Sometimes I feel like just giving up posting about the Holocaust, but I know I can’t.
It is not always the images that upset me, more often it is that lack of images that gets to me. There are no images because the victims were just too young and were born in captivity, so there were no facilities to have a baby portrait taken. Parents could not show off their beautiful angels to friends and families.
These are just three names, with three connections and one fate.
Leo Jack Mathijse: Born in Amsterdam on 26 November 1942. Murdered in Auschwitz on 27 August 1943. He reached the age of nine months.
Max Jack Stern: Born in The Hague on 26 November 1942. Murdered in Sobibor on 5 March 1943. He reached the age of three months.
Roosje Gobets: Born in Amsterdam on 26 November 1942. Murdered in Sobibor on 2 April 1943. She reached the age of four months.
The connection—all were born this day 80 years ago. They were born under occupation, and all were in Westerbork at some stage.
The one fate; they were all murdered before they were one year old.
Rita and Sandor Joachim Krammer were both murdered in Auschwitz on October 26, 1942. Rita was born on 5 January 1935 in Groningen, the Netherlands. Her little brother, Sander Joachim, was born on 15 March 1937. Their mother, Regina Krammer-Gunsberger. was born in Deutschkreuz in Austria, and their father Jacob Krammer, in Coevorden. He was a traveling salesman selling jerseys.
An eyewitness and playmate of Rita mentioned that she often played outside in the evenings with Rita and Sandor (who was referred to as “Little Brother”).
When Rita was six years old, her father was put to work in the Kloosterhaar camp near Hardenberg in July 1942. She stands behind Groningen with her mother and her brother. Just three months later—on October 3, 1942, Rita, Sander Joachim, and their mother were deported to Westerbork. On October 26, 1942, they were killed in Auschwitz.
Their father managed to escape the labor camp and went into hiding until the end of the war. Only then he learned what happened to his wife and children. He died in Groningen on September 11, 1987.
Most people will have heard about the Kindertansport-Childrens’s Transport-a unique humanitarian rescue programme which ran between November 1938 and September 1939. Approximately 10,000 children, the majority of whom were Jewish, were sent from their homes and families in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Great Britain.
But there were 2 other Kindertransports, In Konzentrationslager Herzogenbusch, better known as camp Vught, in the Netherlands nearly 1,300 children were deported on 6 and 7 June 1943, most of them accompanied by their mothers, sometimes with fathers, sometimes alone. A few days later, almost everyone in the Sobibor extermination camp was killed by gassing. It is an exceptional horror story from the Holocaust.
The children were aged between 0 and 16.Children from 0 to 3 were accompanied by their mother. Or on the transport of the 7th June , children from 4 to 16 were accompanied by their father or mother. At least 1,269 were then transferred to Sobibor, where they were murdered almost immediately in the gas chambers.
The Jewish children had a hard time in camp Vught. The German SS leadership had decided in February 1943 that all children between the ages of 4 and 16 had to be separated from their parents. Boys and girls were housed in separate barracks, but there were not enough people to care for and entertain all the children.
At the end of April 1943, the children’s area in camp Vught became overcrowded. The chaos that this caused was a thorn in the side of the German SS leadership of the camp. On June 5, 1943 it was announced that all children had to leave the camp. The next day all the children from 0 to 3 years old with their mothers and a day later the children from 4 to 16 years old with one of both parents.
The 13-year-old Alida Lopes Dias from Amsterdam also had to go along with her mother and sister on the children’s transport. Her older sister Gretha stayed behind in Vught. She ran after Alie, as she called her sister.
“The German shepherds
bit into my legs. I screamed. But I still managed to say hello to Alie. I buttoned up her red cloak. And then she and Mother went into a cattle truck with hundreds of other children. I never saw her again.” Gretha said after the war.
The husband of Annie Vrachtdooder, who was imprisoned in Vught, wrote to her husband from camp Vught:
“At least you have a sign that I’m still here. Now darling I’ll tell you what happened. All women with children have been forwarded, including the women whose men work on the Moerdijk. (…) Now that Maup is here j.l. Sunday and Monday 2 transports went in total 3500 people. All the children are gone (…)”
For a short time there was a school in camp Vught where the children are taught by Rie Hakker, she wrote:
“(…) Despite all the trouble, especially with those transports, we still laugh a lot. Only not yesterday, when we saw the women leave alone with the children. He had scarlet fever, that 40 degree fever, etc. terrible. How lucky we are to be alone.”
At the last minute, Rie also had to join the transport.
These 2 transports were the only 2 transports specifically for children.
Eva and Bram, born in 1932 and 1934, were the children of Hartog Beem and Retje Kannewasser in Leeuwarden. At the end of 1942 and at least until May 1943, Eva and Bram were still in hiding in the Veluwe, at ‘De Zwarte Boer’ near Elspeet. The children were arrested in February 1944 and murdered in Auschwitz on 6 March 1944.
Bram and Eva’s parents, Hartog Beem and Retje Kannewasser, survived the war by going into hiding.
Jansje and Benjamin Pais from Harlingen. The picture was taken shortly before deportation, 1942. Jansje was born in Harlingen on March 31, 1933.Benjamin was born in Harlingen on November 8, 1934.
Both children were murdered on November 23,1943 in Auschwitz.
Frits and Helen Sophie Reindorp, the picture was saved by neighbours, after the family was deported, hoping they could return the picture after the war. Unfortunately no one of the family returned .
Frits Reindorp born in Leeuwarden, 16 October 1934 .Murdered in Auschwitz, 2 November 1942. Helen Sophie Reindorp born in Leeuwarden, 11 May 1936.Murdered in Auschwitz, 2 November 1942.
It was only after I put the pictures together I realised that all these sets of siblings were from Friesland, in the Northwest of the Netherlands. It is the province my maternal grandparents were from. They moved to Limburg in the Southeast of the Netherlands in the late 1920’s. All of those children could have easily been related to me.
I wish I could write a biography of these 3 murdered children, but I can’t. They didn’t live long enough to have a whole lot of details. In fact most of their lives could be written down on a small registration card.The one thing they have in common they were all murdered on May 20,1943.
I know there will be people who will argue that these children were not murdered, but they died. These kid were forcibly taken from the safety of their homes, they were mistreated and put in a horrible place. To me that constitutes murder.
Mindel Altman, was the oldest of the 3. She was born on April 16,1942.She was murdered on 20 May 1943 in Westerbork transit camp and was cremated on 21 May 1943.
The urn with her ashes was placed at the Jewish cemetery in Diemen on field U, row 5, grave no. 24.
José Velleman’s parents Benedictus and Rebekka were married on 14-12-1938 in Amsterdam. The young family settled on 20th of December 1938 at the address Jodenbreestraat 24, 3-hoog. Rebekka’s parents live a few houses away, at number 35. In the years before the war, Benedictus was a market trader. From April 1939 he sold stockings on the Waterlooplein market. Their son José was born on April 28, 1942. Benedictus then managed to get a job at the Jewish Council,
In February 1943 disaster struck for the young family. On 24-02-1943 they are deported to camp Vught. From there on 04-05-1943 Benedict is forced to work in the Aussenkommando Moerdijk. Shortly afterwards, Rebekka and José are deported to camp Westerbork, on May 8,1943. A day later . On 09-05-1943 they are registered in Westerbork. A few weeks later, on May 20-1943, young José is murdered in Westerbork, aged 2.
Judith van Sister, is the youngest of the 3, she was only 10 months old when she was murdered. She was born on July 16,1942.
I wish I could tell you a long story about the Rooselaar family, but I can’t. However the few things I do know I will tell you because it is a chilling tale of evil and destruction.
The Rooselaar family lived in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. They were moved or rather deported to Westerbork at some stage. I know this because on March 30th 1943 the whole family were put on transport from Westerbork to Sobibor. They arrived in Sobibor on April 2nd 1943, where they were all murdered upon arrival.
The family were:
Father -Hartog Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, on 23 July 1900.Reached the age of 42 years, occupation: Furniture maker.
Mother -Anna Rooselaar-Presser born in Amsterdam, 3 July 1904.Reached the age of 38 years
Son-Salomon Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 14 September 1930.Reached the age of 12 years.
Son-Barend Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 30 June 1932. Reached the age of 10 years.
Daughter-Estella Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 9 July 1936. Reached the age of 6 years.
Son-Eduard Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 6 October 1938.Reached the age of 4 years.
All 6 members of the Rooselaar family were put on the March 3rd 1943 transport to Sobibor, but they weren’t the only ones. In total there were 1246 people who were on that transport.
On April 2nd 1943,1252 Dutch Jews were murdered in Sobibor. 113 were 18 years or younger. Among them were, Jacob de Vries born in The Hague on April 13.1941. He was 11 days away from his 2nd birthday when he was murdered.
Isidore Kiek born in Hilversum, 17 February 1932 .Reached the age of 11 years.
The oldest of those 133 children would have been 97 today. This means they all could have been still alive on April 2,2022.
On October 14, 1943, some 300 Jewish labourers at the camp rose in revolt and killed several SS supervisors and Ukrainian guards. Many inmates were killed during the rebellion or in the attempt to escape. All who remained were executed the following day. The Nazis dismantled the installations and planted the area with trees. Only about 50 Sobibor prisoners ultimately survived the war.
Imagine if the camp had remained open until the end of the war? More then 34,000 Dutch Jews were murdered in Sobibor which closed in November 1943. It had only be operational for just over 18 months.
Just over 56,000 Dutch Jews were murdered in Auschwitz ,which closed in January 1945.
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You are telling the world that you have carried out this military mission in the Ukraine, to protect its citizens, to rid it of Nazis. However you have not fully explained to us what you consider to be Nazis.
I would love it of you could just clarify that matter to a simpleton like me. When you say Nazi, are you referring to the Ukraine’s Jewish president whose grandfather barely survived the Holocaust?
Or were you perhaps referring to the 10 year old school girl Polina, who was murdered on your orders?
Maybe it is the 2 year old Shpak who was murdered during a shelling ordered by you. Was he that Nazi you were referring to? Is that the type of funerals you want to see more in the Ukraine to achieve your goals?
Dear Comrade Putin, if you can’t explain it to me may you can explain it to Oleh,Shpak’s Father? Because he asked “I don’t know if there is a God. What is this all for? For what?”
Dear Comrade Putin, your actions look a lot like that of a nationalised German Austrian, he also said in the 1930’s that he wanted to liberated the people in the Sudeten land and Poland. But he was a Nazi, So are you perhaps a Nazi, Comrade Putin? If so, the only thing for you to do to rid the Ukraine from Nazis is by withdrawing your troops.
Perhaps that isn’t your goal. Perhaps you long to the Russia of the days of yore? Where it was still part of the USSR and maybe you want to rule like Czar Nicholas once did. Maybe you want to become the new USSczaR.
If you ask me that is what you want to be. But people will not remember you as a Czar. They will see you like cowards such as Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. That is what you real legacy will be.
Is that what you really want? It is not too late yet, you can still change that.
But murdering a 6 month old baby and a 2 year old toddler took a special kind of evil. The little boy Levy was born on February 6,1942. Just over 6 months later on August 23,1942 he was murdered in Auschwitz.
His older sister, Frouwke(Dutch for little woman),who is watchfully minding her little brother, was born on October 22,1939. Like her baby brother she too was murdered in Auschwitz, together with their Mother Esther Swart-Sacksionie.
The Father ,Markus Swart, was murdered a month later on September 30, 1942.
Markus Swart was a merchant in Amsterdam . On July 6, 1938, he married Esther Sacksionie, daughter of the chair weaver Leman Sacksionie and Rebecca van de Kar. Esther Sacksionie was a rag sorter. Markus had already been deported when Levie was born.
Of all of the thousands of SS guards and officers wasn’t there even one who thought that murdering a family with young children was wrong?
I have heard the arguments that the SS officers were afraid that they would be killed if they didn’t carry out orders, but this is a myth, there are no records whatsoever of any repercussions against anyone in the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine and SS for not wanting to kill innocent lives. The only punishments that were handed out, were for theft and fraud.
The picture of Levi and Frouwke has broken my heart beyond repair.
I was going to do a piece on Ursula Gerson, who was murdered in Auschwitz on September 6,1944 aged 8. But then I saw there were more Dutch Jewish children and Jewish refugees, who fled Germany and Austria with their parents, who were murdered that day.
Duifje Gans. murdered in Auschwitz, September 6, 1944. Aged 11
Mirjam Lisette Katz, murdered in Auschwitz, September 6, 1944. Aged 7.
Heijman Karel Franken, murdered in Auschwitz, September 6, 1944. Aged 10.
Jeanette Regina Schenk, murdered in Auschwitz, September 6, 1944. Aged 7.
Mary Winnik, murdered in Auschwitz, September 6, 1944. Aged 7.
Mietje Judith Moscou, murdered in Auschwitz, September 6, 1944. Aged 11.
Samuel Groenteman, murdered in Auschwitz, September 6, 1944. Aged 6.
Karel Jacobs, murdered in Auschwitz, September 6, 1944. Aged 13.
These are only a few. There were at least327 Dutch Jews whose death were registered on September 6,1944.About 30 % or so were children
I was wondering why there were so many on that specific date.Then it dawned on me. They were all on the last transport from Westerbork to Auschwitz, which left the Netherlands on September 3,1944. Anne Frank and her family were also on that transport.
I know that I will have nightmares tonight with the faces of these poor souls haunting me, but it will be worth it. There fate and names should never be forgotten.