Alexander Zwaap AKA Lex van Delden

Lex

Although he was born as Alexander Zwaap, for most of his life he would be known as Lex van Delden. He was a truly remarkable man, despite hardships he never gave up.

He was born  in Amsterdam on September 10, 1919, as the only child of Wolf Zwaap, a school-teacher, and his wife Sara Olivier-Zwaap, Lex started taking piano-lessons from an early age, initially from  from Martha Zwaga and later from the celebrated pianist, Cor de Groot.

In 1938 he enrolled at the University of Amsterdam to study medicines, he wanted to become a neuro-surgeon, but he did not lose his love for music and composing.

In 1942, two years into German occupation of the Netherlands he was  forced to interrupt his studies,because he was Jewish. He had no other choice then  to go into hiding. Refuge and a hiding place was arranged at the home of a former colleague of his father, who was a headmaster at the penitentiary in Veenhuizen, In 1943, his parents who were also in hiding, were betrayed and deported to Sobibor, where they were murdered. Lex never saw them again. It was only in 1980, when he discovered a  postcard written by his  parents  to him from the Hollandse Schouwburg( a theater which was used as a deportation centre)   while awaiting their deportation.

schouweburg

While in hiding Lex  decided to take the pseudonym “van Delden”

Due to the fact he could not make any noise, leave alone play piano and had to hide under the raised floor of a basement closet.,he became depressed.His hosts eventually included him in their daily family life.

He helped by translating all kinds of literary works and also by helping  his host’s daughter with her homework. Via  a contact with the student resistance movement,  Lex joined the resistance he was sent to the province of Brabant, where he forged identity papers at the Personal Identification Card Centre. On a daily basis he visited, by bicycle, a family with a piano and even managed to give house concerts. Unfortunately his hopes of becoming a neuro-surgeon were dashed during this time due to an exploding carbide lamp, which virtually blinded him in his left eye while in hiding.

When peace came he hurled himself under the name Lex van Delden wholeheartedly into the world of music. Apart from composing he worked as a music journalist for Het Parool; later he was chairman of the Dutch authors’ rights association Buma Stemra.

Buma

He was a prolific composer  and during  the 1950s and 60s he was one of the most frequently played composers of his generation. Van Delden wrote for orchestras such as the Noordhollands Philharmonisch Orkest (North Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra), the Hague Philharmonic Orchestra and the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble (Dutch Wind Ensemble). He has won many prestigious music awards.

2019-09-10

His  music radiates an idealistic longing for life. The structure is tight; he often includes sharp contrasts between dramatic and lyrical passages.

Despite his plans of all his set backs and losing his parents,, he did not give up.He died on July 1, 1988 in Amsterdam.

His son also took the name Lex van Deldden became an actor and starred in movies such as A bridge too far and Soldaat van Oranje(Soldier of Orange).

Finishing up with one of Lex’s compositions.

 

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Sources

Leo Smit

forbiddenmusicregained.org

gramophone.co.uk

YouTube

 

 

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Anne Frank-Just an ordinary girl.

anne frank

On August 4,1944 a tip from a Dutch informer led the Gestapo to the now so well known secret annex in Amsterdam. Anne Frank, her family and all the other occupants would be arrested.

Via her diary Anne Frank became one of the  symbols  of the Holocaust. I often read people describing her diary and her letters as ‘works’ as if they weer professional pieces of literature. But they weren’t ,they were words of a young girl coming of age, in the most anxious of circumstances. That is what makes it so special and powerful.

She was just an ordinary girl, as some of the below excerpts written by her illustrate.

“I have pretty long hair … Papa and Mama want me to get it cut but I’d much rather let it grow”  “I have a little appliance in my mouth, and braces … Now I have to go to the dentist every week, and it comes out the next day. This has been going on for eight weeks, and I find it very unpleasant, of course.”— Taken from a letter to her Grandmother. Spring 1941.

“From Papa and Mama a bicycle, a new school bag, a beach dress and various other things.Margot gave me this stationery, because I had run out, and I didn’t do too badly on candies and other little presents either. It’s very warm here, is it warm there too?” From a letter to her Grandmother written in June 1941, shortly after her birthday.

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into wilderness. I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the suffering of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again”. from her diary July 15, 1944.

” Believe me, I’d like to listen, but it doesn’t work, because if I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks I’m putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I’m not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be ill, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can’t keep it up any more, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if … if only there were no other people in the world.” Her last diary entry August 1, 1944.

poem

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Sources

CNN

Washington Post

Smithsonian

Learntoquestion.com

Yahoo News

 

I miss you.

Marianne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In my thoughts I see you.

In my prayers I remember you.

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

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

Lets keep it personal.

Jozua

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donation

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Source

Joods Monument

 

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

Heinz

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

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

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

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

Kinder

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

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

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

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

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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One last song

betty

I want to sing one last song , maybe “Hoedje van Papier” (hat made out of paper) my Dad sings that for me everyday and I know all the words.

I want to draw one more picture. Perhaps of a butterfly who sits still on a tulip in the garden.

I want to have one more ice cream, vanilla flavour if you don’t mind.

I want to hear my Mother read to me one more time. The Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales I like the most.

I want to feel the warmth of the sun one more time.

I want to sing one more song, but I can’t.

I am Betty Vredenburg daughter of Abracham and Rachel.

Born in Amsterdam on May 6th 1940, 4 days before the Nazis came.

I want to sing one more song, but my voice was silenced on May 22,1944 in Auschwitz. I was only 4.

Yes I was only 4.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Thanks Melody and Sudhir for bringing Betty to my attention

All I want is to be treated as a Human being.

max

All I want is to be treated like a Human being.

I don’t want big presents or fancy food.

I don’t even want to be treated like a Prince.

All I want is to feel the sunlight touch my skin on a warm summer day.

Or to hear the crackling of the snow under my feet in the winter.

I am not complicated.

To me 1 +1 is 2

Simple as.

I do not ask for a special treatment. Just the same treatment as you would give to yout nephew ,your cousin, the son of a friend or the boy next door.

But you can’t even grant me that simple wish.

I am Max Henri van Son, born in Amsterdam killed in Auschwitz,October 1, 1942.

The most simple wish of being treated as Human being was impossible to be granted, purely because of hate. Hate for a 4 year old boy, how is that even possible?

 

Isaäc Swart and Henderika Piller.

isaac

Isaäc Swart, what can be said about him and who is ?

Basically there is not much that can be said about him , he was just an ordinary travelling sales man.

Today would have marked his 95th birthday. He was born April 21,1914 in Amsterdam. Three days before his 26th birthday he married Henderika Piller on April 18,1940 in Amsterdam.

henderika

It was only a few weeks  before Germany would occupy the Netherlands and a Nazi regime would control the country.

The story of Isaäc and his wife Henderika is at first glance unremarkable. Just 2 young people,newlyweds who went about their daily mundane lives.

However their’ wittebroodsweken’ (this is the Dutch term for the first 6 weeks of marriage)  were disrupted in a way they did not expect.

May 15th after the bombardment of Rotterdam, the Dutch resistance was broken and the Germans invaded the Netherlands, bringing with them the most brutal regime the country had ever seen.

For most newlyweds life did not change all that much but Isaäc and Henderika were now considered enemies of the German occupiers, not because they had taken up arms to fight them but because they were Jewish, That was the only reason, A loving couple who never harmed anyone, were now considered enemies.

During the first few months there were only a few changes to their lives. But gradually their lives were made increasingly difficult. as it would be for every Jewish person in the country.

Isaäc and Henderika were arrested at their home  on  the 7th of  September 1943 , together with Isaäc’s aunt Schoontje Bont-Schenkkan. That  very same day they where deported to Auschwitz. On arrival there on the 10th September, his aunt was immediately killed.  Isaac and Henderika were selected for hard labor. Henderika  died  in Auschwitz on 30 November 1943,aged 28. Isaäc died in Auschwitz on 31 March 1944.aged 29. Only 3 weeks away from his 30th birthday.

There is one solace to be found in this. These ‘unremarkable’ people became remarkable heroes and were made heroes by the regime that saw them as subhuman. Like all the other millions who were murdered, each one of them a hero and a reminder that we are not allowed to let this happen again, for now we have the hindsight of history.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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Sources

Joods Monument

Jules Frank- Murdered in Sobibor.

Jules Frank

Like Anne Frank, Jules also kept a diary but his was never published. It is on display in a museum in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

On April 15th,1943  Jules and his wife Flora Frank-van Beek picked up their suitcases and left for Amsterdam at 9.00 AM. Not out of free will but they were forced to go.

The day before they left ,Jules wrote one more entry in his diary it said:

“Will we ever return to our blessed and beloved Fatherland where we received so much love and good, God will give it”

He knew he was Jewish and was proud to be Jewish, but he also felt Dutch and was a great admirer of the Royal family. He collected a lot of things related to the house of Orange.

Jules and his wife never returned. So many of their neighbors had offered help,and shelter. They could have found hiding places and would have been safe, maybe even until after the war. But Jules did want to be a bother to anyone and remained in his own house.

 

A home where he would dink a cup of tea with his neighbors when they came to visit. But on the 14th of April 1943 on their 28th wedding anniversary Jules and Flora were told they had to report to the Authorities in Amsterdam.

Exactly one month later both of them were murdered in Sobibor. A Butcher  and his wife who for some reason had become a threat to society. I say some reason, but there really wasn’t one. They were Jewish and due to  a sick and twisted ideology what deemed them unworthy of life, they died.

A teacup and a saucer is still there as a reminder that Jules Frank and his wife once lived.

Cup of tea

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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Sources

En toen nu

Joods Monument

 

 

Not a statistic or raw data.

soloomon

There are so may stories and accounts written about the Holocaust. Often in horrofic detail and concerning large numbers.

When you look at the numbers, be it 6 million Jews and another 5 million or so  of Roma, Homosexuals, Disabled and other groups, the numbers are staggering. However they are also nearly impossible to fathom for most people.

And this might sound harsh and strange but it is a reality that it doesn’t matter if it is 6 million, 11 million or 15 million. When you talk about those numbers they become statistics or raw data.

The human mind just can not cope with something on that scale and magnitude and soon it gets desensitized to the numbers. It is human nature.

Does this mean we have to forget about all the victims and just move on? The answer is threefold, NEVER,NEVER,NEVER.

The Holocaust can never be allowed to happen again, I found the best way  to bring the message home to people is by making the stories personal, Make people identify with the victims, as a virtual mirror so to speak, because reality is it could have been anyone.

Here are some numbers which are statistics but they belong to a man, a man who does not look that much different then I.  It is I am older and a bit bigger but other then that..

Salomon Engers

7 September 1903-the day he was born in Amsterdam

Ruyschstraat 47 III, Amsterdam-His address

1926 the year he married his wife Klara Markus

6- the number of children the couple had

1939- the year his wife died

1942- the year he was betrayed in Bergen op Zoom

28 February 1943- the day he was killed in Monowitz

39- his age when he died

1- the number of his children that survived the Holocaust.

All of the millions deserve to be remembered but I believe the best way to do it is by 1 victim or 1 family at a time.

It is hard work but it is all our duty as human beings to do so.For each one of those millions deserve to be remembered.

Source

Joods Monument