The word on the street about Pearl Harbor

On Sunday morning December 7, 1941. Just before 8 a.m , hundreds of Japanese fighter planes descended on the US Naval base in Pearl Harbor, where they managed to destroy or damage nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

A few days later people like John Avery Lomax an American teacher, pioneering musicologist, and a folklorist went out to conduct so called ‘Man on the street’ interviews, today they would be called voxpops. Among the interviewees was, Lena Jameson. a California woman then visiting her family in Dallas, Texas. He also spoke to Mr. Dan Ruggles in Dallas Texas.

“Man-on-the-Street”, Dallas, Texas, December 9, 1941
AFS 6373A
John Lomax: Mrs. Jameson, I’ve just got a telegram from the Library of Congress in Washington and
they want the ideas of a few average men and women recorded on their reactions when they heard
of the Japanese aggression. These records will be used in historical record being accumulated in the
Library of Congress and possibly for radio broadcast. Now, will you tell me what you thought when
you heard of what the Japanese government had done to the American government?
Mrs. Lena Jameson: My first thought was what a great pity that . . . another nation should be added
to those aggressors who strove to limit our freedom. I find myself at the age of eighty, an old
woman, hanging on to the tail of the world, trying to keep up. I do not want the driver’s seat. But the
eternal verities — there are certain things that I wish to express. One thing that I am very sure of is
that hatred is death, but love is life.
I want to contribute to the civilization of the world, but I remember that the measure, the burdens of
our sympathies is the measure of our civilization. And when I look at the holocaust that is going on in
the world today, I’m almost ready to let go of the tail ??? the world. ???
John Lomax: Where is your home Mrs. Jameson?
Mrs. Lena Jameson: In Redondo Beach, California.
John Lomax: And how long have you lived there?
Mrs. Lena Jameson: About twenty years.
John Lomax: And what are you doing out in Texas?
Mrs. Lena Jameson: I’m visiting my children whom I’ve often visited before.
John Lomax: Mrs. Stilwell, would you like to add something to what your mother has said?
Mrs. Jerry Stilwell: Mother, you’ve been living in the neighborhood where there are a good many
Japanese people. Do you think that affects your attitude towards them at all? What is your general
impression of the Japanese as a race?
Mrs. Lena Jameson: The general impression of the Japanese that I have seen and come in contact
with is very different from what my impression would be if I had been in touch with the military

division of the Japanese in their native . . . My impression is modified by what I read and hear of
those. My impression of the Japanese as I have seen is that they are a law-abiding and desirable
citizen, with exceptions.
John Lomax: Mrs. Stilwell, have you anything to add to what your mother has said?
Mrs. Jerry Stilwell: Well, of course my point of view is very different, but my first reaction was
that either the Japanese were a very, very conceited race or that they were very, very desperate.
Somehow I just can’t believe that a little island like Japan can attack the United States and hope to be
successful in the long run.
John Lomax: What are your initials, Mrs. Stilwell?
Mrs. Jerry Stilwell: Mrs. Jerry Stilwell.
John Lomax: This is John Lomax speaking, the last lady on the microphone was Mrs. Jerry Stilwell, the
daughter of Mrs. Lena Jameson who spoke first on this record. This record is made in Dallas, Texas,
December the ninth, nineteen hundred and forty-one for the Library of Congress in Washington

“Man-on-the-Street”, Dallas, Texas, December 9, 1941
AFS 6373B
Cut B1
John Lomax: I have in my hand here a telegram from the Library of Congress requesting the
reactions of some Dallas people on the Japanese aggression. I’d like to know Mr. Ruggles how that
announcement of what the Japanese were doing to us reacted on you as a World War veteran?
Dan Ruggles: Well, I don’t think this was totally unexpected. Anybody that kept up with news events
should have anticipated an attack by Japan. It’s totally in keeping with the methods employed by the
totalitarian powers, the unexpectedness of it. And as far as the war with Japan is concerned I think
that is something that the informed American public has been expecting to be something that would
develop ultimately for a period, say for the past thirty years. More especially during the past ten
years. Is that enough?
John Lomax: No. How did you come to that opinion?
Dan Ruggles: Well, that dates . . . there have been friction between the Japanese and the talk of the
yellow peril ever since for the past three or four decades. With the invasion of Manchuria in 1931
was the first aggressive step that really led the way as I understand it, have concluded to show Hitler
and Mr. Mussolini the way.
John Lomax: Well, you think then the Japanese are acting in concert with masters Hitler and
Mussolini then as I take it?
Dan Ruggles: Due to their pacts, they are in a way, but the Japanese have always acted primarily for
themselves. Their plans as to Asia and the fact that they believe that their domain should extend
over the east of the Asiatic [long pause] scope.
John Lomax: Well, what did you first think? What were your first thoughts when you heard of this
attack on Americans, Dan? What first came to you?
Dan Ruggles: Well, the first thing came to me is it was just something that could not be avoided it’s to
be expected. We’ve made every effort in the world to avoid it, but it was something that was bound
to come owing to the world situation.
John Lomax: Tell us a little about yourself [unintelligible woman’s voice in background]. Who are you?

Dan Ruggles: Well, [laughs] I’m a man that’s really been a newspaper editor most of my life and ???.
And I’ve had a keen interest in international affairs and have kept track I guess, I’ve kept with the
best of the times. One good fact is that I say that I’ve mainly been employed and editing newspapers
and interested in international affairs primarily. [unintelligible woman’s voice in background].
John Lomax: This is Dan Ruggles that’s just been speaking. Mr. Ruggles lives in Forest Hills,
Dallas, Texas and has been for many years a newspaper reporter. This interview with Mr. Ruggles
occurred on December the ninth, 1941 and this recording was made for the Library of Congress in
Washington.
Cut B2
John Lomax: Mr. Ruggles wishes to add this for the word.
Dan Ruggles: Well, I think that the American people, must not come to a just conclusion either
through the early reverse in this war or otherwise that it’s going to be an easy war. The Japanese,
naturally, have handicaps due to the Allied forces in the Far East now facing them, but the efficiency
of the Japanese military machine has been repeatedly [proven (?)] and they usually have had a very
excellent armed force. That was ??? [disc skips] through the testimony of officers, friends of mine,
who served with them in the Allied march on Peking

SOURCE

https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/december-07

Rechtzaak voor een verrader

Ik weet niet welke straf Mevrouw C. uit Amsterdam kreeg, ik ga er vanuit dat ze de doodstraf kreeg.

Het gaat ook over een van de zovele zelfmoorden tijdens de Shoah, waar zo weinig over gesprokem word.

-Aanklacht, Beschuldiging en Veroordeling van Mevrouw C. uit de Blasiusstraat in Amsterdam, die zich met anderen bezig hield met het verraden van Joodse gezinnen, waaronder het gezin van Michel Gompers en Bertha Vogel.-

“De aangeklaagde Mevrouw C. werd er van beschuldigd dat zij, Nederlandse zijnde, tijdens de vijandelijke bezetting van het Rijk in Europa:

A: In het algemeen blijk heeft gegeven van nationaalsocialistische gezindheid door in of omstreeks 1944 te zijn toegetreden als lid van de Nederlandse Volksdienst; NSB raambiljetten voor de ramen van haar woning te hebben gehad alsmede NSB vergaderingen te hebben bezocht en de bladen Volk en Vaderland en De Daad te hebben gelezen.

B: In of omstreeks 1943 M. Gompers en diens echtgenote en B. Vogel, een Joodse familie, heeft blootgesteld aan aanhouding of vrijheidsbeperking door of vanwege de vijand, door aan de Duitse Politie herhaaldelijk t.a.v. beide personen inlichtingen en aanwijzingen te hebben verstrekt, ten gevolge waarvan zij beide op of omstreeks 9 Augustus 1943 door beambten van de SD zijn aangehouden, waardoor zij hulp en steun heeft verleend aan de vijand; op grond van welk handelen zij geacht moet worden zich doelbewust te hebben gedragen in strijd met de belangen van het Nederlandse volk.

De getuigenis van M. Gompers, zoals opgetekend in het proces verbaal opgemaakt d.d. 4 Maart 1946, door twee agenten van politie der Gemeente Amsterdam, luidde: Tijdens de grote Jodenrazzia in Juni 1943 kwamen de Duitsers ook aan mijn woning in de Blasiusstraat te Amsterdam. Mijn vrouw en ik werden toen niet aangehouden, omdat mijn vrouw een bewijs van Dr. Peeters kon overleggen, waarin stond dat zij draagster van typhusbacillen was. Ik heb toen vanuit mijn woning gezien en gehoord, dat Mevrouw C. tegen een der Duitse officieren zeide: “die vrouw is niet ziek, zij loopt altijd buiten”, waarop die Duitser is het Duits zeide: “daar heb je niets mee te maken, wat ik doe is goed”. Ik hoorde toen dat Mevrouw C. tegen de omstanders zei: “we gaan morgen naar de Euterpestraa”. De volgende dag kwamen er inderdaad twee mannen, die zeiden, dat ze van de SD waren. Zij hebben ons, nadat wij de verklaring van Dr. Peeters getoond hadden, echter niet medegenomen. Op 9 Augustus 1943 ben ik des avonds in mijn woning tesamen met mijn vrouw ondanks de verklaring van Dr. Peeters aangehouden door twee SD-ers en vervolgens overgebracht naar de Euterpestraat. Mijn vrouw en ik zijn kort daarop via de Hollandse Schouwburg overgebracht naar het Joods Ziekenhuis. Mijn vrouw heeft, naar ik later vernam, tijdens haar transport naar Westerbork zelfmoord gepleegd, door vergif in te nemen. Op 19 September 1943 kreeg ik bericht van haar overlijden; zelf heb ik uit het ziekenhuis kunnen ontkomen.

Zelf heeft Mevrouw C. ter zitting onder meer het volgende verklaard:

Ik heb in 1943 tijdens een razzia op Joden in de straat waar ik woonde tegen de Duitse politie gezegd: “De goede Joden halen jullie weg en de krengen laten jullie zitten”, ik wees daarbij in de richting van het huis van de familie M. Gompers. Ik leefde in onmin met de familie Gompers, omdat mijn kinderen, die naar de Oostmark waren geweest, dikwijls in de buurt geplaagd werden. Ik kon het voorts niet hebben, dat vele Joden waarmee ik op goeden voet leefde werden gearresteerd en weggehaald, terwijl de familie Gompers zich voortdurend aan arrestatie wist te onttrekken. Ik heb toen tijdens de bovenvermelde razzia de aandacht van de Duitse politie op de familie Gompers gevestigd. Bij die razzia is de familie Gompers niet aangehouden. Gompers en diens echtgenote B. Vogel zijn eerst enige tijd later door de Duitsers weggehaald. De getuigenverklaringen zijn ongunstig voor mij, omdat men in de buurt een hekel aan mij had; daar mijn kinderen veelvuldigd geplaagd werden, dreigde ik nog al eens met de Duitse politie, zonder evenwel mijn dreigement uit te voeren…….

Uitspraak, Veroordeling en Vonnis gewezen op 9 September 1947, waarbij de beschuldigde wordt schuldig verklaard aan het hier voren genoemde wat bewezen wordt verklaard en legt de navolgende maatregelen aan de beschuldigde op:

1): internering waarbij in overweging gegeven wordt de tijdsduur daarvan te beperken tot vier jaren en daarop in mindering te brengen de door de beschuldigde vanaf 8 Juni 1945 in voorinternering doorgebrachte tijd, zodat internering behoort te eindigen op 8 Juni 1949.

2): Ontzetting van het recht van kiezen en verkiesbaarheid bij krachtens wettelijk voorschrift uitgeschreven verkiezingen.

Bepaalt voorzoveel nodig dat het beheer over het vermogen van de beschuldigde een einde zal nemen binnen drie maanden natat de interneren is beëindigd.”

Bron

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/641263/verraad-beschuldigd-veroordeeld.

The Trial of a Traitor

Below is the transcript of a Dutch court case, The defendant is only referred to as Mrs C. That is how the Dutch legal system still works nowadays, the name of a defendant is only indicated by the first letter of the surname.

The transcript dates 7 September 1947. Mrs C. is accused of treason and collaboration.

I don’t know what sentence she got but I presume she receive the death penalty.

Indictment, Accusation and Conviction of Mrs C. from Blasiusstraat in Amsterdam, who was involved with others in betraying Jewish families, including the family of Michel Gompers and Bertha Vogel.

“The accused Mrs C. was accused that, being Dutch, during the hostile occupation of the Empire in Europe:

A: Has generally shown National Socialist affiliation by joining the Dutch People’s Service in or around 1944; NSB window posters in the windows of her home, as well as attending NSB meetings and reading the magazines Volk en Vaderland and De Daad.

B: In or about 1943 M. Gompers and his wife and B. Vogel, a Jewish family, exposed them to detention or restriction of freedom by or on behalf of the enemy, by repeatedly providing the German police with information and instructions regarding both persons, at least as a result of which they were both arrested on or about 9 August 1943 by officers of the SD, as a result of which they provided aid and support to the enemy; on the basis of which actions it must be deemed to have deliberately acted contrary to the interests of the Dutch people.

The testimony of M. Gompers, as recorded in the official report dated March 4, 1946, by two police officers of the Municipality of Amsterdam, read: During the major Jewish roundup in June 1943, the Germans also came to my house in the Blasiusstraat in Amsterdam. My wife and I were not apprehended at the time, because my wife had proof from Dr Peeters, who was able to submit, stating that she was a carrier of typhus bacilli. I then saw and heard from my home that Mrs C. said to one of the German officers: “that woman is not ill, she always walks outside”, to which the German said: “that has nothing to do with you, what I do is good.” I then heard Mrs C. say to the bystanders: “We are going to Euterpestraa tomorrow”. The next day two men indeed came, who said they were from the SD. They told us, after we read the statement of Dr Peeters, but not taken with them. On the evening of August 9, 1943, I was in my house together with my wife, despite the statement of Dr Peeters arrested by two SD men and then transferred to Euterpestraat. Shortly afterwards my wife and I were transferred via the Hollandse Schouwburg to the Jewish Hospital. My wife, as I later learned, committed suicide during her transport to Westerbork by taking poison. On September 19, 1943, I received word of her death; I was able to escape from the hospital myself.

Mrs C. herself stated the following at the hearing:

In 1943, during a raid on Jews in the street where I lived, I said to the German police: “The good Jews take you away and the bitches leave you alone”, pointing in the direction of the house of the M. Gompers. I was at odds with the Gompers family because my children, who had been to the East Mark, were often teased in the neighbourhood. Furthermore, I could not bear the fact that many Jews with whom I lived on good terms were arrested and taken away, while the Gompers family constantly managed to evade arrest. I then drew the attention of the German police to the Gompers family during the aforementioned raid. The Gompers family was not arrested during that raid. Gompers and his wife B. Vogel were taken away by the Germans sometime later. The testimonies are unfavourable to me because I was disliked in the neighbourhood; since my children were frequently teased, I often threatened the German police, but without carrying out my threat….

Judgment, Conviction and Sentence rendered on September 9, 1947, in which the accused is declared guilty of the aforementioned which is declared proven and imposes the following measures on the accused:

1): internment whereby it is suggested that the duration thereof be limited to four years and that the time spent by the accused in pre-internment from 8 June 1945 be deducted from this, so that internment should end on 8 June 1949.

2): Deprivation of the right to vote and eligibility in elections held pursuant to statutory regulations.

Determines, as necessary, that the administration of the accused’s property shall end within three months after the internment has ended.”

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/32364/bertha-gompers-vogel

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/641263/verraad-beschuldigd-veroordeeld.

The Sad Story of Emma Van Essen-Frankenstein

The story of Emma van Essen-Frankenstein is a story of desperation. Her maiden name is also the name of a famous horror story, but Emma’s story is more horrific than that of her fictional namesake.

She was born in Salzderkilden, Germany on 18 March 1862. In May 1893 she married Dutchman, Abraham Levie van Essen, and I say Dutchman because the majority of Dutch Jews considered themselves Dutch more than Jewish.

The couple lived in Veenendaal in the Netherlands and on 25 February 1894, they had a baby son, Leenhart Hermann van Essen. None of them expected what fate awaited them after the Nazis occupied the Netherlands in May 1940.

Emma had 2 granddaughters. Veronie Suze Carola van Essen was born in Amsterdam on 3 August 1928, and Elly Vera Louise van Essen born in Amsterdam, 25 February 1926.

The 2 girls and their mother Rachel Julie van Essen-Lopes de Leao Laguna

Veronie Suze Carola, the youngest granddaughter, attended the Protestant secondary modern on the Kerkewijk. Because she was Jewish, she had to leave that school in 1941. This was one of the Nazi laws that were brought in.

I don’t know why Leendert Hermann decided to go into hiding, but I can guess his reasons. They went into hiding on the Veluwe near Voorthuizen. They were caught. Their valuables possessions were confiscated by the SD. A young municipal official who supervised the house being emptied removed and preserved the mezuzah at the entrance. The mezuzah was exhibited after the war.

On 14 September 1942, Emma van Essen-Frankenstein left for Amsterdam, probably under Nazi orders. There, on 5 December 1942, at the age of 80, she took her own life. She would have had a good idea by then of what fate awaited her. All of her family were eventually murdered.

Abraham Levie van Essen was murdered in Auschwitz on 28 January 1944.

Leenhart Hermann van Essen was murdered in Auschwitz on 2 November 1943.

Rachel Julie van Essen-Lopes de Leao Laguna was murdered in Auschwitz on 27 August 1943.

Veronie Suze Carola van Essen was murdered in Auschwitz on 27 August 1943.

Elly Vera Louise van Essen was murdered in Auschwitz on 3 September 1943.

I know that suicide is often a taboo subject but I believe if that aspect of the Holocaust is not addressed, we will never really know the true extent of the horrors.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/26974/emma-van-essen-frankenstein

https://www.openarch.nl/hua:81E4FC8D-59BF-4E58-B766-53ABA54DD3B6

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Abraham-Levie-van-Essen/02/41333

Deception

If you look at the picture, it appears to be a picture of a marketplace. Initially, you will see nothing wrong with it.

There is a man with a bike talking to another man, possibly about the weather. You can see a young boy running, and perhaps he is chasing the dog.

There are market stalls with people around them, browsing and most likely are purchasing goods. It could be a market anywhere in the world. This market is on Waterloo Square in Amsterdam.

But the apparent mundane appearance of the market is deceiving. If you analyze the picture and look closer, you will spot a few things.

In the middle, there is a signpost it says, Alleen toegang voor joden [Access for Jews only]. On the two opposite corners, two men wearing a star on their coats.

Most of those people on that market would be murdered within 2 years of that picture being taken. There would have been people then and even now who will think that things didn’t look that bad at all for the Jews, they even had their market.

The people in the photo don’t realize the significance of the picture. It was meant to deceive. The Jews were given their market and other facilities to make it easier for the Nazis to single them out. They had to wear a star so the Nazis could pick them out. They were put in ghettos to make it easier to round them up for deportation to extermination camps.

source

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Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place around.

There you are minding your own business, enjoying a concert by a legendary rock band, Then suddenly some stupid with a flare gun burns the place to the ground. “Wait a minute” I can hear you all think “This and the title sounds very much like a song” and you would be right.

Deep Purple wrote a song inspired by an event which took place on December 4,1971 in Montreux, Switzerland. On December 4, 1971, Montreux Casino burned down during a concert by The Mothers of Invention after a fan had set the venue on fire with a flare gun. A recording of the outbreak and fire announcement can be found on a Frank Zappa Bootleg album titled Swiss Cheese/Fire!

Deep Purple, who had planned to record Machine Head at the venue were forced to find another recording location. They wrote the Rock classic ‘Smoke on the Water’ about the eventful day.

Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Inventions were performing “King Kong”, about 80 minutes into the show , when, during Don Preston’s synthesizer solo, someone shot off a flare gun. The flare hit the wooden roof and quickly spread.

“They were very organized,” Zappa said in an interview shortly after the fire. “I was just lucky that many of the fans]were able to speak English, because I didn’t know what to say to them in French.”

In an ironic coincidence, Zappa died on Dec. 4, 1993, the 22nd anniversary of the fire.

sources

https://kmhk.com/frank-zappa-fire-smoke-on-the-water/

https://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/03/08/a-swiss-town-a-casino-fire-and-smoke-on-the-water

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/11/08/the-story-of-deep-purples-smoke-on-the-water-a-theater-fire-caused-by-a-flare-gun/?chrome=1

Fire in the Sky

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/frank-zappa-fire-smoke-on-the-water/

Two Realities in Auschwitz

I can’t think of any place on earth that was more evil than Auschwitz, although other camps that had perhaps more cruelty, But it is the scale of the cruelty, torture and murder that makes Auschwitz pure evil, a literal hell on earth. The picture above is of Yisrael and Zelig Jacob, the younger brothers of Lili Jacob. They were both murdered in Auschwitz.

Below is a photograph of Jewish women and children deported from Hungary, separated from the men, line up for selection. Auschwitz camp, Poland, May 1944. Their reality was death.

However, some who had a completely different reality. They could enjoy themselves after a day’s work. They could relax in Solahütte a little-known resort in Poland for the Nazi German guards, administrators, and auxiliary personnel of the Auschwitz/Birkenau/Buna facilities during the Holocaust. Although postcards of the era sent by German staff sometimes bore the mysterious pre-printed return address “SS Hütte Soletal” [Solahütte], the rustic hamlet remained largely unknown to historians until 2007, when the Höcker Album of memorabilia owned by SS officer Karl-Friedrich Höcker including vintage Auschwitz photographs was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which then released images from the album online for study. Some of the photographs identified Solahütte for the first time.

Nazi officers and female Auschwitz staff gleefully pose on a wooden bridge at Solahütte.

Members of the SS female auxiliaries sit on a fence railing in Solahütte as Höcker passes out bowls of blueberries.

This to me is probably the most incomprehensible aspect of the Holocaust. How could human beings enjoy themselves knowing about the evil that was committed in their names and often by themselves? Maybe I am just wrong in thinking of them as human beings.

sources

https://allthatsinteresting.com/karl-hocker-auschwitz-photos#1

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/nazi-ceremony-in-auschwitz-birkenau

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/album_auschwitz/lili-jacob.asp

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/jewish-women-and-children-upon-arrival-in-auschwitz?parent=en%2F10897

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

Since we are currently in Advent time, I reckon it’s safe to start talking about Christmas again.

My all-time favourite Christmas song is Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. my all-time favourite Christmas song. It’s hard to believe that they recorded it 45 years ago. It’s not just a song about the yuletide festivities and presents and the birth of Christ, but it is foremost a song of hope for a peaceful planet.

The duet was one of Crosby’s final recordings before his death in October 1977.

Following the special’s broadcast during the 1977 holiday season, “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” went unavailable for many years. It was eventually released as a single by RCA Records in November 1982 and was a commercial success, peaking at number three on the UK Singles Chart. It was Crosby’s final popular hit. It became one of the best-selling singles of Bowie’s career, with total estimated sales of over 400,000 in the UK alone. The song has since become a Christmas classic in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and has been referred to by The Washington Post as “one of the most successful duets in Christmas music history.”

“Peace on Earth, can it be? Years from now, perhaps we’ll see. I pray my wish will come true. For my child and your child too.”

He’ll see the day of glory. See the day when men of goodwill
Live in peace, live in peace again.”

David Bowie talks about his six-year-old son. That, of course, is Duncan Jones, director of movies like Moon, Source Code, Warcraft and Mute.

sources

https://musikguru.de/bing-crosby-david-bowie/songtext-peace-on-earth-little-drummer-boy-1052778.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_on_Earth/Little_Drummer_Boy

Etty Hillesum—Murdered Beauty

At first, I was reluctant to use the word beauty in the title because we now live in an era where some people might find that offensive, and they will scream about it. I pity them because they lose out on so much.

Etty Hillesum was a beauty in every sense of the word. It may have been too much for the Nazis because they murdered her. She was murdered on November 30, 1943, in Auschwitz according to data from the Red Cross.

Etty (or Esther) was the daughter of Levie Hillesum and Riva Bernstein. She was born on January 15, 1914, in Middelburg in the Dutch province of Zeeland. In 1932 she moved to Amsterdam to study law and Slavic languages. In Amsterdam, she met Julius Spier. He became her teacher and great love. During the war, she worked for the Jewish Council at Camp Westerbork and other places. She wrote several letters from Westerbork and kept a diary.

In March 1937 she took a room at 6 Gabriel Metsustraat in south Amsterdam in the house of an accountant Hendrik (Han) Wegerif, a widower aged 62 who hired her as a housekeeper. He also began an affair with her. She lived in this house until her final departure for Westerbork in 1942, and it was in her room there that much of her diary was written. The small community of people who shared the house with her were important to her. In addition to Han Wegerif, there was his 21-year-old son Hans, a German cook named Kathe, a student Bernard Meylink, and a nurse, Maria Tuinzing, who became one of Etty’s close friends.

The most important relationship of the diary is with the psychochirologist (hand reader) Julius Spier. Born in 1887 in Germany, he had come to Amsterdam in 1939. Spier had worked in Zurich with Jung, who had encouraged him to develop his skill in chirology, the practice of psychoanalysis through the reading of people’s palms. He was a gifted and charismatic figure and gathered around him a group of students, particularly women. Etty became part of this group and went into therapy with Spier, developing a close relationship with him and becoming his secretary.

Etty was an intensely alive and sexual young woman, yet she felt plagued by what she called her ‘confounded eroticism”. But what healthy woman in her 20s isn’t interested in sex?

In 1942 she was given a position in the cultural affairs department of the Jewish Council. She worked there for only two weeks, which she calls hell in her diary. In August 1942, she received a call for deportation to Westerbork. Etty left and continued her social activities in Westerbork. As a member of the Jewish Council, she had a special travel visa that allowed her to return to Amsterdam many times before being deported with her family on September 7, 1943.

Just as Anne Frank also wrote a diary, which was released after the war, titled, “An Interrupted Life,” I’ve chosen a few quotes from the diary. The words are profoundly sad but also beautiful and with a sense of hope.

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”

“Each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others”

“As life becomes harder and more threatening, it also becomes richer, because the fewer expectations we have, the more good things of life become unexpected gifts that we accept with gratitude.”

“Sometimes my day is crammed full of people and talk and yet I have the feeling of living in utter peace and quiet. And the tree outside my window, in the evenings, is a greater experience than all those people put together.”

“My immediate reaction on meeting a man is invariably to gauge his sexual possibilities. I recognize this as a bad habit that must be stamped out”

“Yes, we women, we foolish, idiotic, illogical women, we all seek Paradise and the Absolute. And yet my brain, my capable brain, tells me that there are no absolutes, that everything is relative, endlessly diverse, and in eternal motion, and it is precisely for that reason that life is so exciting and fascinating, but also so very, very painful. We [women] want to perpetuate ourselves in a man.”

“I don’t want to be anything special. I only want to try to be true to that in me which seeks to fulfil its promise.”

“I know and share the many sorrows a human being can experience, but I do not cling to them; they pass through me, like life itself, as a broad eternal stream…and life continues…”

“By ‘coming to terms with life’ I mean: the reality of death has become a definite part of my life; my life has, so to speak, been extended by death, by my looking death in the eye and accepting it, by accepting destruction as part of life and no longer wasting my energies on fear of death or the refusal to acknowledge its inevitability. It sounds paradoxical: by excluding death from our life we cannot live a full life, and by admitting death into our life we enlarge and enrich it.”

sources

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/61163.Etty_Hillesum

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/136401/esther-hillesum

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/227368/julius-philipp-spier

https://www.lastampa.it/vatican-insider/en/2018/11/26/news/etty-hillesum-the-woman-who-found-god-during-the-shoah-1.34063034

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There Are No Answers, Just More Questions

For several years I have been on a quest to find answers, initially about the death of my Grandfather, but also about why the Holocaust happened.

In the case of my Grandfather, I have found something like an answer, or at least something I can live with.

However when it comes to the Holocaust I have discovered there are no answers, just more questions. The picture above is of the Cordoza and Abas families.

Only the 3 youngest boys survived, The other 13 people were murdered. Among them was Sara Abigael Cardozo born in Amsterdam on 29 November 1937. He was murdered in Auschwitz on 21 October 1944 at the age of six.

Below is a picture of Friedreich Josef Bier. He was born in
Düsseldorf on 22 September 1927 and murdered in Bergen-Belsen on 29 November 1944. He reached the age of 17 years. He was the son of Julius Bier and Berta Bier-Lewin. I share my birthday with his mother Berta. Friedrich’s siblings survived.

I don’t understand the hate, the randomness of the murders. Why children? I know that especially Himmler spread the lie that the children would take revenge. But did that happen after any war where the children would take revenge for the death of their parents on a large scale?

Another thing that I can’t understand is why so many stood by and did nothing. For fear? Allegedly Hitler told one of his inner circle that the world stood by when the Armenian Genocide took place and did nothing. He reckoned it would be the same with the genocide of the Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and so many others.

Why are there still today [November 29, 2022] people saying that the Holocaust never happened?

Finishing up with a poem by Martin Niemöller as a reminder that the hate and ignorance that caused the Holocaust have not gone away, it is merely lurking in the shadows waiting for the time to strike again. There are no answers just more questions, but that doesn’t mean I will stop looking.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

—Martin Niemöller

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/29821/friedreich-josef-bier

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/151023/sara-abigael-cardozo

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/martin-niemoeller-first-they-came-for-the-socialists