Edith Stein- AKA Teresa Benedict of the Cross.

Edith-Stein

Today is the 30th anniversary of the beatification of Edith Stein by Pope John Paul II.Her story intrigued me, not because I am a Catholic and I pray to saints, but because Edith Stein’s life has remarkable similarities to another converted Jewish woman called Luise Löwenfels, who was deported from my birth place.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/03/24/forgotten-history-luise-lowenfels/

Both women had fled Germany and moved to the Netherlands,in fact they had met while in the Netherlands because the convents they belonged to were only a few miles from each other. And both fates were intertwined.

Edith Stein, also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, (12 October 1891 – 9 August 1942), was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She is canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church.

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In the midst of all her studies, Edith Stein was searching not only for the truth, but for Truth itself and she found both in the Catholic Church, after reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila. She was baptized on New Year’s Day, 1922.

After her conversion, Edith spent her days teaching, lecturing, writing and translating, and she soon became known as a celebrated philosopher and author, but her own great longing was for the solitude and contemplation of Carmel, in which she could offer herself to God for her people. It was not until the Nazi persecution of the Jews brought her public activities and her influence in the Catholic world to a sudden close that her Benedictine spiritual director gave his approval to her entering the Discalced Carmelie Nuns’ cloistered community at Cologne-Lindenthal on 14 October 1933. The following April, Edith received the Habit of Carmel and the religious name of “Teresia Benedicta ac Cruce,” and on Easter Sunday, 21 April 1935, she made her Profession of Vows.

When the Jewish persecution increased in violence and fanaticism, Sister Teresa Benedicta soon realized the danger that her presence was to the Cologne Carmel, and she asked and received permission to transfer to a foreign monastery. On the night of 31 December 1938, she secretly crossed the border into Holland where she was warmly received in the Carmel of Echt.

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There she wrote her last work, The Science of the Cross.

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Stein’s move to Echt prompted her to be more devout and an even greater subscriber to the Carmelite rule. After having her teaching position revoked by the implementation of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, Stein quickly eased back into the role of instructor at the convent in Echt, teaching both fellow sisters and students within the community Latin and philosophy.

Even prior to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Stein believed she would not survive the war, going as far to write the Prioress to request her permission to “allow [Stein] to offer [her]self to the heart of Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement for true peace” and created a will. Her fellow sisters would later recount how Stein began “quietly training herself for life in a concentration camp, by enduring cold and hunger” after the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands in May, 1940.

Ultimately, she was not safe in the Netherlands. The Dutch Bishops’ Conference had a public statement read in all the churches of the nation on 20 July 1942 condemning Nazi racism. In a retaliatory response on 26 July 1942 the Reichskommissar of the Netherlands, Arthur Seyss-Inquart ordered the arrest of all Jewish converts who had previously been spared.

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Along with two hundred and forty-three baptized Jews living in the Netherlands, Stein was arrested by the SS on 2 August 1942. Stein and her sister, Rosa, were imprisoned at the concentration camps of Amersfoort and Westerbork before being deported to Auschwitz. A Dutch official at Westerbork was so impressed by her sense of faith and calm,he offered her an escape plan. Stein vehemently refused his assistance, stating, “If somebody intervened at this point and took away her chance to share in the fate of her brothers and sisters, that would be utter annihilation.”

On 7 August 1942, early in the morning, 987 Jews were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. It was probably on 9 August that Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, her sister, and many more of her people were killed in a mass gas chamber.

 

Pinkpop: the death of an institute.

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PinkPop is the oldest and longest running annual dedicated pop and rock music festival in the world.

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It started in 1970 in the former mining town of Geleen in the south east of the Netherlands. It stayed there until 1986. In 1987 it moved north a bit to Baarlo and since 1988 it has been held in the town of Landgraaf.

In 2017  though it  decided to commit artistic and musical suicide by announcing that the 2017 headliner would be be Justin Bieber.

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It is sad to see this legendary institution which originated in my home town taking its own life.

Let’s just have a look back at some of the legendary bands who performed there in the past.

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RIP Pinkpop, it was good while it lasted.

Forgotten History-The Jews from Geleen 1940-1944.

During the war Geleen was a small mining town in the South-East of the Netherlands in the province of Limburg. Above are 2 maps the first one is of the Netherlands and the other one is of the greater Geleen Sittard area, just to give you a geographical sense of the place.

Due to the close proximity to Germany many Jews escaped to Limburg in the 1930’s. The Netherlands was a neutral country so the Jewish community thought they were safe.

Geleen itself had a relatively small Jewish community but significant enough for a town with a population of approximately 15,000 at the time.The exact number of Jews living in Geleen is not known but it is estimated there were 67.

Rather then going in to each individual account I will be showing the timeline of events relating to the Jews in Geleen. This timeline would be identical for Jewish communities in other towns and cities in the country and indeed throughout Europe. It is a good indication of the systematic dehumanization of the Jews by the Nazi’s. In total there are 42 events, I will not mention all of them but will highlight , for a lack of a better description, the most important ones.

22 June 1940: All Jewish shop are besmirched by the Nazi’s with the text ” Jüdisches Geschäft” (Jewish Shop)

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1 July 1940: Jews have to leave the Bomb shelters

26/27 July: During night time the windows of Jewish shops are shattered.(Below a news paper article about it)

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31 July 1940: Ban on ritual slaughter

6 September 1940: The general secretaries of most Government departments promise not to hire Jews in pubic office jobs.

5 October 1940: Government personnel have to sign an ‘Aryan’ declaration

21 November 1940: An announcement is made that all Jews working in the public and civil service are to be fired.

10  January 1941: Compulsory Registration is introduced, by the 21st of February all Jews need to be registered. Mayor Damen announces on the 15th of April that 67 Jews have been registered.

4 June 1941: The freedom of movement is restricted for Jews

1 September 1941: Jewish children are no longer allowed to attend regular schools. A make shift school is set up in the teachers residence next to the synagogue.

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15 September 1941: Signs with “Verboden voor Joden” forbidden for Jews are put up. Jews are forbidden to go to cinemas,sports ground,libraries,concert hall and most other public places.

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Also in 1941 Richard Kaufmann is picked up by the Nazi’s and sent to a labor camp in the Netherlands. On October the 3rd he is deported to Westerbork.

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Shortly afterwards he is deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz.Richard Kaufmann dies on the 3rd of September 1943 in Auschwitz.

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2 May 1942: All Jews are ordered to start wearing the yellow star of David.

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19 May 1942: Radio builder Frederik Goldsteen is been arrested after it is found out he kept building radio’s after he was forbidden to do so, and also because of his criticism of Adolf Hitler.Via Camp Amersfoort he is sent to Westerbork and from there to Auschwitz where he dies on 15 August 1942.

12 June 1942: Jews are no longer allowed to buy vegetables in Non Jewish shops

2 August 1942: In all of the Netherlands Jews who have been converted to Catholicism are picked up. In Geleen there were 4 one of then was a Nun who is transported to Auschwitz and dies in the gas chamber. The other 3 are released because they are from mixed marriages.

9 August 1942: Luise Löwenfels aka Sister Maria Aloysia dies in the Auschwitz gas chambers.

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https://dirkdeklein.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/forgotten-history-luise-lowenfels/

25 August 1942:approximately 20 Jewish citizens were deported from City Hall by the Germans. Only 1 survives the war.

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10 November 1942: Guus van Dam is picked up and sent to Groningen in the North of the country, from there he is deported to Auschwitz via Westerbork. His fate is unknown. On the 17th of August 1945 some of his family members put an ad in a newspaper to see if anyone has information.

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In September 1930, Guus had moved with his parents to Geleen and lived there on Jubileumplein 12, this was near the rear entrance of my school. An address I would have passed by on a daily basis.

21 January 1943: The Jewish mental asylum “Het Apeldoornse Bos” is evacuated. Two patients were from Geleen. They are all send to Auschwitz where they all perished.

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September 1943: Jews with mixed marriages are exempt of wearing the yellow star of David

March 1944: Jews from mixed marriage are ordered to be sterilized or to proof they are infertile

18 September 1944: Geleen is liberated by the Combat Command (B) 2nd Armored Division.

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Below is the list of all those who were deported from Geleen and never returned.

  Name  First Name Born Died
1 Freimark-Adler Hermine 12-12-1876 Urspringen (D) 14-05-1943 Sobibor
2 Baum Max 04-01-1907 Bauchem (D) 31-03-1944 Auschwitz
3 Cohen-Ten Brink Esthella Carolina 05-06-1904 Ootmarsum 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
4 Meyer-Cahn Jeanette (Jetta) 18-12-1859 Leutesdorf (D) 10-05-1943 Westerbork
5 Claessens Albert 19-04-1905 Obbicht 30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
6 Cohen Frieda 11-07-1924 Vaals 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
7 Cohen Henny 30-10-1925 Vaals 26-09-1942 Auschwitz
8 Cohen Josephine 09-07-1930 Geleen 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
9 Cohen Simon 01-05-1889 Midwolda 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
10 Freimark Ernst 12-08-1936 Frankfurt (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
11 Freimark Friedrich 27-10-1902 Marktheidenfeld (D) 30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
12 Freimark Kurt 21-12-1939 Heerlen 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
13 Levy-Goldschmidt Irene 15-02-1907 Rheda (D) 30-11-1943 Auschwitz
14 Goldschmidt Josef 24-10-1867 Rheda (D) 28-05-1943 Sobibor
15 Goldsteen Frederik 09-07-1918 Rheydt (D) 15-08-1942 Auschwitz
16 Levi-Harf Rosalie 27-10-1880 Mönchengladbach (D) 28-05-1943 Sobibor
17 Goldschmidt-Jacob Frieda 19-02-1869 Rheda-Wiedenbrück (D) 07-10-1943 Maastricht**
18 May-Jacobsohn Klara 14-05-1871 Neckarbischofsheim (D) 14-05-1943 Sobibor
19 Meyer-Kaufmann Berta 03-01-1912 Köln (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
20 Kaufmann Margard 10-11-1928 Gronau (D) 03-09-1943 Auschwitz
21 Kaufmann Richard 30-06-1886 Moers (D) 03-09-1943 Auschwitz
22 Heimberg-Klestadt Bertha 28-12-1891 Büren (D) 25-01-1943 Auschwitz***
23 Claessens-Krzanowska Ajga 17-03-1909 Zawiercie (Polen) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
24 Lebenstein Ida 16-05-1888 Ochtrup (D) 28-05-1943 Sobibor
25 Levy Arnold 27-05-1880 Wuppertal-Elberfeld (D) 28-05-1943 Sobibor
26 Levy Hans Erich 22-03-1911 Düsseldorf (D) 31-03-1944 Polen
27 Löwenfels Luise 05-07-1915 Trabelsdorf (D) 30-09-1942 Auschwitz
28 Freimark-May Gertruda 16-02-1902 Niedermendig (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
29 Winter-May Irma Johanna 30-08-1908 Niedermendig (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
30 Goldsteen-Mendel Carolina 06-07-1880 Tetz (D) 22-10-1943 Auschwitz****
31 Meyer Max 23-01-1900 Remagen-Oberwinter (D) 30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
32 Roer Helene 14-09-1921 Zülpich (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
33 Roer Ilse 20-02-1925 Zülpich (D) 31-08-1942 Auschwitz
34 Baum-Salmagne Sophia 12-06-1867 Eilendorf (D) 16-11-1943 Bergen-Belzen
35 Willner Paul Siegfried 05-06-1902 Aachen (D) 30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
36 Winter Gustav 01-11-1897 Korschenbroich (D) 30-04-1943 Midden-Europa
37 Kaufmann-Zilversmit Adele 07-12-1890 Gronau (D) 03-09-1943 Auschwitz

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. Thank you. 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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Resources

http://members.home.nl/w.brasse/vergeten_joden_van_geleen.htm#SlachtoffersGeleen

https://www.stolpersteinesittardgeleen.nl/Slachtoffers/Gustaaf-van-Dam

Forgotten History-Luise Löwenfels

 

This is a WWII story from my hometown of Geleen in the Netherlands about a lady called Luise Löwenfels although she was known as Maria Aloysia Löwenfels AKA Sister Aloysia.

Luise Löwenfels (Trabelsdorf,Germany  5 juli 1915 – Auschwitz-Birkenau, ca. 9 augustus 1942). She was born in a small village called Trabelsdorf in Germany in a Jewish family.

Even though she was Jewish she attended a Roman Catholic school. When she was 10 her father passed away, in that time she did get consolation from her Catholic friends at school.

She was drawn to the Roman Catholic faith and often visited Catholic churches and would attend mass on a regular base, this to the dismay of her family.She would often be punished by her Mother and Brothers for this. Later when she still didn’t conduct herself in the manner her family expected her to she was disowned by them.

She sought refuge in nearby convents. In the 1930’s due to the Nazi imposed laws on the Jews she regularly had to change her place of residence.

Eventually she found refuge in a convent in Mönchengladbach

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On 25 November 1935 she was baptized and received the name Maria Aloysia.

Due to increasing threat of the Nazi regime many Jews decided to leave Germany. Maria Aloysia’s plan was to move to England but she ended up in the Netherlands  in the small mining town Geleen near the Dutch-German border in the convent of ‘Arme Dienstmaagden van Jezus Christus’ – which translates to Poor Maidens of Jesus Christ. Who she joined on the 8th of December 1937, on the 12th of September 1940 she gave her first vows as a Nun.

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Because of her Jewish origin her religious live was made increasingly difficult, she was no longer allowed to teach at the local junior infant school and she was forced to wear the yellow star of David.

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Although the German occupiers had promised not to pursue the Jews who had converted to Christianity , they deviated from this decision after the Dutch Bishops had openly protested against the German actions.

Together with dozens of other Catholic converted Jews including  Edith Hedwig Stein [St. Teresia Benedicta of the Cross, OCD] and her sister Rosa Adelheid Stein, who both lived in the nearby convent of Echt, Sister Aloysia was arrested and were brought to Kamp Amersfoort.

 

 

 

Then they were transported to Westerbork .

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On the 7th of August 1942 they were all transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they most certainly were led straight to gas chambers when they arrived on the 9th of August.

 

Sister Aloysia died the tender age of 27. Her only ‘crime’ was being born in a Jewish family.

Although the story of Edith Stein had been well known and documented, the story of Sr. Aloysia had been largely ignored.

The convent had been destroyed in October 1942 by a bombing campaign by the allies who had mistaken Geleen voor nearby Aachen in Germany.

https://dirkdeklein.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/forgotten-history-battlefield-geleen/

The convent was rebuild in 1950 but closed again in the 80’s, however the Sisters still have a community in Geleen and involve themselves mainly with looking after refugees.

On the 28th of June 2006 a monument in remembrance of Sr. Maria Aloysia Löwenfels. It was placed approximately where they old Convent once stood.

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In 2015 the Apostolic administrator of the German diocese Limburg has started the canonization procedure (The official process for declaring someone a saint)for Sr Aloysia. To have her declared a Martyr.

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. Thank you. 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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Deutschland 83

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One of my favourite TV shows and I was delighted to find out there will be a second season called Deutschland 86, because it is set 3 years later.

I only lived literally a walking distance from Germany in 1983 and in fact most of my life. Growing up as a kid I didn’t really think anything of it but in hindsight it was kinda bizarre.

Little did I know then, that we were really not that far away from the ‘battlegrounds’ of the cold war, even though the fact there were plenty of staff of the AFCENT (Allied Forces Central Europe Netherlands) in town and surrounding cities. One of the former coal mines was actually used as part of their HQ.

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And surely the AWACS planes (a Boeing 707 type plane with a radar dish on top of it) should have been a give away.

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Oblivious I just went about my business without a care in the world. Naively I felt quite safe where I lived, because often I had seen American Marines marching between Geleen and Heerlen(two municipalities in the south of the Netherlands), chanting stuff like “I like working for Uncle Sam” In fact I thought it was cool, and in a way it was I suppose.

Not realizing those very soldiers were there to assist the Dutch army in case of a potetntial WW3 breaking out.

The Germans though were a funny bunch particularly when it came to their music. From the 50’s to the early 80’s there music was really Schlagers, it can only be described as German folk music I suppose, I would call it crap but it is still very popular with some people who I don’t want to offend.

At the start of the 80’s though a new direction of German music emerged, it was called ‘die Neue Deutsche Welle, New German wave and it brought a few great bands and songs to the front. Bands like Nena,Trio,Bap and indeed Peter Schilling whose song Major Tom is used as the theme for Deutschland 83

 

One of my favorites of the NDW is a Cologne band called BAP , the song is about the Kristal Nacht (in english known as the night of broken glass) from a dark period in German history. The band sings in the local Cologne dialect which is very similar to the Limburg dialect. I will leave it with that. I hope you enjoy this little peace of history. Enjoy the song.

 

Forgotten history-Battlefield Geleen

I was born in a small town in Limburg, the most southern province of the Netherlands.

The name of the town is Geleen, it was a mining town until 1967. In 1967 the mine Maurits,which was the biggest in the country and up to 1958 the biggest 2 shaft mine in the world, closed. However that is not what the forgotten history is about.

On October 5 1942 approximately 30 bombers of the RAF carried out a bombing raid between 21:55 and 23:10, killing 83 and severely injuring 22 other. Leaving about 3000 people homeless.

The intended target had been Aken just over the border in Germany.

Due to bad weather those 30 bombers which were part of a squadron of 257 bombers had deviated from their direction thus resulting in the bombing of Geleen. Killing 83, wiping out 57 houses, severely damaging 227 more house and causing further damage to another 1728 homes.

A further 13 coal miners were killed in the raid, the Maurits was heavily damaged and it took fire crews from several cities to help extinguish the fires caused by the bombing. There were even fire crews which came from Rotterdam which is about 200 KM away from the mine to help with the fires.

The Maurits was mistaken for the mine Anna, which was near Aken.

Ironically more damage was done by the allies then was done by the Germans during WW2, in Geleen.