Etty Hillesum—Murdered Beauty

At first, I was reluctant to use the word beauty in the title because we now live in an era where some people might find that offensive, and they will scream about it. I pity them because they lose out on so much.

Etty Hillesum was a beauty in every sense of the word. It may have been too much for the Nazis because they murdered her. She was murdered on November 30, 1943, in Auschwitz according to data from the Red Cross.

Etty (or Esther) was the daughter of Levie Hillesum and Riva Bernstein. She was born on January 15, 1914, in Middelburg in the Dutch province of Zeeland. In 1932 she moved to Amsterdam to study law and Slavic languages. In Amsterdam, she met Julius Spier. He became her teacher and great love. During the war, she worked for the Jewish Council at Camp Westerbork and other places. She wrote several letters from Westerbork and kept a diary.

In March 1937 she took a room at 6 Gabriel Metsustraat in south Amsterdam in the house of an accountant Hendrik (Han) Wegerif, a widower aged 62 who hired her as a housekeeper. He also began an affair with her. She lived in this house until her final departure for Westerbork in 1942, and it was in her room there that much of her diary was written. The small community of people who shared the house with her were important to her. In addition to Han Wegerif, there was his 21-year-old son Hans, a German cook named Kathe, a student Bernard Meylink, and a nurse, Maria Tuinzing, who became one of Etty’s close friends.

The most important relationship of the diary is with the psychochirologist (hand reader) Julius Spier. Born in 1887 in Germany, he had come to Amsterdam in 1939. Spier had worked in Zurich with Jung, who had encouraged him to develop his skill in chirology, the practice of psychoanalysis through the reading of people’s palms. He was a gifted and charismatic figure and gathered around him a group of students, particularly women. Etty became part of this group and went into therapy with Spier, developing a close relationship with him and becoming his secretary.

Etty was an intensely alive and sexual young woman, yet she felt plagued by what she called her ‘confounded eroticism”. But what healthy woman in her 20s isn’t interested in sex?

In 1942 she was given a position in the cultural affairs department of the Jewish Council. She worked there for only two weeks, which she calls hell in her diary. In August 1942, she received a call for deportation to Westerbork. Etty left and continued her social activities in Westerbork. As a member of the Jewish Council, she had a special travel visa that allowed her to return to Amsterdam many times before being deported with her family on September 7, 1943.

Just as Anne Frank also wrote a diary, which was released after the war, titled, “An Interrupted Life,” I’ve chosen a few quotes from the diary. The words are profoundly sad but also beautiful and with a sense of hope.

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”

“Each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others”

“As life becomes harder and more threatening, it also becomes richer, because the fewer expectations we have, the more good things of life become unexpected gifts that we accept with gratitude.”

“Sometimes my day is crammed full of people and talk and yet I have the feeling of living in utter peace and quiet. And the tree outside my window, in the evenings, is a greater experience than all those people put together.”

“My immediate reaction on meeting a man is invariably to gauge his sexual possibilities. I recognize this as a bad habit that must be stamped out”

“Yes, we women, we foolish, idiotic, illogical women, we all seek Paradise and the Absolute. And yet my brain, my capable brain, tells me that there are no absolutes, that everything is relative, endlessly diverse, and in eternal motion, and it is precisely for that reason that life is so exciting and fascinating, but also so very, very painful. We [women] want to perpetuate ourselves in a man.”

“I don’t want to be anything special. I only want to try to be true to that in me which seeks to fulfil its promise.”

“I know and share the many sorrows a human being can experience, but I do not cling to them; they pass through me, like life itself, as a broad eternal stream…and life continues…”

“By ‘coming to terms with life’ I mean: the reality of death has become a definite part of my life; my life has, so to speak, been extended by death, by my looking death in the eye and accepting it, by accepting destruction as part of life and no longer wasting my energies on fear of death or the refusal to acknowledge its inevitability. It sounds paradoxical: by excluding death from our life we cannot live a full life, and by admitting death into our life we enlarge and enrich it.”



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. Thank you. 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.


There Are No Answers, Just More Questions

For several years I have been on a quest to find answers, initially about the death of my Grandfather, but also about why the Holocaust happened.

In the case of my Grandfather, I have found something like an answer, or at least something I can live with.

However when it comes to the Holocaust I have discovered there are no answers, just more questions. The picture above is of the Cordoza and Abas families.

Only the 3 youngest boys survived, The other 13 people were murdered. Among them was Sara Abigael Cardozo born in Amsterdam on 29 November 1937. He was murdered in Auschwitz on 21 October 1944 at the age of six.

Below is a picture of Friedreich Josef Bier. He was born in
Düsseldorf on 22 September 1927 and murdered in Bergen-Belsen on 29 November 1944. He reached the age of 17 years. He was the son of Julius Bier and Berta Bier-Lewin. I share my birthday with his mother Berta. Friedrich’s siblings survived.

I don’t understand the hate, the randomness of the murders. Why children? I know that especially Himmler spread the lie that the children would take revenge. But did that happen after any war where the children would take revenge for the death of their parents on a large scale?

Another thing that I can’t understand is why so many stood by and did nothing. For fear? Allegedly Hitler told one of his inner circle that the world stood by when the Armenian Genocide took place and did nothing. He reckoned it would be the same with the genocide of the Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and so many others.

Why are there still today [November 29, 2022] people saying that the Holocaust never happened?

Finishing up with a poem by Martin Niemöller as a reminder that the hate and ignorance that caused the Holocaust have not gone away, it is merely lurking in the shadows waiting for the time to strike again. There are no answers just more questions, but that doesn’t mean I will stop looking.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

—Martin Niemöller

I’m Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust

The title of this post is from a 2005 documentary produced by MTV(yes MTV) It stars a number of famous actors reading excerpts from diaries of young people who lived during the Holocaust, most of them were murdered.

The full length movies is included in this post, but I also picked out 2 excerpts of two of the diarists mentioned in the documentary.

The first one is from the diary of Dawid Rubinowicz., dated April 10,1942. The reason why I picked that day is because April 10 is my birthday. Dawid Rubinowicz was born 27 July 1927 in Krajno, Poland, and murdered in September 1942, aged 15, in the Treblinka extermination camp. He was a Polish Jewish boy. His diary was found and published after the end of World War 2.

April 10, 1942

“They’ve taken away a man and a woman from across the road, and two children are left behind. Again it’s rumored that the father of these children was shot two days ago in the evening. …The gendarmes were in Slupia and arrested three Jews. They finished them off in Bieliny (they were certainly shot). Already a lot of Jewish blood has flowed in this Bieliny, in fact a whole Jewish cemetery has already grown up there. When will this terrible bloodshed finally end? If it goes on much longer then people will drop like flies out of sheer horror. A peasant from Krajno came to tell us our former neighbor’s daughter had been shot because she’d gone out after seven o’clock. I can scarce believe it, but everything’s possible. A girl as pretty as a picture—if she could be shot, then the end of the world will be here soon.”

He was still 14 when he wrote this. What strikes me in his words is that he talks about Gendarmes. Let that sink in for a second and think of it what you like. I know what it means but if I say is I know I will be getting emails from certain organizations threatening me with legal actions, because the truth is not there to be told.

The second excerpt is from the diary of Ilya Gerber. It is dated November 27,1942, 80 years ago today.. He was 18 at the time. The excerpt is about life in the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania. Ilya was murdered on April 28, 1945, on the verge of liberation, Gerber was shot and killed while marching forcibly from Dachau to Wolfsratshausen, Germany. He was not yet 21 years old.

November 27, 1942.

“I haven’t written since the nineteenth because there was no very important Jewish news, except that brigades have lately been smuggling in [food] not in their pockets, and not in little packages, but in fact in whole bundles… Mostly, when the ghetto commandant stands by the gate, the bundles or packages are confiscated and you sometimes feel his whip. But if he is not there it costs you whatever it takes to grease the palm of the partisan [Lithuanian auxiliary serving the Germans] or the policeman and you pass through undisturbed.”

Similar to Dawid Rubinowicz’s observation Ilya makes a reference to partisan, what that means is mentioned in the excerpt too, I don’t know if it was added by Ilya or of it was added later to put it in context for the readers. But also if you read between the lines you will recognize the implication of this.


Just Three Names of the 1.5 Million

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.


The Most Beautiful Time of Life—A Song From Auschwitz

I don’t believe people who say that they don’t like music. They might not like certain types of music, but everyone loves at least one bit of music. Without music, life would be boring.

I am always amazed by the amounts of tunes and songs that are composed by using only eight notes or less. The music scale is made up of eight notes. All of these notes may have a variation in a minor or major scale, but technically there are only eight notes or octaves.

But music is so much more than a series of notes put together. It is the fabric of the soul of human nature. A piece of music can evoke so many emotions, varying from joy and laughter to fear and anger. So if you deny yourself music you deny yourself emotional well-being.

The saying goes “Music soothes the savage beast” and never in mankind’s history was there more savagery than during the Holocaust. Yet there were some who despite all the horrors they witnessed on a daily basis and were still able to compose music and even a joyous foxtrot. And yes I do realize that using the term foxtrot in the context of the Holocaust is, to say the least, bizarre. I know that some people will criticise me for the title of this post. They will see it and will not bother to read any further. I did not make up the title, it is the translation of a song written in Auschwitz Birkenau Die schönste Zeit des Lebens—The Most Beautiful Time of Life.”

Patricia Hall, a professor of music theory at the University of Michigan, has been researching musical manuscripts for the past 40 years. She knew that the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum kept music in its archive, and had heard from a scholar at the museum that some of the documents might include penciled annotations. So in 2016, Hall decided to travel to Poland to explore the archive herself. She was amazed to find several handwritten manuscripts, one of which struck her as particularly poignant due to the cruel irony of its cheerful title: “The Most Beautiful Time of Life.”

Originally a 1941 popular song composed by the German film composer Franz Grothe with a text by Willi Dehmel, “Die schönste Zeit des Lebens” has been arranged for a small ensemble of fourteen instruments: four first violins, five second-violins, a viola, two clarinets, a trombone, and a tuba.

Three prisoners had penned the manuscript, adapting Grothe’s music to suit 14 musical instruments: nine violins, a viola, a tuba, a trombone, and two clarinets. Although the prisoners didn’t compose the songs, they had to arrange them so they could be played by the available instruments and musicians.

Hall suspects the piece was played during one of the regular Sunday concerts in front of the villa of Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz.

Patricia Hall explained “This was for the SS personnel, It was about a three-hour concert that was broken up into stages, and at one point, they had a dance band so that soldiers could dance. Given the instrumentation of this foxtrot, I think that’s probably what it was used for.”

Based on the prisoner numbers on the manuscript, Hall could identify two of the three arrangers: Antoni Gargul, who was released in 1943, and Maksymilian Pilat, released in 1945 and later performed in the Gdansk Symphony Orchestra. They were Polish political prisoners.

Prisoner photo of Antoni Gargul, number 5665. Archive of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

While survivors said that the musicians received more food, had clean clothes, and were spared the hardest labor, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum director Piotr M. A. Cywinski recently said in a statement that they experienced “an element of humiliation and terror.”

Patricia Hall said, “They weren’t immune to the greatest horrors of the camp…. We like to think of a narrative in which the musicians were saved because they had that ability to play instruments.”

“However, it’s been documented by another prisoner [in an orchestra] that around 50 of them…were taken out and shot.”

Survivor Coco Schumann said after the war :

“The music could save you: if not your life, then at least the day. The images that I saw every day were impossible to live with, and yet we held on. We played music to them, for our basic survival. We made music in hell.”

“Die schönste Zeit des Lebens” is a song about falling in love in the month of May, when “a mysterious magic lies in the air! The world is full of music and tender fragrance.” Like many of the other popular songs in the archive of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, it describes an atmosphere about as far from a concentration camp as one could imagine. Here is the complete text of the song:

“Die schönste Zeit des Lebens beginnt im Monat Mai:
Die Welt ist voll Musik und zärtlichem Duft!
Wer dann nicht ganz aus Stein ist, verliert sein Herz dabei:
Ein rätselhafter Zauber liegt in der Luft!
Und aus manchen kürzen schönen Sekunden
werden viele lange glückliche Stunden!
Die schönste Zeit des Lebens beginnt im Monat Mai;
doch wann sie für uns enden soll, bestimmen nur wir zwei!”

“The most beautiful time of life begins in the month of May:
The world is filled with music and tender fragrance.
Whoever isn’t then made completely of stone loses his heart thereby:
Mysterious magic lies in the air!
And many short, delightful seconds,
become many long, happy hours!
The most beautiful time of life begins in the month of May;
However, when it should end for us, only we decide.”

Music was also used in very sinister ways, Primo Levi once said:

“And for the first time, since I entered the camp the reveille catches me in a deep sleep and its ringing is a return from nothingness. As the bread is distributed, one can hear, far from the windows, in the dark air, the band beginning to play; the healthy comrades are leaving in squads for work. One cannot hear the music well from Ka-Be [Krankenbau or inmate infirmary]. The beating of the big drums and the cymbals reaches us continuously and monotonously, but on this weft, the musical phrases weave a pattern only intermittently, according to the caprices of the wind. We all look at each other from our beds, because we all feel that this music is infernal. The tunes are few, a dozen, the same ones every day, morning and evening: marches and popular songs dear to every German. They lie engraved on our minds and will be the last thing in Lager that we shall forget; they are the voice of the Lager, the perceptible expression of its geometrical madness, of the resolution of others to annihilate us, first as men in order to kill us more slowly afterward. When this music plays, we know that our comrades, out in the fog, are marching like automatons; their souls are dead and the music drives them, like the wind drives dead leaves, and takes the place of their wills”

Survivor Franz Danimann recalled how the Leonore overture from Beethoven’s Fidelio, performed by the official band during roll call in the summer of 1943, strengthened his will to survive:

“I was aware of the similarity of our situation to Florestan’s in the last act. He should have died as a witness to Pizarro’s misdeeds, just as the SS pursued the destruction of the prisoners. But the music warned us not to despair and lose hope.”

The SS also tolerated a swing band, as it provided an opportunity for them to hear music that was banned. At these clandestine concerts, officers would reward musicians with liquor or cigarettes. There are also reports of a separate jazz band that played exclusively at SS orgies and drinking parties.

The original composer of the music of “Die schönste Zeit des Lebens” Franz Grothe was a German composer, mainly for the cinema. His musicals were outstanding successes. He was required to be a member of the Nazi party (No. 2.580.427) from 1933 and remained opposed to de-Nazification after the war.

Finishing this post with the music of “Die schönste Zeit des Lebens”



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. Thank you. 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.


Improvised Wedding Photo

I remember when I was getting married, one of the aspects that needed to be perfect was photography. It was going to be a special day and the photographs needed to reflect that.

But what do you do when your every move is watched and you are seen as an enemy of the state? You have watched so many being arrested and deported. The last thing you want to do is to draw attention to yourself.

Gustaaf van der Wijk and Mina van der Wijk-de Vries got married on August 17, 1942. On that day wedding photos were taken in Amsterdam under improvised circumstances.

The Dutch Jews had been subjected to a great number of restrictions, these are just some of them.

On January 7, 1941, the Dutch Cinema Association decided that Jews would no longer be allowed access to cinemas. On January 12, 1941, this measure is published in the newspapers.

The Registration of Jewish Residents was Ordinance no. 6/1941 of Reichskommissar Seyss-Inquart, issued on January 10, 1941. It obliged all Jewish residents of the Netherlands to register with the Population Register, which cost one guilder. Those who refused to do so could be imprisoned for up to five years. Moreover, this information was already known to the Jewish municipalities and the population register.

From September 1, 1941, Jewish children had to go to separate schools and were no longer allowed to go to public schools. In Amsterdam, this applied from 1 October 1941.

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

As for the newlyweds Gustaaf van der Wijk and Mina van der Wijk-de Vries. Mina was born in Leiden, on 17 July 1916 and was murdered in Sobibor, on 20 March 1943.

Gustaaf was born in Amsterdam, on 28 December 1917. He was murdered in Auschwitz, on 13 November 1942. Less than two months after his wedding day.



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. Thank you. 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.


Felix Max Paul Leefsma

Dear Felix Max,

You were born 29,220 days ago. Approximately 701,280 hours or 42,076,800 minutes, or even 2,524,608,000 seconds ago.

These numbers are so hard to comprehend, just as hard to fathom that you were murdered only 550 days after you were born. The only consolation here is that you had one extra day of life because 1944 was a leap year.

You were born in Amsterdam, on 19 November 1942. You were murdered on 22 May 1944 in Auschwitz.

You were deemed an enemy of the state, of a foreign state, because the ones who thought that you were not fit for life, had occupied your country from another land. This doesn’t mean they didn’t get help from your fellow country man.

A one-year-old enemy of the state.

Dear Beautiful Angel, you look so much like me when I was your age. I hope you are looking down at me from heaven and that you find some comfort that your name is not forgotten.


The Journey of a Child

Edith Roseij Beek was born on April 12, 1934, in Oss, the Netherlands. She was the youngest of the two children of Arnold Beek and Clara Betsy de Jong. Brother Johan Rene Simon was born in 1930 in Oss. On November 19, 1943, she was murdered in Auschwitz, at age of nine.

When she was eight she was already wanted by the Police, an eight-year-old “hardened criminal.” This notification appeared in Algemeen Politieblad (General Police journal), nr 42, October 22, 1942, 1189, notice 2434.

“The police commissioner of Gouda requested that the schoolgirl Edith Rosey Beek be located, detained, and brought to trial. A resident of Gouda, she was suspected of having changed her place of residence without the required authorization on October 9, 1942. This description referred to Jews who had gone into hiding.”

Edith went to kindergarten at the Public Primary School on the Groeneweg and continued to attend school there until she has to leave this school in 1941. She then received private lessons from one of her former teachers, a non-Jewish woman, Mrs. Aberson. The school is now called the Casimir School. In September 1942, the family decided to go into hiding separately.

Edith hid in the presbytery of the Reformed church in Zwammerdam where Reverend Gunther and his housekeeper kept her hidden. The day after her birthday, April 22, 1943, she was arrested and so was the pastor, but he was later released.

In 1948 in Middelburg. 12 years were demanded against the constable Jan Kool, who in all likelihood betrayed her, and among other things, kidnapped Edith. One of the two Sicherheitsdienst (SD) men who picked her up was K.J.Leseman. Policeman Arie Oudenaarden, notorious in Gouda, was also involved in her arrest.

She was placed in a police cell and interrogated for five days. This was to no avail because before going into hiding the two children were taught what to say to strangers or in case they are arrested: “Father works in the mines and mother left me behind to look for my father in Germany.”

Where she was between April and June (29th) when she arrived in Westerbork (there she was in the orphanage, barrack 35) is unclear, on her index card of Westerbork there is an address in The Hague (in Bilitonstraat 18, a place established by the Nazis transit house for children) and there was a mention of a stay in Scheveningen.

She fell ill with scarlet fever, but despite the current quarantine, she was put on a transport (number 81) of 995 people to Auschwitz on Tuesday November 16, 1943. Immediately after her arrival on November 19, 1943, she was taken to the gas chambers and murdered. Her parents went into hiding in Drachten and her brother Johan on a farm in Kootwijkerbroek, they survived the war. Brother Johan died in 2011 in Barneveld, father Arnold in 1977 in Rotterdam, and mother Clara in 1978 in Apeldoorn.

Additional information regarding Edith’s hiding and arrest:

Information from a file regarding the traitor:
The person concerned was a member of the NSB and NVD and the Rechtsfront
On April 22, 1943, the SD arrested 9-year-old Jewish girl E.van Beek (so the same girl) who was hiding with the female pastor Gunther in Zwammerdam. It is believed that this girl died.
After hearing about this case, the person concerned stated that it was generally known at the time that this girl had gone into hiding with Gunther; he was also aware of this. He says that an anonymous note reached him stating that the SD had been informed of this fact. was given. In connection with this, he had discussed the matter with his group commander. When he was later summoned to the SD in Gouda about this matter—the SD had also received a letter stating that the said girl had gone into hiding with Reverend Gunther—he had informed the SD officer Renner stated that he was aware that the girl had indeed gone into hiding with Gunther. He had acknowledged this because he feared his position would be jeopardized otherwise.
After this conversation with Renner, he had gone to Reverend Gunther to warn her of the danger, but he did not find her at home. He then went to the sexton (Baars) and informed him of the case under covert terms. (The sexton Baars (he speaks of a “him”) denies, before DS. Gunther and the Jewish girl were arrested by the or anyone else to have been warned against this arrest).

The guard of the Marechaussee C.K. states in his PV dated June 28, 1945, that he heard the person concerned, say to someone at the time: “I had my daughter Ada find out whether the girl was a Jew, after which I passed it on to my son, notified the SD, but Zwammerdam was not part of their working area. They then passed it on to Rotterdam.”

Another witness story: “During the occupation, I was aware that Pastor Gunther, Pastor of the Remonstrant Church in Zwammerdam, had taken in a Jewish girl named Edith Beek in her home. This Jewish girl came from Gouda and was with her.

Rev. Gunther went into hiding because of the German measures against persons of Jewish blood. This girl was just playing with other children and so Rev. Gunther, to make it seem she wasn’t Jewish.

This girl and Rev. Gunther were both arrested by persons unknown to me, the exact date I can’t recall. I have heard that they were persons who were with the German Sicherheitsdienst. Rev. Gunther was only arrested for a short time, but we never heard anything more from the Jewish girl. I don’t think Rev. Gunther and the Jewish girl were arrested, because of betrayal by Jan Kool or were forewarned by anyone else that this arrest would take place. I am also sure that Jan Kool did not give any warning to anyone in my family about that arrest, because such a warning would certainly not have been ignored and I would have ensured that the arrest had not taken place. I cannot say with certainty that JK had introduced the Jewish girl to authority, but I do suspect him of this. At that time, the rumor in this neighborhood was that JK was absolutely to blame for that arrest. I thought K was a sneaky NSB member at the time.”

Witness story Arnold van Beek (father) doctor, 50 years old, Gouda, Extended Tiendenweg 54
“I, my wife, son, and daughter are of Jewish blood. Due to the German measures against persons of Jewish blood, we had to go into hiding during the occupation and we were assisted in an excellent way by friendly relations. On September 25, 1942, my daughter named Edith Roosje van Beek, born in Oss on April 21, 1934, went into hiding we did not know where our daughter had been taken, but we had complete confidence in it. We made no attempt to find out where our daughter had gone into hiding. About a week after our daughter went into hiding, we, my wife, son, and I went into hiding. My son went into hiding in the Veluwe and my wife and I in Friesland. We went into hiding from that time until the capitulation of Germany and fared well, except for my little daughter. My daughter went into hiding with Reverend Gunther in Zwammerdam. As I learned after the capitulation of Germany, my daughter Edith was arrested on April 22, 1943, by persons of the German Sicherheits Dienst, when she was staying with Reverend Gunther at her hiding place, Reverend Gunther was then arrested at the same time as my daughter, but she has spent only a short time in captivity. As I later learned, my daughter was transported to The Hague after her arrest and then to Westerbork. Where my daughter was taken afterward has remained unknown to me, and to this day, April 24, 1947, I have never heard anything about her. I have tried in every possible way to find out where my daughter is staying, but no investigation has had any result and I do not know whether my daughter is still alive. I now think I must assume that my daughter died as a result of the German terror during the occupation. We are very sad about this, especially because of the ignorance which we are about the fate of my daughter. As far as I know, the municipality of constable KOOL is responsible for the arrest of my daughter, because I heard that he went to the Sicherheitsdienst to tell
that my little daughter had gone into hiding with Reverend Gunther, This is what I heard from Reverend Gunther. If this KOOL is responsible for the betrayal of my daughter Edith, then I request criminal prosecution against him. And I hope, though I won’t get our sweet child back by doing so, that he will be severely punished, for he certainly deserves it. Kool must have known what the persons of Jewish blood were in for under the German occupation. I cannot explain more in this case.”


Johannes van der Hoek—Born to be Murdered

This story has torn my heart open. I can’t tell you too much about Johannes van der Hoek all I can tell you is that he was born on November 6, 1942, in Westerbork. He must have been placed on a transport to Auschwitz, straight after his birth because, he was murdered there on November 9, 1942, with his mother and his 2-year-old sister, Johanna, just three days after he was born.

His father was murdered a few months later, April 30, 1943. also in Auschwitz.

The very sad irony is that on Johannes’s birthday, November 6, 1942, the Soviet POWs mutinied and escaped from Birkenau. Under cover of fog and falling darkness, they forced their way past the SS guard posts into a part of the Birkenau camp, still under construction, that was not fenced. However, the majority of them were shot or caught during the escape.

Why a 3 day old baby—why?


Evil Words by Evil Men

I was struggling to find a title for this piece. I was thinking of using words like testimonies or confessions, but neither of those words reflect the reality in my opinion.

Testimony is too soft because it lessens the effect of the severity of the actions of the perpetrators. On the other hand. testimony in the context of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust strengthen the descriptions of the crimes.

Confession is a way of looking for forgiveness and I don’t think that is not my prerogative to forgive them, that is only for the victims and their families if they wish to do so.

Starting with the words of Oscar Gröning, as pictured above. He was known as the bookkeeper of Auschwitz.

Oscar Gröning: It was not long before I was assigned to supervise the luggage collection of an incoming transport.

When this was over, it was just like a fairground, there was lots of rubbish left and amongst this rubbish were ill people and those unable to walk. And the way these people were treated horrified me. For example, a child who was lying there naked was simply pulled by the legs and chucked into a lorry to be driven away, and when it screamed like a sick chicken, then they bashed it against the edge of the lorry, so it shut up. We were convinced by our worldview that we had been betrayed by the entire world and that there was a great conspiracy of the Jews against us.

Interviewer: But surely, when it comes to children you must realise that they could not have possibly done anything to you?

Oskar Gröning: The children, they’re not the enemy at the moment. The enemy is the blood inside them. The enemy is the growing up to be a Jew which could become dangerous, and because of that, the children were included as well.

Interviewer: But…aren’t you sorry that you made your own life more comfortable while millions actually died?

Oskar Gröning: Absolutely not. Everybody is looking out for themselves. So many people died in the war, not only Jews.

So many things happened, so many were shot, and so many snuffed it. People were burnt to death, so many were burnt, if I thought about all of that I wouldn’t be able to live one minute longer.

The special situation at Auschwitz led to friendships which I’m still saying today that I like to look back on with joy.

Heinrich Arthur Matthes was the deputy commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp, a Nazi Party concentration camp from 1942 to 1943, and was involved in giving the orders.

During the entire time I was in Treblinka, I served in the upper camp. The upper camp was that part of Treblinka with the gas chambers, where the Jews were killed and their corpses laid in large pits and later burned.

About 14 Germans carried out services in the upper camp. There were two Ukrainians permanently in the upper camp. One of them was called Nikolai, the other was a short man, I don’t remember his name… These two Ukrainians who lived in the upper camp served in the gas chambers. They also took care of the engine room when Fritz Schmidt was absent. Usually, this Schmidt was in charge of the engine room, and in my opinion, as a civilian, he was either a mechanic or a driver.

Altogether, six gas chambers were active. According to my estimate, about 300 people could enter each gas chamber. The people went into the gas chamber without resistance. Those who were there in the end, the Ukrainian guards had to push inside. Personally saw how the Ukrainians pushed the people with their rifle butts

The gas chambers were closed for about thirty minutes. Then Schmidt stopped the gassing, and the two Ukrainians who were in the engine room opened the gas chambers from the other side.”

Left to right:Paul Bredow, Willi Mentz, Max Möller, Josef Hirtreiter

Willi Mentz also worked at the Treblinka extermination camp during the Operation Reinhard phase of the Holocaust in Poland. Mentz was known as “Frankenstein” at the camp.

When I came to Treblinka the camp commandant was a doctor named Dr. Eberl. He was very ambitious. It was said that he ordered more transports
than could be “processed” in the camp. That meant that trains had to
wait outside the camp because the occupants of the previous transport
had not yet all been killed. At the time it was very hot and as a
result of the long wait inside the transport trains in the intense
heat, many people died. At the time whole mountains of bodies lay on
the platform. The Hauptsturmfuehrer Christian Wirth came to Treblinka
and kicked up a terrific row. And then one day Dr. Eberl was no
longer there.
For about two months I worked in the upper section of the camp and
then after Eberl had gone everything in the camp was reorganized. The
two parts of the camp were separated by barbed wire fences. Pine
branches were used so that you could not see through the fences. The
same thing was done along the route from the “transfer” area to the
gas chambers.

Finally, new and larger gas chambers were built. I think that there
were now five or six larger gas chambers. I cannot say exactly how
many people these large gas chambers held. If the small gas chambers
could hold 80-100 people, the large ones could probably hold twice
that number.

Following the arrival of a transport, six to eight cars would be
shunted into the camp, coming to a halt at the platform there. The
commandant, his deputy Franz, Kuettner, and Stadie or Maetzig would be
here waiting as the transport came in. Further, SS members were also
present to supervise the unloading: for example, Genz and Belitz had
to make sure that there was no one left in the car after the occupants had been ordered to get out.

When the Jews had got off, Stadie or Maetzig would have a short word
with them. They were told something to the effect that they were a
resettlement transport, that they would be given a bath, and that they
would receive new clothes. They were also instructed to maintain quiet
and discipline. They would continue their journey the following day.

Then the transport was taken off to the so-called “transfer” area.
The women had to undress in huts and the men out in the open. The
women were then led through a passageway, known as the “tube,” to the
gas chambers. On the way, they had to pass a hut where they had to hand
in their jewelry and valuables.”

I know there will be people who will say that these men probably had no choice. If they didn’t follow orders they were likely to be killed themselves. However, there are no records whatsoever that any member of the Wehrmacht or SS were punished for refusing to kill Jews. Those who murdered or was complicit in the murders did so of their own free will. None of these men showed remorse and they all lived a long time after the war, without any real consequences for their actions.



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. Thank you. 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.