Paying the ultimate price for helping others.

Maastricht is one of my favourite cities. I grew up only about 10 miles away from it and would have visited it numerous times. It is, the most south eastern city in the Netherlands and is well known for its close proximity to Belgium and Germany. It is also the the home of violin virtuoso Andre Rieu and his Strauss Orchestra.

In Europe it is known for the treaty which was signed there on February 7,1992. It shaped the future of the EU.

But I am not going to talk about any of that. I want to add a name to the Maastricht narrative and would love it if in years to come people would say “Maastricht, oh yes that is the place where Derk van Assen and his wife Berendje are from”

Derk and Berendje van Assen were heroes in every sense of the word. They paid the ultimate price for helping their neighbours.

Derk was active in the underground resistance from the beginning of
the war, in May 1940. Initially without being part of an organised group, but later he joined the Versleyen group, a group of tax officials
within the L.O (National Organisation for help to those in hiding); he
was also a member of the Trouw group, the national Christian
resistance group.

In Derk’s Christian believes and humanist principles, all people were equal and he was prepared to risk everything to save the lives of Jews and others. Using his many talents Derk contributed during the war to illegal newspapers, organized national information networks and offered professional document forgers a place to work in his home. Derk and Berendje were friendly with Isidore and Frederika Schaap, who had come to Maastricht in 1939, together with their daughter Hetty. Isidore headed a branch of a Ladies fashion firm that was based in Rotterdam and Berendje was one of his customers.

The Shaap family had totally integrated; in the ways of the more the more Burgundian lifestyle of the southern Netherlands and sometimes they even went with Derk and Berendje to the Reformed Church on Sunday mornings.

In the summer of 1942, the Schaaps received orders to report for deportation ,Derk helped them find a place to hide. They spent their first couple of nights hiding with a family who owned an optician’s shop in Maastricht. During this time their identity cards were altered and the “J” removed, which gave them the freedom to travel with less risk. The next following day, the Schaap family took a train to Utrecht, to the home of one of Derk’s cousins. They soon moved to a family in Hillegom, South Holland, also relations of the van Assens. The Schaap family then had to split up Isidore and Frederika moved to Amsterdam, where they were later arrested.

The Police Commissioner of Maastricht had requested that Isidore Schaap and Frederika Roza Schaap-Kamerling, both residents of Maastricht, be located, detained and brought to trial. They were suspected of having changed their place of residence without the required authorization. This description referred to Jews who had gone into hiding.

On 26 July 1943 Derk was arrested in Maastricht after having been
under surveillance shadowed for some time by the SD (Sicherheitsdienst). The SD had recruited “Blonde Mien”, a resistance activist. Mien was tasked to gather information about Derk’s contacts, but before she could do so Derk was apprehended and incarcerated in the local prison. In this prison, Oberscharfuehrer Richard Nitsch interrogated Derk for seven weeks, during which time Derk’s colleagues were planning his escape. However, the authorities discovered the plot and to abort it Nitsch and two other SD men executed Derk in Horst, Limburg, on September 14, 1943.

In the meantime, Berendje was also arrested and imprisoned, first in
Maastricht, then in Haaren and finally in Vught. From there she was
deported to Camp Ravensbruck in Germany where she died on 2
February 1945.

Two heroes who gave their lives for others. After the war Derk and Berendje were decorated by the Air Chief
Marshall and Vice Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces for
“assistance to officers of the marine, land and air forces to escape
from imprisonment, or to avoid being taken prisoner by the enemy”.
On 6 September 1989 Derk van Assen and Berendina van Assen –
Grolleman were awarded the honorary title of Righteous among the
Nations by Yad Vashem.

Frederika Roza Schaap-Kamerling born Wildervank, 28 February 1894 – Murdered in Auschwitz, 28 January 1944.Reached the age of 49 years.

Isidore Schaap ,born Rotterdam, 24 April 1894 – murdered in Auschwitz, 8 April 1944Reached the age of 49 years.

I could not find out what happened to their daughter Hetty.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/130959/isidore-schaap

https://www.tracesofwar.nl/sights/67272/Monument-Derk-van-Assen.htm

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Clara de Vries-Jazz Musician murdered in Auschwitz.

It is funny sometimes how you are researching one thing and it leads you to something completely different.
I was looking at the origin of a Dutch TV show called ‘Ter land.ter zee en in de lucht” which translates to on the land, in the sea and in the air. It was a light-hearted entertainment show where candidates from all over the Netherlands demonstrate in open air how long and far, they can keep going (sometimes only a few meters) in a self-constructed sort of go-cart, before crashing mostly in to water. But for most it was really more for showing off the design of their ‘vehicles’ rather than winning.
While I was researching it ,I noticed a piece of music used for the show called the beach party, which was performed by a Jazz musician called Willy Schobben, a Jazz trumpetist from Maastricht which is a city I know well because I grew up only a few mile away from it.
When I looked up Willy Schobben, I discovered he married Clara de Vries in 1936, like Willy Clara was also a Jazz trumpetist, and by all accounts an exceptionally talented one. Louis Armstrong once said of her “That Louis de Vries, he had a sister Clara with a ladies-band. Oh boy, she could play that horn!” Her brother Louis, another Trumpetist, was often referred to as the Dutch Louis Armstrong. Unfortunately, he died in a car crash in 1935.
Clara was the sister of Louis de Vries and Jack de Vries, received trumpet lessons from her father Arend de Vries. So, she had quite a musical pedigree.
She played in several Jazz Bands like: Shirmann Jazz Girls; Clara de Vries and her Jazz-ladies; The Rosian Ladies; the Swinging Rascals; and several other bands.

Her talent though was soon to be destroyed, Clara was Jewish and when the German invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940 her fate and that of many other Jews was sealed. Added to that she played Jazz, which was considered degenerate art by the Nazis. Jewish musicians were also forbidden to perform for non-Jewish people and later they were forbidden to perform their art at all
On February 9, 1941 Clara was still giving concerts outside the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam in the Café-Cabaret Alcazar. The NSB, the Dutch Nazis, had heard there was a Jewish musician playing in the club and raided the place. Which led to fights and 23 people were injured.
Clara however, refused to stop playing concerts.
On October 15, 1942 Clara and her family were arrested and sent to Westerbork, A few days later, on October 21 she was put on transport to Auschwitz where she was murdered on arrival a day later, on October 22.
Except for her brother Jakob, all her siblings and parents were murdered.

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sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/507961/about-clara-johanna-suzanna-de-vries


http://www.nettyvanhoorn.nl/sweet_and_hot_music.html

http://resources.huygens.knaw.nl/vrouwenlexicon/lemmata/data/Vriesde

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

Heinz Sommerfeld-Transport Ek no. 1458 (28. 09. 1944, Terezín -> Auschwitz)

Heinz

Around this time of year many 17 year old kids are getting ready for school exams. And although they may think it is unfair that they have to sit for hours and hours, to do their exams(I know I thought it was unfair). They don’t actually realize how lucky they are.

Education, even though it is a basic human right.it is not a certainty and it should be seen as a privilege when it is given to you.

I am sure Heinz Sommerfeld would have loved to have done his exams when he was 17, but he never got the chance. His biggest worry was staying alive, and because of an evil regime he did not succeed in that either.

He was born in Berlin on March 26th, 1927. On January 5th, 1939, aged 11, he  came to the Netherlands as a refugee without his parents on a  Kindertransport. (children’s transport)

Kinder

When he arrived in the Netherlands he was first in an orphanage in Amsterdam, but in November 1939 he was put in foster care with the Lipschits family in Maastricht . However a few months after the Nazis invaded the Netherlands he was moved again to an orphanage, this time in Utrecht.

In February 1942 he was deported to Westerbork. On January 20th, 1944 he was put on the train to Theresienstadt, from where he was deported to Auschwitz on September 28th, 1944 on transport 1458. A total of 2499 persons were registered on that transport. Heinz was one of them.

The train arrived in Auschwitz on September 29th,1944. What happened to the other 2498 I don’t know, but Heinz was murdered in the gas chambers upon arrival.

He was murdered not because he was bad but because he was perceived to be different, He was Jewish that was enough for the Nazis to kill him.

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Dr. Leonhard Levy.

LRVY

I often wonder how many really died during the Holocaust and where they did stop being considered a fatality of the Holocaust?

I think the real numbers are much higher because I don’t think the numbers include victims who died after the war as a direct result of the Holocaust.

Dr. Leonhard Levy was born July 14, 1898, in Hamburg .He married Gertraud Friedländer  in April 1943. I wish I could say more about him, but unfortunately there is not much more I found out. The only thing I know, but I don’t even know for certain is that at some stage he moved to the Netherlands.

What I do know for certain is that he had been imprisoned in Bergen Belsen concentration camp and was liberated from there. However due to the hardships he had endured while imprisoned, he had become very ill.He eventually still succumbed to the horrors of Bergen Belsen and died on November 23,1945,in Vaals , the Netherlands more then 6 Months after the liberation of the Netherlands.

Dutch Notification

He was laid to rest on November 26,1945 in a Cemetery in Maastricht.I know it’s not much but the only consolations is that he died a free man surrounded by people who loved him. His wife survived the war.

begraaf

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The final destination for the Cohen family from Geleen-Auschwitz

Geleen Limburg

This blog will be based on facts and some presumptions, but the presumptions are more then likely correct.

I was going over the history of the deported Jews from my birthplace Geleen, south east of the Netherlands. when I noticed the name of the Cohen family. There is not a lot I know or could find out about them except for the fact they used to have a clothing shop in Geleen and Maastricht  prior to  World War Two.

brink_ten_geh_cohen_esthella_winkel.jpg()(4CD2729BAB8DF2822BC2D8B302A08871)

I do know they were a family of 6. The Father Simon, the Mother Esthella Carolina Cohen-ten Brink. Daughters Josephine, age 12, Henny age 16.Frieda age 17 and 1 son Gerrit. Gerrit is the only one who survived the war. He died on September 22, 1998, age 76. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Beek, a town a few miles from Geleen.(Picture courtesy of Frank Janssen)

446px-Graf_Gerrit_Cohen_Beek

On 25 August 1942, approximately 20 Jewish citizens were brought to and then deported from town hall by the Germans. The Cohen family were among them. They were then taken to Maastricht.

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On that same day they were put on transport to Westerbork on the 25th of August 1942. On the 28th of August they left Westerbork for Auschwitz where they arrived on the 30th of August.

Simon,Esthella Carolina,Josephine and Frieda all died on the 31st of August. Henny died on the 26th of September.

Gerrit Cohen had escaped on August the 25th  1942. When the Nazis had come for the family he managed to escape via a roof window and went into hiding.

When I mentioned presumptions earlier I was referring to the transport dates, for I do believe they are correct but I could not fully verify them. The transport date from Westerbork  to Auschwitz is correct though.

Treinbord_Westerbork-Auschwitz_Auschwitz_State_Museum

Such was the evilness of the Nazi regime that they even gave people on the transport hope, pretending there was a possible return journey.

One of the citizens of Geleen,Rie op den Camp, mentioned in her diary of the 25th of August 1942, when the Jews were put on transport to Maastricht, she overheard one of the German soldiers saying  “Arme Menschen, wir müssen uns schämen, dass wir zu so eines Volk gehören”, which translates from German to English is “Poor people. we should be ashamed to belong to a people like ours” This indicates that not all Germans subscribed to Adolf Hitler’s ideology but also that they were aware what fate awaited the people on those transports.

kamp westerbork.jpg

 

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All that is left is a plaque saying”Lived here”.

b11847_img1f

In a number of European cities they are remembering victims of the Holocaust by placing plaques in the streets where they used to live, These plaques are sometimes referred to as ‘Stumbling stones’ for the obvious reason that people might just make a small stumble, and that is the purpose to draw the attention to the plaques.They indicate the date of birth and death, and where they died

Maastricht is one of those cities, over 300 people were deported from Maastricht to various camps, below are a few of those plaques. The plaque at the start of the blog is of  Albert Drielsma born November 11 1907-Murdered in Auschwitz 30 March 1944, and Sibilia Drielsma-Goldstein Born 9 February 1906 murdered  in Auschwitz 19 November 1943, I presume Sibilia was Albert’s wife.

b11845_img2f

Irma Hertog-Sternborn 12 September 1909 ,murdered in Auschwitz 31 August 1942.

3

Herman Hertog born 18 november 1907, murdered  in Gross Rosen 7 FebruarY 1945.Herman and Irma lived on the same address, I therefor presume they were married.

4

Isaac Neuburger born  19 July 1896 in Amsterdam, murdered  in Auschwitz 18 August 1942.Arrested 22 May 1942, deported 16 July 1942. Trade Textiles sales man.

6

The Moszkowicz family.

Abraham Moszkowicz born in 1902 .murdered in Extern Kommando Ebensee 15 April 1945

Feiga Moszkowizc-Raab born in 1902, murdered  in Auschwitz 24 September 1942

Helga Moszkowicz born in 1930, murdered in Auschwitz 24 September 1942
Joop Moszkowicz born in 1940 ,murdered in Auschwitz 24 September 1942

b11850_img1f

Isaac David Blitz born 25 maart 1881, murdered  in Auschwitz 1 October 1942.

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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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Source

Struikelsteentjes

 

 

 

The time I nearly booked André Rieu for my Mother’s wedding.

Rieu, Vrijthof, Maastricht

This is a historical blog however not  so much about a big historical event but more a personal historical tale, which I was reminded of today.

In 1991 hardly anyone had heard about Andre Rieu, I know I didn’t. My Mother was getting remarried and I had told her that I would pay for the music on her wedding day. Not knowing that this would be more difficult then I had envisaged.

I tried to call may bands, all the local bands were booked for the date. I decided to look further afield for the night’s entertainment. I opened up the Golden Pages and went to the section of musicians/entertainers. Most of the names in the section I had already contacted or they were just too far away.

I spotted one name though I hadn’t approached yet and he lived also only10 miles away from my hometown. The name was Andre Rieu, nothing else, no full page ad, no bells and whistles, just a name and telephone number, not even an indication what kind of music he did or if he even was a musician, just a name and number

4._Andre_sweetie_can_I_borrow_your_checkbook12

I tried ringing several times but to no avail, no answer machine, it just rang out.

This left me with no music. Luckily one of the bands I had contacted, had a cancellation and was able to book them for the wedding.

What a story it would have been though if I had booked Andre Rieu for my Mother’s wedding.

My story with Andre Rieu doesn’t stop there though.

In July 2015 I had the pleasure to see the great man live in Maastricht.

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How that came about is quite magical and it involved my other parent, my Father.

He passed away on June 27 2017, his funeral was on July the 2nd. My siblings and I had decided that the day after his funeral we would go to his birth place, Maastricht, to remember him and to celebrate his life.

We’d go by train so no one had to drive in an emotional state. The train journey was only 25 minutes anyway.The plan was to have a drink or 2, have a bite to eat and do a bit of shopping.

Not realizing that Andre Rieu was staring his first of 7 concerts that day in Maastricht.

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While we were going about fulfilling our plans for the day a thought came to my mind. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could stay for the concert”, knowing there was no chance on earth we’d get a ticket, leave alone 4. And the signs around town had said they were going to close the main square’Vrijthof’ at 6 PM that evening. This would also mean our time was limited to go for dinner.

DSC_0320

But we took a chance and asked at the box office if there were still tickets. The answer was “No, it had been sold out for nearly a year” We had seen some restaurants though who were advertising dinner and concert arrangements. So we asked around and all we got was the same answer as  at box office.

However been raised as people who never give up, we decided to try one last restaurant. The Azie Tapaz restaurant on the Vrijthof.

DSC_0330

Initially we got the same answer, but I don’t know what prompted the manager, since we did not tell him about the recent passing of our Dad, but he said “If you come around the back ally at about 6.15 PM, I’ll let you in via the back entrance and I’ll sort you out.

So we did as advised, and true to his word there he was at the back door and let us in. He set us first down in the restaurant and then prepared a table for us at the terrace on the Vrijthof square. At that stage I thanked him and told him how much this meant to us since we had just lost our Father, and we were there to celebrate his life and the concert would be the perfect end to those celebrations.

Not only did he go out of his way to accommodate us at the end of our fabulous dinner there was no bill either so the meal and concert were free, but we did leave some money behind anyway as a tip

That day we felt our Dad was looking out for us from heaven.

I know this is a very personal story but since it was such a wonderful experience I feel I had to share it.

DSC_0343

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The Maastricht Treaty

maastricht-weekend-travel-guide

Signed on  7 February 1992 the Maastricht Treaty represented a significant step forward not only for Europe in general, but also for cohesion policy in particular. The treaty brought the first reform of cohesion policy, more flexibility being created for national governments. It firmly established economic and social cohesion as one of the core objectives of the European Union, alongside the single market and the Economic and Monetary Union.

Lideres-europeos-reunidos-en-Maastrich-9.12.1991_h

Representatives from 12 countries signed the Treaty on 7 February 1992 – Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The parliaments in each country then ratified the Treaty, in some cases holding referendums. The Maastricht Treaty officially came into force on 1 November 1993 and the European Union was officially established.

Since then, a further 16 countries have joined the EU and adopted the rules set out in the Maastricht Treaty or in the treaties that followed later.

P007781033So much has happened with the EU ever since that day in 1992 and I really could fill  my whole website with only EU stories but I limiting this blog to that one day in Maastricht.

gouvernement_of_limburg_in_maastricht_by_seeraeuber-d6pao0i

 

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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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Marlene Dietrich was here…

Landscape

This guest book belonged to the parents of sixteen-year-old Carla Hustinx from the city of Maastricht. Their home was a regular place to stay for singers, movie stars, athletes and comedians that came to entertain American soldiers after the south of the Netherlands was liberated in September 1944.

91.-Marlene-Dietrich-was-here

A relaxing evening helped the soldiers forget about the war for a moment. Big celebrities were happy to perform for the troops and swapped the glamour of Hollywood for a jeep and military rations.

kunst2_13_3_large

Also the famous actress and singer Marlene Dietrich spent a night at Hustinx’s home in January 1945: she left an autographed five franc bill behind. Carla Hustinx glued it into this guest book.

marlene dIetrIch Was here

The artists usually returned from an appearance around midnight, dove into bed, and continued on their way the next day around noon. The nuns at Carla’s Catholic School felt this environment was decadent and immoral, hardly suitable for a girl her age. But Carla saw it for what it was: ‘They behave like ordinary people and don’t put on stuck-up airs. They’re here for the troops.’

trrops

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