Not all heroes wear uniforms.

sam

When you look at the above picture you may think there is nothing extraordinary about it. However when you delve only slightly into the history of the picture you quickly how realize how amazing the picture really is.

The picture is of a Jewish male choir of the Great Synagogue in Amsterdam, it was taken in March 1942 and although the deportations of Dutch Jews had not started yet at the that time,  the life of Dutch Jews had been nearly made impossible at that stage.

Yet these men kept going and tried to lift the spirits with their singing. Heroically they maintained their cultural legacy despite the looming threat of being killed.

It particularly touched me because one of my hobbies is singing, in fact I used to be a conductor of a mixed choir, and when I saw the style of the conductor of this choir it reminds me of my own style.

The conductor’s name is Samuel Henri Englander he was appointed as the conductor when he was aged 20.Under his leadership the choir became well known, it soon got the nick name ‘Englander’s choir’. They performed at shul services but also weddings and even  in concerts where they  primarily  would sing religious music from Eastern Europe and Yiddish folk songs. Some of the concerts WERE  even be broadcast by the BBC.

bbc

I don’t know what happened to the choir, I can only presume they did not survive. Samuel Henri Englander was murdered in Sobibor on 11 June 1943.

So much talent has been destroyed by the Nazis, depriving not only the world but also themselves of so much good.

Koor

 

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Source

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/137039600/samuel-henri-englander

NIOD

Self Isolation

anne

In many countries around the globe people are being advised to self isolate when they have or think they may have symptoms of the Covid 19 infection. The recommended period vary between 7 and 14 days.

Many people say this has never happened before.However for many this was a reality due to the virus  created by Adolf Hitler and his like minded friends in Germany and other European countries, a virus fueled by hate and indifference. The difference though the Covid 19 virus has a high survival rate whereas the Nazi virus meant a certain death for many, especially when you were Jewish,Gypsy,Disabled or or other groups deemed sub human by the Nazis.

To survive many went into hiding, which was basically an extreme  form of self isolation. There are many examples but I am sticking to the most famous account of ‘ Self Isolation’ that of the Frank family.

annex

Of the Frank family only Otto, the Father, survived. He lost hos 2 daughters and his wife to this ‘virus of hate and indifference’

Below are some diary entries of Anne and also some words of Margot.

Margot

Margot Frank

“Times change, people change, thoughts about good and evil change, about true and false. But what always remains fast and steady is the affection that your friends feel for you, those who always have your best interest at heart.”

anne frank

Anne Frank

“Last night Margot and I were lying side by side in my bed. It was incredibly cramped, but that’s what made it fun. She asked if she could read my diary once in a while. ‘Parts of it,’ I said, and asked about hers. She gave me permission to read her diary as well.”

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”

margot and anne

A vaccine against the Covid 19/Corona virus is currently in development, especially scientists in Israel are making a good progress on a vaccine and a treatment. Just imagine what could have been if the Nazis hadn’t been able to carry out their final solution.

Unfortunately there is no vaccine as of yet against hate and indifference.

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Jews not welcome.

NTI JOODSThis is something I said before. I am Dutch and I am proud to be Dutch. One of the reasons why I am a proud Dutch man is because I was taught to face up to the mistakes my country made in the past.

Although there were many brave Dutch men and women who fought valiantly and risked their own lives to save their Jewish fellow citizens, there were also those who eagerly adhered to the wishes of their occupying Nazis masters.

Many signs were put up all across the country telling Jews they were not welcome. These signs were all in Dutch mostly made by Dutch companies. In a way this propaganda was very clever because the signs didn’t say “Forbidden for Jews” but “Jews not welcome” as if there was some kind of option, a guideline rather then a rule.

joden

It was not explicitly saying “You are not allowed here” but more” We’d rather you would not come in here” as if that really made a difference.

welkom

Other signs would say “Restriction of movement for Jews”

beweging

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

NIOD

When enough was enough-The February strike.

2020-02-25 (1)

On February 25, 1941 the Dutch decided that enough was enough. No longer would they stand idly by to see their Jewish neighbours being treated they way they were.

The first 8 months of the Nazi occupation did not see that much change to the Dutch, The changes were all gradual.However there were increased tensions. The WA(Weerbaarheidsafdeling-defense section), the para  military arm of the Dutch Nazi party NSB,were actively involved  provocative and intimidating actions  in Jewish areas in Amsterdam. This resulted in one of the members of the WA, Hendtik Koot being killed by a local resistance group in Amsterdam on 11 February 1941.

koot

The day after on February 12,1941, German soldiers assisted by Dutch police besieged the old Jewish quarter  and blocked it off from the rest of the city by putting up barbed wire fences , opening draw bridges and erecting police checkpoints. The neighbourhood was now forbidden for non-Jews.

a'dam

A week later on the 19th of February the German Grüne Polizei stormed into the Koco ice-cream salon, which was owned by Ernst Cahn and Alfred Kohn, both were Jewish refugees who had fled Germany. . A fight ensued and some ammonia gas escaped in the incident and several police officers were injured.

The head of the SS in the Netherlands,Hanns Albin Rauter. reported the incident to Heinrich Himmler on February the 20th, and indicated that the 2 men Cahn and Kohn had willfully attacked the police officers.

The death of Hendrik Koot and the incident at the ice cream salon were used as an excuse to initiate the first raids on Jews in the Netherlands on February 22 and 23,1941.

427 Jewish men, age 20-35 were arrested and sent to Kamp Schoorl.

raid

raid 1

Most of then were deported eventually sent to  Mauthausen concentration camp, the majority of  them died within the year, only 2 survived.

Ernst Cahn was executed on March 3,1941 and Alfred Kohn died in Auschwitz.

Following this raid, the Communist Party of the Netherlands called  for action on 24 February, during an open-air meeting they did this at their own peril because the party had been made illegal by the Nazi occupiers. Nonetheless they organised a strike to be held on February 25 and 26, 1941 in Amsterdam as a protest against the pogrom and also the forced labour in Germany.

The Dutch population listened to the call for strike and about 300,000 workers did go on strike.

On Tuesday, February 25, tram drivers and sanitation workers started it. Followed quickly by dockworkers . Workers on bicycles rang the doorbells at homes and halted traffic in the streets, imploring drivers to join them.

Rauter ordered harsh actions against the strikers and orders SS troops to shoot, 9 people were killed. The strike initially started in Amsterdam, but the following day workers in Hilversum,Zaandam,Haarlem and Utrecht.

Additionally to the 9 people killed during the strike, another 24 were injured and on March 13,1941 , 3 of the organizers were executed. Ironically those 3 actually saved 3 minors who had members of a group of 18  of the resistance group “De Geuzen” . Because of their young age their death sentence were changed to life imprisonment.

The Nazis decided to execute ,Hermanus Coenradi, Joseph Eijl en Eduard Hellendoorn, who were 3 of the organizers of the February strike instead, together with the other 15 of De Geuzen.

The Nazi regime finally showed its real face to the Dutch.

The strike was the first and only direct action against the Nazis’ treatment of Jews in Europe.

This monument called “De Dokwerker” the Dockworker is dedicated to the struikers of the February strike. It is situated on Jonas Daniël Meijerplein, the square where most of the 427 Jewish men had been arrested.

dokwerker

February 25, 1941 the day when the Dutch said “Enough is enough” unfortunately despite the brave efforts and the sacrifice of those who were killed for it, it did not stop the murder of 104,000 Dutch Jews.

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://web.archive.org/web/20110929140015/http://www.joodsmonument.nl/page/274192

https://historiek.net/februaristaking-1941-protest-jodenvervolging/7124/

https://www.verzetsmuseum.org/museum/nl/tweede-wereldoorlog/begrippenlijst/achtergrond,stakingen/februaristaking

https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/amsterdam-general-strike-february-1941

https://www.npostart.nl/2doc/22-02-2016/KN_1678989

 

 

 

 

 

And the world watched and did nothing.

affiche

No one in their right mind would argue that it was the Germans who are responsible for the Holocaust. However when it comes to the Holocaust there are a lot more countries that can’t say they had no blame.

They may not have started it but they did very little to stop it. It suited them better to look away and do nothing or very little.

I have heard the arguments that no one could have possibly know what Hitler and his henchmen had planned for the Jews. But that argument doesn’t hold water.

The poster at the start of the blog is from 1933, the year Hitler took power, it was issued by a Dutch organisation with the name ‘The committee for special Jewish Interests’ The organisation was set up on March 23,1933 by Dr David Cohen, a lecturer of History and Classic languages at the University of Amsterdam

The poster is an appeal for funding to help Jewish refugees and Jews who were persecuted . On the poster there is a sign in German which translates Entrance forbidden for Jews.

The appeal is for 200,000 Dutch guilders which is the equivalent of about €91.000 or $98,000. Taking in consideration an inflation between 1933 and 2020 it would be the equivalent of $1,965,000

This is a clear indication that in 1933 the fate of the Jews was already known. In 1933 Hitler had just come to power, 6 years before the war and 9 years before the Wannsee conference where the Nazis came up with the blue print for the Final Solution.

The world already knew and decided to look away.

Dr David Cohen ended up in Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943, fortunately he survived the war.

cohen

Below another fundraising poster also from 1933. The poster of artist Samuel Schwarz was published at the occasion of a night of art for funding The Jewish Refugees, which was held in City Theater of Amsterdam on 29 May 1933.

art

The Nazis and especially Hitler never made it a secret what they were planning to do with the Jews. Anyone who read Mein Kampf would have known, but even before he published Mein Kampf he published anti-Semitic articles.

If this hadn’t been ignored, more then likely the Holocaust could have been stopped.

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

NIOD

https://joodsecanon.nl/34z/1933-Komst-Duitse-Joden/

 

Harriëtte Zeeman

1

Harriëtte Zeeman just another teenager.

But she was more then that.

She was someones’s daughter.

She was someone’s sister.

She was someone’s friend.

She was someone’s student.

She was someone’s neighbor.

She was someone who annoyed people.

She was someone who made people laugh.

She was someone born in Amsterdam.

She was someone’s enemy.

She was someone who was murdered by an evil regime in Auschwitz, on 26 October 1942.

She was someone who was murdered aged 14, the same age as my daughter is now.

Annelise Julie van Voolen-Murdered age 9 months.

annelise

I know some people will criticize me for this article. Because they cannot fathom why anyone would harm a 9 month old baby, leave alone murder her.

Seeing the face of a baby , knowing the child was killed by an evil regime, hits them hard in the gut.

But I don’t care, truth is I want people to feel uncomfortable when they look into the eyes of this baby girl. A baby girl that could have grown up to be their teacher, cleaner, chef, doctor or the mother of their best friend, or even their mother in law.

Stories like Annelise Julie van Voolen’s story have to hit us hard. They have to shake our core values. The people who killed her were not that different from us. There is often talks about an inconvenient truth. This is one of those inconvenient truths.

The people who killed Annelise were quite possible well educated and cultured. But they listened to a promise. A promise of a better life and prosperity. The promise of having a life filled with a purpose. They liked the promises they heard and fully immersed themselves in the ideology that fueled those promises.

However they never asked the question that any one should ask themselves if they hear a promise. How? How are they going to fulfill these promises? What is the price that needs to be paid?

And I get it. When you are promised a better life it is very seductive. But when following this promise is followed without critical thinking you only create chaos and destruction.

The really sad thing is we haven’t changed all that much. We still fall for promises and ideas without questioning them, and now as it was then , the few who do ask the questions are ostracized.

I sincerely hope you feel the anger when you see the face of Annelise Julie van Voolen. Born in Amsterdam 17 September 1942 , Murdered in Westerbork, 1 July 1943. 9 months old.

But don’t let the anger make you bitter but let it make you a critical thinker, ask questions, ensure this doesn’t happen ever again.

Those who survived the Holocaust will soon all be gone. It is our duty to continue telling their stories and the stories of all their loved ones who were brutally murdered, soame even younger then Annelise

Hendrikus van der Meer, killed for distributing leaflets.

2020-01-29

It is often asked “Why did the people not stand up against the Nazi regime?” I have even asked this question, especially when it came to me fellow Dutchmen.

But it is easy to judge in hindsight. I wonder how many who asked that question would have stood up against the regime(and I include myself), if they were put in that situation.Would they be willing to risk their lives?

Some men and women did stand up against the occupier and paid a heavy price for it, Mostly they were ordinary people, and would not have a military background. People like  Hendrik van der Meer.

Hendrik was a driver who worked for the local launderette in Amsterdam. On May 6 1943, he was spotted by 2 police men. Hendrik was distributing leaflets door to door, encouraging people to strike, and to refuse to report former Dutch soldiers. Previously there had been strikes between April 29 and May 3rd 1943.

When the police picked him up they found hundreds of leaflets. Hendrik was executed the same day  at an unknown destination.There was no trial.

He had a wife and 3 children who did not even know where their husband and Father was buried, or if he was buried at all. Just because he was distributing leaflets.

The picture at the top is the announcement of his execution.

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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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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.