Happy Birthday Anne Frank

Dear Anne, today you would have turned 92, but we all know the history why that didn’t happen.

Some of that history is written in the diary you received on your 13th birthday, June 12 1942.So many people have read that diary, your private thoughts laid bare for the world to see. But I am sure you would not have minded that because aside it being a diary, it is also a historical record. You made sure of that because you could see and hear what was happening around you, You also heeded the call of the exiled Dutch government for people to record as much as they could.

What some people don’t realize if the Nazis would not have got to power, your diary would have looked so much different, it wouldn’t even have been written in Dutch but German, Because if the Nazis had not got to power your parents would not have had to move. Your German diary would have told a different story. The story about a different kind of anxiety. The anxiety of a regular teenage girl. Her first dance, her first kiss and perhaps even of the first time having sex with a boyfriend. The anxiety of seeing each other naked for the first time, and maybe how you blushed the first time he touched your breasts and you touched his penis. Who knows, what would be in that diary? I am not saying this to be disrespectful, far from it, like any other girl you deserved that level of intimacy but you were denied it. But your German diary would have been just that, a diary, only for you to read.

People call you an author. But you weren’t you were just a girl who had the endure something no girl should have to endure.

And like any other girl you had friends.

Lucia “Lucie” van Dijk , a Christian friend from the Montessori school. Lucie’s mother was an adamant member of the NSB,the Dutch Nazi party, until the end of the war, but Lucie’s disillusioned father left the party in 1942. You were shocked when the van Dijks became party members, but your dad ,Otto, patiently explained to her that they could still be good people even if they had distasteful politics.

Rie “Ietje” Swillens was another good friend of yours all the way through Montessori school.

Nanette Blitz Konig who was born on April 6, 1929 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. just a few months older then you. A friend and a class mate . You were in the same class at the Jewish Lyceum.

Like your family ,the Blitz family was arrested and taken to the Westerbork transit camp and from there were deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It was Nannette that reunited you with your sister Margot, in Bergen Belsen. However Nanette survived the war and the Holocaust. She now lives in Brazil.

Then there was another Nanette ; Nanette van Praag Sigaar.

You were also in the same class at the Jewish Lyceum, in Amsterdam. You even wrote about her in your diary. You said “Nannie is a funny, tiny, clever girl. I like her. She is smart.” What you didn’t know is that Nannie was murdered in Auschwitz on November 5,1942, just a few months after you received your diary as a birthday gift.

Your 13th birthday gift is now a gift to us all. Not just a gift but also a stark reminder of what humans are capable of doing to other humans.

You would have been 92 today. Nowadays you may have been famous as one of the first people being vaccinated against the Covid 19 virus. But you were killed by a much worse virus, hate.

Happy Birthday Anne, or rather Van Harte Gefeliciteerd.

sources

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/569313/uit-het-dagboek-van-anne-frank

https://www.geni.com/people/Nanette-van-Praag-Sigaar/6000000047467779849

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5235152/bio

Richard Dimbleby and Dirk Bogarde’s accounts on what they saw in Bergen Belsen

It absolutely amazes me that in this day and age there are still people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened. In fact there appears to be an increase of Holocaust deniers.

Some use the picture above, of liberated women in Bergen Belsen as their ‘evidence’ that the Holocaust was a myth. They say of you look at the picture you can see that the women are healthy and seem to be happy. Well of course they were happy, they had just been liberated and they may appear to be healthy, but they are fully covered up and you can’t see the scars and bruises. Additionally some were ‘healthy’ because the human soul and mind is a powerful thing, they just kept going no matter what.

From late 1944, food rations throughout Bergen-Belsen continued to shrink. By early 1945, prisoners would sometimes go without food for days; fresh water was also in short supply.

Sanitation was totally inadequate, with few toilets and water outlets for the tens of thousands of prisoners imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen at this time. Overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, and the lack of adequate food, water, and shelter led to an outbreak of diseases such as typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and dysentery, causing an ever increasing number of deaths. In the first few months of 1945, tens of thousands of prisoners died.

Despite all of this being well documented there are still some who deny the Holocaust.

The Holocaust did happen, but don’t take my word for it but take the words of 2 neutral and very reputable and trustworthy men, English broadcaster and Journalist Richard Dimbleby, and British actor Dirk Bogarde. Both men had been present at the liberation of Bergen Belsen, These are the accounts of what they saw that day.

Richard Dimbleby

“I have just returned from the Belsen concentration camp where I drove slowly about the place in a Jeep with the chief doctor of the Second Army. I had waited a day before going to the camp so that I could be absolutely sure of the facts now available.

I find it hard to describe adequately the horrible things that I’ve seen and heard but here unadorned are the facts.

There are 40,000 men, women and children in the camp, German and half a dozen other nationalities and thousands of them Jews. Of this total of forty thousand, four thousand two hundred and fifty are acutely ill or dying of virulent disease. Typhus, typhoid, diphtheria, dysentery, pneumonia and childbirth fever are rife.

25,600, three quarters of them women, are either ill from lack of food or are actually dying of starvation.

In the last few months alone thirty thousand prisoners have been killed off or allowed to die. Those are the simple horrible facts of Belsen.

But horrible as they are they can convey little or nothing in themselves.

I wish with all my heart that everyone fighting in this war – and above all those whose duty it is to direct the war from Britain and America – could have come with me through the barbed-wire fence that leads to the inner compound of the camp.

Outside it had been the lucky prisoners – the men and women who had only just arrived at Belsen before we captured it.

But beyond the barrier was a whirling cloud of dust, the dust of thousands of slowly moving people, laden in itself with the deadly typhus germ. And with the dust was a smell, sickly and thick, the smell of death and decay of corruption and filth.

I passed through the barrier and found myself in the world of a nightmare.

Dead bodies, some of them in decay lay strewn about the road.

And along the rutted tracks on each side of the road were brown wooden huts. There were faces at the windows. The bony emaciated faces of starving women too weak to come outside – propping themselves against the glass to see the daylight before they died.

And they were dying, every hour and every minute.

I saw a man wandering dazedly along the road then stagger and fall. Someone else looked down at him, took him by the heels and dragged him to the side of the road to join the other bodies lying unburied there. No one else took the slightest notice, they didn’t even trouble to turn their heads

Behind the huts two youths and two girls who’d found a morsel of food were sitting together on the grass in picnic fashion sharing it. They were not six feet from a pile of decomposing bodies

Inside the huts it was even worse.

I’ve seen many terrible sights in the last five years but nothing, nothing approaching the dreadful interior of this hut at Belsen0

The dead and the dying lay close together

I picked my way over corpse after corpse in the gloom until I heard one voice that rose above the gentle undulating moaning.

I found a girl, she was a living skeleton impossible to gauge her age for she had practically no hair left on her head and her face was only a yellow parchment sheet with two holes in it for eyes. She was stretching out her stick of an arm and gasping something. It was ‘English, English. Medicine, medicine’ And she was trying to cry but had not enough strength.

And beyond her down the passage and in the hut there were the convulsive movements of dying people too weak to raise themselves from the floor. They were crawling with lice and smeared with filth. They had no food for days. For the Germans sent it down into the camp en bloc and only those strong enough to come out of the huts could get it. The rest of them lay there in the shadows growing weaker and weaker

There was no one to take the bodies away when they died. And I had to look hard to see who was alive and who was dead

It was the same outside in the compounds. Men and women lying about the ground and the rest of the procession of ghosts wandering aimlessly about them.

In the shade of some trees lay a great collection of bodies. I walked round them trying to count. There were perhaps a hundred and fifty flung down on each other – all naked, all so thin that their yellow skins glistened like stretched rubber on their bones.

Some of the poor starved creatures whose bodies were there looked so utterly unreal and inhuman that I could have imagined that they had never lived at all. They were like polished skeletons, the skeletons that medical students like to play practical jokes with.

At one end of the pile a cluster of men and women were gathered around a fire. They were using rags and old shoes taken from the bodies to keep it alight and they were heating soup on it.

And close by was the enclosure where 500 children between the ages of five and twelve had been kept. They were not so hungry as the rest for the women had sacrificed themselves to keep them alive.

Babies were born at Belsen, some of them shrunken wizened little things that could not live because their mothers could not feed them.

One woman distraught to the point of madness flung herself at a British soldier who was on guard in the camp on the night that it was reached by the 11th Armoured Division. She begged him to give her some milk for the tiny baby she held in her arms. She laid the mite on the ground, threw herself at the sentry’s feet and kissed his boots. And when in his distress he asked her to get up, she put the baby in his arms and ran off crying that she would find milk for it because there was no milk in her breast. And when the soldier opened the bundle of rags to look at the child he found it had been dead for days.

I have never seen British soldiers so moved to cold fury as the men who opened the Belsen camp this week and those of the police and the RAMC who are now on duty there, trying to save the prisoners who are not too far gone in starvation.

The SS guards who shot several of the prisoners after we’d arrived in the camp when they thought no one was looking are now gathering up all the bodies and carting them away for burial. German prisoners are being sent up for the same sort of work.

Kramer, the SS major who was Commandant of the camp and who had been second-in-command of one of the mass murder camps in Poland lies today in a British prison cage.

As we went deeper into the camp and further from the main gate we saw more and more of the horrors of the place and I realised that what is so ghastly is not so much the individual acts of barbarism that take place in SS camps but the gradual breakdown of civilisation that happens when human beings are herded like animals behind barbed wire. Here in Belsen we were seeing people, many of them lawyers and doctors and chemists, musicians, authors, who’d long since ceased to care about the conventions and the customs of normal life.

There had been no privacy there of any kind. Women stood naked at the side of the track washing in cupfuls of water taken from British Army water trucks. Others squatted while they searched themselves for lice and examined each other’s hair. Sufferers from dysentery leaned against the huts straining helplessly. And all around and about them was this awful drifting tide of exhausted people neither caring nor waiting – just a few held out their withered hands to us as we passed by and blessed the doctor whom they knew had become the camp commander in the place of the brutal Kramer.

We were on our way down to the crematorium where the Germans had burned alive thousands of men and women in a single fire. The furnace was in a hut about the size of a single garage – and the hut was surrounded by a small stockade.

A little Pole whose prison number was tattooed on the inside of his forearm, as it was on all the others, told me how they burned the people. They brought them into the stockade, walked them in and then an SS guard hit them on the back of the neck with a club and stunned them and then they were fed straight into the fire, three at a time, two men, one woman. The opening was not big enough for three men and that I verified by measuring it. They burned 10,000 people in this fire in reprisal for the murder of two SS guards.

And back in the hut by the main gate of the camp I questioned the sergeant who’d been in charge of one of the SS squads. He was a fair-haired gangling creature with tiny crooked ears rather like gerbils and big hands. His SS uniform was undone and dirty; he was writing out his confession while a young North Country anti-tank gunner of the 11th Armored Division kept watch on him with a tommy gun that never moved. I asked him how many people he had killed. He looked vacant for a moment and then he replied ‘oh I don’t remember’.

I have set down these facts of length because in common with all of us who’ve been to the camp I feel that you should be told without reserve exactly what has been happening there.

Every fact I’ve so far given you has been verified but there is one more awful than all the others that I’ve kept to the end.

Far away in a corner of Belsen camp there is a pit the size of a tennis court. It’s 15 feet deep and at one end it’s piled to the very top with naked bodies that have been tumbled in one on top of the other.  Like this must have been the Plague pits in England 300 years ago, only nowadays we can help by digging them quicker with bulldozers, and already there’s a bulldozer at work in Belsen. 

Our army doctors on examining some of these bodies found in their sides a long slit apparently made by someone with surgical knowledge. They made enquiries and they established beyond doubt that in the frenzy of their starvation some of the people of Belsen had taken the wasted bodies of their fellow prisoners and had removed from them the only remaining flesh, the liver and the kidneys to eat.

May I add to this story only the assurance that everything that an army can do to save these men and women and children is being done and that those officers and men who’ve seen these things have gone back to the Second Army moved to an anger such as I have never seen in them before.

Richard Dimbleby, BBC, broadcast April 19th 1945.

Dirk Bogarde wasn’t sure about the date, he thought it was the 13th of April but the camp was liberated on the 15th of April 1945.

“I think it was on the 13th of April—I’m not quite sure what the date was when we opened up Belsen Camp, which was the first concentration camp any of us had seen, we didn’t even know what they were, we’d heard vague rumours that they were. I mean nothing could be worse than that. The gates were opened and then I realised that I was looking at Dante’s Inferno, I mean … I … I still haven’t seen anything as dreadful. And never will. And a girl came up who spoke English, because she recognised one of the badges, and she … her breasts were like, sort of, empty purses, she had no top on, and a pair of man’s pyjamas, you know, the prison pyjamas, and no hair. But I knew she was girl because of her breasts, which were empty. She was I suppose, oh I don’t know, twenty four, twenty five, and we talked, and she was, you know, so excited and thrilled, and all around us there were mountains of dead people, I mean mountains of them, and they were slushy, and they were slimy, so when you walked through them … or walked—you tried not to, but it was like …. well you just walked through them, and she … there was a very nice British MP [Royal Military Police], and he said ‘Don’t have any more, come away, come away sir, if you don’t mind, because they’ve all got typhoid and you’ll get it, you shouldn’t be here swanning-around’ and she saw in the back of the jeep, the unexpired portion of the daily ration, wrapped in a piece of the Daily Mirror, and she said could she have it, and he” [the Military Police] “said ‘Don’t give her food, because they eat it immediately and they die, within ten minutes’, but she didn’t want the food, she wanted the piece of Daily Mirror—she hadn’t seen newsprint for about eight years or five years, whatever it was she had been in the camp for. … she was Estonian. … that’s all she wanted. She gave me a big kiss, which was very moving. The corporal” [Military Police] “was out of his mind and I was just dragged off. I never saw her again, of course she died. I mean, I gather they all did. But, I can’t really describe it very well, I don’t really want to. I went through some of the huts and there were tiers and tiers of rotting people, but some of them who were alive underneath the rot, and were lifting their heads and trying …. trying to do the victory thing. That was the worst.”

sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/richard-dimbleby-describes-belsen/zvw7cqt

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/bergen-belsen

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Kindertehuis-Home for Children

I came across date about the ‘Voormalig Rotterdams kindertehuis’ or Former Rotterdam home for Children. Initially I was a bit confused. I wanted to find out more so I looked in some Rotterdam archives, then I noticed that the actual home was in Arnhem. To make it even more confusing the address was Amsterdamscheweg 1, as in Amsterdam way 1.

The story behind this home is very sad and disturbing. The original name was Villa Marguerita , but after the bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940, Dr Wolff who was an ENT(Ear Nose Throat) Doctor originally from Berlin, became the director of the boys home. Eventually it became home for about 80 Jewish boys and girls, and later on some elderly Jewish citizens from Arnhem. For a short time it even functioned as a Jewish Hospital.

In December 1942, the deportation of the residents of the home , to Westerbork started. From there they were send to Auschwitz,Sobibor and Bergen Belsen. As far as I could find out none of the residents survived.

The youngest resident was Esther de Leeuw ,born 4 September 1942 in Arnhem. Murdered in Sobibor, 23 July 1943. Only 10 months old.

Kurt Rosenbaum was born in Berlin 2 April 1927 and was murdered Bergen-Belsen, 9 April 1945, a week after his 18th birthday.

I don’t know when this picture was taken, but the look in Kurt’s eyes is chilling. He clearly had got to the age where he knew what was happening around him and what fate would await him.

NEVER AGAIN

Sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/35441/voormalig-rotterdams-kindertehuis

Holocaust Obituary

This broke my heart.

On September 14, 1945 an obituary appeared in the Nieuw Israëlitisch Weekblad, which was a Dutch Jewish weekly newspaper, it was an obituary for several generations of one family:

George Sandelowsky (father and father-in-law), who had died on February 25 as a result as the awful conditions in Bergen Belsen concentration camp. aged 66. Occupation: Wholesale dealer

Peterle Sandelowsky died on March 15 1945 ,aged 8 months described as ‘our little sunshine and hope for the future’ In fact Peterle was only 7 months old. Peterle was born in Westerbork on August 2 1944. A short life lived entirely in concentration camps. Before you read further I want you to leave this sink in for a minute.

Gitella Cohn-Pels ,mother and mother-in-law),at age 52. died on April 2, 1945

Aron Cohn ,father and father-in-law, whom ‘ had to be left behind dying on April 9,1945, They had to presume due to the fact they could find out no further information he died the same was as his loving wife. However it appears he was liberated but he still died on June 30 1945 in Tröbitz. Occupation: Manager

Rosa Sandelowsky-Wulff ,mother and mother-in-law, who had died of typhus in Tröbitz at age 53 on May 17,1945 . She could offer no more resistance to the Typhus she had been subjected to On May 17 he brave heart broke. A heart that had beat her entire life for her family, for her husband and children.

I believe the obituary was placed by Fritz Sandelowsky, Eva Goldberger and Otto Sandelowsky

Such a sad and poignant story . A snapshot of a tragedy so hard to fathom.

I found this obituary on the Joods Monument website , but after doing a bit more research I found the entire 14 September 1945 edition of the Nieuw Israëlitisch Weekblad. Next to the obituary were a few more notifications, most of them are looking for information on the whereabouts of loved ones.

Just a simple newspaper, but such an important piece of a historical record of the Holocaust. Never forget.

Sources

http://resolver.kb.nl/resolve?urn=ddd:010858268:mpeg21:pdf

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/25101/aaron-cohn

Otto Frank

On this day 40 years ago. Otto Frank passed away, aged 91.

On may 15 1945 he wrote the following letter while on board the Monowai steamship. This was exactly 5 years after the Dutch had capitulated to the Germans.

“The closer we get to home the greater our impatience to hear from our loved ones. Everything that’s happened the past few years! Until our arrest I don’t know exactly what caused it, even now, at least we still had contact with each other. I don’t know what’s happened since then. Kugler and Kleiman and especially Miep and her husband and Bep Voskuil provided us with everything for two whole years, with incomparable devotion and sacrifice and despite all danger. I can’t even begin to describe it. How will I ever begin to repay everything they did. But what has happened since then? To them, to you to Robert [Otto’s brother]. Are you in touch with Julius and Walter? [Edith Frank’s brothers] All our possessions are gone. There won’t be a pin left, the Germans stole everything. Not a photo, letter or document remains. Financially we were fine in the past few years, I earned good money and saved it. Now it’s all gone. But I don’t think about any of that. We have lived through too much to worry about that kind of thing. Only the children matter, the children. I hope to get news from you immediately. Maybe you’ve already heard news about the girls”

We all know Anne and Margot’s history but we know little about their Fathert Otto.

During WW1 he enlisted in the German army 1915. He was part of a ‘Lichtmesstrupp’, a unit that analysed where enemy artillery fire came from.In 1917 he was promoted in the field to lieutenant and served at the Battle of CambraiIn

In 1933 due to the rise of Nazism in Germany he moved his family to the Netherlands, eventually settling in Amsterdam. In 1937 he had plans setting up a business in Great Britain, but the plans never worked out.

He tried to obtain a Visa for the USA but this was denied.

In July 1942 the Frank family and other went into hiding in the secret annex in the company building on the Prinsengracht.

On 4 August 1944, Dutch police officers headed by SS-Hauptscharführer Karl Josef Silberbauer unexpectedly raided the Secret Annex. The hiding place had been discovered. Otto and the other people in hiding were arrested.

In September,1944 Otto Frank was separated forever from his wife and daughters.

After the separation on the Auschwitz-Birkenau platform, Otto was at first as put to work outside the camp in the ‘Kommando Kiesgrube’, a gravel mine,whichl was used for construction projects. Then, he was transferred to the ‘Kommando Strassenbau’, building roads outside the camp. When the frost made working outdoors impossible, Otto ended up with less exhausting work like peeling potatoes. Otto felt greatly supported by Peter van Pels, who would sometimes be able to get some extra food through his job in the camp’s post office. He was also helped by other friends in the camp. When at one point, Otto lost hope after he had been beaten, his fellow inmates, with the help of a Dutch doctor, made sure that he was admitted to the sick barracks. When the Soviet troops came closer, the camp command cleared Auschwitz. Anyone who was able to walk, had to come along this march, which turned out to be a death march Otto stayed behind walkin the sick barracks. He was too weak to travel, weighed only 52 kg and was in no condition to join.He expected to be shot but was liberated by the Soviet troops on January 27,1945.

As soon as Otto regained his strenghth, he wanted nothing more than to return to the Netherlands. Since the war was still raging in large parts of Europe, he had to make a long detour. In Odessa (then in the Soviet Union, today in Ukraine) he got on board of the ‘Monowai’, a ship that was heading towards Marseille (France), with hundreds of other survivors.

Di

During this journey he found out that his wife had died in Auschwitz.

His hope that Anne and Margot might have survived were quashed in July 1945, when he met with the Brilleslijper sisters, who had been imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen with Anne and Margot. They told him about their miserable last months and about their deaths due to illness and exhaustion.

Otto Frank married former Amsterdam neighbor and fellow Auschwitz survivor,Elfriede Geiringer in Amsterdam on 10 November 1953, and the couple moved to Basel, Switzerland, where he had family, including relatives’ children, with whom he shared his experiences.

Source

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

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Anne & Kitty

kitty

If there is one thing that Anne Frank’s diary teaches us ,it’s the importance of context. If you take her diary out of context it probably is quite a boring book. But if you leave it in the context and the time it was written in it becomes a powerful story of daily life and the reality of the Holocaust. However what makes it more powerful ten anything else is not how it was written but how it should have ended.

The diary ends abrupt because all those hiding in the annex were arrested in August 1944 and then were deported to several camps, of the 8 people only Anne’s father,Otto, survived. Anne died in Bergen Belsen. Her story should no have ended in death but in survival

The book “The Diary of a Young Girl”  really should never have been written or published, because Anne and her family really should never have been put in the situation that they had to hide,nor should they have ever had to flee their home in Frankfurt, because they were no enemies of any state they were just a normal family, minding their own business .

anne

The book has some versions with an introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt and in here lies an irony, if her husband had granted the visa to Otto Frank, The Visa Otto Frank had applied for at a time where it was quite clear what fate the Jews awaited in Europe, if that visa had been accepted then the book would never have been published.

To Anne it wasn’t only a diary it was also het best friend she called Kitty, a way of telling her friend of what was happening around her. Some people have criticized Otto Frank for publishing the book in the firts place because they felt it was a violation of the privacy of his youngest daughter, these people do not realize that Anne had wanted her diary to be made public anyway. Shortly after D-Day the Dutch government in exile had announced via Radio Orange BBC, that all documented records would be treated as evidence, that’s why Anne edited her diary so it could be used as a work of evidence.

The Dutch government however treated their Jewish citizens poorly after the war. Many could not return to their homes because others lived there then. Sometimes they were issued with bills for tax arrears.

It was only on January 26,2020 the Dutch prime minister issued an apology for the treatment of the Jews.It was on the 80th birthday of the survivor and campaigner for the apology,Eddy BoasJust 1 day before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

train

75% or 104,000 of all Dutch Jews were murdered during the Shoah, this was by the far the highest number of Jews,per capita, in all of Europe. The contradictory though is that in February 1941, the Dutch went on strike en mass to protest against the treatment of Jews by the Nazi regime. This was the only mass collective act of defiance against the Nazis in the occupied territories.

I watched the documentary  #AnneFrank – Parallel Stories last night. I didn’t really like the insincerity and overacting of Hellen Mirrens’s reading of the diary but it was a powerful documentary nonetheless, In the film ,Ronald Leopold, the Executive Director of the Anne Frank House said something very important and something I totally agree with, it does explain to an extend why so many of the Dutch Jews were deported and murdered. It was all about choices , some choose to resist, some choose to collaborate but the majority choose to do nothing.

We all have to ensure that we never ever choose to do nothing again. The fight against Holocaust denial and anti semitism should not be on the shoulders of the survivors and their families, it is a fight we all must fight otherwise words like Never Again or Nver Forget become hollow slogans.

Anne Frank had Kitty to relay her message to, we have the whole world via internet and social media.

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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Sources

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51258081

https://www.netflix.com/ie/title/81264660

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-netherlands

 

Interview with Eddy Boas 26.06.2020. Survivor of Bergen Belsen.

eddy boas

My interview with Eddy Boas survivor of Bergen Belsen and author of I am not a victim, I am a survivor.

5000 bodies

5000

One sign, 2 languages, 5000 bodies.

A sign that explains that a number of 5000 bodies are buried there. No individual graves with head stones. No individual places where family members leave small artifacts or flowers.

No place to gather around a single grave to say a prayer.

Some of those 5000 may have been complete families wiped out by the worst disease of all, hate. Hate because they were different, and yet they were not. They were the same human beings who experience sunlight  and rain in exactly the same way as anyone else.

They were killed by hate fueled by a sick and twisted political ideology.

The sign was posted in Bergen Belsen. The sad thing is that those 5000 were only 10% of all who were killed there. But even before they died there poor sanitary conditions, and not enough adequate food, water, and shelter which  led to an outbreak of  horrible diseases like typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and dysentery. Thousands died in the last few months of the camp. They were so near to liberation and yet they were so far.

So much potential destroyed, and why??

5000 nameless but not forgotten.

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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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Louis Asscher-Bergen Belsen victim

Louis

Bergen Belsen was liberated on April 15,1945. For many it was a true liberation but for others liberation came too late. Even for many of those who were liberated on that day it was still too late.

They were either so ill or malnourished that they did not survive,  After liberation nearly 14,000 people died.

Louis Asscher was one of those 14,000 , he died on April 19, just 4 days after liberation. He was an office clerk when the war broke out he and his wife took German Jewish refugees into their home in Amsterdam

But it wasn’t long before he and his family had to prepare for deportation themselves. He packed his phylacteries, prayer books, 25 sheets of paper and pieces of charcoal in his backpack.

Although Louis was an office clerk he was also an artist and while he was in Bergen Belsen he drew a series of sketches, some are as haunting as they are beautiful.

Half a loaf of bread

brood

Roll call square and barrack 11- “the Hunger barrack”

role call

Watchtower

watchtower

Death bed

death bed

Louis has 4 children, they all survived. If there is one small consolation, and I mean a tiny one at least Louis died a free man.

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Sources

https://beeldbankwo2.nl/nl/beelden/?mode=gallery&view=horizontal&q=Bergen%20Belsen&rows=25&page=1&record=d201597e-025a-11e7-904b-d89d6717b464

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/515544/about-louis-asscher

The conditions at Bergen Belsen.

Bergen Belsen

I was in two minds on how to do this blog. Initially I was considering adding graphic pictures to accompany the text , but then I thought that the pictures may just be too horrific and it would turn people away from reading the text. Additionally there would be a chance that this blog would be deleted on social media outlet, and there would be a chance that I’d get banned again.

Therefore on this occasion I believe the text will be more then sufficient to give an understanding how the conditions were in Bergen Belsen.

It was originally established as a prisoner of war camp, in 1940. However in 1943, parts of it became a concentration camp. The camp was liberated on April 15,1945.

liberated sign

Below are 2 testimonies of witnesses, describing the horrors of the camp. The first account is a part of a description of conditions at the camp on 16 April, 1945, taken from file WO 235/19/76008 at the National Archives UK. The author’s name is not mentioned.

The second account is from  survivor Dora Almaleh, prepared for British War Crimes Tribunal, 13 June 1945 .

compound

Men’s Compounds.

No.1.

Typhus was on the wane and reached its peak in March. It is understood that it commenced early in February.

No. 2

This was the largest men’s compound and contained approx 8,000. Typhus had commenced here at a later date than in Compound 1 and had now reached its peak. There were 266 cases and new cases were still occurring, but the medical members considered the worst was over. It was in this Compound that the story of cannibalism was reported to me by one of the doctors. There had been none for the last 2 days but before that there had been many cases.

account

Transcript

IN THE MATTER OF WAR CRIMES

AND

ATTROCITIES AT BELSEN

DEPOSITION OF DORA ALMALEH (Female) late of 19B Othos Peve Ganna, Salonika, Greece, sworn before Major SAVILE GEOFFREY CHAMPION, Royal Artillery, Legal Staff, No. 1 War Crimes Investigation Team.

1. I am 21 years of age and because I am a Jewess I was arrested on 1st April 1942 and taken to Auschwitz Concentration Camp where I remained until I was transferred to Belsen in November 1944.

2. I recognize No. 2 on photograph 22 as an S.S. woman at Belsen. I knew here by the name of HILDE and I have now been told that her full name is HILDE LISIEWITZ. One day in April 1945 whilst at Belsen I was one of a working party detailed to carry vegetables from the store to the kitchen by means of a hand card. In charge of this working party was LISIEWITZ. Whilst I was on this job I allowed two male prisoners, whose names I do not know, to take two turnips off the cart. LISIEWITZ saw me do this and she pushed the men, who were very weak to the ground and then beat them on their heads with a thick stick which she always carried. She then stamped on their chests in the region of the heart with her jack-boots. The men lay still clutching the turnips. LISIEWITZ then got hold of me and shook me until I started to cry. She the said ‘Don’t cry or I’ll kill you too’.

(In the picture below)Hilde Lisiewitz is second from the left)

guards

She then went away and after 15 minutes I went up to the men and touched them to see if they were still alive. I formed the opinion that they were dead. I felt their hearts and could feel nothing. They were cold to the touch like dead men. I then went away leaving the bodies lying there and I do not know what happened to them.

3. I recognize No. 1 on photograph No. 5 as an S.S. man at Belsen who was in charge of the bread store. I have now been told that his name is KARL EGERSDORF. One day in April 1945 whilst at Belsen I was working in the vegetable store when I saw a Hungarian girl, whose name I do not know, come out of the bread store nearby carrying a loaf of bread. At this moment EGERSDORF appeared in the street and at a distance of about 6 meters from the girl shouted ‘What are you doing here?’. The girl replied ‘I am hungry’ and then started to run away. EGERSDORF immediately pulled out his pistol and shot the girl. She fell down and lay still bleeding from the back of the head where the bullet had penetrated. EGERSDORF then went away and a few minutes later I went and looked at the girl. I am sure she was dead and men who were passing by looked at her and were of the same opinion. The bullet had entered in the centre of the back of the head.

(In the picture below,Karl Egersdorf is first on the left. )

male gurads

I do not know what happened to her body.

SWORN BY THE SAID DEPONENT DORA ALMALEH AT BELSEN THIS 13TH DAY OF JUNE 1945, BEFORE ME

S.G. Champion [Signed]

Major R.A.

I HEREBY CERTIFY that, the said Deponent not understanding English, this Affidavit was translated in my presence to the said Deponent before swearing and I am satisfied that its contents were fully understood by the said Deponent.

Dated this 13th day of JUNE 1945. S.G.Champion[signed] Major R.A. I HEREBY CERTIFY that I have accurately translated this Affidavit to the said Deponent. Dated this 13th day of JUNE 1945. [signed] It appears to be a matter for medical evidence as to whether it is possible for a human body to have lost its warmth by death within 15 minutes, even where the man was in a weak state and had been savagely assaulted.

S.G.Champion

Major R.A.

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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Sources

The National Archives UK Government.