Transport to Cosel: Limburg Jews on their way to death.

Before I go into the story of the men, who were put on slave labour by the Nazi regime, I will have to explain what ‘Limburg’ is .Limburg is a province in the southeast of the Netherlands and the northeast of Belgium.

I was born and grew up in the Dutch side of Limburg. The most populated part is the south of the Dutch Limburg, it is also the part that looks completely different then the rest of the Netherlands. There are actually hills there. Although I am a native of the province, I was not aware of the fate of these men.

Not all deportation trains with Dutch Jews went directly to the extermination camps and gas chambers. Between August 28 and December 10, 1942, some of the trains to Auschwitz-Birkenau made a stopover in Silesian Cosel (present-day Poland). Here almost all men between the ages of 15 and 55 had to get off the train at the freight station. Where they were put to work.

On 24 August 1942, six hundred Limburg Jews were issued a call-up card by the Dutch police, the municipal police or a constable. They were all under the age of sixty and had to report to the assembly point at the public school on Professor Pieter Willemsstraat in Maastricht the next day.

Only half of them showed up. The group was taken to Camp Westerbork and was largely deported on August 28, 1942. They were part of the first Cosel transport. Another 17 Cosel transports from the Netherlands would follow. Also 21 transports from France and Belgium stopped in Cosel.

The train stopped on August 29 in Cosel, about a thousand kilometers from Westerbork .About 170 men, 75 of whom are Limburgers, were pushed out of the train while being yelled and cursed at . A selection followed, and those who were not been deemed fit for work had to get back on the train. The train continued the journey to Auschwitz ,when it arrived on August 30,1942, the majority were murdered in the gas chambers.

The Limburg men who left Westerbork on August 28 were put on trucks in Cosel and ended up in Camp Sakrau, from where they went to various other camps in the region. Conditions in these camps were very different. The work was very hard, some of the Jewish men died from hunger, exhaustion, illness or accidents.

Abraham Spiero, a survivor who survived a later transport said about the ordeal:

“The train stopped in Cosel. That was a terrible thing there. Humanity stopped here. We, the men up to 50 years old, all had to sit down squatting. When the train had driven away, we were loaded onto trucks like animals.”

The men of the other 17 Cosel transports also ended up in a network of 177 camps near factories and construction sites. Some 1,500 forced laborers make fighter planes and war machinery, they worked in Krupp’s metalworks or IG Farben’s chemical plants.

Others were forced to work in the construction of railways and highways. Which was a big money earner for the German state and the companies.

The men who were no longer able to work were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were gassed.

At the end of April 1943, most of the survivors were sent to Camp Blechhammer. Also father Pinehas Gans and son Philip Gans. They both came from the transport of November 2, 1942. Pinehas and Philip survived for a long time, and end up together in Camp Blechhammer. But when the camp is evacuated on January 21,1945 ,the prisoners are marched to Camp Gross-Rosen by foot. During the march or shortly after arrival at Gross Rosen both Gans men are murdered, on February 5,1945.

The Gans family in 1934 .Right in the picture is Pinehas(Piet)Gans, behind him is his wife and sitting next to him is his son Philip

In January 1945, of the ten thousand French, Belgian and Dutch forced laborers selected in Cosel, about two thousand were still alive. Most are in Camp Blechhammer. Eventually, only 873 men survive, less than ten percent of the men who got off at Cosel. The survival rate of the Dutch is even less, of the 3400 Dutch on the Cosel transports, 193 men survived. This also applied to the Limburg men who started their journey in Maastricht on 25 August 1942. Eleven of the 170 men of this first transport survived the forced labour.

On initiative of some people from Limburg there was finally a plaque unveiled at September 2, 2016 near the former goods store station of pre-war Cosel (Poland) and this as a remembrance of the so called Cosel Transports.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/artikel/transport-naar-cosel-limburgse-joden-op-weg-naar-de-ondergang

https://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/100746/Memorial-Cosel-Transports.htm

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Tinus Osendarp, medal winning Olympian and Nazi collaborator.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the star of the 1936 Olympic games was Jesse Owens. But there was another medal winner, who became more infamous then famous. He came 3rd behind in the Men’s 100 metres sprint, behind Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe, He also ended 3 in the Men’s 200 metres sprint, behind Jesse Owens and Mack Robinson. The name of this double bronze medal winner is Tinus Osendarp.

In the 100 m final he ran 10.5 s, behind Americans Jesse Owens 10.3 s, and Ralph Metcalfe 10.4 s. Upon his return home Osendarp was called “the best white sprinter” by the Dutch press.

During the medal ceremony he had raised his arm in the Nazi salute.

Tinus (Martinus) Osendarp was born on 21 May 1916 in Delft as the son of Bernardus Osendarp, owner of an export company in fruit and vegetables. The Osendarp family soon moved to Rijswijk. The VUC football association flourished there, which also had a small athletics department. However, Tinus wanted to become a famous footballer above all else. With his innate speed, he was therefore ascribed a great future on the football field

Tinus Osendarp started sprinting for fun, and was discovered as a talent. His first success came in 1934, when he placed third in the 200 m at the inaugural European Championships, won by compatriot Chris Berger. Osendarp finished fifth in the 100 metres and won a second bronze medal in 4×100 metres relay (with Tjeerd Boersma, Chris Berger, and the non-Olympian Robert Jansen).

He increased his popularity by winning both the 100 and the 200 at the 1938 European Championships in Paris.

The basis for his future involvement in National Socialism was laid in Berlin, where he first came under the influence of SS propaganda.

Working as a policeman in The Hague, Osendarp joined the NSB (the Dutch National Socialist Party) in 1941, and the SS in 1943. Working for the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), he was involved with arrests of various resistance fighters. and helping in the deportation of Dutch Jews. The payment for each captured Jewish man or woman was 7.50 Dutch Guilders, which is the equivalent of $50 or €42 today. Many of those he arrested or betrayed were murdered.

In 1948, Osendarp was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but he was allowed to carry out his sentence by working in the coal mines, in the Southeast of the Netherlands, to support his family.

This is actually the street where I grew up, Convicted Nazis on the way back to the camps they stayed in after working in the Maurits Coal mine

He was released early in 1953 and moved to Limburg to work in the mines. In 1958 he also became athletics coach at Kimbria in Maastricht, and from 1972 he was a coach at Achilles-Top in Kerkrade. He died in 2002 at the age of 86 in Heerlen. Although he was a relatively ‘minor’ perpetrator, I think his sentence was much too lenient. He should have been jailed for life.

sources

http://www.olympedia.org/athletes/73863

Martinus “Tinus” Bernardus Osendarp, Dutch 1936 top athlete and Nazi collaborator.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200417093957/https://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/summer/1936/ATH/mens-100-metres.html

https://hyperleap.com/topic/Tinus_Osendarp

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Who is an immigrant? I am one.

The buzzword nowadays is “immigrants” and in hardly any context it is used in a positive way. Here is the thing though, who is an immigrant?

This is just a micro snapshot in history. It is basically a background of my family well at least from my Mother’s side.

The picture at the start of the blog is a picture of the marriage certificate of my maternal grandparents. They got married on December 28,1915.

The groom Durk Jager, the bride Tetje Hoekstra. They lived and were married in a small village in Friesland, in the Northwest of the Netherlands. The village Harkema-opeinde was part of the wider municipality of Achtkarspelen.

It was a rural place and there was not much work to be got. In Limburg, in the Southeast of the Netherlands, there was plenty  of work though. This was because of the ‘black gold’, coal . In the early part of the 20th century. Between 1906 and 1926 coal mines were opened in the most southern province bringing with it job opportunities, not just only in the coal industry but also in the wider economy.

The biggest and the last one to be opened was States mine Maurits in Geleen, which opened in 1926.

That was the call for my grand parents to pack up things and uproot the family for a journey southward to Geleen. Even though the Netherlands is just a small country, in the 1920s a journey like that was the equivalent of emigrating to the US or Canada nowadays.

I used the term emigrating because that is what they were doing. The place they were going to was alien to them. Coming from Friesland they had their own language, a different culture and also a different religion, Friesland being a predominantly Protestant province where Limburg was a predominantly Catholic province. Even the landscape was different.

The new immigrants arrived in Limburg and had to adapt to a new way of life.My Grandparents weren’t the only ones to leave Friesland, because of the lack of work in Friesland a great number of Frisians chanced their luck in the hilly area of the Southern part of Limburg.

I am an immigrant too, because I left that same hilly area of southern Limburg for the emerald isle, Ireland. I emigrated because of my wife, who had emigrated from Ireland to the Netherlands 6 years prior.

In 1997 we decided to move to Limerick in Ireland.

So many people have immigrated over the centuries, when you go back far enough in history you will discover that most of us come from an immigrant background.

So next time someone talks in a disparaging manner about immigrants , just remember they maybe talking about you or your family.

(originally posted on January 15, 2019. Reposted with minor amendments January 10,2022)

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Silvain Wolf-Just a holiday trip

Silvain Wolf was just a footnote in history. But his story is an important one to tell.

He was born on October 7,1902 in Beek, a small town in the province of Limburg, in the South East of the Netherlands.

In 1930 he moved to nearby Sittard, where he got a job with his uncle Adolf Wolf- In the shop Wolf & Hertzdahl. (Which is a shop I often passed when I worked in Sittard.)

On August 25,1942 Silvain got the call to report for labor in Germany. He wanted to hide but was too late. He was initially sent to Westerbork. In Westerbork he wrote a few letters to his family. Below is part of the text of one of those letters.

“We are all good… Mrs van de Hors is keeping well too. Sophie(his sister) needs to remain tough, or do something else……. We had red cabbage and rotten unpeeled potatoes, and will disappoint more often.

You all keep strong, it is just a Holiday trip”

That last line says so much. He was still anticipating a return home. This was because the Nazis had created the illusion that all wasn’t that bad. On August 28,1942 he was put on a transport to Auschwitz.

But Silvain and other men were taken off the train in Kosel ,about 80 km away from Auschwitz. From labor camp Kosel the men were sent to other camps ,after that theirs and Silvain’s fate is unknown. There is only a footnote saying ‘Died in middle Europe’ not even the date is known. They put Silvain’s date of death on April 30,1943 but that is a fictional date.

He was punished and killed because he was Jewish.

sources

https://www.stolpersteinesittardgeleen.nl/Slachtoffers/Silvain-Wolf

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/123000/silvain-wolf

https://www.tracesofwar.nl/books/1648/Een-voetnoot-bij-de-wereldgeschiedenis.htm

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Cycling in WWII-The story of 2 cyclists, one hero, one traitor.

German troops invaded the Netherland in May 1940. The Nazi regime stayed in power in the the Netherlands until May 1945. Although the southern provinces had already been liberated in the autumn of 1944.

Despite the occupation, for many life went ahead as usual, at least to an extend. Sporting events were still allowed by the Nazi occupiers. I have often wondered why that was, but of course sports were ideal for propaganda purposes. It created an illusion to show the citizens that the Nazis weren’t all that bad. Also sports functioned as a distraction.

Cycling has always been popular in the Netherlands. Many Dutch still use the bicycle as their preferred means of transport. But also in a sporting sense it has always been popular and there have been many successful Dutch cyclists throughout the decades.

It is no wonder therefor that the Dutch continued to organizes cycling events like the Cauberg Criterium, which was an annual race in the most south Eastern part of the Netherlands , the province of Limburg, in the town of Valkenburg.

Two cyclists who would have competed in these races were Jan van Hout and Cor Wals.

Jan van Hout was a professional cyclist between 1933 and 1940. He was born in Valkenburg on October 17,1908.

He made quite a good living as a cyclist. With the money he earned as a cyclist he was able to but a pub in Eindhoven. When the Nazis occupied the Netherlands he closed his pub, he did not want to serve any drinks to the Nazis. He was a fervent anti Nazi. After he closed the pub Jan and his wife Anneke decided to join the Dutch resistance. They were involved in providing aid to refugees and people in hiding.

A few months before liberation Jan was arrested during a raid. He was sent to Neuengamme concentration camp where he died on February 22nd 1945.

Cor Wals was a Dutch cyclist, born February 26, 1911 in The Hague.

As early as 1931 Cor got contracts for the six-day races in Chicago and New York and made a name for himself as a six-day driver in the following years. Because of his unparalleled sense of balance, which stopped him from falling of the bike , he was nicknamed “Slingerplant” (Dutch: creeper). He took part in 39 races, of which he won seven, five of them with Jan Pijnenburg . In addition, he was three times Dutch master of the stayers(aka The pacemaker race, an endurance discipline of track cycling)

He was a fan favourite. However on July 21, 1941 during one of those stayers races, he took off his jacket and to the shock of the spectators ,they saw he was wearing a shirt with the SS symbol. He also gave the Hitler salute.

After winning the championship, he was whistled and booed during his lap of honor and cushions were thrown at him. He decided after that not to race again and to focus on a military career with the SS.

Initially he fought at the eastern front but he ended up working as a guard in several concentration camps. There was a rumour that he worked in Neuengamme when Jan van Hout was there, but this has never been verified.

After the war he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but he was released in 1952.

He opened up a clothes shop in Eindhoven . One day Anneke van Hout-Louwers walked into the shop to buy some clothes for her son, Cor chatted with Anneke and cupid struck. The couple got married. Anneke van Hout-Louwers was the widow of Jan van Hout, there was a public outrage about the newly married couple. People were disgusted that Anneke married a traitor. The couple moved to Belgium soon after, they returned to the Netherlands in 1981.

sources

https://www.nu.nl/sport/2415527/sser-won-nk.html

https://amp.de.googl-info.com/5381126/1/jan-van-hout.html

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Frieda Goldschmidt-Jakob-bombed by the RAF and Victim of the Nazis.

Frieda

It is strange how things can come full circle. My first real blog was about an event during WWII in my hometown of which I was blissfully ignorant about, until I stumbled upon it by accident.. I came across the story of Frieda Goldschmidt-Jakob which actually ties into that story.

On October 5,1942 the RAF accidentally bombed the town of Geleen in the Netherlands. They mistakenly thought it was Aachen in Germany, which is only about 25 km  away from Geleen.The bombing resulted in 83 being killed, 57 houses totally destroyed , severely damaging 227 more house and causing further damage to another 1728 homes.

Frieda Goldschmidt-Jakob and her husband lived on Groenstraat 7. which also functioned as a shop.

(the building in the middle is No 7.)Groenstraat 7

During that RAF bombing the Goldschmidt’s house was one of the homes which were hit and were destroyed. However they both survived.

Groenstraat 5

https://dirkdeklein.net/2018/10/07/october-51942-the-bombing-of-geleen/

Frieda and Joseph Goldschmidt fled Germany in 1936 and moved to the Netherlands where they setlled in Geleen . The oldest son Louis fled to the Netherlands in 1934, it is not known where exactly he moved to. The 2 oldest daughters also moved to Geleen in 1936, The 3 youngest children Alma , Hubert  and Irene Initially moved to Utrecht and then moved in with their parents in Geleen in 1937.Irene moved to a different address in Geleen

Frieda’s oldest daughter Elsa and her husband Adolf Markus managed to emigreat to the US in 1940.

In 1941, new laws restricted the movement of Jews  Hubert and Alma were transported to Toulouse in France. Frieda and her husband Joseph did not need to move because of their old age Irene was deported to Poland . When Frieda and Joseph’s house was bombed they moved into Irene’s house

On 9 April 1943 Joseph and other remaining Jews in the province of Limburg were sent to Vught and a few weeks later to Sobibor via Westerbork, He was immediately gassed when he arrived in Sobibor, aged 75.

All the stress must have got the better of Frieda because she became ill and rather then to be sent to Vught she was sent to a hospital in Maastricht by ambulance. She died in Maastricht on October 7 1943, age 74 just over a year after her house and shop was mistakenly bombed by the RAF.

It is believed that Hubert and Alma Goldschmidt and Elsa and her family have survived the war.

De Goenstraat is the street I often walked across to get to town centre, in fact it is actually where the twon centre starts. Yet another placed I passed by daily and never knew the significance of the place. I had to immigrate to Ireland to discover these things.

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sources

https://www.stolpersteinesittardgeleen.nl/Slachtoffers/Frieda-Goldschmidt-Jakob

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/137530/frieda-goldschmidt-jakob

https://beeldbankwo2.nl/nl/beelden/detail/1bc53612-025a-11e7-904b-d89d6717b464/media/c1af75f9-4762-f57c-7bfd-ac9828699f8e?mode=detail&view=horizontal&q=Geleen&rows=1&page=1

Risking life to save lives. The brave Dutch who saved Jewish children.

Jaap Musch

There is a lot of rightful criticism about how the Dutch dealt with the Jews during WWII. A lot more could have been done, there is no question about that. But, it is easy to say these things in retrospect. If you are faced getting killed for a simple act of defiance , you might just think twice before you take action.

The noble thing is always to do the right thing, but the right thing can sometimes cost you your life.

However despite that there were men and women who looked past that, and even at risk of losing their own life they still did the noble thing and saved as many lives as they could.

The above picture is of Jaap (Jacobus) Musch, he and his brother set up a resistance group named NV(Nameless Partnership-It also is used in business as Company) Jaap Musch was a dedicated and religious man who came from a family of strictly Calvinist Christian in Amsterdam, When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, he worked as Lab technician. In July 1942 when he and his brother Gerardus saw what was happening to their Jewish neighbours they decided to take action and set up NV  the group dedicated to helping Jewish children find hiding places.  Not only nearby but all over the country, they had to journey sometimes to Friesland , at the Northwest to the Limburg in the south east of the Netherlands, it was especially in the south of Limburg where they managed to save the children, Often hiding in plain sight.

Jaap was captured in September 1944 and was executed. His brother Gerard was arrested on May 9,1944  in Amsterdam while in possession of five ration cards. He was tortured and sent to a concentration camp, but survived the war, and married Wilhelmina Vermeer another NV member who also had survived.

In total the group saved 231 children who all survived the war and the Holocaust.

Rather then write a lengthy essay on the group. I will be posting pictures of some members of the group and some children they have saved below. In this week of remembrances of Liberation and Victory, lets not forget the remember the oft forgotten heroes, the Nameless ones .

The group was awarded Righteous among the nations by Yad Vashem

 

Ida  Groenewegen van Wijk member since 1943

Ida

Willem en Truus Vermeer members since 1943

Willem enTruus

Stella en Beccie Hamerslag, 2 sisters saved by NV

STELLA

Leo Vogel, saved by the NV

LEO

Dick Groenewegen van Wijk, member of the NV since 1943

Dick

Marianne Braun, Jewish member of the NV , since 1943

Marianna

Members and ‘hidden’ children saved by the NV in the garden of the Vermeer family, in Brunssum. Limburg the Netherlands.

mEMBERS

Gerard Musch Co Founder of the NV group

Gerard

Joop Woortman aka Theo de Bruin, co founder of the NV group

Joop

Semmy de Bruin, member of the NV group since 1943

Semmy

Some of the saved children defiantly spelling out the letters NV in a field in 1943.

NV

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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://righteous.yadvashem.org/?search=musch&searchType=righteous_only&language=en

https://beeldbankwo2.nl/nl/beelden/?mode=gallery&view=horizontal&rows=1&page=1&fq%5B%5D=search_s_keywords_poolparty:%22NV-groep%22&sort=random%7B1589012139021%7D%20asc

https://www.verzetsmuseum.org/museum/en/tweede-wereldoorlog/digiexpo/byedad/byedad,resistance_groups

 

 

Geleen Capital of Rock.

Flag Geleen

The name Geleen will mean little to most, but it is where I was born and raised.A small industrial city in the province of Limburg, the south east of the Netherlands. Just because I don’t live there anymore doesn’t mean I am not proud to be from there or that I don’t love it anymore, because I do love it and I am still proud to be a Gelener..

This doesn’t mean I can’t be critical. Many mistakes have been made in the past which resulted in professional football and motor racing  to disappear. Where there used to be a vibrant city centre there are only a few shops left at the moment, all because a mayor had some grandiose plans for the city, grandiose but not well thought through.

The biggest loss however was the loss of Pinkpop , one of Europe’s biggest Rock festivals. I am not going to dwell on the reasons ,but I will recapture some of my home town’s great Rock legacy.

However the very first edition wasn’t held in Geleen but in the nearby village of Gulpen. The festival was called PinkNick at the time , the date May 26 1969.

pnk

But from 1970 the festival was renamed to PinkPop(pink taken from the word Pinksteren, meaning Pentecost). and the new venue  was Burgemeester Damen Sportpark in Geleen, where it remained until 1986. In 1987 it moved to Baarlo. In 1988 Landgraaf was to become the new venue where the festival is still being held to date.

Below are just some impression of  artists who played in Geleen.

David Lee Roth of Van Halen with a broken nose at the Pinkpop Festival in Geleen . May 26, 1980.

dlr

1979 Poster

1979

U2 in 1981

U2

The Cure 1986

Cure

Fleetwood Mac 1971

2019-10-25

Thin Lizzy 1978

Thin Lizzy

ZZ Top 1982

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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

You Tube

Pinkpop.nl

Frederik Goldsteen- Holocaust Victim , whose shop I often visited.

Frederik

I remember as a kid , my neighbor and I made our own bows and arrows, We used it to target practice on a spare door we had in the storage rooms in the basement of our apartment block.

We bought the materials for these ‘weapons’  in a shop in the center of our town,Geleen, in the Netherlands. It was a DIY shop, called Hubo, located on Annastraat 24.

2019-05-29

Also later in life when I needed something DIY related I would frequent the establishment and would purchase what I required.

I can’t remember how often I went in there, it would not have been an awful lot because when it comes to DIY I am pretty much double left handed. But I would have been in there at least a few dozen times, and would have passed by the shop on a daily basis.

Never did I realize the fate of one of its former occupants.

Frederik Goldsteen was born on  the 9th of  july 1918 in  Rheydt-Germany. As a student he lived with his brother in Voorburg a suburb of the Hague in the Netherlands . He studied to become a a radio technician. Between 1937 and 1940 he would reside in Geleen with his widowed Mother and in the Hague with his fiancee Elfriede.

Shortly before they got married  they moved back toLimburg, the south of the country.They got married on May 9th ,1941 in Vaals, Elfriede’s mother lived in Vaals. Vaals is the place where the Netherlands borders with Belgium and Germany, It is  in the foothills of the Ardennes–Eifelrange, and with 322 metres it is the highest point of the Netherlands.

3 landend

Shortly after they got married the couple moved to Geleen. Frederik opened a Radio repair shop “Radio Technisch Bureau F. Goldsteen” located on Annastraat 24. In  October 1941, the couple were blessed with a baby girl,Carolina .

On March 12 ,1942. Frits was ordered by the German occupiers to close the shop. As a Jew he was not allowed to built or repair radios.

He did find a job with a company that worked for the coal mine Maurits.

maurits

However on the 19th of May, 1942 he was arrested for secretly still working on radios and also for being critical about Hitler.

He was sent to Camp Amersfoort via Maastricht . On July 16,1942 he was deported to Auschwitz , where he was killed less then a month later, on August 15,1942.

His wife and daughter both survived the war.

What amazes me . and kind of disturbs me is how close the Holocaust was to me to an extend. Over the last few months I have come across stories of Jewish fellow citizens and town folk, whose addresses I have passed by a multiple of times and U was never award of their fates.

I got most of the information about Frits Goldteen from a foundation called Stichting Stolpersteine:Geleen-Sittard. At the bottom of Frits’s page they state the motivation of his persecution was for being Jewish. No other reason, just for being Jewish and therefor seen by an evil regime with a warped ideology as sub human. Where the real sub humans were those who subscribed to that warped fascist ideology.

 

Hubo

 

 

 

 

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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.

Hoensbroek

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.

Kinderen

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.

klederdracht

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