A Family Murdered— February 1, 1943

Julius, Esther, Renate and Brigitte Chaim

Sometimes I struggle with finding a suitable title for a post. As it was for this post, but then he thought using just the raw data as the title is probably the best tribute for this family.

The Family is the Chaim family
Julius Chaim moved to Nijmegen on October 15, 1940, from Amsterdam. He was married to Esther Tannenhaus and was the father of three daughters, Renate, Elfride and Brigitte. The family originally came from Germany. In 1939, two daughters had already been sent to the Netherlands and taken care of in children’s homes or with families. At the end of the 1930s, German Jews often did not get permission to emigrate to the Netherlands. To be able to flee Germany, some parents saw no other option other than to send their children to the Netherlands on their own, which may mean, that the parents were given permission at a later date and allowed to enter the Netherlands. The parents and the youngest daughter arrived in the Netherlands in 1940.

Elfride and Renate Chaim were sent to the Netherlands ahead of their parents and younger sibling in 1939, as was often the case in those days. The Netherlands hardly let any Jews in, but children who arrived alone were taken care of by families or placed in children’s homes. The idea was that the children would be safe in the Netherlands and there was hope that the rest of the family would also be able to settle in the Netherlands.

On October 9, 1940, the parents Julius Chaim and Esther Chaim-Tannenhaus and their three daughters settled in Nijmegen, coming from Haarlem. The family originally came from Duisburg. Brigitte was the youngest of the daughters and in 1940 she arrived in the Netherlands with her parents.

The Chaim-Tannenhaus family was arrested and on December 31, 1942, they were deported to Westerbork. From there they were put on Transport #46 to Auschwitz. The transport consisted of all Jews, including 42 children. The majority were murdered in the gas chambers, and only two men survived.

Julius Chaim was born in Tarnow, Poland, on March 21, 1892, and murdered in Auschwitz on February 1st, 1943. He reached the age of 50 years.

Esther Chaim-Tannenhaus was born in Bajazesty, Romania on May 14, 1897. She was murdered in Auschwitz on February 1, 1943. She reached the age of 45 years.

Renate Chaim was born in Kaiserslautern, Germany on February 16, 1928. She was murdered in Auschwitz on February 1, 1943, at the age of 14 years.

Elfride Chaim was born in Kaiserslautern, Germany on February 17 1930. She was 12 years old when she was murdered in Auschwitz on February 1, 1943.

Brigitte Brigithe Chaim was born in Duisburg, Germany on January 19, 1935. She was eight years old when murdered in Auschwitz on February 1, 1943.

sources

https://www.oorlogsdodennijmegen.nl/zoekjaar/1943

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/129769/julius-chaim

Holocaust and Rock ’n’ Roll

I know there will be people who might think the title of the post is quite disrespectful, but it is far from it. The post will reflect how close and relevant the Holocaust still is.

So many great rock songs would never have been written or recorded if the Nazis had succeeded in their plans to murder all Jews. I have done a post on Kiss before, both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are children of Holocaust survivors, as is Billy Joel.

However, there are so many other rock musicians who have a direct connection to the Holocaust. Below are just a few of them.

Bass player Bob Glaub may not be a household name, but check the credits on Rod Stewart’s album “Atlantic Crossing” and John Lennon’s “Rock & Roll.”

He is a bass player and session musician. He has played with such artists and bands as Journey, Steve Miller Band, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, Dusty Springfield, Aaron Neville, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Donna Summer, John Lennon, Rod Stewart, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bee Gees. He has also accompanied Dwight Yoakam — on concert tours. He’s the bass player on Adam Sandler’s, “Hanukkah Song.”

His mother, a Hungarian-speaking Czech, and Glaub’s mother, Edith, were working as a nanny in Budapest when Hitler’s troops swept through Hungary in 1944. His father, from the same Czech village as his mother, spent the war in a series of slave labour camps in Ukraine. Glaub’s parents were reunited after the war and immigrated to the United States in 1949. (His father, Zoltan, paid their way by helping to paint the ship.)

One of the most iconic rock classics is Procol Harum”s “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” The song’s most innovative feature is its unique pairing of musical source material from Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach and from soul singer Percy Sledge’s hit, “When A Man Loves A Woman.

“We skipped the light fandango… .“Her face, at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale” — were the product of the band’s co-founder and poet-in-residence, Keith Reid, one of only a handful of nonperforming members of rock bands.

Reid’s father, Irwin Reid, a Viennese lawyer fluent in a half-dozen languages, was one of over 6,000 Jews arrested in Vienna during Kristallnacht on November 9 and 10, 1938. Like most Viennese Jews, he was transported to Dachau. He was, however, released several months later after promising to leave the country; with his younger brother, he promptly immigrated to England, leaving behind his parents, whom he would never see or hear from again and whose fate remains a mystery.

Canadian Rock band ‘Rush’ Geddy Lee’s (born Gary Lee Weinrib) parents were Jewish Holocaust survivors from Poland who had survived the ghetto in Starachowice (where they met), followed by their imprisonments at Auschwitz and later Dachau and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps during the Holocaust and World War II. They were in their teens when they were initially imprisoned at Auschwitz. “It was kind of surreal pre-teen shit”, says Lee, describing how his father bribed guards to bring his mother shoes. After a period, his mother was transferred to Bergen-Belsen and his father to Dachau. When the war ended four years later, and the Allies liberated the camps, Morris set out in search of Manya and found her at a Bergen-Belsen displaced person camp. They married there and eventually emigrated to Canada.

In 1984, Geddy Lee together with Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson wrote “Red Sector A” is a song that provides a first-person account of a nameless protagonist living in an unspecified prison camp setting.

Geddy Lee explained the genesis of the song in an interview:

“The seeds for the song were planted nearly 60 years ago in April 1945 when British and Canadian soldiers liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Lee’s mother, Manya (now Mary) Rubenstein, was among the survivors. (His father, Morris Weinrib, was liberated from the Dachau concentration camp a few weeks later.) The whole album “Grace Under Pressure,” says Lee, who was born Gary Lee Weinrib, “is about being on the brink and having the courage and strength to survive.”

Though ‘Red Sector A,’ like much of the album from which it comes, is set in a bleak, apocalyptic future, what Lee calls “the psychology” of the song comes directly from a story his mother told him about the day she was liberated.

I once asked my mother her first thoughts upon being liberated,” Lee says during a phone conversation. “She didn’t believe [liberation] was possible. She didn’t believe that if there was a society outside the camp how they could allow this to exist, so she believed society was done in.”

Just think of the impact the Holocaust had on the arts and music and how much worse it could have been.

sources

https://forward.com/culture/music/370234/procol-harum-jewish-history/

https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/96051

Being a Refugee: The Case of Ukraine Then and Now & an Interview with Dr Marta Harvryshko

On Sunday, January 22nd, 2023, I had the privilege to attend a presentation organized by the Ghetto Fighters’ House museum. The Ghetto Fighters’ House—Itzhak Katzenelson Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Heritage Museum—known as the House—is not only the first Holocaust museum in the world but also the first of its kind to be founded by Holocaust survivors.

The presentation was titled “Being a Refugee: The Case of Ukraine Then and Now”

Guest Speakers:
Dr Marta Havryshko – Institute Director, Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center. Gender and Genocide: Sexual Assaults during the Holocaust and the Search for Justice in Post-War Soviet Ukraine

Chuck Fishman – Award-Winning Photographer
Survivors Saving Survivors:
Photographing the Ukrainian Refugee Experience in Poland

Jonathan Ornstein – CEO of the JCC Krakow
Tikkun Olam: The Response of JCC Krakow to the Ukrainian Crisis

This special Talking Memory program, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, focused on the experiences of Jewish refugees in Soviet Ukraine after the Holocaust and Ukrainian refugees today.

Dr Marta Havryshko explored sexual violence during the Holocaust from the point of view of its immediate victims and witnesses —Jewish women and men who survived the Holocaust and became witnesses in postwar trials in Soviet Ukraine (the 1940s-1980s). She also shares her experiences as a refugee who had to leave Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

Jonathan Ornstein shared the incredible story of how JCC Krakow which has been taking in refugees from Ukraine since the Russian invasion is directly helping and supporting over one hundred and fifty thousand Ukrainians over the last eight months.

Chuck Fishman, who is an award-winning photographer, presented a photographic slice of the Ukrainian refugee experience in Poland, as seen, felt, and interpreted by a ripened American photographer.

This program is in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Israel.

Today I had the honour and privilege to interview Dr Marta Havryshko. This post includes both presentation and the interview.

sources

https://www.gfh.org.il/eng

The Murder of a 12-Year-Old Girl

The number 12 is significant in religious, mythological and magical symbolism, generally representing perfection, entirety, or cosmic order in traditions since antiquity. It is also the number of full lunations in a solar year, thus the number of months in a solar calendar, as well as the number of signs in the Western and the Chinese zodiac.

It is also significant in both Judaism and Christianity. The significance is especially pronounced in the Tanakh. Ishmael, the first-born son of Abraham, has 12 sons/princes (Genesis 25:16), and Jacob also has 12 sons, who are the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. This is reflected in the Christian tradition, notably in the twelve Apostles. When Judas Iscariot is disgraced, a meeting is held (Acts) to add Saint Matthias to complete the number twelve once more. The Book of Revelation contains much numerical symbolism, and many of the numbers mentioned have 12 as a divisor. 12:1 mentions a woman—interpreted as the people of Israel, the Church and the Virgin Mary—wearing a crown of twelve stars (representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel). Furthermore, there are 12,000 people sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (the Tribe of Dan is omitted while Manasseh is mentioned), making a total of 144,000 (which is the square of 12 multiplied by a thousand).

According to the New Testament, Jesus had twelve Apostles. The “Twelve Days of Christmas” count the interval between Christmas and Epiphany.

There are 12 units on a clock. Twelve was also the number of years that Keetje van Zanten lived. She was born in Rotterdam on 16 May 1930. Twelve years after she was born on 16 May 1942, the Sobibór extermination camp became operational.

Keetje’s Mother was Esther van Zanten-Bekkers born in Rotterdam on 10 December 1898, murdered at Sobibor, 11 June 1943. Her father was Marcus van Zanten born in Rotterdam on 7 February 1899 and murdered in Auschwitz on 28 February 1943.

Keetje also had 2 older brothers, Aron van Zanten born on 17 Augusts 1923 and Benjamin van Zanten on 24 February 1927. Both were murdered in the aforementioned, Sobibor Camp on 9 July 1943.

In her 12 years, she witnessed the invasion of the Netherlands on 10 May 1940.

She also witnessed societal changes. On 7 January 1941, the Dutch Cinema Association decided that Jews would no longer be allowed access to cinemas. On 12 January 1941, this measure was published in the newspapers.

From 1 September 1941, Jewish children had to go to separate schools and were no longer allowed in public schools. In Amsterdam, this became law on 1 October 1941.

The Compulsory Star of David was introduced on 3 May 1942 and required to be worn by all Jews over the age of six. It had to be visibly at chest height. The star was distributed by the Jewish Council and cost 4 cents each.

In July 1940, the freedom of Jews in the Netherlands was curtailed by the introduction of anti-Jewish measures, the first of which was the ban on working for the air defence service. From 1942, the measures followed each other in rapid succession, with the most visible on 3 May 1942: the introduction of the Star of David.

About 104,000 Jews from the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust. Keetje was one of them. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 28 January 1943. She had reached 12 years of age.

A 12-year-old girl was murdered only because she was Jewish.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Keetje-van-Zanten/02/176698

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/125673/keetje-van-zanten

Never Again—Never Forget

On 27 January 1945, the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz. Although those who survived were physically liberated, for many the mental torture never left them. Their experiences were relived in their nightmares and there was constant anxiety.

The United Nations has designated 27 January as Holocaust Memorial Day. I believe every day should be a Holocaust Memorial Day, especially nowadays when so many want to forget or revise history.

Never Again. Never Forget. I cannot say Never Forgive because that is not my call—that’s the prerogative of those who survived and their families.

source

Camps de Gurs—The Forgotten Concentration Camp

Although its official name is Gurs Internment Camp, let’s call it what it really was, a concentration camp. It is also probably one, if not the only time, the Nazis sent Jews westward.

At first, it served as a camp for Spanish republicans and German refugees who fled from Nazism. The Gurs Camp was among the first and one of the largest camps established in prewar France. It was located at the foot of the Pyrenees in Southwestern France, just South of the village of Gurs. The camp, about 50 miles from the Spanish border, was situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains northwest of Oloron-Sainte-Marie.

The camp measured about 1.4 km (in length and 200 m in width, an area of 28 ha (69 acres). Its only street ran the length of the camp. On either side of the street were plots of land measuring 200 m by 100 m, named îlots (blocks; literally, “islets”). There were seven îlots on one side and six on the other. The plots were separated from the street and from each other by wire fences. The fences were doubled at the back part of the plots to create a walkway along which the exterior guards circulated. In each plot stood about 30 cabins; there were 382 cabins altogether.

In early 1940, the French government interned about 4,000 German Jewish refugees as “enemy aliens” along with French leftist political leaders who opposed the war with Germany. After the French armistice with Germany in June 1940, Gurs fell under the authority of the new collaborationist French government, the Vichy regime.

In October 1940, the Nazi Gauleiter (“governor”) from the Baden region of Germany had also been named Gauleiter of the neighbouring French region of Alsace. In Baden resided some 7,500 Jews, mainly women, children, and the elderly, given that the young and middle-aged men had emigrated or had gone to the Nazi concentration camps.

The Gauleiter received word that the camp at Gurs was mostly empty, and on 25 October 1940, it was decided to evacuate the Jews from Baden (between 6,500 and 7,500) to Gurs as part of Operation Wagner-Bürckel. There, they remained locked up under the French administration. The living conditions were difficult, and illness rife, especially typhus and dysentery.

The deportation of the German Jews to Gurs in October 1940 is a unique case in the history of the Holocaust. IT WAS the only deportation of Jews carried out toward the west of Germany by the Nazi regime.

Conditions in the Gurs camp were very primitive. It was overcrowded and there was a constant shortage of water, food, and clothing. During 1940–41, some 800 detainees died of contagious diseases, including typhoid fever and dysentery.

One in four of the deportees died in Gurs or other French camps, 11 per cent succeeded in emigrating overseas, 12 per cent hid out in France, and 40 per cent (around 2,600 deportees) were transported to Auschwitz after July 1942. The fate of the remaining 600 deportees is unknown.

The Vichy regime turned over the Jews who were located in Gurs to the Nazis. On 18 July 1942, the SS captain, Theodor Dannecker, inspected the camp and then ordered that they prepare themselves to be transported to Eastern Europe. The Nazis sent the majority of them to the Drancy transit camp just outside of Paris. From Drancy, they were deported in six convoys to the killing centres in Poland, primarily Auschwitz.

Vichy authorities closed the Gurs camp in November 1943. Almost 22,000 prisoners had passed through Gurs, of whom over 18,000 were Jewish. More than 1,100 internees died in the camp. In 1944, Gurs was reopened briefly to intern political prisoners and resistance fighters arrested by Vichy police.

From 25 August to 31 December 1945, Nazi collaborators and hundreds of anti-Franco militants were interned. In total 3,370 persons, exclusively men.

sources

https://www.cheminsdememoire.gouv.fr/en/gurs-internment-camp

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/gurs

https://portal.ehri-project.eu/institutions/fr-006277

https://www.fondationshoah.org/en/node/47403

Babies Deported to Westerbork Concentration Camp

The one I can’t get to terms with, and even refuse to get to terms with, is the murder of babies during the Holocaust.

I know one of the reasons behind it was the purification of the Aryan race. But, how pure are you as a race when you murder babies? Another reason was that they were afraid that when these babies grew up, they would possibly look for revenge for the death of their families. The only time you expect revenge is when you know you did something wrong.

The picture above is of Roosje van der Hal. She was born in Groningen on 17 March 1942 and murdered in Sobibor on 21 May 1943. She reached the age of one.

Nehemia Levy Cohen was born in Amsterdam on 20 December 1940. She was murdered in Sobibor on 7 May 1943. She had reached two years of age.

Both babies had been deported to Westerbork on 25 January 1943. From there they were deported to Sobibor where they both were killed. These were only two of the 1.5 million children. The scary thing is that there have been genocides, albeit on a smaller scale, after the Holocaust where babies once again were victims.

I want you all to look into the faces of these two sweet angels and ask yourself, “What can I do to stop this from happening again?”

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/191815/nehemia-levy-cohen

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/26236/roosje-van-der-hal

The Sad Story of Betje Weijl-van Praag and her Daughter

On 16 November 1941, Betje Weijl-van Praag died from what appears to be suicide. The police report does not mention suicide, but the circumstances indicate that probably was what happened.

“Notification is given by telephone that something has probably happened to the resident of plot Schuttersweg 88 because she has not been seen all day. She lives alone. Police officer Van Rave goes to the scene and a little later announces by telephone that he has gained access to the house by breaking a window. A coal vapour smell was observed by him. The resident was found dead in bed by him so she probably died of coal fume poisoning. Dr Hermanides stated, who will perform the autopsy.”

Later two more officers went to the scene. Two and a half hours later it is noted: “Dr Hermanides had already performed the autopsy. An amount of money, amounting to NLG 40.82, as well as distribution documents were taken by the rapporteur. The stove in the house was still smouldering, while the stove pipe was completely blocked. The house is locked and the key has been taken by detective Wolvenne. According to found papers, the deceased would have relatives in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam police will try to warn them. Dr Lobstein van het Apeldoornsche Bosch later informs him that it is known to him (a daughter of Mrs Van Praag) is being nursed in the Apeldoornsche Bosch) that family (sister) lives in Amsterdam, Oudezijde Achterburgwal 111.”

The report mentions Betje Weijl-van Praag’s daughter. Sophia Charlotte Weijl was born on 14 April 1915. She was a patient at Het Apeldoornsche Bosch, a Jewish psychiatric hospital in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.

I am not sure when she was admitted to the hospital. However her father, Salomo Weijl died on 28 February 1923. Sophia was still nine at the time. Her mother, Betje Weijl-van Praag became a widow and perhaps she wasn’t able to look after her daughter on her own.

Sophia Charlotte Weijl was in Het Apeldoornsche Bos when it was raided on the night of 21/22 January 1943. She was put on transport on 22 January 1943 to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she was murdered on 24 January 1943.

Both women were victims of the Nazi regime.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/152937/betje-weijl-van-praag

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/660803/sophia-charlotte-weijl

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The US and the Holocaust

Hermann Göring, picture of Adolf Hitler, Charles A. Lindbergh, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Just to make it clear this post is not meant as an accusation or finger-pointing. I am forever grateful for what the US and especially the US Army has done for my country, the outcome of World War II would have been more than likely completely different, without the intervention of the US.

However, this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t highlight the mistakes made by the US when it comes to the Holocaust. There is this myth that the US didn’t know how bad the Nazis really were. But they were told long before the war started and even a few months before they were drawn into it.

Otto Frank had requested a Visa for the United States in 1938 which was denied. On 30 April 1941, Otto Frank send a letter to his American friend Nathan Straus Jr. (whose friends called him “Charley”), the son of the founder of Macy’s department stores. The two men had met more than 30 years earlier, while Frank was in college in Heidelberg, and had become close friends.

April 30, 1941

Dear Charley,
…I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see the U.S.A. is the only country we could go to. Perhaps you remember that we have two girls. It is for the sake of the children mainly that we have to care for. Our own fate is of less importance. Two brothers of Edith emigrated last year and they work as ordinary workmen around Boston. Both of them earn money, but not enough to have us come.

They would be able to give an affidavit for their mother, living with us here, and they saved enough as, far as I can make out, to pay the passage for my mother-in-law…

In 1938 I filed an application in Rotterdam to emigrate to the U.S.A. but all the papers have been destroyed there…The dates of application are of no importance any longer, as everyone who has an effective affidavit from a member of his family and who can pay for his passage may leave. One says that no special difficulties shall be made from the part of the German Authorities. But in the case that an affidavit from family members is not available or not sufficient the consul asks for a bank deposit. How much he would ask in my case I don’t know. I am not allowed to go to Rotterdam and without an introduction, the consul would not even accept me. As far as I hear from other people it might be about $5,000. – for us four. You
are the only person I know that I can ask Would it be possible for you to give a deposit in my favor?”

The title of the post is taken from the Ken Burns documentary, a 3 part series. which explores the US response to the Nazi persecution of Jews, but, at six hours long, has enough room to extend its remit to other countries’ attitudes towards immigration and refugees (the UK is not spared). The first episode, The Golden Door, is bookended by both the Statue of Liberty and Anne Frank’s family. In 1934, the Franks fled Germany and moved to Amsterdam, along with hundreds of other Jewish families. Their intention was to reach the US. Coyote recounts solemnly that they found that “most Americans did not want to let them in”.

The miniseries begins in 1933, covering the national culture of the U.S. before World War II and the Holocaust, including topics such as antisemitism, racism, the eugenics movement and how Nazi Germany used Jim Crow laws in the American South as models for its own racial policy, including the Nuremberg Laws and other pieces of antisemitic legislation. Through interviews with Holocaust survivors, historians and witnesses, as well as through historical footage, the series examines the U.S. response to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.

The documentary will be televised on BBC 4 on Monday, January 23.

sources

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2023/jan/10/the-us-and-the-holocaust-review-unmissable-ken-burns-doc-reveals-how-hitler-was-inspired-by-america

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt20863280/?ref_=tt_ov_inf

https://exhibitions.ushmm.org/americans-and-the-holocaust/personal-story/otto-frank

My Interview with Joosje Asser—The Story About her Parents and their Survival

During the night of 21 to 22 January 1943, the Nazis raided Het Apeldoornsche Bosch, a Jewish psychiatric hospital in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. Nearly 1300 people are deported to Auschwitz.

All 1181 patients, sometimes naked, confused or in straitjackets, were forced by units of the SS and the Ordnungspolizei under the personal supervision of Hauptsturmführer Ferdinand aus der Fünten of the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (assisted by Albert Konrad Gemmeker, the SS commander of Camp Westerbork ) in trucks to the waiting freight train. In the days that followed, another 293 people, mainly personnel, were taken away. Most of them do not survive the war.

Eli Asser and Eefje Croisset, Joosje’s parents, who worked in the Hospital managed to escape. In the interview, Joosje talks about her parents, and the book her father wrote about the time.

There are a few small interruptions during the interview, I had considered cleaning them up, but then I realised the symbolic value of it. So many family lives were disrupted during the Holocaust. I decided to leave the interview as it was, unedited.

sources

https://www.apeldoornschebosch.nl/en/history

https://www.apeldoornschebosch.nl/