Love during the Holocaust

Getting married is one of the mots wonderful things that can happen to you in life. It is a union of love which is quite powerful.

However it can also be nerve wrecking, admittedly more so for the bride then the groom. You want to make sure the day goes well, you hope the weather will be good and that the guests won’t complain too much. And of course then there is that all important wedding night, you may have made love before, but the wedding night is just that bit more special , and you may just want to be a bit more adventurous when it comes to sex.

Now go back to the period of 1940-1945. Your country has been occupied by a foreign power, helped by some of those you once may have known as friends or neighbours.

The Nazis who want to eradicate everyone like you, juts because you are Jewish. Your future is uncertain, you don’t know how long it will take before you are picked up and transported to who knows where.

But you are in love with a beautiful lady and the beautiful lady is in love with a handsome man. What do you do? Will you let hate stop you from loving each other?

No, because you know that despite everything there is no stronger power then love.

The loving couple is Elias(Edie) van Biene and Sonja Rood. I don’t know when they got married but it must have been after April 29,1942. That was the date the Dutch Jews were ordered to wear the Yellow star. I believe they got married in Rotterdam. Elias was murdered in Außernlager KZ Auschwitz, KZ Althammer, Poland. On January 20,1945. One week before Auschwitz was liberated. Elias was 26 when he died.

Sonja managed to hide initially, but she was captured and send to Auschwitz. She did survive and moved to Israel after the war where she died on April 25, 1971 aged 52.

Despite the horrors around them, and the hate that surrounded them. The love of these 2 people for each other conquered that hate and got married. The looks in their eyes shows pure unconditional love.

Love is stronger then hate.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/143581/elias-van-biene

https://www.geni.com/people/Sonja-Rood/6000000078350610530

https://www.geni.com/people/Elias-Edie-van-Biene/6000000056418936867

Happy Birthday Gretha Reintje Cohen

Happy Birthday Gretha Reintje Cohen. It should have been your 84th birthday today.

An evil regime did not even allow you to reach your 6th birthday. You were murdered 10 days before your 6th birthday in Sobibor, on July 9th 1943.

No matter how sad your death is, it is even sadder to see that your whole family was murdered on the same day.

Your parents,Rebecca Cohen-Maritz and Mozes Cohen married in 1934 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

You were there first child. Such an experience for any parent. The uncertainty of what lies ahead. The costs that come with raising a child, The fears of the future and so many more things that goes through a parents mind. But there is also the joy and that sense of magic of new life.

You were born in Rotterdam on July 19,1937.

On April 13,1941 your baby brother, Salli Cohen, was born. A year or so later you and your family moved to Amsterdam.

On July 9,1943 your whole family was murdered in Sobibor. Not because you were dangerous people ,but because a political idea and regime created by the Nazis, deemed all of you not worth of life.

All that is left of your family is an unclaimed life insurance policy.

Dear Gretha, up there among the stars. I wish you a Happy Birthday.

Sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/124306/rebecca-cohen-maritz

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/124308/mozes-cohen

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/124302/salli-cohen

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/124304/gretha-reintje-cohen

Lee Harvey Oswald-36 Hours in the Netherlands.

Lee Harvey Oswald left Moscow on June 1st, 1962. Two days later on June 3,1962 he crossed the Dutch border at Oldenzaal.

From Oldenzaal he traveled to Rotterdam to board the cruise ship ‘SS Maasdam IV’ to set sail for New Yoek on June 4,1962.

From the time he crossed the Dutch border to the time he boarded the ship took 36 hours. There are very few details on what he did those 36 hours. There are some speculations that he may have Met President John F Kennedy in that time, the same President he would kill on November 22,1963 in Dallas. I don’t know where this theory originates from but JFK was not in Rotterdam in June 1962, in fact he wasn’t in the Netherlands or anywhere in Europe. He was in the USA at the time. On June 11,1962 JFK held a speech at the Yale University Commencement.

“President Griswold, members of the faculty, graduates and their families, ladies and gentlemen:
Let me begin by expressing my appreciation for the very deep honor that you have conferred upon me. As General de Gaulle occasionally acknowledges America to be the daughter of Europe, so I am pleased to come to Yale, the daughter of Harvard. It might be said now that I have the best of both worlds, a Harvard education and a Yale degree.
I am particularly glad to become a Yale man because as I think about my troubles, I find that a lot of them have come from other Yale men. Among businessmen, I have had a minor disagreement with Roger Blough, of the law school class of 1931, and I have had some complaints, too, from my friend Henry Ford, of the class of 1940. In journalism I seem to have a difference with John Hay Whitney, of the class of 1926 and sometimes I also displease Henry Luce of the class of 1920, not to mention also William F. Buckley, Jr., of the class of 1950. I even have some trouble with my Yale advisers. I get along with them, but I am not always sure how they get along with each other.

I have the warmest feelings for Chester Bowles of the class of 1924, and for Dean Acheson of the class of 1915, and my assistant, McGeorge Bundy, of the class of 1940. But I am not 100 percent sure that these three wise and experienced Yale men wholly agree with each other on every issue.”

Now one might think that there was about a week between Lee Harvey Oswald time in the Netherlands and that speech of JFK, so it may have been possible they met. However traveling in the 1960’s was a lot more cumbersome then it is nowadays, regardless who you were. Aside from that there would have been records of JFK being in the Netherlands, and there aren’t any.

Lee Harvey Oswald was there with his wife Marina and daughter . I am sure they would have done the same as any other tourist. They would have done some sightseeing.

One thing I do fin intriguing though. Lee Harvey Oswald got the money for his fare through a loan from the State Department for almost $500,via the US Embassy.

The Oswalds embarked on the SS Maasdam IV of the Holland America Line company on June 4th,1962 and arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey, on 13 June. Two days later they flew to Fort Worth, Texas.

sources

https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/presidential-speeches/june-11-1962-yale-university-commencement

https://renehoeflaak.com/2013/11/19/3-en-4-juni-1962-verdacht-koud-in-rotterdam/

https://boards.cruisecritic.com.au/topic/1510441-lee-harvey-oswald-and-the-maasdam/

New document Oswald on SS Maasdam

Bizarrovision-The more bizarre and naughty Eurovision appearances.

Tonight is the 2nd semi finals of the 2021 Eurovision song contest. I have to admit I really enjoyed the 1st semis. Lets just have a look back at some of the more bizarre moments in Eurovision history, note this blog will contain some nudity.

Starting off with one of this years presenters. No I am not talking about Nikkie de Jager, the YouTuber, I thought she was very funny during the interval explaining the ‘winners-not winners’ I am talking about Jantje Smit, anyone not from the Netherlands will know that he is quite a big star in the Netherlands(why is still a mystery to me). Not only is he a ‘singer’ he is also a presenter and has his own fashion range. He started off quite young. This is him aged 10 on German TV.

In 2014 Poland decided to send some ‘milk maids’ to the contest. I feel they didn’t get the acknowledgement they deserved. The song was called “We are Slavic” and was performed by Donatan & Cleo and some ladies working with milk in buckets.

When you think of streakers, you don’t necessarily associate that with a live televised Song contest, more with sporting events. Yet in 2017 the performance of the Ukrainian singer Jamala, was interrupted by a man who felt compelled to drop his pants, as true professional Jamala kept singing. There was probably not much to see anyway.

Spain took part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 held in Oslo, Norway. The performer Daniel Diges was interrupted during the song “Algo pequeñito” by someone pretending to be part of the act. To be honest the performance was so silly that the uninvited guest didn’t actually look out of place.

Of course then there was Dustin the Turkey in 2008, lets just move swiftly on. Nothing to see here.

Then we had Ivan the naked wolfman from Belarus. I am still not sure what that was about. The song was titled “Hep you fly” last time I checked wolves don’t fly.

Alex Swings Oscar Sings! – Miss Kiss Kiss Bang the Germany entry at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. The band was accompanied by no other then the Queen Of Burlesque’, Dita Von Teese, wife of shock rocker Marilyn Manson.

Genghis Khan was a warrior and ruler of genius who, starting from obscure and insignificant beginnings, brought all the nomadic tribes of Mongolia under the rule of himself and his family in a rigidly disciplined military state. He then turned his attention toward the settled peoples beyond the borders of his nomadic realm and began the series of campaigns of plunder and conquest that eventually carried the Mongol armies as far as the Adriatic Sea in one direction and the Pacific coast of China in the other, leading to the establishment of the great Mongol Empire. He was one of the most brutal dictators who ever roamed the earth. However this didn’t stop the Germans or rather West Germans to send a little endearing song about the man in 1979.

In general the Eurovision is really a platform for national performers to shine on an international stage. Bizarrely enough one of the biggest stars in the world, Sir Harry Webb. aka Cliff Richard competed twice. In 1968 with ‘Congratulations’ and in in 1973 with ‘Power to all our Friends’ he ended 2nd and 3rd place.

The composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier composed six Te Deum, although only four of them have survived.Largely because of the great popularity of its prelude, the best known is the Te Deum in D major, H.146, written as a grand motet for soloists, choir, and instrumental accompaniment probably between 1688 and 1698, during Charpentier’s stay at the Jesuit Church of Saint-Louis in Paris, where he held the position of musical director.

It is thought that the composition was performed to mark the victory celebrations and the Battle of Steinkirk in August, 1692. You probably wonder now what this has to do with the Eurovision Song contest? It is the piece of music which opens every Eurovision Song contest every year.

Finishing up with one of my favourite Eurovision songs, unfortunately it got no points whatsoever.

The finished product.

World War 2 in the Netherlands.

The Dutch were surprised that the Germans did not honour the neutrality of the Netherlands, why I don’t know because there were indications that the Germans had plans to invade the Netherlands.

On the other hand the Germans expected to be welcomed with open arms. They had envisaged like the anschluß in Austria.

Both nations were wrong. These are just some impressions of World War 2 in the Netherlands. They say a picture paints a thousand words.

source

https://www.niod.nl/nl/beeldbank-wo2

Kindertehuis-Home for Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEVER AGAIN

Sources

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

Rory Gallagher- One of my few regrets

There are very few regrets I have, but I do regret that I did not buy tickets on January5,1995 for Rory Gallagher in my hometown of Geleen, in the Netherlands. The concert was in de Hanenhof which would not be world’s best venue but it could hold a decent amount of music fans.

At the time I thought, I will catch him another time, He did tour the Netherlands a lot. In fact he was popular all over Europe except for Ireland, which ironically is where he was born and grew up.

In the later years of his life, Gallagher had developed a phobia of flying(something I can identify with) . To overcome this, he was prescribed various drugs. By the time of his final performance on 10 January 1995 in Nighttown, Rotterdam the Netherlands ,he was visibly ill with severe abdominal pain and the tour had to be cancelled. He was prescribed paracetamol for the pain, a drug that can be extremely harmful to the liver, especially with a heavy drinker such as Gallagher.[

Gallagher was admitted to London’s King’s College Hospital in March 1995, and it was only then that the extent of his ill health became apparent; his liver was failing and the doctors determined that, in spite of his young age, a liver transplant was the only possible course of action.[52] After thirteen weeks in intensive care, while waiting to be transferred to a convalescent home, his health suddenly worsened when he contracted a staphylococcal (MRSA) infection, and he died on 14 June 1995, at the age of 47.

Today marks his birthday, he would have been 73.

source

https://concerts.fandom.com/wiki/January_10,_1995_Nighttown,_Rotterdam,_NED

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 1944. Reached 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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May 10,1940- The Day that shocked the Netherlands.

War

Perhaps the Dutch government were naive to believe that they would able to stay neutral like they did in WWI. Perhaps they thought they had nothing to fear from the Germans.

However when Germany invaded Norway and Denmark in April 1940, it became clear that neutrality was no protection. Frantically the Dutch started to prepare for war.

nijmegen

On the th of  May 1940, the Vatican advised the Dutch envoy to the Vatican that the Germans planned to invade France through the low countries. With the blessing of the Pope, the Vatican sent a coded radio message to its nuncios in Brussels and The Hague. The messages were intercepted by the Nazis.

The Dutch didn’t stand a chance against the overwhelming power of the German army.

Hours before dawn on the 10th of May, the Luftwaffe swept over the Netherlands, bombing the defenses around key targets. Around 4:30 AM, more planes followed, dropping paratroopers.

An attack on The Hague was a failure. Paratroopers tried to capture the city and its airfield but were defeated by the Dutch defenders. This prevented the Germans from landing planes full of troops there.

Germany had commenced operation Fall Gelb and attacked the Netherlands, without a declaration of war given before hostilities.

para troopers

The Dutch army gave a good fight but after  the devastating bombing of Rotterdam by the Luftwaffe on 14 May, the Germans threatened to bomb other Dutch cities if the Dutch forces refused to surrender. The General Staff knew it could not stop the bombers and ordered the Dutch army to cease hostilities.

It was also deemed essential that Queen Wilhelmina be brought to safety; she left around noon from Hoek van Holland, where a British Irish Guards battalion was present, on HMS Hereward, a British destroyer, but the presence of   sea mines made it too dangerous to try to reach Zealand, she therefore went to England.

hereward

At 05:00 on 15 May a German messenger reached The Hague, inviting Winkelman, the Commander-in-chief of the Armed forces of the Netherlands,to Rijsoord for a meeting with von Küchler to negotiate the articles of a written capitulation document. Both quickly agreed on most conditions, Winkelman declaring to have surrendered army, naval and air forces.

Winkelman

Below some photographic impressions of the 10th of May 1940 and the aftermath of what would be the biggest shock to the Netheralnds.

Two downed German luftwaffe planes.One plane is at the side of the road, the other one at the back of the road.

plane

A German Wehrmacht soldier taking position on the top of the ‘steenberg'(stone mountain) of the Sates mine Maurits in Geleen,shortly after the Germans had crossed the border on May 10.

maurits

Members of a German Propaganda division in Rotterdam May 14,1940.

propaganda

Rotterdam in ruins.

Rotterdam

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

Rijksmuseum

War History on Line

World War 2 violence in Nijmegen.

nijmegen

On February 22nd, 1944 the people of the Dutch  town of Nijmegen were subjected to an attack which killed more than 750 civilians. One would assume that this awful attack was carried out by the German occupiers , but that was not the case. The attack was carried out by B-24 bombers of the 446th and 453rd Bombardment Group if the United States Army Air force.

B-24

The bombers had been on the way on a mission to bomb the German city of Gotha,where the Gothaer Waggonfabrik aircraft factory was producing Messerschmitt fighters and other Luftwaffe planes.

But due to poor visibility the mission was cancelled and the bombers were told to return to base to the RAF Bungay airbase.

map

Initially it was reported that the bombing of Nijmegen had been a mistake, it was said that after the command to abort the Gotha mssion the bombers looked for alternative targets like the German cities of Kleve or Goch which are near the Dutch border.

However in reality the bombers  for targets of opportunity on the way back to Britain. The targets were found in the form of a railway emplacement near Nijmegen, a gasworks in Arnhem, and an industrial area in Enschede.

The devastation caused to of the city centre of Nijmegen was certainly not intented, according to the airmen’s reports. They had dropped the  bombs dropped too early.  a study by Dutch Historian Rosendaal indicated that the bombers were inexperienced. And those were not the only errors: not all the pilots realized they were targeting Nijmegen, nor did they rknowthat Nijmegen was occupied Dutch territory and that it would have needed  special clearance  required to bomb it.

The Germans were quick to use this incident as a propganda tool, They had accused the Dutch government in exile had given the go ahead to bomb Nijmegen.The Germand hung posters in several places  with the text ‘With friends like these, who needs enemies?’

nijmegen propaganda

Their propaganda efforts failed seven months later, the American ground troops were welcomed as heroes by the inhabitants.The propaganda had been counterproductive.

On that day more then 750 civilians were killed, which was close to the  amount of casualties of the bombing of Rotterdam , which was 900,at the start of the war.

monument

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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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