Scrappy invaluable bits of paper.

letter

This week the painting with the name “Haystacks” by Claude Monet was sold for $110 Million.But that value pales compared to the value of the scrappy bits of paper which contained the last words of those who were killed in the Holocaust.

Those bits of paper are invaluable and no amount of money on earth, could ever reflect their value.

The letter at the start of the blog was written by Martijn Konijn on January 11,1943 It was mots probably smuggled out of Westerbork, It is not clear to who it was addressed to but it must have been either a Brother or Sister in Law. The letter is in Dutch but below is the translation.

“Westerbork 11/1 ‘43

I write you because than I am sure it will arrive.

Today on transport to the east I salute you all family and friends.

I hope you won’t forget me en hope to see all of you again.

Don’t send anything to Westerbork because I won’t be there.

Show all people who know me, this card. It is a pity but cannot do anything about it.

Bye. Your brother in law Martijn.

MARTIJN KONIJN Westerbork B66.

The latter below was the last sign of life of Leendert Arbeid. he died in 26 February 1943.

Leendert

It can’t make out the address at the to of the letter but it was written on February 23,1942. This letter is also in Dutch .

letter 2

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Today we went on transport.Think as long as possible about Jeff and Stella who are in Vught(another camp).Warn the family, also Abram and Gina, Hoping to see each other again some day. Leendert en Jet.

Many kisses and greetings to everyone also (can’t make out the first name) Bandy and Sophie.

Leendert had been married to Henriette Achtsteribbe(I believe he calls her Jet in the letter). They got married on March 24,1920. They both died on February 26, 1943 in Auschwitz.

akte

The story of Louis van Leeuwen is probably the saddest of the three. His famly don’t even know the exact date or place where he died.

louis van leeuwen

The Dutch Red Cross declared on the 27th of  November 1951 that Louis died   not earlier than 15-01-1945 and latest 02-02-1945, somewhere in the Middle of Europe,either Auschwitz or Gross Rosen.

declaratie

Below is the last letter Louis wrote, he addressed it to his wife but I could not trace the name of his wife, the letter is in Dutch with the English translation below.

Louis

 

“Dearest wife

In relation to my health, I am well, Via this way I want to let you know that Riba and many other seamstresses have received a letter to come to the “Centralstelle” with proof of identification to receive a stamp.Inform yourself once more how it is with(after that there is a line I couldn’t read because it was in a crease of the paper)

I got dressed again but I will stay at home, therefore my value won’t decrease because I remain at home the whole day.

Strength in your knees and much power/

Your loving husband and reliance.

Louis van Leeuwen”

Louis’s sister was Roza van Leeuwen. She married Salomon Arbeid in July 1948. Salomon was the son of Leendert and Henriette Arbeid.

Bruidspaar

Although those last few words of those three men were written on scrappy bits of pieces. Those bits of papers have become invaluable for their loved ones who survived.

 

 

Donation

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Sources

Holocaust History Archive

Joods Monument.

 

The last words

05s

This may sound strange but is often easier to look at  graphic images of the Holocaust, because throughout the years I have seen so many that nothing actually shocks me anymore.

But seeing the last words of the victims has such a profound effect. With images you close your eyes or look away and although there is a memory of that picture, the impact gets lesser when you look away.

However the words are forever etched in your soul, they are the cries from eternity.

“Blanche, if it’s a boy, name him Jacob Ben Meier. If it’s a girl, name her Rachel.”

03s

Meier Vieijra was born on 26 December 1918 in Amsterdam.

In 1939, Meier married Blanche Nabarro

Meier’s parents lived in central Amsterdam, near the Portuguese Synagogue on the Jonas Daniel Meijerplein, the square that became the scene of the first large round-up of Jews in Amsterdam, on 22-23 February 1941. On 22 February, Meier was on his way to visit his mother when he was brutally arrested on the stairs of her apartment building.  Together with some 400 young Dutch Jewish men, he was taken to the Jonas Daniel Meijer Square and then deported, initially to Buchenwald and from there to Mauthausen. Most of the deportees were murdered within a few months.

On 31 August, Blanche received what turned out to be the last letter from her husband, in which he said: Blanche, if it’s a boy, name him Jacob Ben Meier. If it’s a girl, name her Rachel.

Blanche gave birth to a baby daughter on 2 October 1941 and called her Rachel.

A letter written by Blanche to Meier in Mauthausen on 14 October 1941 was returned to sender. Meier was murdered on 17 September 1941.

“Dear Blanche,

Thank you for your letters and money orders. Today I have the opportunity to write to you. Blanche, please thank Aunt Aggelen for the money order. You ask in your letter if you can send me 15 RM weekly.  It is probably allowed. Blanche, if it will be a boy, name him Jacob Ben Meier. If it is a girl, name her Rachel.”

“Dear Mummy and Daddy… I also kiss and hug both of you very tight
Yours, Edik”

03s (1)

Edik, who had just started learning to write, wrote these words to his parents, Klara and Lazer. That was the last they heard from their seven-year-old son.

letter1

“Dear Mummy and Daddy,
Today it has been raining all day.
I am playing with Vitya and Grisha.
I kiss and hug both of you very tight,
Yours, Edik”

Letter sent to Edik’s dad Lazer Tonkonogi on 22 April 1944, in which he is informed that his family members have been murdered.

Tashkent, Maxim Gorky St. […]6
For Mr. Tonkonogi c/o Czelirovksi

Dear Mr. Tonkonogi,
We received your letters, and we have the answers to your questions.  Only six people remain out of the residents of Satanov.  The rest of the Jewish population, amongst them your family members, were murdered by the fascist barbarians. Boris Kuperstein, Walodia Liptzan, Leida Ichilov and Motya Eizkov survived. You don’t know the other survivors.
Your neighbors
22 April 1944

Tashkent, Maxim Gorky St. […]6
For Mr. Tonkonogi c/o Czelirovks

Do you still remember the songs? I also sing them.”

07s

Leah Jurgrau wrote these words to her 8-year-old daughter Ruth in her last letter from Westerbork. Ruth was in hiding in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

04s

When the war broke out, the Jurgraus tried unsuccessfully to flee the Netherlands. In the summer of 1942, Dov found a hiding place in an apartment in Groningen, where he was joined by his daughter, Ruth.  Meanwhile, Leah hid in the home of Dutch friends, the Buursma family, in Amsterdam.  Tragically, Leah was caught and sent to the Westerbork transit camp, and deported from there to her death in Sobibor in 1943.

11s

22 November 1942

“Darling!
The letter and the drawing were wonderful.  Everyone loves the drawing.  Did you draw it with your left or right hand?
I’m glad that you are in a good place with the two little ones.  Are you sure that you are happy? I hope you are behaving like a big girl, and playing nicely with the children.
Lots of kisses to the three of you.
L [Leah]
Do you still remember the songs? I also sing them.”

09s

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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Saw a bird of paradise today

bop_lesser

Contrary to the title and the picture above, this is not going to be a piece on ornithology.

“Saw a bird of paradise today.”were some of the words that,Stanley McTacket wrote as he  prepared to go into battle on the Kokoda Track on August 19, 1942, Stanley McTackett took a moment to write a letter to his mother.

“Mum, we all write these letters and leave them at the base to be posted in case we are killed.When you receive this letter, please don’t grieve too much as we will know that I died trying to help save Australia.I am sorry I will not be able to help you in your old age and repay you for all the trouble I was”

Few of the young men, if any, were expected to survive the enemy’s onslaught.But Mr McTackett made it through one of the toughest battles of World War II, and his letter was never sent.

stanley-mctackett

Not everyone was as fortunate as Mr McTackett, he passed away in 2011 aged 92.But his words are still poignant and reflect the mindset and emotions of those brave men who were willing to sacrifice their lives.

Below are some farewell messages and death notices of those who were less fortunate then Mr McTackett.The letters are from both sides of the divide.

Captain Kuno Last Letter to his Children

capkunofinal

Dear Masanori and Kiyoko,

Even though you cannot see me, I will always be watching you. Obey your mother, and do not trouble her. When you grow up, follow a path you like and grow to be fine Japanese persons. Do not envy the father of others, since I will become a spirit and closely watch over you two. Both of you, study hard and help out your mother with work. I cannot be your horse to ride, but you two be good friends. I am an energetic person who flew a large bomber and finished off all the enemy. Please be persons who rise above me and so avenge my death.
From Father

This letter was written by a Lt. who was with the 34th Bomb Squadron, 17th Group

 

My Dearest One,

Nothing much new and also it is quite late so as usual a short shorty to say hello and to let you know how much I love you.
At present I am listening to Bob Hope guess I forgot to tell you that we now have a radio. It is an Italian job, we bought it from Bohlan. He is going home so we took it off his hands. Spent a very busy day. Can’t remember doing a thing but I guess I did manage to stay on my feet.
Say I believe that a tan is developing, not sure as yet but the red seems to be changing color. At present I am quite a two tone job, imagine I will remain that way too because I don’t dare chance getting my rear sunburned (spend too much time on that thing) Hope you don’t get frightened when you see this two toned job advancing toward you in your boudoirs. Certainly hope that time isn’t far off.
Well sweetheart I must say goodnight for now and a million kisses. Write often sweet I love so much to get your letters and I haven’t had any for three days. I love you darling with all my heart, body and soul.

Always your husband,

HG Johns – War Department Letter of Death Notification – 17 July 1945

hgjohns-war-department-letter-of-notification-photo-01

The Acton Family

The letter was sent from the Minister of War Transport to Mrs Evelyn Acton of Whitehaven, Cumbria. It told Evelyn one of her sons was ‘supposed drowned’. Another son, William Acton, was also lost on the same vessel.

ea65d8246ebc21926aadd093498eaa78bb1c4694

Berkely Square House, W1
19th May 1943,

Dear Madam,

It is with the deepest regret that I have learned that your son, Mr George Acton, who was serving in the Merchant Navy as A.B. has been recorded as supposed drowned whilst on service with his ship.

By command of His Majesty the King the names of those members of the Merchant Navy who have given their lives in the service of their country are recorded in the Merchant Navy Roll of Honour. I am now adding Mr. Acton’s name to the Roll of Honour, and, as I do so, wish to express my admiration for the services he rendered and to convey to you and your family my profound sympathy in your sad bereavement.

Your son worthily upheld the noble traditions of the Merchant Navy and I may perhaps hope that the realisation of this fact may help to soften the heavy blow which has fallen upon you.

Believe me,
Yours sincerely,
‘Leathers’
Minister of War Transport

Mrs. Eveline Acton,
93, George Street,
Whitehaven.

Frank M. Elliott

June 5, 1944

Darling,

. . . This is a beautiful summer evening, darling. I am sitting at the kitchen table (and not even noticing the noise of the refrigerator) from which place by merely lifting my head and looking out the window I can gaze upon a truly silvery, full moon. It’s beautiful, dear — really beautiful, and it has succeeded in making me very sentimental. I had begun to think that I was becoming immune to the moon’s enchantment — so often I have looked at it without you and to keep myself from going mad told myself “It’s pretty, yes — but, so what?”. . . That’s not the way it really is though, darling — the sight of that shining moon up there — the moon that shines on you, too — fills me with romance — ; and even though it’s just a dream now, it’s a promise of a glorious future with one I love more than life. The darned old moon keeps shining for us, darling — and even as it now increases that inescapable loneliness, it also increases my confidence in the future. I truly love you . . .

 

Frank was killed the day after on D-Day

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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