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

Remembering Isaias(Sjakie) Degen

I wish I could say I am remembering Sjakie Degen for his breakthrough work in science.

I wish I could say I am remembering Sjakie Degen for a great book he wrote.

I wish I could say I am remembering Sjakie Degen for a great painting he painted.

I wish I could say that Sjakie Degen was the Sjakie mentioned in the Dutch song “Sjakie van de hoek” Sjakie from the corner, the mischievous boy who broke a window by kicking a ball through it.

But none of that would be true, Sjakie Degen was just a boy.

He was born on December 13.1939 the first born son of Loutje and Beppie Degen and was nearly 3 1/2 years old, when he and his parents were registered in Camp Westerbork on 23 March 1943. He stayed with his parents for a few days in barrack 60. They were all deported on the 6th April to Sobibor. Upon arrival there on 9 April 1943, Sjakie and his parents were murdered in the gas chambers the very same day.

So all I can say about Sjakie is that he was murdered 25 years and 1 day before I was born.

He had brother who survived.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/562959/about-isaias-sjakie-degen

Happy Birthday Wolf Blits

In my opinion the best way to remember the victims of the Holocaust is to personalize their stories. Rather then a number, show the human side. Because that is what they were ,all those millions were all individual human beings, just like everyone else.

I wish I could show you a picture of Wolf Blits. I could perhaps include a picture of CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, but he is not the same person.

Perhaps Wolf Blits also could have been a reporter, journalist or news anchor. But he was never given that opportunity. He was murdered when he was 4.

Wolf was born in Amsterdam on August 24,1938. He was murdered on June 11,1943 in Sobibor.

In those 4 years he travelled more then many 40 year old. In 1943 he traveled from Amsterdam to Camp Vught near Den Bosch in the Netherlands, where he arrived on June 6,1943.

From Vught he traveled to Westerbork near Amersfoort, in the Netherlands where he arrived on June 8,1943.

From Westerbork he traveled to Sobibor in Poland, where he arrived on or just before June 11,1943. There he was murdered on June 11,1943.

At the start of this blog is a picture of a card from Vught. On the card 4 year old Wolf was registered as a prisoner, as if he was a hardened criminal. Of course he wasn’t a criminal, nor were his parents or anyone else of those millions who were murdered. The criminals were those who murdered them, The disturbing fact though is that these criminals followed the letter of the law.

A law made up up by sick individuals who followed a warped ideology, an ideology based on hate.

Poor Wolf traveled quite a bit. I remember moving when I was a kid, it was only a few blocks away from where I lived, but to me it was like moving to the other side of the world. I thought they spoke a different language. I was very anxious. But I moved to a nice place. Poor Wolf traveled to be murdered.

It is his birthday today. Dear Wolf whatever star you are up in the skies, I wish you a happy birthday.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/184678/wolf-blits

https://www.oorlogslevens.nl/tijdlijn/Wolf-Blits/02/13216

Gesina Groen-Murdered on her first Birthday.

Gesina Groen would have been 80 today. But she was murdered on her 1st birthday.

She was born on July 26,1941 in Amsterdam and murdered in Auschwitz July 26,1942, together with her mother.

There are no pictures of Gesina, just a picture of the house she lived in. The address is Nieuwe Keizersgracht 70, Amsterdam, which is a prime location in Amsterdam nowadays. The house would be too expensive to afford for most people now.

All I know though is that when Gesina lived there, there were in total 12 people living in that building. None of them survived.

The oldest resident was Sophia Cohen-Rosenberg, she was murdered April 9, 1943 in Sobibor, aged 78.

There may have been another child on the address, Abraham de Vries he was the foster son of Marcus Rooselaar. Abraham de Vries was murdered in Sobibor ,July 16, 1943, aged 11. However it is not certain that he lived on the address.

Sources

http://nieuw.schaduwkade.nl/app/fsm.php?vwr=lijst&mid=103

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/186652/gesina-groen

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

Marijke Godschalk -Murdered one week before her 2nd birthday.

Marijke Godschalk was born in Assen, the Netherlands, on June 18 1941. Less then 2 years later she would be dead.

Not because she was ill or had been involved in an accident. She died because of someone’s idea of her. Although she looked like any other Dutch or even German girl, I would even say she looked Aryan, she was deemed not worthy of life because she was Jewish.

Marijke Godschalk was deported to Sobibor in June 1943 from Vught via Westerbork on the so-called children’s transport. She was 1 year, 51 weeks old when she was murdered.

The train left on June 6,1943. It was not a German train she was on, but a Dutch train. According to a representative of the NS(Nederlandse Spoorwegen), Dutch Railways, the NS had “complied with the German order to make trains available. The Germans paid for it and said the NS had to come up with a timetable. And the company went and did it without a word of objection.”

I am struggling with this. Who was more guilty? The person who murdered Marijke, or the person who put her on the train, knowing that the likelihood of her survival were slim to none?

Marijke wasn’t the only child who was murdered. She was one of 1.5 million.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/151453/marijke-godschalk

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49233817

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Happy Birthday Willem Belinfante.

Happy Birthday Willem Belinfante. You would have been 87 today. You were born on May 30 1934. in Amsterdam.

Your parents were Esther Pais Belinfante, your mother, and Wolf Belinfante, your Father. Both born in Amsterdam. Your Father was a butcher, nowadays in this Covid 19 era he would have been considered an essential worker. But he must have always been an essential worker. He made sure that people had meat for their dinners. And don’t we all need to eat?

The picture is a wedding picture of your parents. It looks like a normal wedding party. However most of the people on this picture would have been murdered just a few years later. You parents were murdered in Sobibor on July 2,1943.

Dear Willem you had 2 brothers, one whose name I don’t know, and a younger brother called Herman Isaac Emanuel Belinfante, such a cool name.

It would have been your 87th birthday today dear Willem. But you died aged 9. You were murdered in Sobibor on July 2,1943, the same day as your parents and your younger brother ,Herman Isaac Emanuel Belinfante, he was aged 6.

There is another brother but I don’t know his name. All I know is that he survived.

Your last name.Belinfante, is quite a famous name in the Netherlands. Joost Belinfante, is a musician and a composer who was linked to Dutch ska band called’ Doe Maar’. His sister Judith Belinfante was an elected member of parliament and the director of the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, She was born 13 days before you were murdered.

I wonder if you were related?

You too could have become a musician and composer, or a director of a museum but an evil regime did not think you were fit for life, they decided your fate for you.

I hope your surviving brother found a nice family after the war. But I could never begin to imaging how he must feel, the pain and the uncertainty he had to endure.

Happy Birthday Willem Belinfante. I hope you are having a beautiful cake in heaven with your family.

Source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/176736/willem-belinfante

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

Reached the age of….

One thing that never should be said about children is “Reached the age of..” Yet this did apply to so many children who were murdered during the Holocaust. Everyone who was murdered during that time was innocent.

1.5 million children were killed. 1.5 million human being who never were allowed to blossom into you men and women. Murdered because they were Jewish, Roma or disabled. The though just sickens me.

The number is just unfathomable, but to put it in some sort of perspective, the world’s biggest stadium is Rungrado 1st of May Stadium,in Pyongyang, North Korea. It can hold up to 150,000 people, which is only the equivalent of 10% of all the children murdered during the Holocaust.

I am not able to name all those children, it would take me several live times to do so. Therefore I am just going to remember a few in this blog. Young people who only reached the age of…

The picture above is of Jonas Wallage who reached the age of 13, and of his brother Hartog Wallace who reached the age of 8. Both boys were murdered in Auschwitz.

Hanna Maria Steinbock, reached the age of 8. Murdered in Sobibor

Esther Frederika Polak, reached the age of 5. Was murdered in Auschwitz.

Marcel Alter, reached the age of 5. Was murdered in Auschwitz.

My fear is that these kids will be forgotten because of politics. It was politics that murdered them in the first place, and now it is politics that is trying to erase their memories.

Either by complete denial or by people who get offended that they are reminded that these children were killed in their country.

I will do my best to keep their memories alive. I hope you do your bit by sharing their stories and help to fight any sort of Holocaust denial.

Happy Birthday Leonard Samuel van Esso

Dr. Maria Montessori once said “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

The picture above is of a Montessori school in Amsterdam, it was taken in 1937.

Leonard Samuel van Esso was one if that school’s pupils. He was born 20 March 1936 in Amsterdam. He would have been 85 today, but he didn’t even get to celebrate his 7th birthday because he was murdered 15 days short of that day. He was murdered in Sobibor on March 5 1943, alongside his parents and older sister.

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

The regime that sent him to Sobibor did not see him as a human being, nor did they gave him the respect he was due by reason of his innocence and greater possibility of his future.

It would be easy for me to say it was the Germans who murdered him, and I wouldn’t be wrong, but as in many other crimes there were accomplices and enablers. They made not have been in uniform, they could have been behind a desk, getting the paper work ready.

No respect was shown to any of 1.5 million children who were brutally murdered. Leonard’s ‘crime’ is that he was Jewish. According to the Nazi ideology the blood of the Jews was impure, yet they didn’t mind using the blood taken from Jews in Auschwitz and I presume other camps , for blood transfusions for the wounded soldiers .

Another quote by Maria Montessori is “The child is endowed with unknown powers, which can guide us to a radiant future. If what we really want is a new world, then education must take as its aim the development of these hidden possibilities.”

Whoever got the paperwork ready for Leonard, whoever put him on the train, the drivers who transported him to Sobibor, whoever murdered him , did not only deny Leonard his future , they also denied themselves of a world of hidden possibilities.

There is no pictures I could find of Leonard. The artist Willem Volkersz, created a series of suitcases in memory of holocaust victims. This is Leonard’s suit case.

Dear Leonard wherever you are I hope you have a happy birthday. This article is my present to you. It is there to ensure your name will not be forgotten.

Some of my fellow country men may have forsaken you. I will not.

Source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/169231/leonard-samuel-van-esso