at some stage. I know this because on March 30th 1943 the whole family were put on transport from Westerbork to Sobibor. They arrived in Sobibor on April 2nd 1943, where they were all murdered upon arrival.

The family were:

Father -Hartog Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, on 23 July 1900.Reached the age of 42 years, occupation: Furniture maker.

Mother -Anna Rooselaar-Presser born in Amsterdam, 3 July 1904.Reached the age of 38 years

Son-Salomon Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 14 September 1930.Reached the age of 12 years.

Son-Barend Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 30 June 1932. Reached the age of 10 years.

Daughter-Estella Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 9 July 1936. Reached the age of 6 years.

Son-Eduard Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 6 October 1938.Reached the age of 4 years.

All 6 members of the Rooselaar family were put on the March 3rd 1943 transport to Sobibor, but they weren’t the only ones. In total there were 1246 people who were on that transport.

On April 2nd 1943,1252 Dutch Jews were murdered in Sobibor. 113 were 18 years or younger. Among them were, Jacob de Vries born in The Hague on April 13.1941. He was 11 days away from his 2nd birthday when he was murdered.

Isidore Kiek born in Hilversum, 17 February 1932 .Reached the age of 11 years.

The oldest of those 133 children would have been 97 today. This means they all could have been still alive on April 2,2022.

On October 14, 1943, some 300 Jewish labourers at the camp rose in revolt and killed several SS supervisors and Ukrainian guards. Many inmates were killed during the rebellion or in the attempt to escape. All who remained were executed the following day. The Nazis dismantled the installations and planted the area with trees. Only about 50 Sobibor prisoners ultimately survived the war.

Imagine if the camp had remained open until the end of the war? More then 34,000 Dutch Jews were murdered in Sobibor which closed in November 1943. It had only be operational for just over 18 months.

Just over 56,000 Dutch Jews were murdered in Auschwitz ,which closed in January 1945.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Salomon-Rooselaar/01/65178

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/158373/hartog-rooselaar

Donation

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Donald Davids Murdered innocence

I always try to keep my emotions out of it when I write about the Holocaust, but I often fail. How could I not get emotional when I see a picture of a baby who was murdered.

Donald was born in Amsterdam, on 30 March 1941 .He was murdered in Sobibor, on 11 June 1943., aged 2.

His Father was Meindert Davids and his Mother was Alida Davids-Hoost.

Meindert Davids was born on 23 April 1911 in Rotterdam .He was the son of David Davids and Betje Godschalk. Meindert married Alida Hoost, on 3 July 1940 in Aamsterdam.Alida was born on 1 December 1917 in Amsterdam. She was the daughter of Godschalk Hoost and Leentje Beugeltas. The couple had one child, their pride and Joy Donald, who was born on 30 March 1941 in Amsterdam.

On 17 February 1943, Meindert, Alida and their baby boy Donald were deported from their house on the Waverstraat to concentration camp Vught. From the registration card of the Jewish Council archive of Meindert Davids, it shows that he has been transferred on 21 May 1943 from Vught to the Moerdijk Command, a satellite command of Vught, and subsequently to to Vught and then to Westerbork where he steyd in barrack 62. On 21 September Meindert was put on transport to Auschwitz.

Where he was immediately murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, upon arrival on September 24,1943

Little Donald and his Mother were sent to Westerbork on the 7th of June 1943.

Donald Davids was deported to Sobibor, together with his mother on the 8th June 1943 with the so-called children’s transport.

There were about 3000 people on that transport. Below is the breakdown of the age groups.

Off the 3000 people, 2743 are murdered in Sobibor. 17 Others are murdered elsewhere

Donald Davids is murdered on June 11.1943 He reached the age of 2 years. Another 3000+ Dutch Jews were murdered in Sobibor that day.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/156499/donald-davids

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Donald-Davids/01/3831

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Donald-Davids/01/3831

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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Semmy and Joop Woortman-Forgotten Heroes

In the past I have been very critical of my fellow Dutch men and women, in relation to the role they played during World War 2. While most opposed the Nazi occupation, they did very little to resist. Of course it is very easy to be critical looking back. In all honesty if I would have been put in that position I would not know how I would have reacted.

I have also written many pieces about the Dutch who collaborated with the Nazis and even joined the SS, for them there is no excuse.

However there were brave Dutch citizens who did resist. Sometimes by just spreading around leaflets, other times in more militant actions. When captured there was a big chance that the death penalty would follow.

Semmy and Joop Woortman were active members of the resistance, they were part of the NV group.

The NV (Naamlose Vennootschap or the Limited) group, was one of several Dutch underground cells involved in rescue efforts to find shelter for Jewish children living in Amsterdam during the German occupation of the Netherlands. Between 1942 and 1943 approximately 4,000 Jewish children were funneled through an assembly center located in the former Jewish daycare center known as the Creche.

The Creche was situated across the street from the Hollandse Schouwburg, the Jewish theater that served as the main holding area for the Jews of Amsterdam prior to their transfer to the Westerbork concentration camp. When Jewish families reported to the theater, children were separated from their parents and sent to the Creche to await deportation. The NV group under the leadership of Jaap Musch and Joop Woortman, focused its efforts on rescuing these children. Since the Creche was not guarded, it was possible for members of the Dutch underground to pick up small groups of children who had been prepared by Jewish staff members inside, and wisk them away by streetcar or other means. The children were then taken to private homes in Amsterdam until they could be transferred to host families elsewhere. Alternatively, the children were taken directly to the railway station and escorted by couriers to their new homes outside the city. They were sent to homes as far north as Friesland and as far south as Limburg. After depositing their charges, the couriers made a point of visiting them periodically to check on their situation. The attitudes exhibited by the host families to the Jewish children ranged from loving to indifferent, and many children had to be moved repeatedly. It is estimated that as many as 1000 Jewish children in the capital were rescued by the combined efforts of all of the underground cells. The NV group is credited with having saved about 250. Sixteen members of the group were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.

Joop and Semmy became increasingly involved in the underground resistance movement. Joop would often go to the train station to look for Jews to take into hiding. When they learned that the Germans had plans to deport all Jewish children to concentration camps, Joop and Semmy concentrated their efforts on saving the Dutch children. They organized a network of people who were willing to hide Jewish children in their homes. Semmy remembered a day in 1943, when the German’s launched a surprise raid of homes in Amsterdam in an attempt to capture Jewish children. Semmy and Joop quickly instructed the children to go to safety at a local day care center, which was run by a German born Jewish nab , Walter Suskind. On the day of the raid, a terrified little boy came to Semmy’s home and she offered to hide him in one of the cupboards in her kitchen. When the Germans searched her house, she pretended to be virulently anti-Semitic and even invited the Germans to share coffee with her. The deception worked and the Germans never found the boy.

Joop Woortman used the pseudonym Theo de Bruin. He was betrayed in 1944 and via Kamp Amersfoort ended up in Bergen-Belsen, where he died on March 13, 1945. Following Joop’s arrest, Semmy carried on his mission. Using the register he kept of the 300 children he placed in hiding, she made sure all of his charges received their monthly stipends and ration coupons. A year after the war the Red Cross confirmed Woortman’s death in Bergen-Belsen. He was posthumously recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1981.

After the war Semmy recalled
“It was difficult to just walk out of the nursery with children because on the other side of the street there were soldiers on guard in front of the Hollandse Schouwburg. But the head nurse at the nursery, Virrie Cohen, would stand in front of the door and tell us if tram 9 was coming.

We’d walk out of the door each carrying a baby under our arm. We’d run alongside the tram down the Plantage Middenlaan and at the next tram stop we’d get in, huffing and puffing. And all the people in the tram would start laughing because naturally they’d seen us, but they never said anything. Well, that’s typically Amsterdam for you…”

Semmy Woortman walks along a street in Amsterdam with her stepdaughter Hetty (left, Joop’s daughter) and her Jewish foster child, Rachel (right).

Semmy married again after the war. She died on February 22,2004 aged 87.

When I come across stories like this, it makes me proud to be a Dutchman.

sources

Semmy Riekerk, The Netherlands

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa21486

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/dutch-rescuer-semmy-woortman-glasoog

https://www.verzetsmuseum.org/en/kennisbank/help-1

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