Holocaust – Victim by Victim

remy

The UN designated this day January 27 as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It coincides with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, although Auschwitz (which consisted out of about 40 camps) was the biggest death camp. There were other camps, though smaller in scale but equally as evil.

I know it is hard for people to fathom the amount of people who were murdered, but you can start remembering them victim by victim.

Victims like Koenraad Huib Gezang aka Remy van Duinwijck, two days from now it would have been his 78th birthday, but he didn’t even reach his 2nd birthday.

In October 1942, he was taken in by the crèche opposite the Hollandsche Schouwburg in Amsterdam. He was left as  an abandoned child.Nobody knew who he was. They named him Remi van Duinwijck, after Remi after the boy in the book ‘‘Sans Famille’ or Nobody’s Boy by Hector Malot. Duinwijck was the place where he had been found.

The little angel was real heart breaker as he had stolen the hearts  of the  staff at the crèche and even of SS-Hauptsturmführer Ferdinand aus der Fünten, who came to visit him regularly. But all this attention he received made it impossible to keep him safe send him into hiding, he was taken away and sent to Westerbork in April 1943, where he remained until May 18, 1943/ From there he was sent to Sobibor where he arrived on May 21 and was killed. After the war,in 2002,.  his true identity  was discovered, his real name was Koenraad Huib Gezang.

His parents had decided in August 1942 in order to increase the chance of survival to split up the family. Koen was initially send to another family member and via other shelter places eventually ended up at the crèche, where he was left as an abandoned child.

His mother Florence Gezang-Goudeket was also murdered in Sobibor, om April 9, 1943 just a few weeks before Koen was murdered.

His father Maurits, who had been a member of the resistance in the Hague , the Netherlands and Koen’s brother Edward both survived the war.

Koen

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

https://jck.nl/nl/page/koenraad-huib-gezang

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/144975068/koenraad-huib-gezang

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/144975068/koenraad-huib-gezang

NIOD

 

 

#holocaust

 

Four Innocent Lives

4 kids

This picture really upset me, it comes from an album from the National Monument of Camp Vught. When I saw the picture first I thought it was a family picture of 4 siblings. But these kids are not related, it appears to be a staged picture taken at  Vught Concentration Camp

But that is not what upset me, what did, is the notion that these 4 kids were given some bit of hope of a life, but that life was taken from them.

4 futures taken for no other reason but hate.

What is even more upsetting is that so little is known of these children , only the bare facts and not even all the facts either.

The boy in the picture, top left, is Simon Koster born 20 January 1934 in Amsterdam.Murdered in Auschwitz 17 September 1942 .aged 8.

The little girl in front of  Simon is Dora Fresco, born 13 September 1940.in the Hague Murdered in Sobibor 16 July 1943, aged 2.

The oldest girl ,top right is Rabecca Pemina Vorst, date of birth not known, birthplace not known. Murdered in Auschwitz 26 March 1943.

The baby lying down on the bed is Rosalie van Baale, born 22 June 1941, in Amsterdam. Murdered in Vught Concentration Camp on 12 April 1943, aged 1.

NEVER EVER FORGET WHAT HATE CAN DO.

A slight correction, one of my readers found some additional information and discovered that the 4 children are related through their mothers who were sisters from each other, and the picture was made before they were sent to Vught.

The kids all have different surnames which indicates 4 mothers. This makes that picture even more upsetting because it means that 4 young families were either killed or torn apart.

 

 

 

 

You didn’t have to do it.

Gemmi

You didn’t have to do it. You didn’t have to kill me.

You didn’t have to do it, you wanted to.

You didn’t have to do it, but you hated me and didn’t think twice.

You hated me, why?

You hated me, because someone told you to hate me. Were you really that stupid that you couldn’t make up your own mind?

No one could make you love someone you didn’t want to love. Yet they could make you hate someone you didn’t know. A child you didn’t know.

You hated me, but I did not hate you. How could I? I didn’t know you. I got have been a dear friend because that is my name Liebfreund, Dear Friend.

Aren’t you embarrassed that a 9 year old boy knows more then you. A 9  yar old boy whp knows that it is wrong to hate. Because hate turns to anger, anger turns to bitterness, bitterness turns into self pity. It is this self pity that turned you into this pathetic excuse of a human being. Some people call you a monster, but you are not, You are a human being . You are responsible for your actions.

I am Gemmi Liebfreund. I was born on 7 October 1933, in the Hague. I was killed in Sobibor on 13 March 1943.

Your smiley face makes me cry.

11 months

Your smiley face makes me cry.

It makes me cry because I know you were born on June 13,1942 in The Hague , the Netherlands and you were killed June 11,1943 in Sobibor. You were not even given the opportunity to blow one candle on your first birthday cake.

I cry but I no longer have tears because they have dried up due to crying for the 1.5 million childer that were killed.

There is one question that occupies my mind constantly. Why?

I know why, but I just can’t comprehend.

Ywo days before your birthday you were murdered.

You are Joseph Blok, you could have been an  inspirational musician or a motivation speaker, or  just simply the father of my best friend.

The biggest fear of your parents  should have been to keep you safe from the measles,chicken pox ,mumps and rubella, but it was men who probably had children themselves, perhaps even babies like you.

Men, who did not see you as human being they though of you as vermin, but it was these men who were the real vermin.

Men who felt heroic for killing babies who could not defend themselves.

Rest in peace young Joseph Blok.

 

 

Diet Eman- WWII Hero.

Diet

Only the good die young, all the evil seem to live forever is a line from an Iron Maiden song, and there have been times where I thought this to be true, because I saw so many evil people living a long and prosperous lives.

But thankfully ever now and then that theory is proven wrong when you hear stories about people who personify the word good and you see they lived a long good life.

As was the case with Berendina Roelofina Hendrika  Eman aka Diet Eman. A genuine hero who lived to the age of 99, she died 2 weeks ago. What is amazing I had never heard of her until 2 friends, Norman Stone and Andy Ludwig( I am sure they won’t mind me giving them an honorable mention) pointed the story of Diet out to me.

She was born on April 20, 1920 in the Hague, the Netherlands and died on September 3, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A

She grew up in a religious Christian family she had 3 siblings and she was the 2nd youngest.

Om May 10,1940 when the Germans invaded the Netherlands her brother in law was killed.Shortly afterwards, Diet and her fiancé Hein Sietsma decided to join the resistance.The pair together with some friends established a resistance group with the code name “HEIN” which was in reference to Hein Sietsma but was also an abbreviation for “Help Elkander In Nood”which translates in Help each other in Need.

Diet and Hein

Initially the group listened to the BBC and translated the text of the broadcast in Dutch and distributed the transcripts in Dutch resistance magazines.They also smuggled  downed Allied pilots to England.

Soon they began to help Jewish friend find hiding places. Diet recalled after the war.

“There came a day,when my Jewish friend Herman, who worked with me in the bank in The Hague, began to understand that, for him, as a Jew, life could not go on in the same way anymore. He thus became the first Jewish person that we helped during the Occupation.”

Their resistance group began  to focus on stealing food and gas ration cards, forging identity papers and sheltering hundreds of fugitive Jews.

forged

At one stage Diet delivered supplies and moral support to an apartment in The Hague which housed 27 Jews in hiding, in late 1942. The walls were paper thin. Crying babies and even toilet flushing risked raising the suspicions of neighbors, who know that the apartment was owned by a single woman,Mies Walbelm.

Diet warned Mies, she told her “You’re living on top of a volcano that’s ready to erupt” but Mies did not heed the warning and housed more people, which was immensely brave but also extremely dangerous and could jeopardize the woman’s life but also those she hid. Despite that Diet kept visiting the apartment ,bringing supplies, sometimes 5 times a week Eventually the Gestapo did raid the apartment. A diary that contained Diet’s code name was discovered.One day Diet’s parents called her to warn her the Gestapo had turned up and told her not to return home. 

Diet and Hein Sietsma had plans to marry in September 1944, but in April Sietsma was arrested carrying false papers. In May Diet Eman, also, was caught on a train carrying a false ID. Luckily she managed to dispose of the incriminating papers she was carrying at a busy station while the Germans’ backs were turned, distracted by one of the men’s new plastic raincoat, a novelty at the time.

Diet was taken to Scheveningen prison and was later send to Vught concentration camp for  a few  months. However she kept insisting stubbornly that she was not Diet Eman but a simple housemaid. she managed to convince the Germans and she was released. She immediately rejoined the resistance and remained with it until May 1945. It was in June 1945 she found out that fiancé Hein Sietsma had died in Dachau in January 1945.

By some miracle, a letter he had written on a single sheet of toilet paper and tossed from a train as he was being transported to the camp found its way to her.“Darling, don’t count on seeing each other again soon,Even if we won’t see each other on earth again, we will never be sorry for what we did, and that we took this stand.”

He signed off with the Latin phrase that was engraved on the gold engagement ring that he had given her: “Omnia vincit amor.” Love conquers all.

A brother of Diet died later in a Japanese prison camp.

After the war she moved to the US, She became a nurse, learned Spanish, worked for Shell Oil in Venezuela, married an American engineer named Egon Erlich, divorced and moved to Michigan, where she also worked as a nurse and later for an export company. She raised a son and daughter.She kept quiet k about her resistance work until 1978. That year, she spoke at a “Suffering and Survival” convention. Here she met Dr. James Schaap who worked with Eman to write her memoir, “Things We Couldn’t Say”, which was published in 1994.

Things

On August 23, 1998, Yad Vashem recognized Berendina Roelofina Hendrika Eman as Righteous Among the Nations.

An amazing woman who risked her life to safe others, the world needs heroes like her today. Rust zacht Diet, ik zal U niet vergeten.

Persoon

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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

Holocausteducatie.nl

The New York Times

Smithsonian

Telegraph UK

Yad Vashem

 

If a pictures tells a 1000 words, how come I am speechless?

Jankl

I often come across people who seek my advice. Not that I am counselor or a psycho therapist, I don’t qualify for any of that. But for some reason people know I have had a life full of experiences.

They often tell me “life isn’t fair” and I sometimes reply £Life is not supposed to be fair but challenging, if you have no challenges in life you never have any victories either” And I genuinely do believe that.

But then there are times where I am speechless.

What do I say to little Jankl Zuckerkandel? He stood so proud in a photo studio in the Hague to get his picture taken, in his best clothes and his little cap ,his pure whit socks. It was 1941 when the picture was taken. Already his life was in danger, even as a toddler he was perceived to be a danger, A dangerous toddler, that also leaves me speechless.

He was killed in Sobibor aged 3

What do I say to that little beautiful boy? Do I tell him”Life wasn’t meant to be fair” But this doesn’t apply to him,because he didn’t have the chance to get a life yet.

Do I tell him “All will be fine”, then I would tell him a lie.

What do I tell him? How do I explain to him why he was murdered? I can’t, I am speechless. If a picture tells a thousand words, how come I am speechless.

All I can do is hope that his life as a little Angel brings him joy.

 

Sources

USHMM

Jan Ruschkewitz

Jantje

Jan Ruschkewitz, just a name of a young boy. A young bot born in the Hague in the Netherlands.

23 years after the international peace palace was established. A palace that was suppose to safeguard your peace.

In the picture you are about 2 or 3, but your peace would soon be destroyed.

Jan Ruschkewitz, just a name of a young boy, a boy who could have been anything. You were born 28 days before my father was born.

Jan Ruschkewitz, just a name of a young boy , a young boy who remained a young boy. He was brutally murdered 23 October 1942 , 10 days before his 6th birthday. A so called enemy of the state. What state has 6 year old children as enemies.?

Jan Ruschkewitz, just a name of a young boy, a boy whose name I will forever remember.

 

 

The forgotten Live Aid acts.

live aid

On July 13 1985, one of the biggest ever music concerts took place. Live Aid. The aim of the concerts was to raise  funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine.

The concerts are often referred to as a dual-venue benefit concert, which is actually not true. Yes the main concerts took place in London and Philadelphia but there were other concerts held in tandem in Australia,Asia and other European countries.

Another thing that happened was the relaxing on restrictions to Rock music in the Soviet Union

The Soviet Unions’s  Contribution for Live Aid was the Band ‘Autograph’

USSR LINK

Their performance was broadcast via Satellite from Moscow to Wembley,London.They were introduced by Introduction by Vladimir Posner .They played 2 songs Golovokruzhenie ( ” Vertigo “) and Nam nuzhen nir ( ” We need peace “).

Yugoslavia contributed with their equivalent to Band Aid and USA For Africa with a song called “For a Million Years” the song was introduced by Mladen Popovic , who also gave some background information to the song.

BB King was performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague,Netherlands that night and joined also via satellite link and played 4 songs.

“When It All Comes Down”
“Why I Sing the Blues”
“Don’t Answer the Door”
“Rock Me Baby”

BB King

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I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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American-Dutch diplomacy

embassy

On April 19, 1782, John Adams was received by the States-General and the Dutch Republic as they were the first country, together with Morocco and France, to recognize the United States as an independent government. John Adams then became the first U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands and the house that he had purchased at Fluwelen Burgwal 18 in The Hague, became the first U.S. embassy anywhere in the world.

Johnadamsvp.flipped

In July 1780 Adams replaced Laurens as the ambassador to the Dutch Republic, then one of the few other republics in the world, ironically less then 3 decades later it became a monarchy. With the aid of the Dutch Patriot leader Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol, Adams secured the recognition of the United States as an independent government at The Hague on April 19, 1782. In February 1782 the Frisian states was the first Dutch province to recognize the United States, while France had been the first European country to grant diplomatic recognition in 1778. He also negotiated a loan of five million guilders financed by Nicolaas van Staphorst and Wilhelm Willink. By 1794 a total of eleven loans were granted in Amsterdam to the United States with a value of 29 million guilders. In October 1782, he negotiated with the Dutch a treaty of amity and commerce, the first such treaty between the United States and a foreign power following the 1778 treaty with France.The house that Adams bought during this stay in the Netherlands became the first American-owned embassy on foreign soil.(Medallion given to John Adams in 1782 by Johann Georg Holtzhey to mark United States as an independent nation by the Netherlands)800px-Erkenning_onafhankelijkheid_Verenigde_Staten_foto2

 

Adams liked the country. At an earlier visit to the Netherlands in 1780, Adams wrote to his wife Abigail:

“The country where I am is the greatest curiosity in the world. This nation is not known anywhere, not even by its neighbours. The Dutch language is spoken by none but themselves. Therefore they converse with nobody and nobody converses with them.

The English are a great nation, and they despise the Dutch because they are smaller. The French are a greater Nation still, and therefore they despise the Dutch because they are still smaller in comparison to them.

But I doubt much whether there is any nation of Europe more estimable than the Dutch, in proportion. Their industry and economy ought to be examples to the world.

They have less ambition, I mean that of conquest and military glory, than their Neighbours, but I don’t perceive that they have more avarice. And they carry learning and arts I think to greater extent. The collections of curiosities public and private are innumerable.”

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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Battle for The Hague-The lost victory

German_PLane_Destroyed

The Battle for The Hague took place on 10 May 1940 as part of the Battle of the Netherlands between the Royal Netherlands Army and Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger (paratroops). German paratroopers dropped in and around The Hague in order to capture Dutch airfields and the city.

Attack_on_The_Hague_(1940)_EN-en.svg

After taking the city, the plan was to force the Dutch queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to surrender and to thus defeat the Kingdom of the Netherlands within a single day. The operation failed to capture the Queen, and the German forces failed to hold on to the airfields after Dutch counterattacks. The main body of surviving troops under Von Sponeck retreated toward the nearby dunes where they were continually pursued and harassed by Dutch troops until the Dutch supreme command, due to major setbacks on other fronts, surrendered five days later.

Hans_Graf_von_Sponeck

A German airfleet crossed The Netherlands under cover of darkness and, once over the North Sea, headed back towards the Dutch coast aiming for The Hague, the Dutch seat of government.

Surrounded by fighters and fighter-bombers, a large number of Junkers 52/3m transports carried the 5.000 men of the German 22nd Airborne Division.

images

The audacious objective of this unprecedented massive airborne operation was to seize the three airfields surrounding the city, arrest the Dutch government and capture the Dutch Royal family in their residency.

Attacks on Dutch airfields began at 04.15 and despite the alarm that had gone out around 03.00 (when the German airfleet had crossed the border) many Dutch fighters and bombers were damaged or destroyed on the ground..

The Germans planned to surprise the Dutch and so catch them off guard, allowing them to isolate the head of the Dutch Army. It was their intention to fly over the Netherlands, in order to lull the Dutch into thinking that England was their target. This was to be followed by approaching the country from the direction of the North Sea, attacking the airfields at Ypenburg, Ockenburg and Valkenburg to weaken potential Dutch defenses before taking The Hague. It was expected that the queen and the commander in chief of the Dutch forces, Henri Winkelman, might agree at this point to surrender.

Henri_Winkelman

However, if the Dutch did not surrender, the Germans planned to cut off all roads leading to The Hague in order to quell any subsequent Dutch counter-attack.

Although the German troops managed to capture the three airfields, they failed in their primary objective of taking the city of Hague and forcing the Dutch to surrender. Accordingly, the Dutch Army launched a counter-attack several hours later

The counter-attack was started from Ypenburg. Though outnumbered and relying on ammunition that they had captured from the Germans, the Dutch Grenadier Guards fought their way into position to launch artillery attacks against their own airfield, causing heavy damage to it. Following the attacks, the German troops were forced to evacuate the airfield’s burning buildings, losing their strong defensive position. The Dutch troops were able to advance into the airfield, and in the skirmishes that followed, many of the German soldiers were forced to surrender. Those who did not were eventually defeated.

Four Dutch Fokker T.Vs bombed the Ockenburg airfield,

Fokker_T.V

destroying idle Ju-52 transports.

ju52r13_2

The Dutch troops followed up by storming the airfield. The Germans were forced into retreat, and several were captured. However, some of the German troops withdrew to the woods near the field and successfully defended themselves against the counter-attack. The Dutch forces were later ordered to disengage and turn instead to Loosduinen, and so the Germans were able to head towards Rotterdam.

Having sealed off Leiden and the village of Wassenaar, the Dutch retook an important bridge near Valkenburg. When reinforcements arrived, the Dutch began attacking the Germans on the ground at the same time when Dutch bombers destroyed the grounded transport planes. While the Germans put up a defence at the outskirts of the airfield, they were forced to evacuate under heavy fire. Several skirmishes to liberate occupied positions in the village of Valkenburg nearby were fought between small groups of men on both sides, the Dutch with artillery support from nearby Oegstgeest, the village being heavily damaged in the process.

By the end of 10 May, Dutch forces had retaken the captured airfields, but this tactical victory was to be short lived as on 14th May the German Rotterdam Blitz forced the Dutch armed forces to surrender.

Rotterdam,_Laurenskerk,_na_bombardement_van_mei_1940