Industrial Murder

One of the most disturbing aspects of the Holocaust is the ‘wholesale murder’ approach the Nazis took, the industrialization of death.

The gassing already started in 1939 as part of the T4 program, the murder of the disabled, what really is sickening is the fact that the first of such killings was on request by parents of a severely disabled child.

But the T4 murders were relatively small scale, for lack of a better word, compared to the gassings that took place in Auschwitz, Chelmno, Sobibor and the other extermination camps.

The gassing was kind of suggested to be a humane way of killing. But there was nothing humane about it. It was only humane for the perpetrators. After the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union and Einsatzgruppe mass shootings of civilians, the Nazis experimented with gas vans for mass killing. Gas vans were hermetically sealed trucks with engine exhaust diverted to the interior compartment. Use of gas vans began after Einsatzgruppe members complained of battle fatigue and mental anguish caused by shooting large numbers of women and children. Gassing also proved to be more effective and cheaper.

On October 24, 1980, Lesław Dyrcz, a student from the Brynek Forestry Vocational School, found a leather briefcase buried at about 40 centimeters deep in the ground while clearing the area around Birkenau crematorium III of stub and roots. Inside the briefcase was a thermos liner which had belonged to Marcel Nadjari. a Jewish Greek

In November 1944, two months before the liberation of the camp, Nadjari had buried a twelve-page manuscript written in Greek on November 3 on pages taken from a notebook, in which he described his observations of Auschwitz

In his manuscript, he writes: I want to live, to revenge the deaths of Dad and Mum, and that of my beloved little sister Nelly.

Below are some notes of his manuscript.

“Our work was first to welcome them. Most didn’t know their fate. The laughed or cried. They were told they were going to take a shower and they went clueless to [their] death. To date, my dear ones, I don’t tell them they they are going for a shower, although I can lie to them, I only told them that I didn’t understand the language they spoke, and to the comrades, men and women, that I realised were doomed I told the truth.”

“Almost every time they kill, I wonder if there is a God and yet I have always believed in Him and still believe that God wants it, let His will be.”

“Often I thought of going in with the others, to put an end to this. But always revenge prevented me doing so. I wanted and want to live, to avenge the death of Dad, Mum and my dear little sister,”

“The crematorium is a big building with a wide chimney and 15 ovens. Under a garden there are two enormous cellars. One is where people undress and the other is the death chamber. People enter it naked and once about 3,000 are inside it is locked and they are gassed. After six or seven minutes of suffering they die,”

“The gas canisters were always delivered in a German Red Cross vehicle with two SS men. They then dropped the gas through openings – and half an hour later our work began. We dragged the bodies of those innocent women and children to the lift, which took them to the ovens.”

Nadjari did survive.

After the war he got married and in 1951 moved to New York. He already had a one-year-old son, and in 1957 his wife Rosa gave birth to a girl, whom they named Nelli – after Marcel’s beloved murdered sister.

Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/at-the-killing-centers

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42144186

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/gassing-operations

https://www.history.com/news/the-jewish-men-forced-to-help-run-auschwitz

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Happy Birthday Simon Herman van den Bergh

Simon Herman van den Bergh would have been 80 today.

He would have reached 960 months today.

He would have reached 29,200 days today, plus an additional 20 days if you include leap years.

But Simon Herman van den Bergh didn’t even reach 2 years. He didn’t even reach 19 months.

He was born on December 14,1941 in Amsterdam and he was murdered on July 2,1943 in Sobibor.

On December 19.1941 his proud parents announced his arrival in “Het Joodsche Weekblad” the Jewish weekly. With the words “With gladness we would like to announce the birth of our Son .Simon Herman” It also gives the Dutch date of birth 14 December 1941 as well as the Jewish date 24 Kislew 5702.

His parents knew the uncertainty of their and his future. But could they have envisaged that their baby boy would have been considered a threat to the security of the Nazi regime? Maybe, they did. But poor little Simon wasn’t a threat to anyone, nor were any of the 1.5 million children murdered by the Nazis.

Happy Birthday Dear Simon. Tonight I will look up at the stars and will say a prayer for you, that is the only present I can give you.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/224924/simon-herman-van-den-bergh

European Hate

When you look at the picture you might think that it is an innocent portrayal , of a street somewhere in the Netherlands.

A typical Dutch scene. Someone cycling, two bikes parked against a sign. What could be hateful here?

It is actually the sign itself that has a message of hate. It says “Jews not wanted” or “Jews not desired” . Above the sign there is another one, it gives us the name of the town ‘de Bilt’ . This is not just any town in the Netherlands, it is one of the most affluent towns in the country, it has been for centuries. It was the birthplace of Joan Gideon Loten, a prominent member of the Dutch East India Company .It was also the birthplace of Johan Beyen a politician, who helped create the European Economic Community. During World War II, he was, in addition to his position at Unilever, financial advisor to the Dutch government in exile in London. In 1944, he played an important role during the Bretton Woods conference where the foundations were laid for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. From 1946, he was the Dutch representative in the board of the World Bank and from 1948 also in that of the IMF.

The town is also where one of America’s wealthiest families originated from , the Vanderbilt family.

So a very influential town. No one in the town had to fear any hardships or job losses caused by Jews, yet this was one the lies spread by the Nazis.

The hateful rhetoric was based on nothing. Of course the sign, as many other signs, were put up on order by the Nazis, but there was little or no resistance by the population to put up them up.

The Holocaust didn’t happen overnight it was a gradual process.

De Bilt is and was also the home of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) since 1854. One of the institutes employees was Kittie Koperberg.

Kitty was fired from her job at the KNMI on November 21,1940 because she was Jewish. Even if she hadn’t been fired it was made very clear that she was no longer welcome in De Bilt. Like so many other Jews, Kittie was sent to Westerbork from there she was put on a transport to Sobibor on May 11,1943. When she arrived in Sobibor on the 14th of May she was murdered.

It is easy for me to judge in retrospect, however I don’t feel like it is a judgement but a critical analysis of the history of a dark era of the country I was born in. If we can’t be critical about our past we can never be critical about the present or the future. We will not learn from the mistakes that were made.

I know some people will jump on this blog to criticize the Dutch. But this will more then likely be done by people who live in one of the countries, that are currently white washing their mistakes, actively revising the history and distort it to suit their current narrative.

The hate against the Jews didn’t only exist in Germany but all over Europe.

The millions of victims of the Holocaust, and those who survived deserve better then that.

sources

https://cdn.knmi.nl/system/readmore_links/files/000/000/927/original/Kittie_Koperberg_1892-1943.pdf?1523974128

https://oorlogsgravenstichting.nl/persoon/83004/catharina-helmina-koperberg

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/vrouwen-toen-en-nu-kitty-koperberg-1892-1943-elly-pieta-van-beek/?originalSubdomain=nl

Donation

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Hans Weinberg murdered in Dorohucza

Hans Weinberg would have celebrated his 100th birthday today. Although there is not that much data on Hans, and the data which is available his very clinical, it does illustrate the horrors of the Holocaust.

Hans was born on November 22,1921 in Amsterdam He was murdered-although some may say died- on November 30,1943 in Dorohucza a labor camp in Poland.

I had not heard of Dorohucza before. This is how Dutch historian and Holocaust survivor Jules Schelvis described the camp.

“In Dorohucza, we lacked the most basic amenities. The inmates who were there were sleeping in dilapidated barracks. The roof had large gaps, so that lying on the bare floor, one had an unobstructed view of the sky. There was always a penetrating stench of dirty clothes and unwashed bodies. Drinking water was not there. We were given black gunk they called coffee and soup, which consisted of half a liter of water with pieces of sauerkraut and an almost transparent slice of dog food. The water from the river that flowed past the camp was undrinkable. It was very dirty, because the river also served as a laundry room by the prisoners when they unsuccessfully tried to get rid of their lice after work.”

Dorohucza was the location of a forced labor camp of the Lublin Reservation complex. According to Jules Schelvis, at least 700 Dutch Jews were imprisoned there building latifundia of Generalplan Ost for the German settlers. Jules Schelvis and Hans Weinberg were both prisoners there.

Hans Weinberg’s timeline.

Born November 22,1921 in Amsterdam.

May 10,1940, German troops invade the Netherlands. Hans is 18.

January 7,1941 Hans and other Jews were no longer allowed to go the cinema.

May 3.1942 ,all Dutch Jews including Hans had to wear a Yellow star.

Hans was imprisoned in Camp Westerbork, the Netherlands until July 20,1943.

On July,20 1943, Hans was deported to Sobibor, Poland. There were 2245 people on that transport. Age 0 to 12-19;age 13 to 18-297;age 19 to 25-179; age 26 to 35-179; age 36 to 50-375;age 51 to 65-563; age 66 to 80-380; age 80+ 253

November 30,1943 Hans is murdered in Dorohucza. The sad thing is he came from an extermination camp to be murdered in a labor camp.

Sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Hans-Weinberg/02/168909

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/213905/hans-weinberg

https://www.geni.com/projects/Dorohucza-Labor-Camp/38202

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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Michel Polak and Mirjam Brilleman- 1 year old and 8 month old enemies of the state.

There are no pictures of Michel Polak and Mirjam Brilleman.

There is only a picture of one the place they were murdered. Auschwitz and more then likely Auschwitz-Birkenau.

There are no pictures of the 2 children because they were born on November 20,1941 in Amsterdam. The Nazis already had a tight grip on Dutch society at that time. The live of Jews had already been made difficult and they were denied a great number of luxury items. The parents of both kids probably could not afford a camera or were simply not allowed to have one.

There were still professional photographers, but many Jews just wanted to keep a low profile.

Mirjam Brilleman was murdered on July 23, 1942 aged 8 months

Michel Polak was murdered May 21.1943 in Sobibor aged 1.

Never Forget what hate can do.

Music in Westerbork.

Compared to other concentration camps ,Westerbork was ‘reasonably’ safe and life was less harsh there, But that is also what made it a more sinister place.

From 1942 to 1945, Westerbork was a transit camp (Durchgangslager) located in the Netherlands. As a transit camp, Westerbork served as a temporary collection point for Jews in the Netherlands prior to their deportation by the Germans to killing centers and concentration camps in the east.

Westerbork was originally established in 1939 by the Dutch before the German invasion of the Netherlands. It began as a refugee camp for German Jewish refugees who had fled Nazi persecution.

The Nazis created an illusion that all of the measures they had introduced for the Jews were only temporary. They even had a football league in the camp.

Music also played a big part in Westerbork. The picture at the start of the blog is of Jazz violinist Benny Behr. He is playing for some of the children of the camp. For them he would play uplifting children’s songs. Fr older people who would also play classical pieces.

Benny Behr was married to a non-Jewish woman, Wien Bouwina Sijtina Havinga. Because of that he enjoyed freedoms which other Jews did not have. But these freedoms were only temporary On August 1,1944 Benny ended up in Westerbork, where he remained until the camp was liberated in April 1945.

The Westerbork Serenade is the title of a love song written by Dutch singing duo,Nol (Arnold Siméon) van Wesel and Max (Salomon Meyer) Kannewasser aka Johnny and Jones, just before their deportation to Auschwitz in 1944. The play tells the true story of Jewish cabaret performers held by the Nazis in the Dutch transit camp of Westerbork, and portrays songs and vaudeville sketches that were actually staged in the camp revues. Some of Berlin’s greatest stars performed at Westerbork, thereby delaying their transport to death camps.

In 1943 Max,Nol and their wives were arrested and were send to the Westerbork transit camp.In the camp they performed once under the name Jonny und Jones because only the German language was allowed during performances. In 1944 they were sent on a day’s work assignment from Westerbork to Amsterdam, during which they managed to secretly record the song “Westerbork Serenade”.

The song starts off , with them singing that they don’t feel like themselves and that they aren’t great. Their hearts beat like the airplane demolishing yard, which was actually the job assigned to them in the camp, dismantling crashed warplanes.

This the translation of the lyrics

Hello we feel a little out of order,
To pull myself together is quite hard,
Suddenly I’m a different person,
My heart beats like the airplane wrecking yard.

I sing my Westerbork serenade,
Along the little rail-way the tiny silver moon shines
On the heath.
I sing my Westerbork serenade
With a pretty lady walking there together,
Cheek to cheek.
And my heart burns like the boiler in the boiler house,
Oh it never hit me quite like this at Mother’s place
I sing my Westerbork serenade,
In between the barracks I threw my arms around her
Over there
This Westerbork love affair.
And so I went over to the medic,
The guy says: “there is nothing you can do;
Oh but you will feel a whole lot better
After you give her a kiss or two
(But that you must not do…)”

Even in this dark period they managed to keep composure and a sense of humour.

On 4 September 1944 Van Wesel and Kannewasser were deported on one of the last transports from Westerbork to a number of concentration camps: Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Ohrdruf and Bergen-Belsen. They died of exhaustion during the last days of the war in 1945.

Transports were a traumatic experience for Jews in Westerbork. Witness testimonies mention confusion, distress, and brutality. For example, Dutch-Jewish journalist Philip Mechanicus, who kept a diary of life in Westerbork, described a transport that took place on June 1, 1943. He wrote:

“The transports are as nauseating as ever.… Men, quiet, stone-faced; women, often in tears. The elderly: stumbling, faltering under their burden, tripping on the bad road sometimes into pools of mud…. Whoever hesitates, whoever dawdles, is being assisted; sometimes herded, sometimes shoved, sometimes beaten, sometimes punched, sometimes persuaded by a boot, quickly shoved aboard the train…. When the cars are full, the prescribed number of deportees having been loaded, the cars are sealed…. The commandant signals the departure: a wave of the hand. The whistle sounds … a heart-rending sound is heard by everyone in the camp. The grungy snake, now fully loaded, crawls away.”

The transport Mechanicus describes included 3,006 people. It arrived at the Sobibor killing center on June 3, 1943. Jules Schelvis, who had spent six days in Westerbork prior to deportation, was the only known survivor of this transport.

Looking back at the picture at the start of the blog. When you take it out of context, you might think it is a group of scruffy kids hassling a violin player. However when you put it in the context of Westerbork and the Holocaust, there is the realisation that most, if not all, of these kids listening to the music in Westerbork, will have been murdered shorty afterwards. And that knowledge breaks my heart.

sources

Home

https://westerborkportretten.nl/bevrijdingsportretten/benny-behr

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/westerbork

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Dutch Olympian Athletes Murdered during the Holocaust

It is strange sometimes how one thing can draw your attention to another. I did a piece recently on the German national anthem, that led me to look at the Dutch national anthem. “Wilhelmus van Nassouwe”, usually known just as “Wilhelmus” is the national anthem of the Netherlands. It dates back to at least 1572, making it the oldest national anthem in use today.

I mostly associate it with sporting events like the Olympics. It still give me the goosebumps every time I see the Dutch flagged being raised and the anthem is played during the Olympics, or any other sporting event for that matter. Although the Dutch do punch above their weight when it comes to sport, considering the size of the country. it only hosted the Olympic games once, in 1928. It was held from 28 July to 12 August 1928.

It was the first time that female athletes were competing in the field of gymnastics. Five women on the Dutch Olympic gymnastics team were Jewish: Helena-Lea Nordheim, Ans Polak, Estella-Stella Agsteribbe, Judikje-Judik Simons and Elka de Levie. The team’s trainer, Gerrit Kleerekoper, was also Jewish. The team won the gold medal for women’s gymnastics at the 1928 Olympics, and the Dutch press elevated the women to the status national heroines.

“Everything was taken care of down to the last detail. Nice practice material – not too heavy – logically composed, neatly executed in class, wonderful order and leadership, in one word sublime. …The jury was also enthusiastic and awarded the Kleerekoper corps a total score of 316.75 points, leaving the other teams far behind. With their well-deserved success the gymnasts were the first female Olympic champions in the Netherlands. At a quarter past five, the Dutch flag fluttered above the Olympic Stadium and the National Anthem sounded over the central area. However, the cheers rose when HRH Prince Hendrik stepped forward and shook hands with each of the participants. …and then they, our ladies, to whom we owe the first victory, disappeared under the grandstand to their dressing rooms.”

The Dutch Olympic women’s gymnastics team at the Amsterdam Olympics, 1928. The team won the gold medal. The coach was Jewish, as were five of the team members.The Jewish team members are standing on the first row: From left: Helena-Lea Nordheim (second), Anna Polak (third), Estella Agsteribbe (fourth), Judik Simons (last) and Elka de Levie (second row, first from right). Courtesy of NOC-NSF Gelderland collection

Less then 12 years later that status was forgotten. On May 10 German troops invaded the Netherlands and a few days later the country was fully occupied by the Germans who quickly found collaborators and a Nazi regime was put in place.

Leah, Estella and Elka trained at the “Bato” sports club in Amsterdam, which had been established in 1902 and was one of the largest Jewish sports clubs in the city. In September 1941, the Germans banned Jews from all sports activities, but even after the club’s closure, Jews continued to train and exercise illegally until 1942. From the summer of 1942, Dutch Jews were deported to the East.

Judik Simons married Bernard Solomon Themans in 1935, and they had two children, Sonja (b. 1937) and Leon (b. 1940). After the team’s win, Simons and her husband ran an orphanage in Utrecht, where they lived with their own two children. During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the family was given a chance to escape deportation to the death camps, but Simons and her husband refused to leave the orphans. On March 3, 1943, the entire family and dozens of children from the orphanage were gassed at Sobibor.

Helena Nordheim married Abraham Kloot, and their daughter Rebecca was born in 1933. Lea and Abraham were both hairdressers. In 1943, they were arrested and sent to Westerbork. On 29 June 1943, a deportation train left Westerbork, arriving at Sobibor three days later. The deportees included Helena Kloot, her husband and their ten-year-old daughter, and Gerrit Kleerekoper-the coach of the team- his wife Kaatje and their 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth. They were all murdered. There were no survivors from this deportation. Gerrit and Kaatje’s 21 year old son Leendert was murdered on 30 July 1944 at Auschwitz, according to the Totenbuch des KL Auschwitz-Monowitz (death register)

In 1936, Anna-Ans Polak married Barend Dresden, a tailor, and in 1937 their only daughter Eva was born in Amsterdam. In May 1943, the family was arrested and sent to the Vught concentration camp in the Netherlands. Approximately one month later, Anna and Eva were transferred to Westerbork. On 20 July 1943, a deportation train left Westerbork, arriving at Sobibor three days later. Among the deportees were Anna Dresden and her six-year-old daughter Eva. They were both murdered. There were no survivors from this deportation. Anna’s husband Barend was deported from Vught to Auschwitz on 15 December 1943. He survived the selection, and was sent to forced labor in Auschwitz III: Buna-Monowitz. On 30 November 1944, Barend was murdered at Auschwitz.

In 1928, Stella Agsteribbe competed in the first ever Olympic gymnastics competition for women. Despite placing 13th in the Dutch team selection event, she was elected to compete in the group competition. The Dutch quite comfortably earned the gold in the five-team competition. Individually, Agsteribbe placed 3rd at the Dutch all-around championships in both 1930 and 1934. At the latter event, she competed as Stella Blits, having married Samuel Blits, also a gymnast with her club BATO. Like several of her team mates (Lea Nordheim, Ans Polak, Elka de Levie, alternate Judikje Simons and coach Gerrit Kleerekoper, Agsteribbe was Jewish. During World War II, she was deported to Auschwitz with her husband and children. She was killed shortly after arrival on 17 September 1943, along with her six-year-old daughter Nanny, and two-year-old son Alfred. Her husband, Samuel Blits, died at Auschwitz on 28 April 1944.

Elka de Levie managed to evade the tragic fate of her fellow Jewish teammates, and survived in the Netherlands. She passed away in Amsterdam in 1979.

Mozes Jacobs competed in the men’s gymnastics team. He didn’t win any medals, I believe he came 8th. He taught physical education. He joined the resistance and participated in acts of sabotage and helped those in hiding. On 1 April 1943 he was caught in Vierhouten and held at the house of detention in Arnhem. From there he was deported to Germany via Westerbork. He was murdered on July 9,1943 in Sobibor.

Cornelis Compter was of Jewish descent. He was a truck driver by profession. He competed in the featherweight weightlifting event at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, where he achieve the 19th place. Hewas a memer of the the Hague communist resistance. He was involved in the distribution of the resistance magazine De Vonk. He was arrested on August 4, 1941 by Johannes Hubertus Veefkind, a member of the Hague Police Intelligence Service before the war. Compter was arrested as a result of an infiltration action by Johannes Hubertus van Soolingen, ordered by Mayor De Monchy in May 1940. In March 1942 he was transferred from the Oranjehotel to Kamp Amersfoort. The same month he was transferred to Buchenwald. In 1944 he was transferred to the Nacht und Nebelkamp Natzweiler. In September 1944 he was transferred to Dachau and shortly afterwards to Mauthausen, where he died of exhaustion on 23 February 1945.

Elias Hyman Melkman was a member of the gymnastics association Plato in Amsterdam. He took part as a gymnast in the Olympics of 1928 in Amsterdam. He was murdered in Auschwitz on January 3,1942.

Israel Wijnschenk was also a member of the Dutch men’s gymnast team. He competed in seven events at the 1928 Summer Olympics. He was murdered in Auschwitz on January 31,1943.

Pierre Marie Robert Versteeghwas a Dutch horse rider who competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics and in the 1936 Summer Olympics. In the 1928 Summer Olympics he won the bronze medal in the team dressage with his horse His Excellence after finishing ninth in the individual dressage. Eight years later he finished fifth with the Dutch team in the team dressage and placed eighth in the individual dressage.

Pierre Versteegh trained for the Dutch military, enrolling at the Royal Military Academy in Breda in 1906. In June 1909 he was appointed second lieutenant and assigned to the Third Division in Ede. In the years before World War I, and also after the conflict, Versteegh became an active equestrian participant, winning numerous local competitions. In 1925 he was promoted to captain and in 1936 to major in the Army. In 1931 Versteegh had been awarded the Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau with Swords.

When the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, Versteegh held the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and was also concerned because his wife was Jewish. After the Dutch Army surrendered, Versteegh joined the Dutch Underground, working with the Ordedienst (OD), a fusion of several underground groups. On 2 May 1941 Versteegh was arrested after being found to be a member of the OD. He and several other OD members were kept in the state prison in Scheveningen, later called the Oranjehotel. In March-April 1942 Versteegh and many of his compatriots were tried in Amersfoort, and all were found guilty, and sentenced to death.

On 1 May 1942 the convicted OD members, among whom were included Richard Schoemaker, a Dutch fencing Olympian, were taken by train to Oranienburg, near Berlin, and then transported by truck to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. On 3 May 1942 all of the convicts were executed by firing squad, in groups of 12 each. Pierre Versteegh was among them.

Jan Geert Ankerman was a Dutch field hockey player , he was born in Wommel in Friesland, the Northwest of the Netherlands. He competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics. He was a member of the Dutch field hockey team, which won the silver medal. He played all four matches as halfback.

He did not die in any of the Nazi deathcamps. He was murdered in another concentration camp, by another axis power. He died on December 27,1942 in a Japanese prisoners of war camp in Burma.

Although the Japanese camps were not to the scale as the Nazi camps, they were nonetheless horrific and inhumane and often described as hell on earth

sources

https://www.olympedia.org/lists/3/manual

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/535112/about-elias-hyman-melkman

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/158818/israel-wijnschenk

https://peoplepill.com/people/pierre-versteegh/

https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-jewish-olympians-among-hitlers-victims/

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/sport/dutch-gymnastics-team.asp

https://peoplepill.com/people/jan-ankerman

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Mirjam Rosalie de Leeuw-Murdered in Auschwitz

I usually include a photograph when I write about the youngest victims of the Nazi regime. But I could not find a picture of poor little Mirjam Rosalie de Leeuw. In a way I am happy about that, I have looked into too many eyes of the innocent souls that were brutally murdered ,and regardless how tough I think I am, it does take a toll.

The story of Mirjam Rosalie de Leeuw is particularly sad because she could have been saved. Mirjam was given up by her parents as a foundling aged 1, to save her from the Nazis. However when her parents were arrested they felt the desire to be reunited with their daughter. I know that some people may ask themselves ” Why, did they want to be reunited?” I can totally understand why, they were more then likely first sent to Westerbork, where things weren’t ‘too bad’ , and there must have been hope that they would all survive.

The de Leeuw family lived on “Stations Laan 25′ in Stadskanaal in the Northern Dutch province of Groningen. As you can gather from the address they lived near the station.

One of their neighbours ,a 12 year old girl who kept a diary, wrote the following of Mirjam and her family.

“I want to return to that time during in the war in Stadskanaal. When the first Jews were rounded up in Stadskanaal in 1942 and brought to Westerbork, panic broke out among these people.

Bertus de Leeuw, newly married, lived opposite us with his wife Nannie. They had a baby Mirjam. This woman was so panicked she didn’t know what to do. She put the child in the pram with some clothes and walked off. But where was she to go? At one point we saw her walking on the rails pushing the pram desperately in front of her . Mother sent me there to help her. She was so scared she could hardly walk. It was very difficult to get home as the boulders between the rails prevented us from making progress. She stayed with us for a while and afterwards her husband and father talked for a long time. Then they went back home and in the following days in the evening when it was dark, a bed with accessories was brought and placed in the empty back room. Two of Bertus de Leeuw’s aunts would be housed here for a few weeks. Unfortunately, these two women did something very stupid. Instead of quietly disappearing, they brought their cats to acquaintances and when asked where they were going they said that they would be staying with the Mulder family in Stadskanaal, this went around like wildfire through the village and also was brought to the attention of bad people, strangers to the family. This is why father was arrested by Blomberg(a police officer and detective in Stadskanaal during World War 2). These two ladies were arrested that same night by the S.D. the same evening. and deported.

The corner cupboard in the front room was also cleared and food from the de Leeuw family was stored there, as well as in the basement where their weck(a jar used to conserve fruit or vegetables) was kept. The de Leeuw family went into hiding. The child was abandoned (we only learned this much later, when they were arrested.) In that winter 1942/1943 Bertus de Leeuw came from time to time via the rail tracks, in the pitch darkness to get food. He would be dressed all in black with a hat pulled far over his head.”

Mirjam would have celebrated her 80th birthday today, but she and her Mother were both murdered in Auschwitz on November 19,1943. Mirjam was just 2 year old.

Mirjam’s death was registered in Stadskanaal after the war.

Her Father was murdered in Sobibor on May 28,1943. It is disturbing to know that the rail tracks he used to navigate his way to the places where he would get food, were the same rail tracks that carried him to his death. What happened to his aunts I don’t know but I presume they were murdered too.

Except for the family name I do not know the identity of the neighbour nor do I know what happened to her Father. I do know the name of her daughter who posted the Dutch text of her mother’s letter on Joods Monument.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/128978/mirjam-rosalie-de-leeuw

https://stolpersteine-guide.de/map/biografie/2353/stationslaan-25

https://www.openarch.nl/gra:5f37c20e-209c-6041-671b-4b7deff998c8

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Four murdered babies.

Whoever has the youth has the future. Whoever kills the youth destroys the future.

I can never understand the mindset of murdering innocent lives. No matter what ideology, any normal human being must know that killing a little healthy, happy child is wrong, more then wrong, it is evil and despicable.

Yet there were so called sophisticated people who had no issues murdering babies. They more then likely had children themselves, because having children was one of the priorities in the Nazi doctrine. Yet they murdered infants who were not considered ‘pure’. They did not realized that every child is pure?

The picture above is of Margaretha Bertha Aussen, she was born October 4,1941 in Amsterdam and was murdered in Auschwitz, September 10,1942 aged 11 months.

Jack Vleeschdrager was also born in Amsterdam on October 4,1941 and was murdered in Sobibor on June 4,1943 aged 20 months.

Abram Winnik, another child born in Amsterdam on October 4,1941. He was murdered in Sobibor on April 23,1943 aged 17 months.

Eva Kövesi another young citizen of the Dutch capital ,Amsterdam, also born on October 4,1941. Murdered in Auschwitz September 21,1942, aged 11 months.

All these 4 kids would have been 80 today, but they didn’t even make it to age 2. I hope that by writing down their names they will be remembered for generations to come.

source

Happy Birthday Aron Polak

Aron would have been 80 today, but he didn’t even get to the age of 2. He was born in Amsterdam on September 8, 1941. He was murdered in Sobibor March 26,1943.

The fact that he was murdered at such a young age is not even the saddest part of his story. There was actually a change he could have survived.

Aron’s Father, Joseph, was sent to Westerbork, I am not sure on what date, bur sometime after November 1941. After that Aron’s Mother, Lena, went into hiding with Aron. She moved several times. Eventually she stayed with Family but due to tensions Lena decided to voluntarily report herself and Aron to Westerbork.

Lena actually believed that her Husband had a job in Westerbork, sorting out gold and silver. She probably thought that he could provide for his family, even in Westerbork.

Lena and her son Aron eventually reported themselves voluntarily in Westerbork on 27 February 1943. They stayed in barrack 72 and on the 1st of March, Joseph was also in that barrack. On March 23,1943, , the Polak family was deported to Sobibor and on arrival there on 26 March 1943 immediately sent to the gas chambers, and were murdered.

What is so disturbing about this, is that the Nazis somehow created the illusion that even when you were sent to Westerbork, there was a chance of a reasonable normal life.

As for young Aron, I will be looking up to the sky tonight, imagining he is one of the stars I will see. Happy Birthday little man, you were a star to your parents, and you are a star for all of us. A beacon to remind us of what you went through.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/649374/het-lot-van-lena-barend-haar-man-joseph-polak-en-hun-zoontje-aron.

https://geheugenvanoost.amsterdam/page/26420/geen-afscheid