The Dutch Churches protest.

KERK

I can’t deny the fact that the Dutch could have done more during WWII, and esepcially in relation to helping their Jewish fellow citizens.

But on the other hand it is easy for me to judge because I was never put in a situation where I had to choose between aiding a neighbor with a good chance of being harshly punished for it , or turning a blind eye.

There were however time where the Dutch openly spoke out against their occupiers, and as an unintended consequence, at least I believe it was, it brought the several Christian communities together.

Below is an English translation of a letter signed by the majority of all the Dutch churches which was published as a collective protest against the treatment of the country’s Jews:

“The undersigned Dutch Churches, already deeply shocked by the measures against the Jews in the Netherlands, which exclude them from participation in normal public life, were horrified to learn of new measures under which men, women, and children and entire families shall be deported to Reich territory and territories under Reich control. The suffering that this will inflict on tens of thousands, the knowledge that these measures are repugnant to the deepest moral consciousness of the Dutch people, and, above all, the violation inherent in these measures of the law and justice laid down by God, compel the Churches to address to you the most urgent plea not to implement these measures.

On behalf of the Christians among the Jews this urgent plea is enjoined on us by the additional consideration that by these measures they will be cut off from participation in the life of the Church.

The Dutch Reformed Church;

The Archbishop and Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands;

The Calvinist Churches in the Netherlands;

The General Mennonite Sect;

The Remonstrant Brotherhood;

The Old Reformed Church in the Netherlands;

The Reformed Sect in the Netherlands;

The Evangelist Lutheran Church in the Netherlands;

The New Evangelist Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.””

——————————————–

I am not sure when the letter was published but it must have been late 1940 or early 1941. It is good to note that any form of protest could lead to the death penalty.

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Sources

Protest of the Dutch Churches, during World War II, quoted in The Yellow Star: The Persecution of the Jews in Europe, 1933-1945, by Gerhard Schoenberner, at page 132. Online, courtesy Google Books.

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Anne Frank-Just an ordinary girl.

anne frank

On August 4,1944 a tip from a Dutch informer led the Gestapo to the now so well known secret annex in Amsterdam. Anne Frank, her family and all the other occupants would be arrested.

Via her diary Anne Frank became one of the  symbols  of the Holocaust. I often read people describing her diary and her letters as ‘works’ as if they weer professional pieces of literature. But they weren’t ,they were words of a young girl coming of age, in the most anxious of circumstances. That is what makes it so special and powerful.

She was just an ordinary girl, as some of the below excerpts written by her illustrate.

“I have pretty long hair … Papa and Mama want me to get it cut but I’d much rather let it grow”  “I have a little appliance in my mouth, and braces … Now I have to go to the dentist every week, and it comes out the next day. This has been going on for eight weeks, and I find it very unpleasant, of course.”— Taken from a letter to her Grandmother. Spring 1941.

“From Papa and Mama a bicycle, a new school bag, a beach dress and various other things.Margot gave me this stationery, because I had run out, and I didn’t do too badly on candies and other little presents either. It’s very warm here, is it warm there too?” From a letter to her Grandmother written in June 1941, shortly after her birthday.

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into wilderness. I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the suffering of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again”. from her diary July 15, 1944.

” Believe me, I’d like to listen, but it doesn’t work, because if I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks I’m putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I’m not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be ill, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can’t keep it up any more, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if … if only there were no other people in the world.” Her last diary entry August 1, 1944.

poem

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Sources

CNN

Washington Post

Smithsonian

Learntoquestion.com

Yahoo News

 

I miss you.

Marianne

I miss you , even though I don’t know you and we’ve never met.

I miss you ,because you could have been the composer who composed my favourite piece of music.

I miss you, because you could have been the poet who wrote my favourite poem

I miss you ,because you could have been the painter who painted my favouite painting.

I miss you, because you could have been the author who wrote my favourite book.

I miss you, because you could have been the comedian who maked me laugh the most.

I miss you, because you could have been the director of my favourite movie.

I miss you, because you could have been the teacher who taught me right from wrong.

I miss you, because you could have been the chef whose recipes I like the most.

To me it doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish,Catholic,Protestant,Muslim,Buddhist or Atheist. All that matters to me is that you are a human being. Just like me, like the words of a song, from flesh and blood you were made.

But there were those who had a different opinion on that, A twisted, evil opinion. They did not want you to live, They killed you brutally.

In my thoughts I see you.

In my prayers I remember you.

I miss you Marianne Nunes Vaz, born 31 May 1935 in Amsterdam. Killed 5 Feb 1943 in Auschwitz.

I miss you although we never met, but in my heart I have a place for you.

Lets keep it personal.

Jozua

The biggest group of people who were murdered during the Holocaust were the Jews. An estimated 6 million were killed.

The number of 6 million should have really been zero, because none of these people had done anything wrong, They were only killed because they were Jewish or had been Jewish, there was no other reason.

This may sound strange coming from somebody who writes a lot about the Holocaust but I really don’t care about that number of 6 million. It has become a statistic which often has been disputed and manipulated by people who want to use it for a political agenda. Personally I believe the number is higher.

What I am interested in ,is the personal individual stories.Because that is what each of all the 6 million people were, all unique individual.

People like the Croonenberg family. Their number was 3, a Father-Jacob Croonenberg; a Mother-Elisabeth Croonenberg-Grishaver and a Son Jozua Croonenberg.

Jacob was a Diamond worker in Amsterdam. He reached the age of 35 and was killed on June 11, 1943 in Sobibor.

Elisabeth was a housewife or homemaker in Amsterdam , he reached the age of 34 and was killed on June 11,  1943 in Sobibor.

The lovely smiley boy Jozua, was just that, a lovely beautiful smiley boy. When he was killed on June 11,1943 he had only been 7.

The document at the start of the blog is a questionnaire which was filled in by I presume Jacob.

It asked the names, birth dates and addresses of the family. What I find disturbing is the matter of fact questioning on the form and even more disturbing is the last question, which was left blank.

It asks “Specifics of family members who have already been sent to a camp or to Germany” It is clearly proof that the authorities( in this case Dutch authorities)were well aware of the camps.

In the case of the Croonenbergs there are only 5 numbers that matter. The umber 1 as in one family. The number 3 as in three family members. The numbers,35,34 and 7 as in their ages when they were killed. We should not get distracted by statistics, we should keep the memory of the victims personal.

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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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Source

Joods Monument

 

One man can make a difference-Salo Muller.

Salo

The Dutch Football club AJAX  FC is often seen as a Jewish football club, although it doesn’t actually have any Jewish roots. Although it has had a Jewish connection since the 1930s when the home stadium was located next to a Jewish neighbourhood of Amsterdam-Oost and opponents saw many supporters walking through the Nieuwmarkt/Waterloopleinbuurt (de Jodenhoek—the “Jews’ corner”) to get to the stadium.

Additionally it did employ several Jewish players like Sjakie Swart and Eddy Hamel for example. Another legendary member of staff was Salo Muller, seen above with another Ajax legend, Johan Cruijff. Salo  is a former physiotherapist at the club and was there at the time when the club saw some of its biggest successes.

But to me he is a hero for a different reason. Salo’s, parents were murdered at Auschwitz.

In 1941, when he was five, his parents were arrested by the Nazis and put on a train from the capital Amsterdam to Westerbork, where they spent nine weeks before being deported to Auschwitz and murdered.

He decided to act when he heard that the French government had agreed a $60m compensation fund with the US to be distributed among thousands of survivors and their relatives.He started a campaign to force the Dutch Railways to follow suit to pay compensation to the Dutch survivors of the Holocaust

In 1941, when he was five, his parents were arrested by the Nazis and put on a train from the capital Amsterdam to Westerbork, where they spent nine weeks before being deported to Auschwitz and murdered.

He decided to act when he heard that the French government had agreed a $60m compensation fund with the US to be distributed among thousands of survivors and their relatives.

According to NS, several thousand people could be eligible for the payments, including about 500 survivors and their direct descendants.

Nonetheless, the committee set up by the company acknowledged that “there is no reasonable or appropriate amount of money that can compensate in any way for the suffering inflicted on the persons covered by the scheme.”

When considering the amounts to be paid, the committee said, it noted that “although NS was an essential link in the transport to the concentration and extermination camps, it cannot be held responsible for the existence of these camps and the crimes that were committed there.”

The NS decided that it would pay each survivor  €15,000 (£13,000; $17,000), while €5-7,000 will go to children and widowed spouses of victims.

It had been a long struggle fro Salo Muller, several times he had been rejected by the NS, He was told that he was a nice man and they still knew him from his Ajax days, butthe NS  were never forthcoming in relation to payments. They had officially apologized for their role in the Holocaust, But only Yesterday they decided to pay compensation.

Just goes to show one man can make a difference.

ns

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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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Source

BBC

New York Times

Volkskrant

I don’t hate you..

gIDEON

I don’t hate you. I don’t even understand what that word means.

There are things I don’t like, like Spinach. I’d rather have an ice cream or a lolly pop.

Hate is a concept made by grown ups, not by children like me.

I only see the good in people.

Why should I hate you? I don’t even know you.

Yet you hate me and you don’t know me either.

Your hate for me is so strong that your desire is to kill me.

Granting me one more sunrise is too much for you to bear< why?

I don’t hate you, but you hate me.

I am Gideon Prager born 4 June 1942 in the Hague. Murdered 6 March 1944, in Auschwitz.

Anne Frank 90

anne frank 0

Today would have been Anne Frank’s 90th birthday.

I have already done several blogs about Anne and her Family but today I just want to remember her birthday with some moments of her life.

To put in Anne’s own words.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

If we all try to improve the world her death will not have been in vain.

In Memory of the Valor and the Sacrifices which Hallow this soil.

thank you

Only a few days ago we celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day. People often forget that D-Day did not mark the end of WWII, it merely marked the beginning of the end.

So many sacrifices were still made in the days and months following D-Day. Thousands and thousands of mainly young men, some the same age as my own 2 sons, gave their lives for the freedom of strangers. Most of them did not know the people they were fighting for, all they knew is that an evil regime had to be beaten.

The title of this blog is a quote which engraved in the Marble reception hall of the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial  in Margraten in the Netherlands.

The cemetery was created in October 1944 under the leadership of Joseph Shomon of the 611th Graves Registration Company, as the Ninth United States Army pushed into the Netherlands from France and Belgium. American casualties from the area, and also those that fell in Germany were buried here (as Americans could not be buried permanently in enemy territory)

Margraten 1940s

Currently 8,301 souls are buried here.Stretching along the sides of the court are Tablets of the Missing on which are recorded 1,722 names. Totaling 10,023 souls remembered here. I could write pages and pages on honouting these men but there is only one word that really describes each single one of them-Heroes-.

Below are just some impression of this most hallow of places. Let us never forget.

US FLAG

Flag

FLOWERS

ROSENKRANTZ

In this world where the greatest generation often gets disrespected, I am proud to see that there is still so much respect for the men and remembered here. The sight of 8301 pure white marble graves, is awesome,saddening and eerie at the same time, but these hallow soils are treated with the utmost respect.

white crosses

 

Sources

Own archive

Beeldbank WO2

Anne Frank- Just a teenage girl.

Anne Frank

When you look up in formation on Anne Frank, the first thing you will see is that she is described as a German born or Dutch Diarist as if she was a well established author or Journalist, but she wasn’t.

She was just a teenage girl who happened to write a diary, like so many other girls did in that time and probably still do. If she had been a teenager now, I am certain she would have been on Instagram.Snapchat, Facebook and other social media. She was a very bubbly girl who like to express herself.

Does this make her diary less valuable? No of course not, it makes it even more valuable because the diary was not written by a professional author but by a young girl who described her daily life , a life which so few can even fathom nowadays.

Her diary became her closest friend and ally. A tool to express her fear, boredom, and the struggles as a teenager growing up. On 16 March 1944, she wrote: “The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I’d absolutely suffocate.”

12 days later on March 28,1944 the exiled Dutch minister for education,Gerrit Bolkestein, gave a speech on Radio Orange where he appealed to listeners in the occupied Netherlands to record their everyday experiences on paper.

“If future generations are to realize to the full extent what we as a population are going through and what we are experiencing in this time of war, then it is clear that we will need simple documents: a diary, letters from a laborer forced to go to work in Germany, sermons spoken by a clergyman”.

Bolkesijn

Anne Frank, was one of the many who heard Bolkestein’s appeal at the time. That night she wrote about her housemates: “…of course, everyone rushed for my diary all at once”. She started to rework her diary and called it The Secret Annex.

Next week , June 12th will be Annelise Marie Frank’s 90th Birthday . I had planned to write a blog about Anne on that day, but I will be busy make a preparations for a trip I am taking with my teenage daughter.

Next time when you read about Anne Frank and you see her described as a German born or Dutch diarist please do not forget she was also just a teenage girl, who happened to have written a diary.

A teenage girl who still could be alive today, but her life was cut short by a brutal fascist regime. A regime which had no regard for life.

anne frank diary

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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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Sources

geheugenvannederland.nl

History Extra

 

Marcus Lelyveld-Jewish Footballer-Killed.

marcus

The Dutch are a proud footballing nation, the sport is part of our DNA. But there is a part of our footballing history which has been forgotten.

Marcus Lelyveld born September 9,1905 in the Hague, the Netherlands. His father made furniture but in 1914 he changed from furniture to selling fruit.

Marcus was  a talented football player. When he was 17 he managed to secure a place in the first team of VUC, a club based in The Hague.He was a defender and sometimes played as a defending midfielder.In 1930 Marcus was selected as part of a elite The Hague team to play a match against a Belgian team from Brussels.

Later that year he was selected to play with the B-team of the Dutch National squad.In 1931 the head coach  of the National team, Bob Glendenning selected him for a match against France in Paris, Although Marcus was selected he didn’t get a chance to play.

However on February 14 ,1932 he finally got a chance with the mighty Dutch national team. Mauk Weber, of ADO Den Haag, wasn’t fit enough to play so Macus took Mauk’s spot. The match was a friendly match against Belgium and was played in the Amsterdam,Olympic Stadium. The Belgian team won by 2-3.

11 tal

Unfortunately that was the last official international match he played for the Dutch national team. He did play several international matches on club level against the Irish Champions F.C. Bohemian,, and also against English teams like Port Vale and Stoke.

In 1934 he was sacked by VUC but the Dutch FA(KNVB) intervened and he was reinstated. However it would be the last season he played Football.

On June 19,1935 he married a single Mother Theodora Antonia Schoonen, unlike Marcus she was not Jewish.

In 1942 a Dutch judge sent Marcus to jail for a minor offence,due to the overcrowding of jails he was sent to Camp Erica,near Ommen instead, in June 1942.

Erica

The camp was designated mostly for Dutchmen convicted of black market trade or resistance to the occupational authorities; only eight Jews were detained here.The camp was notorious for the brutal behaviour of its personnel.

Herbertus Bikker aka The Butcher of Ommen was a member of the Waffen-SS. In this function he served as a guard at the prison and work camp Erika.

Although there were a few Jewish prisoners there, they were particularly harshly treated.

Marcus Lelyveld suffered severe physical abuse in the camp and he eventually died on September 5,1942 as a result of the abuse.

On 19 januari 1943, a second Jewish prisoner,Salomon Roet, dies as a result of severe physical abuse.

What I find very disturbing about these deaths is that they were personal, it wasn’t done by a bullet or by gassing, but by beating, kicking on a one on one basis. Whoever abused these men most of looked in their eyes.

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

Joods Monument

WO2 Slachtoffers