Kindertehuis-Home for Children

I came across date about the ‘Voormalig Rotterdams kindertehuis’ or Former Rotterdam home for Children. Initially I was a bit confused. I wanted to find out more so I looked in some Rotterdam archives, then I noticed that the actual home was in Arnhem. To make it even more confusing the address was Amsterdamscheweg 1, as in Amsterdam way 1.

The story behind this home is very sad and disturbing. The original name was Villa Marguerita , but after the bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940, Dr Wolff who was an ENT(Ear Nose Throat) Doctor originally from Berlin, became the director of the boys home. Eventually it became home for about 80 Jewish boys and girls, and later on some elderly Jewish citizens from Arnhem. For a short time it even functioned as a Jewish Hospital.

In December 1942, the deportation of the residents of the home , to Westerbork started. From there they were send to Auschwitz,Sobibor and Bergen Belsen. As far as I could find out none of the residents survived.

The youngest resident was Esther de Leeuw ,born 4 September 1942 in Arnhem. Murdered in Sobibor, 23 July 1943. Only 10 months old.

Kurt Rosenbaum was born in Berlin 2 April 1927 and was murdered Bergen-Belsen, 9 April 1945, a week after his 18th birthday.

I don’t know when this picture was taken, but the look in Kurt’s eyes is chilling. He clearly had got to the age where he knew what was happening around him and what fate would await him.

NEVER AGAIN

Sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/35441/voormalig-rotterdams-kindertehuis

When you come back to school, and your classmates are gone.

The last year has been a strange year for a great number of countries across the world, especially when it comes to education. There is no doubt that the Covid 19 pandemic will have consequences down the line for many students.

However most of them when they go back to school, they will still see their fellow school friend and students.

During the Holocaust a great number Jewish children were killed. In the Netherlands 75 % of all Hews were murdered. Yet the Nazis still get the illusion going that life was reasonably ‘normal’ for the Jews. Jewish children were still going to school, although their curriculum was greatly reduced. Even extra curricular activities were still encouraged.

This to me is one of the more sickening of the Nazi occupation, they gave people false hope. I have said this before that the Nazis had never been abled to succeed with their final solution plans without the help of other. The bureaucrats, the civil servants, the public transport staff and also other citizens who thought they could benefit from the removal of their Jewish neighbours, this wasn’t only the case in the Netherlands but all of occupied Europe. The one main difference with the Netherlands compared to many of the other countries, the Dutch had an extremely efficient public service, which was used to its full capacity by the Nazis.

I sometimes wonder how distressing it must have been for those poor children to see that every time they came back to school from a break, or after the weekend, some of their classmates were gone. What questions would have gone through their minds?

Any nation that kills their children kills its own future. Most of the children in the pictures in this blog would have been murdered during the Holocaust. I don’t know their names, where they lived, what age they were. But that is not important, all I know that none of them deserved to be treated like subhuman, none of them deserved the be murdered, none of their futures should have been stolen from them. What they deserve now is to be remembered and for all is us to work hard to avoid something like the Holocaust happening again.

Source

Holocaust Obituary

This broke my heart.

On September 14, 1945 an obituary appeared in the Nieuw Israëlitisch Weekblad, which was a Dutch Jewish weekly newspaper, it was an obituary for several generations of one family:

George Sandelowsky (father and father-in-law), who had died on February 25 as a result as the awful conditions in Bergen Belsen concentration camp. aged 66. Occupation: Wholesale dealer

Peterle Sandelowsky died on March 15 1945 ,aged 8 months described as ‘our little sunshine and hope for the future’ In fact Peterle was only 7 months old. Peterle was born in Westerbork on August 2 1944. A short life lived entirely in concentration camps. Before you read further I want you to leave this sink in for a minute.

Gitella Cohn-Pels ,mother and mother-in-law),at age 52. died on April 2, 1945

Aron Cohn ,father and father-in-law, whom ‘ had to be left behind dying on April 9,1945, They had to presume due to the fact they could find out no further information he died the same was as his loving wife. However it appears he was liberated but he still died on June 30 1945 in Tröbitz. Occupation: Manager

Rosa Sandelowsky-Wulff ,mother and mother-in-law, who had died of typhus in Tröbitz at age 53 on May 17,1945 . She could offer no more resistance to the Typhus she had been subjected to On May 17 he brave heart broke. A heart that had beat her entire life for her family, for her husband and children.

I believe the obituary was placed by Fritz Sandelowsky, Eva Goldberger and Otto Sandelowsky

Such a sad and poignant story . A snapshot of a tragedy so hard to fathom.

I found this obituary on the Joods Monument website , but after doing a bit more research I found the entire 14 September 1945 edition of the Nieuw Israëlitisch Weekblad. Next to the obituary were a few more notifications, most of them are looking for information on the whereabouts of loved ones.

Just a simple newspaper, but such an important piece of a historical record of the Holocaust. Never forget.

Sources

http://resolver.kb.nl/resolve?urn=ddd:010858268:mpeg21:pdf

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/25101/aaron-cohn

Reached the age of….

One thing that never should be said about children is “Reached the age of..” Yet this did apply to so many children who were murdered during the Holocaust. Everyone who was murdered during that time was innocent.

1.5 million children were killed. 1.5 million human being who never were allowed to blossom into you men and women. Murdered because they were Jewish, Roma or disabled. The though just sickens me.

The number is just unfathomable, but to put it in some sort of perspective, the world’s biggest stadium is Rungrado 1st of May Stadium,in Pyongyang, North Korea. It can hold up to 150,000 people, which is only the equivalent of 10% of all the children murdered during the Holocaust.

I am not able to name all those children, it would take me several live times to do so. Therefore I am just going to remember a few in this blog. Young people who only reached the age of…

The picture above is of Jonas Wallage who reached the age of 13, and of his brother Hartog Wallace who reached the age of 8. Both boys were murdered in Auschwitz.

Hanna Maria Steinbock, reached the age of 8. Murdered in Sobibor

Esther Frederika Polak, reached the age of 5. Was murdered in Auschwitz.

Marcel Alter, reached the age of 5. Was murdered in Auschwitz.

My fear is that these kids will be forgotten because of politics. It was politics that murdered them in the first place, and now it is politics that is trying to erase their memories.

Either by complete denial or by people who get offended that they are reminded that these children were killed in their country.

I will do my best to keep their memories alive. I hope you do your bit by sharing their stories and help to fight any sort of Holocaust denial.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Holocaust

First of all let me start by saying I am not a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t agree with some aspects of their religion. However that doesn’t mean I don’t respect their faith, because I do. I respect anyone’s faith once it doesn’t include hatred and violence. Among my friends are Jews, Christians, , Buddhists, Baháʼí and Atheists. In fact I remember a few years ago I was doing a course in web development and I gave some of my fellow students a lift home, that time I had a microcosm of several faiths in my car, a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim and an atheists, all connected via one thing, education.

However the title of the blog is Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Holocaust and that is what I will be focusing on.

I have done blogs on the subject before but I found it important to do another one, because the more I read about it the more I realize how little is known about this.

Unlike the Jews and Roma victims who were persecuted and murdered by virtue of their birth, the Jehovah’s witnesses could save themselves by denouncing their faith. The courage the vast majority showed in refusing to do so, in the face of torture, maltreatment in concentration camps, and sometimes execution, won them the respect of many contemporaries.

Rather then going into too deep of details I will focus on just a few stories.

The picture at the start of the blog is of the Kusserow family. They were active in distributing religious literature and teaching Bible study classes in their home. Their house had been under intense scrutiny.

The oldest son,Wilhelm Kusserow,had been arrested for refusing to join the army. In 1940 he had made it clear to the judge that he only obeyed God’s law and not Hitler’s laws. He interpreted God’s command “thou shalt not kill” literally and refused to serve in the German army

For this he was executed by a firing squad in Muenster prison on April 27.

His younger brother, , also refused to join the army for the same reason . He was executed on March 28,1942 in Brandenburg prison by guillotine , aged 20.

Helene Gotthold was executed by guillotine in Berlin’s Ploetzensee Prison, on December 8. 1944.

Helene’s husband was arrested in 1936.basically for practicing his faith After searching her house, where they found Jehovah’s witnesses literature the Gestapo arrested her in 1937; she was beaten with rods and lost her unborn baby. The court gave her an 18-month sentence.

Helene and her husband were arrested again in February 1944. They were imprisoned in Essen, however after the prison had been destroyed in an Allied bombing raid, they were transferred to a prison in Potsdam. On August 4, the People’s Court sentenced Helene and five other Witnesses to death for illegally holding Bible meetings and undermining the nation’s morale. Before her execution, Helene was allowed to write a letter to her husband and children.

Helene was executed by guillotine in Berlin’s Ploetzensee Prison on December 8, 1944. Her family survived and resumed their Jehovah’s Witness missionary work in Germany.

I think many people underestimate the bravery of the Jehovah’s witnesses, still to this day. After reading and researching for this blog and the other blogs I did, I have found a new respect for this group of Christians. Does that mean I agree with all of their believes, of course it doesn’t but I don’t expect anyone to agree with all of my believes either. One thing I do know though, if I could have saved my live by denouncing my faith, there is a great chance I would have done that.

Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/id-card/helene-gotthold

https://www.fold3.com/page/286019312/jehovahs-witnesses-and-the-holocaust/stories

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/the-kusserow-family

Donation

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Happy Birthday Marcel Marceau

I did do a blog on Marcel Marceau about 2 years ago but he would have been 97 today. Therefore I thought it to be appropriate to do another tribute to this silent Hero.

He survived the Nazi occupation, and saved many children in WWII. He was regarded for his peerless style pantomime, moving audiences without uttering a single word, and was known to the World as a “master of silence.”

Marcel Marceau was born Marcel Mangel in Strasbourg, France, to a Jewish family. His father, Charles Mangel, was a kosher butcher originally from Będzin, Poland. His mother, Anne Werzberg, came from Yabluniv, present-day Ukraine.

At the beginning of the Second World War, he had to hide his Jewish origin and changed his name to Marceau, when his Jewish family was forced to flee their home. His father was deported to Auschwitz, where he was murdered in 1944. Both Marceau and his brother, Alain, were in the French resistance helping children to escape to safety in neutral Switzerland. Then Marceau served as interpreter for the Free French Forces under General Charles de Gaulle, acting as liaison officer with the allied armies.

He gave his first major performance to 3,000 troops after the liberation of Paris in August 1944.

In 1947 Marceau created the character Bip the Clown, whom he first played at the Théâtre de Poche (Pocket Theatre) in Paris. In his appearance he wore a striped pullover and a battered, be-flowered silk opera hat. The outfit signified life’s fragility and Bip became his alter ego.

He died on September 22,2007 . A silent Hero who should never beforgotten.

Source

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0545131/bio

Happy Birthday Leonard Samuel van Esso

Dr. Maria Montessori once said “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

The picture above is of a Montessori school in Amsterdam, it was taken in 1937.

Leonard Samuel van Esso was one if that school’s pupils. He was born 20 March 1936 in Amsterdam. He would have been 85 today, but he didn’t even get to celebrate his 7th birthday because he was murdered 15 days short of that day. He was murdered in Sobibor on March 5 1943, alongside his parents and older sister.

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

The regime that sent him to Sobibor did not see him as a human being, nor did they gave him the respect he was due by reason of his innocence and greater possibility of his future.

It would be easy for me to say it was the Germans who murdered him, and I wouldn’t be wrong, but as in many other crimes there were accomplices and enablers. They made not have been in uniform, they could have been behind a desk, getting the paper work ready.

No respect was shown to any of 1.5 million children who were brutally murdered. Leonard’s ‘crime’ is that he was Jewish. According to the Nazi ideology the blood of the Jews was impure, yet they didn’t mind using the blood taken from Jews in Auschwitz and I presume other camps , for blood transfusions for the wounded soldiers .

Another quote by Maria Montessori is “The child is endowed with unknown powers, which can guide us to a radiant future. If what we really want is a new world, then education must take as its aim the development of these hidden possibilities.”

Whoever got the paperwork ready for Leonard, whoever put him on the train, the drivers who transported him to Sobibor, whoever murdered him , did not only deny Leonard his future , they also denied themselves of a world of hidden possibilities.

There is no pictures I could find of Leonard. The artist Willem Volkersz, created a series of suitcases in memory of holocaust victims. This is Leonard’s suit case.

Dear Leonard wherever you are I hope you have a happy birthday. This article is my present to you. It is there to ensure your name will not be forgotten.

Some of my fellow country men may have forsaken you. I will not.

Source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/169231/leonard-samuel-van-esso

Sex and WWII

++++ Contains some nudity+++++

We watched the 2001 World War II drama “Enemy at the Gates” a few nights ago. There was one scene where the characters played by Rachel Weisz and Jude Law had sex whilst surrounded by other soldiers, in the sleeping quarters.

This made me wonder how often something would happen for real during the dark days of WWII. It also made me think about the wider concept of sex during the war.

Sex is the most primal instinct human beings, and indeed all animals, have , even though nowadays some of the woke generation may dispute that . But sex is a normal and a beautiful thing.

Clearly sex was still happening during WWII if that hadn’t been the case there would have been no births during 1939 and 1945.

In Germany, and later in other countries occupied by the Nazis young women were encouraged and often forced to have children, through the Lebensborn program. The purpose of this program was to offer to young girls who were deemed “racially pure” the possibility to give birth to a child in secret. The child was then given to the SS organization which took charge in the child’s education and adoption. It was really meant to breed the “super-race” In the later stages children who looked ‘aryan’ were also forcefully taken from parents and given away for adoption.

Anni-Frid Lyngstad from Swedish super group ABBA was one of the children born via the Lebensborn program.

Sex of course isn’t just for making babies it is also to have fun and make you feel good about yourself. Even in the darkest days and despite facing horrors every day, some of those who were in the concentration camps still managed to have sex. In Rudolf Vrba’s book “I Escaped From Auschwitz “ he writes that on one occasion male kapo, part of a male inmate work group had a longing for sex with a female kapo of a female work group working in the same operation, sorting the belongings of the victims who had been murdered in the gas chambers. The female kapo was an attractive, young Hungarian girl who agreed to have sex if she was given some specified gifts. Vrba was instructed in one case was to transport the gifts to the female kapo before the sexual encounter.

Great Britain is not really known for its liberal attitude to nudity and sexuality, but the Blitz intensified sexual desire. A full two decades before the so-called permissive society of the Sixties, a dramatic, if understated, sexual revolution was already taking place. Life magazine featured on its cover in May 1941 three showgirls dressed in only underwear and gas masks. A more powerful symbol of the sexualisation of the Blitz would be hard to find.

All the major combatants involved in World War II used pornography as a small part of their psychological operations (PSYOP) strategy. Mostly this involved dropping propaganda leaflets using sexual themes from the air, in an attempt to demoralise enemy soldiers at the front.

There were also some hidden dangers especially in the time where condoms were not really used as much as they are now, aside from the unplanned pregnancies by lovers rather then husbands. There was also the danger of STI’s (sexually transmitted infections, aka VD).

In June 1942, a woman named Billie Smith was arrested in her hotel room in Little Rock, Arkansas, and charged with prostitution and violation of the state’s immorality laws. Smith pled guilty and paid the fine of $10—equivalent to $150 today—but authorities weren’t quite done.

Smith was turned over to the city’s health examiner, who ran tests for syphilis and gonorrhea. When both came back positive, the officer ordered her committed to a federally run quarantine center in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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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Sources

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-quot-lebensborn-quot-program

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3165954/How-Blitz-sent-Britain-sex-mad-New-book-reveals-Hitler-s-bid-bomb-surrender-startling-effect.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/during-world-war-ii-sexually-active-women-were-a-national-security-threat/409555/

Josef Mengele-Angel of Death

This day 110 years ago, one of the most evil men that over roamed the earth was born. Josef Mengele was born in Günzburg on 16 March 1911, the oldest of three sons of Walburga (née Hupfauer) and Karl Mengele. His two younger brothers were Karl Jr. and Alois.

There is an eerie coincidence here, Alois was also the name of the Father of the man he came to admire and serve, Adolf Hitler.

I will not go too deep into Josef Mengele as such because so much has already been written about him, even I have done several pieces in the past. His Father Karl Mengele, a prosperous manufacturer of farming implements. In 1935 he got a PhD in physical anthropology at the University of Munich. He also held a doctoral degree in genetic medicine.

A privileged and educated man and yet he could not see how inhumane he was. Or maybe he didn’t want to see. With a slight flick of the finger he would decide who would live or die. Even those who initially were selected to live were subjected to medical experiments or slave labour, eventually often resulting in death.

The most disturbing fact about Mengele is that he died a free man. I have no doubt that he was helped escape Germany after the war and not necessarily only by fellow Nazis. It would not surprise me if he actual had surrendered to the allies, he would have been part of Operation Paperclip, the operation which ensured that many of the Nazi scientists got jobs in the USA and other countries, and not just mediocre positions but highly paid jobs within the scientific fraternity.

But the fact that many of his crimes were well documented and used as evidence during the International Military Tribunal, probably meant that the allies could not be seen endorsing this Angel of Death. Having that said if they would have been serious in capturing him, it would have been very easy to do so because he wasn’t really that hard to find.

Remembering Betsy Labzowski- Murdered on March 12 1945.

A few months ago I saw a quote which said “If you remember one, you remember them all” This really stuck with me.

Today I am remembering Betsy Labzowski, she was born in Zierikzee, the Netherlands , 29 June 1920 and she was murdered in Extern kommando Raguhn, 12 March 1945, which was a subcamp of Buchenwald, aged 24

Betty’s parents were from Lithuanian descent.

Betty was only 24 when she was murdered. A beautiful young woman who still had a future in front of her. Who knows what she could have become, a Doctor, a secretary, an actress, a model, a teacher, a wife, a mother. Her possibilities were endless, but on March 12,1945 less then 2 months to the war’s end. Betty’s future was cut short by an evil regime.

I would love to see that it was only the Germans who were responsible for her death, but that would be a lie. The occupying Nazi regime were helped by civil servants and a very effective Dutch civil administration. Often out of fear, but not always.

It is such a stain on my country’s history, but luckily most people do know and acknowledge this.

There are other countries in Europe who still have to come to terms with their histories, but rather then facing up to it they have decided toe revise it, Do they not know that the same ideology which killed millions in the past, including many of their own citizens, is rearing its ugly head again?

I hope Betty’s death was not just a statistic but a lesson to be learned for all of us.

Source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/119491/betsy-labzowski#intro