Born and Murdered in Bergen-Belsen

Recently, I heard of a bizarre argument that persecuted persons should not have had sex. They should not have taken the risk of getting pregnant. To me, it makes perfect sense they have sex, especially in times of discord. It’s a basic primary instinct that gives a feeling of comfort, albeit for a short time.

Women did become pregnant, and more often than not and the babies did not survive. Bergen-Belsen was described by most as a hell on Earth. Many babies were born and murdered there. I say murdered—because, basically, that is what happened. Infants did not receive the care required to thrive. They were born and murdered in captivity.

Below are a few of the documented stories.

Leo Henri Bierman
Leo Henri Bierman was born in Bergen-Belsen on 18 August 1944. He was murdered on 4 January 1945 in Bergen-Belsen. He reached the tender age of four months.

Leo’s father, Abraham Bierman, was a diamond worker who married on 14 October 1942 in Amsterdam to a German refugee. Together, they were arrested during a raid on 20 June 1943 and then deported to Westerbork. They were released on 17 July 1943. On 19 November 1943, they were back in Westerbork and deported to Bergen-Belsen on 19 May 1944. Their son Leon Henri was born there on 18 August 1944. On 16 December 1944, Abraham was transferred to Sachsenhausen, then returned in February 1945 to Bergen-Belsen, where he died on 31 May 1945. His spouse survived Bergen-Belsen.

Milly Blik
Milly Blik was born in Bergen-Belsen on 9 April 1944. Her murder was at Bergen-Belsen on 18 March 1945. She lived for 11 months.

Sonny Zurel
Sonny Zurel was born at Bergen-Belsen on 30 December 1944. He was murdered there on 4 January 1945. He lived five days—not even a week.

The last people in hiding transported to Westerbork from South Limburg, the Netherlands, were two young nurses who had sought refuge in Hoensbroek. Betsie Zurel-van Creveld and her friend Cato van Lier, both from Amsterdam, were picked up on 30 August 1944—more than two weeks before the liberation of Hoensbroek and then—they were finally delivered to Westerbork. Betsie was in her third trimester of pregnancy

She gave birth to her son Sonny on 30 December in Bergen-Belsen, who died five days later in the camp. Betsy died on 13 January 1945. Her friend Cato did not survive the Ravensbrück Camp.

Marcel Peterle Sandelowsky
Marcel Peterle Sandelowsky was born in Bergen-Belsen on 2 August 1944. In March 1945, he was murdered at Bergen-Belse and reached seven months of age.


The Children of Castle Hoensbroek

Kinderen Hoesnbroek

I came across the above picture a few years ago and the information I got with it is that the children in the picture were orphans, staying with the nuns in Castle Hoensbroek, in Limburg .the south east of the Netherlands

However all the children had been placed under guardianship. They originally came from a town in North-Holland called Velsen where they had been students of a boarding school ,run by Nuns.

In October 1942 the German occupiers had ordered the boarding school to be evacuated, for it was going to be demolished. The Germans were going to build a 5 km long defense line and the boarding school was in the way.

Frantically the nuns looked for an alternative accommodation. They were offered the castle Hoensbroek in December 1942. They moved in on December 23 just in time for the Christmas celebrations. The distance between Velsen and Hoensbroek is about 200km. For the children that must have felt like moving to the other side of the world.


The children lived a relatively undisturbed live in the castle. Several times it had been declared unsuitable for the Germany army. However a few days before liberation there were a few nervous moments.


Some SS men on leave. had stayed in the adjacent farm and had been throwing hand grenades in the canals surrounding the castle, just for fun. They had also been walking around naked.

On September 12, 1944 a highly placed SS officer had visited the castle for inspection, he was told there was no room. His reply was not too worry about that, the SS would make some room, while he was looking around at the yard where the children were playing at  the time.But he left.

The following day another highly placed SS officer,with a limp, came to the castle but he too left.

On September 17, 1944 Hoensbroek was liberated by the allied forces. As a part of the celebrations the children were dressed up in the traditional clothing of the Velsen-Volendam region. The pictures taken were send to the US to show the people there that the troops had arrived in the Netherlands.



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