Sjelomo Hamburger

This is the aspect of the Holocaust I struggle most with. How can anyone look at this child and perceive him to be a threat to the nation. How can they look at his face and decide that he needs to be killed immediately.

Sjelomo Hamburger would have celebrated his 80th birthday today. But he only reached the age of 2.

Sjelomo Hamburger was the son of Samuel Hamburger and Marianne van Straten.

Samuel and Marianne , lived at Fahrenheitstraat 4 in Amersfoort. They were married 25 August 1939 in Amersfoort,the Netherlands, and their son Sjelomo was born there on 22 January 1942.

A few months after the birth of their son , Samuel and Marianne decided to go into hiding with Sjelomo, to escape the persecution by the Nazis.

During a search for prohibited motion pictures, an Amersfoort police officer discovered two-year old Sjelomo Hamburger in an attic room on the Schimmelpenninckstraat in Amersfoort on 8 June 1944.

I am not sure if his parents were with him. But this is where Sjelomo Hamburger had been hiding there since August 1942. He was deported to Auschwitz via Westerbork on September 3, 1944. There were in total 783 people on that transport, 7776 Jewish, 36 resistance fighters, and 17 were classified as citizen. Two were under the age of 12, 2 year old Sjelomo was one of them.

He was murdered in Auschwitz September 6 1944.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/523482/about-sjelomo-hamburger

https://www.geni.com/people/Sjelomo-Hamburger/6000000055655845945

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Sjelomo-Hamburger/48/9187

January 17,1945 evacuation Auschwitz.

There are so few things that make sense in relation to the Holocaust, in fact there is nothing that make sense.

On January 17,1945

In mid-January 1945,the SS began evacuating Auschwitz and its subcamps. SS units forced nearly 60,000 prisoners to march west from the Auschwitz camp system. This murderous evacuation, known as the “Death March,” cost many of them their lives.

Thousands had been killed in the camps in the days before these death marches began. Tens of thousands of prisoners, mostly Jews, were forced to march either northwest for 55 kilometers (approximately 30 miles) to Gliwice (Gleiwitz), joined by prisoners from subcamps in East Upper Silesia, or due west for 63 kilometers (approximately 35 miles) to Wodzislaw (Loslau) in the western part of Upper Silesia, joined by inmates from the subcamps to the south of Auschwitz. SS guards shot anyone who fell behind or could not continue. Prisoners also suffered from the cold weather, starvation, and exposure on these marches. At least 3,000 prisoners died on route to Gliwice alone; possibly as many as 15,000 prisoners died during the evacuation marches from Auschwitz and the subcamps.

When you analyze this in a clinical way, the whole operation makes no sense. It is senseless from a military point of view, because they knew the Soviets were approaching, so why waste resources. Why not just leave them all in the camps and leave the Soviets deal with the prisoners, which would have delayed them.

It makes no sense on a human level either, purely because nothing made sense on a human level when it comes to the Holocaust.

Similar marches were taking place all across the eastern front after the SS chief Heinrich Himmler ordered that all able-bodied prisoners be taken to the Reich. But these able bodied prisoners would have been so weakened already, and even more so after the marches.

Although death might not have been the goal of the marches, that was however the fate of many, as the scattered gravestones that remain along these roads today still testify.

One of the survivors, Zofia Posmysz, recalled her inmate number: 7566. she remembered the biting cold on the night the guards gathered thousands of women outside the gates of Birkenau.

“We didn’t know what it meant that we would leave the camp,” she said. “We didn’t know if we would have to undergo some sort of selection”.

“We heard that those who could not walk would get to stay in the hospital, but we weren’t sure if they would be kept alive. We knew nothing and worried.”

Aside from the bitter cold and the physical violence, the victims were subjected to mental torture because they didn’t know what fate awaited them .

The march lasted until January 21,1945. Six days later, January 27,1945. Auschwitz was liberated.

Sources

https://www.niod.nl/en/collections/image-bank-ww2

https://www.ushmm.org/learn/timeline-of-events/1942-1945/death-march-from-auschwitz

http://www.auschwitz.org/en/history/evacuation/in-the-wake-of-death-march/

http://www.auschwitz.org/en/history/evacuation/in-the-wake-of-death-march/

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Happy Birthday Edith Frank

I often think that Edith Frank is a forgotten hero. Stuck with so many people in such a small space, desperately avoiding being discovered. That would be challenging to anyone’s health. But Edith could not afford to lose her sanity not even for a second.

She was born in the German city of Aachen, close to the Dutch border, on 16 January 1900. Aachen is only a 20 minutes journey from Maastricht in the Netherlands

She was the fourth child in a wealthy Jewish family. Her parents ran a family business, trading in scrap metal, machinery and parts, boilers, other appliances, and semi-finished products.

Her father, Abraham Holländer (1860–1928) was a successful businessman in who was prominent in the Aachen Jewish community together with Edith’s mother, Rosa Stern (1866–1942). The ancestors of the Holländer family lived in Amsterdam at the start of the 18th century, emigrating from the Netherlands to Germany around 1800. Edith’s maiden name, Holländer, is German for “Dutchman”

I wonder how excited Edith’s parents must have been in the dying days of the 19th century. Were they hoping that Edith would be born 16 days early, so that Edith would have been the 1st child born in the 20th century?

Edith had three siblings: Walter, Julius, and Bettina. Edith had a carefree childhood until her older sister Bettina died. The cause of her death is unknown. At only fourteen, Edith was harshly confronted with death. She still managed to get on with her life: she finished high school and worked in the family business for a few years.

In 1924, Edith met Otto Frank and they were married on May 12, 1925 in Aachen’s synagogue. Their first daughter, Margot, was born in 1926 whereas their second daughter, Anne, was born in 1929.

Anne has not much sympathy for her mother during their tumultuous years in the annex, and she only has a few kinds words to say about her, particularly in the earlier entries. Anne feels that her mother is cold, critical, and uncaring, that they have very little in common, and that her mother does not know how to show love to her children. I don’t think that Anne realised the anxiety her mother must have had trying to keep her family safe. Then again what teenage girl gets along with her mother?

However in Anne’s later entries of her diary, she tried attempts to look at her mother’s life as a wife and mother in a more objective manner. As Anne gets older and gains a clearer perspective, she begins to regret her quick, petty judgments of her mother. Anne has more sympathetic feelings for her mother.

According to Otto, Edith suffered more from their arguments than Anne did. ‘Of course, I was worried about my wife and Anne not having a good relationship. However, she truly was an excellent mother, who put her children above all else. She often complained that Anne would oppose everything she did, but she was comforted to know that Anne trusted in me.’

Edith Frank died on 6 January 1945, three weeks before the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and 10 days before her 45th birthday. The cause of death was malnutrition ,basically murdered by starvation.

It gives me comfort to believe that Edith is now celebrating her birthday with her family in heaven. And if the stars sparkle more brightly tonight I will know she had a good birthday. Happy birthday Edith Frank.

sources

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19185863/edith-frank

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/main-characters/edith-frank/

https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/annefrank/character/edith-frank/

Jacob de Mesquita

I look at the picture of Jacob de Mesquita and I ask myself “How was this possible?”

How was it possible that this baby was selected to be send to the gas chambers?

Was there not one person among the Auschwitz staff members who thought that this was wrong?

Was there no one who saw his angelic face and got a warm feeling inside?

I remember a scene in Schindler’s List where one of the SS Guards, rubs the head of a toddler as he is being carried into the Gas chamber. Did someone do that to Jacob and thought “What are we doing?”

Jacob de Mesquita was born on January 9, 1942. He was murdered 9 months later on October 15,1942, the same day as his mother Femmetje de Mesquita-Leijden van Amstel was murdered.

When I look at Femmetje , I think “was there no one who saw her beauty?”

Was there no one who thought that murdering a young woman in her prime was wrong?

Wasn’t there even any one who would consider her for sexual gratification? I know that still would be wrong but it would have been better then being gassed.

I just don’t get it how anyone could consider the destruction of innocence and beauty as the correct course of action.

Femmetje de Mesquita-Leijden van Amstel was 22 when she was murdered.

Isaac de Mesquita was the husband of Femmeke and the Father of Jacob, Isaac was murdered February 28,1943 in Auschwitz.

All 3 were born in Amsterdam , all 3 murdered in Auschwitz.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/188096/jacob-de-mesquita

Industrial Murder

One of the most disturbing aspects of the Holocaust is the ‘wholesale murder’ approach the Nazis took, the industrialization of death.

The gassing already started in 1939 as part of the T4 program, the murder of the disabled, what really is sickening is the fact that the first of such killings was on request by parents of a severely disabled child.

But the T4 murders were relatively small scale, for lack of a better word, compared to the gassings that took place in Auschwitz, Chelmno, Sobibor and the other extermination camps.

The gassing was kind of suggested to be a humane way of killing. But there was nothing humane about it. It was only humane for the perpetrators. After the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union and Einsatzgruppe mass shootings of civilians, the Nazis experimented with gas vans for mass killing. Gas vans were hermetically sealed trucks with engine exhaust diverted to the interior compartment. Use of gas vans began after Einsatzgruppe members complained of battle fatigue and mental anguish caused by shooting large numbers of women and children. Gassing also proved to be more effective and cheaper.

On October 24, 1980, Lesław Dyrcz, a student from the Brynek Forestry Vocational School, found a leather briefcase buried at about 40 centimeters deep in the ground while clearing the area around Birkenau crematorium III of stub and roots. Inside the briefcase was a thermos liner which had belonged to Marcel Nadjari. a Jewish Greek

In November 1944, two months before the liberation of the camp, Nadjari had buried a twelve-page manuscript written in Greek on November 3 on pages taken from a notebook, in which he described his observations of Auschwitz

In his manuscript, he writes: I want to live, to revenge the deaths of Dad and Mum, and that of my beloved little sister Nelly.

Below are some notes of his manuscript.

“Our work was first to welcome them. Most didn’t know their fate. The laughed or cried. They were told they were going to take a shower and they went clueless to [their] death. To date, my dear ones, I don’t tell them they they are going for a shower, although I can lie to them, I only told them that I didn’t understand the language they spoke, and to the comrades, men and women, that I realised were doomed I told the truth.”

“Almost every time they kill, I wonder if there is a God and yet I have always believed in Him and still believe that God wants it, let His will be.”

“Often I thought of going in with the others, to put an end to this. But always revenge prevented me doing so. I wanted and want to live, to avenge the death of Dad, Mum and my dear little sister,”

“The crematorium is a big building with a wide chimney and 15 ovens. Under a garden there are two enormous cellars. One is where people undress and the other is the death chamber. People enter it naked and once about 3,000 are inside it is locked and they are gassed. After six or seven minutes of suffering they die,”

“The gas canisters were always delivered in a German Red Cross vehicle with two SS men. They then dropped the gas through openings – and half an hour later our work began. We dragged the bodies of those innocent women and children to the lift, which took them to the ovens.”

Nadjari did survive.

After the war he got married and in 1951 moved to New York. He already had a one-year-old son, and in 1957 his wife Rosa gave birth to a girl, whom they named Nelli – after Marcel’s beloved murdered sister.

Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/at-the-killing-centers

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42144186

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/gassing-operations

https://www.history.com/news/the-jewish-men-forced-to-help-run-auschwitz

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Three People of the Holocaust.

There were three groups of people in the Holocaust. The criminals who tortured and murdered. The victims who were murdered and those who survived were scarred for life, mentally and physically. The helpers, the people who helped the Jews and others to escape and survive. .

These are just examples of each group.

The criminal

Hildegard Lachert was known to the prisoners as “Bloody Brigitte”; as she would always strike them repeatedly until blood was showing. She was a female guard, or Aufseherin, at several concentration camps.She became publicly known for her crimes at Ravensbrück, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau. After the war, she was sentenced to a total of 27 years in prison for her brutal treatment of inmates during her camp service, but she only served 10.

In November 1947, she appeared in a Kraków, Poland courtroom, along with 40 other SS guards in the Auschwitz trial. Because of her war crimes at Auschwitz and Płaszów, the former guard and mother of two surviving children was given a sentence of 15 years in prison. Lächert was released in 1956 from a prison in Kraków. In 1975, the German government decided to put her and other SS guards from the Majdanek concentration camp, on trial again.

The testimonies heard in relation to Lächert’s sadistic behaviour were extensive and detailed. One former prisoner, Henryka Ostrowska, testified, “We always said blutige about the fact that she struck until blood showed,” giving her the nickname “Bloody Brigitte” (Krwawa Brygida in Polish). Many other witnesses characterized her as the “worst” or “the most cruel” Aufseherin, as “Beast”, and as “Fright of the Prisoners.” For her part in selections to the gas chamber, releasing her dog onto inmates and her overall abuse, the court sentenced her to 12 years’ imprisonment. But due to time served in custody and her time in Krakow, she was released.

The Victim

Frank Emanuel Polak was born on December 19.1941, in Amsterdam He would have been 80 today. But he was murdered age 2. In February 1944 he was deported to Auschwitz and murdered in a gas chamber after the selection. It looks like his parents and siblings survived.

His smiley face will haunt me for a long time.

The Helper

Carlos Sampaio Garrido was a Portuguese diplomat credited with saving the lives of approximately 1,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary while serving as Portugal’s ambassador in Budapest between July and December 1944.

In 2010 he became the second Portuguese to be recognised as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

“Ambassador of Portugal in Budapest, from October 1939 to June 1944. When Hungary was conquered by Germany in March 1944, the neutral countries did not recognize the new government. Responding to the request of the Allies, the dictator of Portugal, António de Oliveira Salazar, reduced the level of diplomatic representation in Hungary, and Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido was called back to Portugal. Until his departure from the city in June, Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido dedicated his efforts to helping Jews. The presence of the SS in Budapest in those days accelerated the persecutions of all residents, without excepting diplomatic representations. Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido granted asylum in his home to a dozen persecuted, mostly Jews, without notifying his ministry. On April 28 at 5 in the morning, his residence was raided by agents of the political police of the Hungarian fascist regime and his protégés were taken to the central prison in Budapest. Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido resisted the arrest of his guests and presented an official protest to the government, demanding his release, the investigation of those guilty of the affront and an official apology for the violation of the extraterritoriality of the Portuguese embassy. With this attitude, he achieved the liberation of those people but was declared Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido resisted the arrest of his guests and presented an official protest to the government, demanding his release, the investigation of those guilty of the affront and an official apology for the violation of the extraterritoriality of the Portuguese embassy. With this attitude, he achieved the liberation of those people but was declared Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido resisted the arrest of his guests and presented an official protest to the government, demanding his release, the investigation of those guilty of the affront and an official apology for the violation of the extraterritoriality of the Portuguese embassy. With this attitude, he achieved the liberation of those people but was declared persona non grata in Hungary. Faced with this situation, he had to inform the Foreign Ministry about the diplomatic projections of his performance: the ministry had already warned him, on May 11, about the “irregularity” of it. Carlos de Almeida Afonseca de Sampaio Garrido moved to Switzerland on June 5, from where he continued to send instructions to his successor in charge of the embassy, ​​Alberto Branquinho, to continue helping persecuted Jews.”

sources

https://www.yadvashem.org/es/holocaust/encyclopedia/sampaio-garrido-carlos-de-almeida-afonseca-de.html

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/174871/frank-emanuel-polak

https://www.stewartandel.co.uk/hildegard-laechert

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildegard_L%C3%A4chert

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Kids nowadays have it so difficult-Putting things in perspective.

I think 2021 will be remembered where people lost the sense of perspective. So many people are saying how kids nowadays have it more difficult then ever before.

The picture above A starving child in Sudan, 1993.

Terezka, a girl who grew up in a concentration camp, draws a picture of her Poland “home”, December 1948.

Family members pass Kosovar refugee Agim Shala, 2, through a barbed wire fence into the hands of grandparents at an Albania camp, March 1999.

Two children in the Warsaw ghetto. 1941.

A starving child in the Warsaw Ghetto

Children in Auschwitz shortly after liberation.

Khmer Rouge child soldiers with M16 rifles, Galaw, Cambodia (1979)

sources

https://allthatsinteresting.com/warsaw-ghetto#1

https://allthatsinteresting.com/holocaust-photos#20

Van der Klein

My last name is a bit of a mystery. A distant cousin started a family tree several years ago and at some stage he got stuck, because our family name seems to have appeared out of nowhere. He could trace it back to somewhere in the late 19th century. There are plenty of Klein’s but ‘de Klein’ appears to be rare.

This made me wonder if perhaps my name is really ‘Klein’ and that it was changed throughout the decades to de Klein. It also made me wonder that maybe my origins are Jewish, Klein being a predominantly Jewish name.

I decided to see if I could find a mention of the name “de Klein” in the Dutch Jewish database ‘Joods Monument’. There was no reference of my family name. However there were 18 pages referring to the name Klein.

I also came across the name ‘van der Klein’ the only other name with a prefix before Klein.

It also broke my heart to find out that, that whole family was murdered in 1942.

The father Levie van der Klein was murdered in Auschwitz on 19 October 1942,aged 75. His wife had already passed away in 1934.

Son , Elkan van der Klein was murdered in Auschwitz on 13 November 1942.

Son, Isaac van der Klein was murdered in Auschwitz on 30 September 1942.

Son, Morrits van der Klein was murdered in Auschwitz on 30 September 1942.

Son, Jacob van der Klein was murdered in Auschwitz on 30 September 1942

Daughter , Mietje van der Klein was murdered in Auschwitz on 30 September 1942.

Daughter , Saartje Mug- van der Klein was murdered in Auschwitz on 30 September 1942.

What is even more tragic is that the father Levie had to find out that 5 of his 6 children were murdered in the same camp he was in. His oldest son was murdered a few weeks later.

So many families were wiped out and it is scary to know that it easily could have been all of my family too.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/222224/levie-van-der-klein

Christmas in Westerbork.

At first glance when you look at the picture it doesn’t appear to be extraordinary. There is an officer clearly given a speech. There are a few Christmas trees at the back so it appears to be some sort of Christmas do.

The officer is Albert Konrad Gemmeker he was a German SS-Obersturmführer and camp commandant of the Westerbork transit camp.

He was considered the friendly face of Nazi evil. Known as a decent commander, who insisted that he never knew what happened to the Jews in camps such as Auschwitz. Yet during his reign at the Dutch camp, around 80,000 Jewish people were deported to Auschwitz.

On December 19,1942 Gemmeker threw a Christmas party, or rather a Julfest(Yule feast).

The venue for his party was Westerbork. According to some survivors, a line of shiny new cars had pulled up to the camp, with a number of high ranking SS officers and their mistresses or prostitutes, either way not their wives. Officers like Aus der Funten and photogtapher Breslau, Untersturmführer Hassel(who was there with his wife.

The big hall in Westerbork was filled with SS staff, celebrating. What makes it even more disturbing is that their food was cooked and served by some of those 80,000,Gemmeker would later send to Auschwitz, to be murdered.

sources

https://www.rug.nl/news/2019/05/kampcommandant-gemmeker-jarenlang-bevreesd-voor-nieuwe-rechtszaak?lang=en

https://anderetijden.nl/aflevering/406/Kerstmis-in-Westerbork-

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Silvain Wolf-Just a holiday trip

Silvain Wolf was just a footnote in history. But his story is an important one to tell.

He was born on October 7,1902 in Beek, a small town in the province of Limburg, in the South East of the Netherlands.

In 1930 he moved to nearby Sittard, where he got a job with his uncle Adolf Wolf- In the shop Wolf & Hertzdahl. (Which is a shop I often passed when I worked in Sittard.)

On August 25,1942 Silvain got the call to report for labor in Germany. He wanted to hide but was too late. He was initially sent to Westerbork. In Westerbork he wrote a few letters to his family. Below is part of the text of one of those letters.

“We are all good… Mrs van de Hors is keeping well too. Sophie(his sister) needs to remain tough, or do something else……. We had red cabbage and rotten unpeeled potatoes, and will disappoint more often.

You all keep strong, it is just a Holiday trip”

That last line says so much. He was still anticipating a return home. This was because the Nazis had created the illusion that all wasn’t that bad. On August 28,1942 he was put on a transport to Auschwitz.

But Silvain and other men were taken off the train in Kosel ,about 80 km away from Auschwitz. From labor camp Kosel the men were sent to other camps ,after that theirs and Silvain’s fate is unknown. There is only a footnote saying ‘Died in middle Europe’ not even the date is known. They put Silvain’s date of death on April 30,1943 but that is a fictional date.

He was punished and killed because he was Jewish.

sources

https://www.stolpersteinesittardgeleen.nl/Slachtoffers/Silvain-Wolf

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/123000/silvain-wolf

https://www.tracesofwar.nl/books/1648/Een-voetnoot-bij-de-wereldgeschiedenis.htm

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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