Remembering Simon Walvisch and his family.

Simon Walvisch was born in Amsterdam, 1 on 9 March 1882.He was murdered in Auschwitz, on 1 October 1942. Reached the age of 60 years

Occupation: Tobacconist

He was a son of Jacobus Mozes Walvisch and Schoontje Zeeman. He married Rosette Abram, a daughter of Simon Abram and Judith Presser, on 29 June 1904 in Amsterdam. About four months later, on October 23, 1904, twins were born: Judith and Jacob Walvisch. However, both children died soon after birth: Judith died on November 13, 1904 and Jacob three days earlier, on November 10, 1904. After the twins, two more children followed: on April 12, 1906, Schoontje was born and on July 21, 1907 Judith. She was called Jute.

Simon’s wife Rosette Abram, however, died on December 30, 1923, and she is buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Diemen.

Less than a year later, on September 18, 1924, Simon Walvisch married Nathan Melkman’s widow, Susanna Swart, a daughter of Jeremias Swart and Saartje Leuw.

In her first marriage to Nathan Melkman, Susanna had a daughter, Flora Melkman, who was born on September 21, 1919 and who was adopted as a stepdaughter into Simon’s family after the marriage of Simon Walvisch and Susanna Swart. On October 22, 1925, another daughter was born from Simon Walvisch’s second marriage to Susanna Swart, viz. Sophia Walvis.

Flora’s father, Nathan Melkman, died on August 21, 1920, aged just 27. He is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Diemen.

Simon Walvisch was murdered on 1 October 1942 in Auschwitz together with his second wife Susanna Swart and their joint daughter Sopiha Walvisch.

Simon’s children from his first marriage to Rosette Abram also did not survive the Holocaust either ; Schoontje was married to Samuel Sluijser and had two children with him, viz. Maurice and Rosette. The entire Sluijser-Walvisch family was murdered on 9 July 1943 in Sobibor.

The youngest daughter from Simon and Rosette’s first marriage was Judith Walvisch, called Juutje. She was married to Jeremias Swart and had two children with him: Ronny and Alfred. Ronny was murdered on 11 June 1943 in Sobibor together with her mother via the Kindertransport from Vught. Her husband Jeremias eventually ended up in Bergen Belsen where he died on December 17, 1944.

Flora Melkman, the daughter of Susanna Swart and Nathan Melkman, married Dorus Abraham in 1941. Both were murdered on September 30, 1942 in Auschwitz.

Three generations of one family murdered. Why??

I could have taken any name of the 559 Dutch Jewish citizens who were murdered on October 1,1942 in Auschwitz, but the fact that Simon’s whole family was murdered just got to me.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/179764/simon-walvisch

Johnny & Jones- They were murdered, but not their music.

The one thing that always baffled me is the vehement hate the Nazis had for Jazz music. It was considered ‘Entartete Musik’,-degenerate music a label applied in the 1930s by the Nazis to Jazz and also other forms of music.

I have done a piece on Johnny & Jones before , this is not so much a follow up but more of an enhancement to the previous blog. I feel it is important to remember those who were murdered for their art and their religious background.

In the 1930s, the Amsterdam duo Nol (Arnold Siméon) van Wesel and Max (Salomon Meyer) Kannewasser , alias Johnny and Jones, were extremely popular – thanks in part to their first single Mister Dinges Weet Niet Wat Swing Is. They were cousins, accompanying themselves on guitar, the musicians sang their swinging Jazz songs with smooth lyrics in a semi-American accent. Their careers come to an end when the two Jewish musicians are arrested by the Germans during World War II and they are killed in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

In 1934, “The Bijko Rhythm Stompers” performed in De Bijenkorf, a group consisting of Bob Beek, Max Kannewasser, Max Meents and Nol van Wesel. This is the first time that the collaboration between Max (Salomon Meijer) Kannewasser (24 September 1916/Jones) and Nol (Arnold Simeon) van Wesel (23 August 1918/Johnny) can be traced.
In 1936 Johnny and Jones started performing as a singing duo. They were discovered during a performance in café-restaurant “Van Klaveren” on the corner of Frederiksplein – Weteringschans.
Shortly afterwards they quit their job at De Bijenkorf and entered the artist profession. They soon became the first teenage idols in our country.

They could be heard regularly on VARA radio from 1938. They then performed as an interlude with “The Ramblers”. They recorded records for the record label Decca, which started in November 1938 with the song “Mister Dinges does not know what Swing is”. This song became a great success.

Initially at the start of the war, Johnny and Jones were able to perform without much problem. For example, in February 1941 they performed in Amersfoort with “The Ramblers”, but at the end of 1941 this was forbidden for Jewish artists.

With growing pressure to go into hiding, their final performance was for a wedding reception of one of Arnold’s colleagues from de Bijenkorf(Dutch department store), Wim Duveen.

He married Betty Cohen in the main Synagogue of Amsterdam in 1942. Salomon had married Suzanne Koster in 1942, a woman from the Dutch East Indies (Surabaya) and Arnold had married Gerda Lindenstaedt, also in 1942, a German refugee who had come to Holland 1939.

The young men went into hiding with their wives in the Jewish nursing home “Joodsche Invalide,” where staff would hide them in an elevator between floors during inspections. When they were not hiding, they performed for staff and patients. Disaster struck on 29 September 1943 when the home was raided and its inhabitants sent to Westerbork.

They were put to work there processing parts of crashed aircraft, including Plexiglas (source: Leo Cohen, fellow prisoner in Westerbork).Johnny and Jones found a place in the camp at the revue (consisting of excellent artists). Since only German-language performances were allowed, Johnny and Jones had to learn German. So first that language had to be well mastered, so they only performed in March 1944 during a camp revue.

In August 1944, the two singers were allowed to leave the camp, with permission of the commandant, not only for their work disassembling parts but also to record songs in Amsterdam. In the NEKOS studios they recorded 6 songs about their life in Westerbork, including ‘Westerbork Serenade’.

Below is the translated text of the song.

“Hello we feel a little out of order,
To pull myself together is quite hard,
Suddenly I’m a different person,
My heart beats like the airplane wrecking yard.

I sing my Westerbork serenade,
Along the little rail-way the tiny silver moon shines
On the heath.
I sing my Westerbork serenade
With a pretty lady walking there together,
Cheek to cheek.
And my heart burns like the boiler in the boiler house,
Oh it never hit me quite like this at Mother’s place
I sing my Westerbork serenade,
In between the barracks I threw my arms around her
Over there
This Westerbork love affair.
And so I went over to the medic,
The guy says: “there is nothing you can do;
Oh but you will feel a whole lot better
After you give her a kiss or two
(But that you must not do…)”

A fellow artist who met them at the time wondered how Jews were allowed to walk freely in Amsterdam, without a yellow star. They told him about their temporary freedom. He suggested that they go into hiding but they refused. It was a camp rule: those who escaped risked the lives of their families, who would be deported. So they returned.

In September 1944 they were deported with their wives to Theresienstadt. They did not stay long. On a transport from Theresienstadt the duo were split from their wives: Salomon and Arnold were deported from camp to camp: Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Ohrdruf, Buchenwald and then finally, after a 10-day train journey, they ended up in Bergen-Belsen, where they died of exhaustion shortly before liberation and the end of the war. Nol van Wesel died on 20 March 1945, aged 26; Max Kannewasser died on 15 April 1945, aged 28.

Salomon’s mother-in-law, Marie Louise Koster, recalled seeing their bodies dragged out of the sick barracks onto a van, to be cremated. She was in the so-called Stern Lager (Star camp) with her husband Willem and her daughter Sonja. Salomon’s wife Suzanne survived Mauthausen and Auschwitz and lived in the USA until 2018. Gerda was killed in Auschwitz in 1944. Neither had children. Arnold’s parents were killed in Auschwitz in 1942. Salomon’s parents had died before the war. Their cousin Barend Beek went via Westerbork to Auschwitz and was killed in a subcamp of Stutthof on 11 December 1944.

They may have been murdered but their music lives on.

Johnny & Jones, playing for the union crowd of NVV, Breda, 1938.

sources

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

Anne Frank in Auschwitz

On September 3,1944 ,Anne Frank and her family were put on transport from Westerbork to Auschwitz. It would be the last train to leave Westerbork.The train arrived 3 days later in Auschwitz. The women selected from this transport, including Anne, Edith, and Margot, were marked with numbers between A-25060 and A-25271

Anne Frank’s final diary entry dates from 1 August 1944, three days before her arrest. Therefore the only information we have about what happened to Anne Frank in the six months between the arrest and her death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp comes from the testimonies of others.

Janny Brandes-Brilleslijper was one of those others.She had also been on that same transport and was in Auschwitz when Anne was there, but also in Bergen Belsen. Janny was the last person to see Anne alive.

She said about the arrival in Auschwitz.

”We were stripped in an icy room with the wind billowing through it. Five women under one trickle of water. No towels. Tattooed, shaved . . . we were totally confused and unable to understand anything,”

Upon arrival at Auschwitz, the SS forcibly split the men from the women and children, and Otto Frank was separated from his family. Those deemed able to work were admitted into the camp, and those deemed unfit for labour were immediately killed. Of the 1,019 passengers, 549—including all children younger than 15—were sent directly to the gas chambers. Anne Frank, who had turned 15 three months earlier, was one of the youngest people spared from her transport. She was soon made aware that most people were gassed upon arrival and never learned that the entire group from the Achterhuis had survived this selection. She reasoned that her father, in his mid-fifties and not particularly robust, had been killed immediately after they were separated.

Janny worked as a nurse in the Nazi camps where she provided clothing, medicine, and food to fellow prisoners. She saw Anne Frank, two or three days before she died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the spring of 1945.

“During the final days, I saw Anne standing there, wrapped in a blanket, with no tears left to cry. Well, we hadn’t had tears for some time. And then, a few days later I went to look for the Frank girls and learned that Margot had fallen from her bunk. Just like that, onto the stone floor, dead. The next day, Anne died as well.”

Janny had been in the Jewish resistance, in Amsterdam during the war, forging identification papers to help other Jews escape the Nazis, before she and Anne were deported from Amsterdam.

She died of heart failure in Amsterdam on 15 August, 2003 at the age of 86.

Mariette Huisjes of the Anne Frank House said this about Janny.

“Anne was sick and hallucinating and had thrown away her clothes, because she was afraid of lice. Ms. Brandes-Brilleslijper gave her clothes and some food. She mostly helped young people in the camps in those difficult times.”

sources

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1988-10-23-ca-196-story.html

https://www.annefrank.org/en/timeline/158/the-deportations-to-auschwitz-have-begun/

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12534087.jannie-brandes-brilleslijper/

https://tolerance.tavaana.org/en/content/anne-frank-1

Herta Bothe-The Sadist of Stutthof and the lenient sentence.

Herta Bothe was a German concentration camp guard during World War II. She was imprisoned for war crimes after the defeat of Nazi Germany, and was subsequently released early from prison on 22 December 1951 as an act of leniency by the British government. She was 6ft3 which must have been quite intimidating for the prisoners.

n September 1942, Bothe became the SS-Aufseherin camp guard at the Nazi German Ravensbrück concentration camp for women. The former nurse took a four-week training course and was sent as an overseer to the Stutthof camp near Danzig (now Gdańsk). There she became known as the “Sadist of Stutthof” due to her merciless beatings of female prisoners. On other accounts he was also know as the “Sadist of Bergen-Belsen”

At the age of 24, she accompanied a death march of women from central Poland to Bergen-Belsen. At the Belsen trial, she claimed that she had stuck prisoners with her hand as a means of discipline but never used an instrument to do so, nor did she claim to have killed anyone. She was sentenced to ten years in prison and is still alive today. In a rare interview she said:

“Did I make a mistake? No. The mistake was that it was a concentration camp, but I had to go to it, otherwise, I would have been put into it myself. That was my mistake.”

That was an excuse former guards often gave. But it was not true. Records show that some new recruits did leave Ravensbrück as soon as they realised what the job involved. They were allowed to go and did not suffer negative consequences.

The Allied soldiers forced her to place corpses of dead prisoners into mass graves adjacent to the main camp. She recalled in an interview some sixty years later that, while carrying the corpses, they were not allowed to wear gloves, and she was terrified of contracting typhus. She said the dead bodies were so rotten that the arms and legs tore away when they were moved. She also recalled the emaciated bodies were still heavy enough to cause her considerable back pain. Bothe was arrested and taken to a prison at Celle.

At the Belsen Trial she was characterized as a “ruthless overseer” and sentenced to ten years in prison for using a pistol on prisoners. Bothe admitted to striking inmates with her hands for camp violations like stealing but maintained that she never beat anyone “with a stick or a rod” and added that she never “killed anyone.” Her contention of innocence was deemed questionable as one Bergen-Belsen survivor claimed to have witnessed Bothe beat a Hungarian Jew named Éva to death with a wooden block while another teenager stated that he saw her shoot two prisoners for reasons he could not understand. Nevertheless, she was released early from prison on 22 December 1951 as an act of leniency by the British government.

Bothe died on March 16,2000 at the age of 79.

sources

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55661782

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/herta-bothe

https://marcuse.faculty.history.ucsb.edu/classes/33d/projects/naziwomen/herta.htm

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125134

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Hans and Ruth Abraham-A positive Holocaust story.

There were millions murdered during the Holocaust, and each of these victims represents a tragic and sad story.

However ,although very few, there were some positive Holocaust stories, but even in the positivity there was an underlying negative story. because it tells a story of disrupted lives.

Hans Leo (Henry in later life) Abraham and his sister Ruth Abraham were the children of Siegfried (born in Ehringshausen, 19 July 1899) and Gerda Abraham – Schwarzstein (born in Berlin, 26 February 1911). Hans was born on September 23, 1933. He and his parents came from Hamburg, Germany and fled to Amsterdam in 1935.

Father Siegfried had worked as a stockbroker in Hamburg, but after emigration became an electrician in the Netherlands. Ruth was born on September 24, 1938 in the Netherlands. The family lived on the Amstelkade in Amsterdam. After the German invasion of the Netherlands, their lives were once again put in danger. Wealthy friends from Hamburg sent them Haitian passports in May 1942. As foreigners, the family was deported first to Westerbork and then to Bergen-Belsen in 1944. They were selected to be part of a prisoner swap in January 1945, taking them first to Switzerland and then to Algeria on August 31, 1945. They remained in the UNRRA camp at Jeanne d’Arc in Philippeville until the end of the war. The family eventually emigrated to the United States in 1946.

source.

Who really betrayed Anne Frank?The real betrayal – no investigation necessary

This is an article written by Eddy Boas, Eddy and his family survived Bergen Belsen. I had the privilege to interview him 2 years ago.

In the article he poses a few interesting question in relation to the investigation to who betrayed Anne Frank.

“Who really betrayed Anne Frank?
The real betrayal – no investigation necessary

WHY did anyone think time and effort should be spent on an investigation to find out who betrayed Anne Frank? Were people who had read her diary asking for such an investigation? Was the Dutch government or Jewish community interested?
As a Dutch-born Holocaust survivor, I am disgusted that the backers of this venture never gave a thought as to how the few hundred Dutch survivors, who are still alive, would feel.
In reality, Anne and her family were no different to the 107,000 Dutch Jews deported to concentration camps.
Anne was born in 1929 in Germany, her parents emigrating to the Netherlands when the Nazis started to harass and kill Jews in the street in the early 1930s. They settled in Amsterdam where her father went into business and Anne went to school. In May 1940, Germany invaded Holland and Jews there became anxious about their future. Many went into hiding, including in July 1942, the Frank family: Father Otto, mother Edith, and daughters Margot and Anne.
On August 4, 1944, Dutch police and Dutch Nazis located the Franks in their hiding place and they were taken to Kamp Westerbork in north-east Holland. Four weeks later on September 3, 1944, they were transported in cattle wagons to Auschwitz.
The Franks would have been discovered by pure luck, or by a neighbour hearing a strange noise, or the police going house to house checking on occupants. This was how most Dutch Jews, in hiding, were discovered.
It is also a fact that the majority of Dutch bureaucrats were kept in their jobs following the occupation. They duly handed over to the Nazis a complete record of the recently held national census which contained details of every Dutch man and woman’s place of residence. It wasn’t difficult to find the Jews

BOTH my parent’s families had lived in Holland for over 200 years
My parents thought they were Dutch Jews. But after the Germans invaded on May 10, 1940, they soon found out they were not Dutch – they were just Jews.
On September 28, 1943, my father, mother, brother and I were forced out of our flat. I was three years old. We were also transported to Kamp Westerbork, and were held there for four months. On February 1,1944, we were transported by train to Bergen-Belsen where we were imprisoned in Star camp.
Our time in Bergen-Belsen overlapped with Anne and Margot’s time there from October 1944 to March 1945.
My father’s job of collecting bodies from arriving trains included Anne and Margot’s train from Auschwitz in October 1944. He always asked if there were any Dutch among the arriving prisoners, in this case Anne and Margot I can assume would have let my father know they were Dutch. My father would then go around the camp and see if he could find any family. In this case, he wouldn’t have been able to.
My family were transported out of Bergen-Belsen on April 9,1945, when we were bundled into cattle wagons destined for Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, to be murdered in gas ovens.
Our train became known as the Lost Train. We were on it with no food for 14 days, when on April 23, 1945, the Russian army liberated us near Trobitz in east Germany.
It took nine weeks before we were able to return to Holland, on June 13, 1945. Unfortunately though, our hell was not over.

IN 1944, the Allies had turned the war around and the German army was under siege with the Americans approaching from the West and the Russians from the East, closing in to liberate Auschwitz.
The Nazi commanders decided to empty the camp of its Jewish prisoners and did so in a particularly cruel way. On January 18,1945, 60,000 mainly Jewish inmates were lined up and marched out of the camp walking towards Wodzislaw 56 km to the west. They were guarded by the SS and their dogs. Nearly 15,000 were murdered. When the remainder reached Wodzislaw, they were forced into cattle wagons destined for concentration camps in the west.
A few months earlier, in mid-October 1944, Jewish women in Auschwitz had been put on trains to camps in the West, among them Anne and Margot
At that time in Bergen- Belsen hundreds were dying each day, starvation. Food was become scarce and eventually non-existent. With the influx of prisoners from the east, thousands were also dying from typhus.
My father’s job in Bergen-Belsen was to go around the camp in a horse and cart and pick up all the dead bodies. From October, there were so many corpses that the crematorium was full so from then on they were put in open graves.
Initially, Anne and Margot were forced into Tent camp, especially built to accommodate the prisoners from Auschwitz. In January, a huge storm destroyed all the tents and the women were moved into the already overcrowded barracks in the women’s camp.
Like everyone else, the Frank sisters had a difficult time in Bergen-Belsen. Nothing could be done for the dying, most died a lonely death. The ones still alive were only barely alive.
Margot died in February and Anne in March – just two of over 50,000 of the camp’s victims
Bergen-Belsen was liberated by British troops just a few weeks later on April 15, 1945.
The Frank family were no different than any other Dutch Jewish family, including my own, who endured the horrors of the Holocaust

AFTER our return to Holland, there was a lack of compassion shown by the Dutch towards surviving Jews. In our case, the stress of dealing with Dutch bureaucracy contributed to my already stressed out father, dying of heart failure in August 1948, when I was just eight years old.
We were not allowed to go back to the flat where we had lived before being deported. We had nowhere to live, no money and no family.
To find out about family assets or insurance became a game of wits between bureaucrats, lawyers and family. Both my parents lost all their loved ones. I never knew grandparents, uncles or aunts. I never had any cousins.
We immigrated to Australia in 1954. To this day, I have never received any compensation from the Dutch government.
Anne’s father Otto, meanwhile, survived and returned to Holland; Anne’s mother had been murdered in Auschwitz.
After the war, Otto’s former secretary Miep Gies handed him Anne’s diary, which he published in June 1947.

IN conclusion, the real betrayal requires no investigation.
Between May 1940 and May 1945, 107,000 Dutch Jews were forced out of their homes, including my family of four and Anne’s family of four. All were transported to German concentration camps.
Of these 107,000, only 5000 survived – 102,000 were murdered. This was the highest number per head of population of any country in western Europe.
Why? It’s simple
The 107,000, including the Boas and Frank families, were betrayed by Dutch bureaucracy, the Dutch police or their Dutch neighbours.
The question of ‘Who betrayed Anne Frank?’ takes away from what she really was, a young innocent girl who was murdered, as were the other 102,000 Dutch Jews, by a bunch of German Nazi fanatics.
In 2016 when, with much publicity, a retired FBI agent was asked to investigate ‘Who betrayed Anne Frank?’. I wondered why anyone would be interested, 73 years after her diary was first published.
What good was this going to do? How was this going to affect the few hundred Dutch Holocaust survivors still alive?
My then 80-year-old brother, who was badly affected by the suffering he endured during the Shoah – especially our 14 months in Bergen-Belsen – was furious. I was annoyed and wrote to the filmmaker Thijs Bayens to try and find out what he wished to accomplish. I never received any answer.
My brother died in 2017.

AFTER Anne’s diary became a bestseller, speculation began over who betrayed the Franks.
The first suspects were the Dutch police who arrested the family, but this was never proven. Then there was speculation an employee called Willem van Maaren betrayed them. Otto lodged a complaint against him with the police, but no evidence was ever produced. Next it was Tony Ahlers, a Dutch Nazi, but nothing could be proven. Lena Hartog, the wife of another Frank employee, also became a suspect but again there was no evidence. Then there was Ans van Dijk, a Jewish woman who when arrested by the police gave them names of Jews she knew were in hiding, but once more there was no evidence.
In short, speculation continued for many years but to this day no one has ever established that the Franks were betrayed by people they knew or by anyone else.
And now we have this latest attempt, which even Bayens admits, doesn’t establish the betrayer with any certainty.
Anne was no different to the tens of thousands of other Dutch Jewish children who died. But her name is being used to point the finger and sell books. She has become a marketing product.
The one thing that marked Anne out is that she wrote a diary, which was found and published. That diary is outstanding and that should have been her legacy, not the conspiracy theories that surround her.

Infoline:
Eddy Boas is a Dutch Holocaust survivor living in Sydney, and the author of ‘I’m not a victim – I am a survivor’.

source

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52257398-i-m-not-a-victim-i-am-a-survivor

My Best Friend Anne Frank

I watched the movie “My best friend Anne Frank” last night, I know it did get quite a bit of criticism when it was first released, I don’t really know why though, of course there was some fictionalisation. However in essence the main story is true. But this is not going to be a movie review.

The story is from the point of view Hannah (Hanneli) Goslar, who like Anne had fled Germany with her family when the Nazis came to power. Anne Frank was her best friend.

What I liked about the story ,it didn’t show Anne as some mythical creature, it showed Anne for who and what she was, a playful young teenage girl. Both girls had interest in fashion, parties and boys. So sad to think that both their lives were interrupted.

In June 1943, Hannah, her father, her maternal grandparents, along with Hannah’s younger sister Gabrielle (“Gabi”), were arrested and sent to the Westerbork transit camp, and then eventually to Bergen-Belsen in February 1944. Hannah was in a slightly more better section of the camp because her family had Paraguayan passports with them. Sometime between January and February 1945, Hannah was briefly reunited with Anne Frank, who was at the other side of the camp. Hannah tossed Anne a package with some bread and socks in it over a hay-filled barbed wire fence dividing the two sections.

In the movie you can hear Anne Frank being upset because someone stole the 1st package Hannah had thrown over the fence. How awful must that have been. There is very little know about the last few weeks of Anne Frank in Bergen Belsen, the movie does give a small glimpse of it.

Hannah and Gabi survived 14 months at Bergen-Belsen. Her father and maternal grandparents died of illnesses before the liberation. She was rescued along with the other survivors of the Lost Train.[6] Hannah and Gabi were the only members of their family to survive the war and, in 1947, they immigrated to Jerusalem.

On the morning of 4 August 1944, the Achterhuis was stormed by a group of German uniformed police (Grüne Polizei) led by SS-Oberscharführer Karl Silberbauer of the Sicherheitsdienst.Anne Frank and all the others who hid in the Achterhuis(annex) were arrested. Only Anne’s father ,Otto, survived.

sources

https://www.volkskrant.nl/kijkverder/v/2021/eregalerij-van-de-nederlandse-fotografie~v439459/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2F

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10360772/

Remembering Elisabeth Huisman-Lees

The 4th of May is the date when all deaths from World War 2( and the last few years also from other conflicts) are remembered. At 8pm a 2 minutes silence is observed nationwide.

There were 7,900 military death, 198,000 civilian deaths, of which 20,000 died between late September 1944 and early May 1945 due to famine. But I will be remembering one victim of the estimated 104,000, Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

Elisabeth Huisman-Lees was born on August 17,1908 in The Hague, Netherlands. She died on May 4,1945 ,one day before the Netherlands was officially liberated, in Tröbitz, Germany.

Like most of the Dutch Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust, Elisabeth was Jewish but above anything else she was Dutch. She even played ‘Korfbal’ which is a typical Dutch sport.It has similarities to netball and basketball, and is played by two teams of eight players with four female players and four male players in each team. The objective is to throw a ball into a netless basket that is mounted on a 3.5 m (11.5 feet) high pole.

Elisabeth is on the right in the middle row

On February 1,1944 Elisabeth was sent from Westerbork to Bergen Belsen. From there she was put on the so called ‘Lost Train: Bergen-Belsen to Tröbitz’.

On April 10, 1945 a transport carrying Jews left Bergen-Belsen with an intended destination of Theresienstadt. However, due to bombings, the train ended up in the German town called Tröbitz.

In early April 1945, prisoners from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp were transferred to Theresienstadt concentration camp.

One of the three trains used for this was liberated by the Russian army near the village of Tröbitz. Many passengers did not survive this train journey. A large number of those who survived the train journey have died as a result of the outbreak of the typhus epidemic. The deceased were buried in a common grave behind the management barracks of the “Hansa” quarry.

211 died on that transport in Tröbitz. The really sad thing is that they all died just before or after the end of the war. Some died in June 1945. The youngest was Raphael Dasberg. He was only 8 years old, he died on April 22,1945.

If I would have to be silent for 2 minutes for each individual Dutch world war 2 victim, I would have to be silent for just over 300 days.

If I would have to remain silent for 2 minutes for each individual Jewish Holocaust victim, I would have to stay silent for 8,3344 days or 22.8 years. 10 years longer then the duration of the Holocaust.

Just think of that for a second.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/149380/elisabeth-huisman-lees

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/135297/raphael-dasberg

https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/60772/

http://www.musiques-regenerees.fr/GhettosCamps/Camps/TheLostTrain_Bergen-BelsenToTroebitz.html

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Elisabeth-Huisman-Lees/01/31022

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The tragic death of Selma Stibbe-Frank -April 30-1945.

April 30,1945 was a day that would have given a great sense of relief for millions around the globe, that was the day that Adolf Hitler decided to take his own life.

However for a few people it was a day filled with tragedy. Four Dutch Jewish citizens died that day in Bergen Belsen. Although the camp had been liberated a few weeks earlier, most of the people remained in the camp because of fear of disease, and also some were just not healthy enough to be moved.

Laurence Wand one of the liberators said this about that time

“The policy was, right from the beginning, was to get people out of that awful place into proper surroundings and you couldn’t take them out until they’d been cleaned and the army had set up a ‘human laundry’ – or was in the process of setting up a ‘human laundry’ – which consisted of trestle
tables, water supply, trestle tables, a clothing dump, a stretcher dump, old clothing to be discarded, fresh clothing to be provided after the inmates would be brought out of the huts, hosed down, washed down, deloused, and then put into fresh clothes and then evacuated from the camp…The primary task of course was to save life and to get people fed, to get them out of the camp into proper conditions where they could be nursed and looked after and saved from dying.”

Unfortunately many still died

Selma Stibbe-Frank was born in Emmen, the Netherlands, on 2 April 1909 . She died because of her treatment by the Nazis in Bergen Belsen on April 1945. Her husband, Maurits Meijer Stibbe, had been murdered in Auschwitz on January 31,1944.

One of the few things which remain of Selma is a certificate, issued on 19 February 1927 by the management of De Bijenkorf, department store. Selma Frank had been working from 15 November 1924 to 19 February 1927 as an office clerk in the Statistics department. The management wrote in the certificate:

‘She has always carried out the tasks she was given to our satisfaction and her behaviour could not be faulted. Miss Frank leaves our company at her own request’.

Selma’s story is just so tragic, although she had been liberated she never got to enjoy her freedom. She died on the same day as the man who was responsible for her death.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/157577/selma-stibbe-frank#intro

The murder of Vrouwtje Gosschalk-van Esso

Each single murder committed during the Holocaust was truly awful, but there are some who even have a sadder element to the death.

Vrouwtje Gosschalk-van Esso was born in Meppel, the Netherlands, on 11 June 1895.Her place and time of death are registered as Bergen-Belsen, 17 April 1945. Her first name Vrouwtje, translates as little woman.

BBergen Belsen was liberated 2 days before her death. Although Bergen Belsen is the registered place of death, Vrouwtje was no longer there.

At the beginning of April 1945, prisoners from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp were transferred in three trains to Theresienstadt concentration camp. Many passengers did not survive this train journey. Vrouwtje Gosschalk-van Esso died on the Wittenberge-Berlin-Lübben section and was buried on the Senftenberg-Schipkau section 300 meters before the railway bridge near the village of Schipkau on the south side of the railway tracks, about 30 meters from a switch.

If she had reached Theresienstadt she may have been liberated only a few days after arriving.

I know some people will say that she died and wasn’t murdered, The fact that she was taken from her home, treated in the most evil and severe ways makes it a murder in my opinion.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/154913/vrouwtje-gosschalk-van-esso