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.

The Final insult

1 form

I am Dutch and I always be proud to be Dutch, but there are somethings in my country’s history that really trouble me, even to an extend that it nearly sickens me.

The Dutch bureaucracy is well known to be very efficient, that can be very beneficial but it can also be destructive and dangerous. The Nazi regime were great fans of the Dutch civil service and its bureaucracy . It was the efficiency of the system that enable the Nazis to identify so many of the Dutch Jews , with the result that more then a  100,000 Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

Dutch Jews

The final insult was that ,the few survivors had to fight to get death certificates issued for their loved ones by going to court. Many of these certificates only came years after the war.The document at the top of the blog is the death certificate of Ernst Otto Lichtenstein, the brother in law of Max Baum, a man I have written about before. I passed by his house many times before not realizing the historical significance of the place.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2019/03/27/bloemenmarkt-7-geleen-the-netherlands/

Below is another version of the certificate. What is so disturbing about both documents is the lack of information.

All it says  is that the district court in Assen is requesting of the municipality of Westerbork to register that Ernst Otto Lichtenstein died on a train on transport between Teckoceniwitz(Czechoslovakia) and Oranienburg(Germany) on January 5th 1945. Occupation Butcher. Birthplace Jülich (Germany)  born December 6,1913

Last place of residence was Westerbork.

It fails to mention that he was imprisoned in Westerbork. Wher he was mistreated ,malnourished and who knows what other torments. The forms makes it look like he lived in Westerbork as a regular citizen who died on a train journey.

It was Sophie  Lichtenstein Baum the widow of Max Baum who had to get the certificate issued via the district court, for her brother  Ernst Otto Lichtenstein.

The certifcate was issued on January 6,1948. Three years after the murder of Ernst Otto Lichtenstein.

form 2

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://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/358285/max-baum-max-baum

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/go-in-depth/netherlands-greatest-number-jewish-victims-western-europe/

 

Julius Hirsch

JjULIUS

I think the best way of telling the stories of the Holocaust , is to bring it down to a personal level , so that people can find some association with it, although it is  impossible to fully comprehend the horrors.

What makes it difficult is just to pick one of the millions who were murdered. To tell  one story and show that these people were not just victims but were above everything else human beings.

The story of Julius Hirsch resonated with me on several accounts on a personal level.

Julius Hirsch  was a German international footballer. Many football (as in soccer) fans will know that any match between the Netherlands and Germany, the 2 European arch rivals.are filled with passion and emotion. On Sunday, March 24, 1912 a match between these 2 nations ended in a 5-5 draw.

Four goals were scored by Julius Hirsch in that match.

Julius Hirsch was Jewish ,on April 10 1933, exactly 35 years before I was born,  he read in a newspaper that all Southern German clubs would ban Jewish members, including his club KFV , which he then left after over 30 years as a member. In a letter to his club he demanded  that it should not be forgotten that, even though Jews were now the whipping boys of the nation, many of them had given their life blood for the German nation and were true patriots, as shown by their deeds and word.

kfv

In 1943, he got the orders to register for the “Employment of Labor in the East”. On March 1, 1943, Julius Hirsch was deported  to Auschwitz along with eleven other Baden Jews. It was the last deportation from Karlsruhe to Auschwitz. On March 3, 1943, he sent a card to his daughter Esther for her 16th birthday. He had sent iy from Dortmund,one of the stops en route to Auschwitz: “My dearest! I arrived safely, and everything is well! I am headed to Upper Silesia, which is still in Germany. Heartfelt greetings and kisses, your Juller!” It was to be the last anyone heard from Julius . His exact date of death is unknown. In 1950, a German district court declared him dead and set the date of death  on 8 May 1945.

Julius was not just a footballer, he was one of the best of his nation. For a country which traditionally puts  its sports people on such a high pedestal. They cared very little for some of their best just because they were Jewish.

So many talented and cultural geniuses were murdered because of a warped ideology.

Julius

 

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

http://juedische-sportstars.de/

https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/niederlande_deutschland/index/spielbericht/1010723

 

 

 

My letter to Santa

Joseph

This piece is probably my most personal piece to date..It is not based on historical facts although the Holocaust victim was a real victim. It is based on my own personal life as a young child, combined with a thought I had about that time.

I came across some pictures of me as a child with St Nicholas(the Dutch Santa).

me 2

At the time time I did not realize that the man dressed as St Nicholas was actually my Father.

When I was 9 my parents divorced which lead to me losing contact with my Father for 18 years. It was only after I got married we reconnected again, due to a few tragedies in the Family. But I don’t want to bore you with those stories, suffice to say we did establish a good relationship from that time onward.

However I do remember writing a letter to Santa when I was 9. All I asked then was for my Father to return. The irony was that the man I asked for my Dad to return was actually my Father.

But here is the thought I had over the last few weeks. How many children must have written letters to Santa asking for nothing but for the friends or classmates to return. Classmates,friends or neighbours who had been deported and murdered in the death camps.

Although the St Nicholas celebration is a Christian tradition, some Jewish children did and still do participate in it.

I still remember what I wrote to Santa when I was aged 9 so I thought I’d use that letter as template but replace the references of my Father with the name Joseph Elias Cohen, the boy whose picture is at the top of this blog, he was born on 8 February 1934 in Amsterdam and killed on 4 June 1943, in Sobibor.

 

“Dear Santa my Friend Joseph Elias Cohen is gone. I don’t know where. All I know that he just vanished without saying goodbye to me.

I am not angry, all I want to know is if he is alright. I miss him.

So Santa this year for Christmas I don’t want any gifts or treats. All I want is when I wake up on Christmas day and walk down to the living room that my Friend is standing next to the Christmas tree, with his arms open wide , ready to give me a hug.

So if you have already wrapped my presents, that is okay , you can give those presenst to other children, all I want is my Friend to come home.

Do you think you can do that?”

As I said except for my own life story and the details of Joseph Elias Cohen, this blog has no historical facts, but I do believe it does make it personal and brings a bit of life into a story of an innocent 9 year old boy who was killed simply for being Jewish.

 

 

 

I will NOT be silenced.

alex

I will not be silenced , no matter how often people try to silence me.

I will not be silenced despite the threats.

I will not be silence although a small voice in my head sometimes says”just give up”, but there is a louder voice screaming “No you fool, you have to keep going. You have a purpose so serve it. God gave you a talent so use it”

I will not be silenced because there are 1.5 million voices of Children pleading with me to tell their untold stories, To implant their names in people’s minds.

Children like Alex Weijel born 24 November 1939 in Enschede ,the Netherlands. Killed a few weeks before his 3rd birthday on 12 October 1942 in Auschwitz.

Alex eyes look at me and in my head I hear him say “Do not forget me”

How could I forget him if I had been born that time it could have been me who was killed.

I will not be silent because of the screams of those who never even saw the light of day, because they were carried in a womb of a mother who was seen as an inconvenience and were shot,stabbed,gassed or worked to death.

I will not be silenced; I will not be silenced.

We will never see you smile again

Rita

We will never see you smile again

Your life ended before my life began

We will never hear you sing again.

Your were 7 when you took your last breath.

Not because you were ill. No the opposite was true you were full of life and energy. It was evil men and women who wanted you dead and they succeeded.

It was evil that interrupted your life but is was good that stood by and let it happen. The good said they had no choice, but there is always a choice. It is up to each individual to determine what the good choice is.

However you did not have a choice, you were taken away from your friends and family and put on a train, not for a holiday but to a place where they would end your life.

They did not only want to destroy your life but also erase your existence any trace that you ever existed.

Your life I can not return to you but your memory I will keep in tact.

You are Rita Krammer born January 5th 1937,Groningen, he Netherlands. You were killed in Auschwitz, 26 October 1942.

We will never see you smile again . But your smile will never be forgotten

Geleen Capital of Rock.

Flag Geleen

The name Geleen will mean little to most, but it is where I was born and raised.A small industrial city in the province of Limburg, the south east of the Netherlands. Just because I don’t live there anymore doesn’t mean I am not proud to be from there or that I don’t love it anymore, because I do love it and I am still proud to be a Gelener..

This doesn’t mean I can’t be critical. Many mistakes have been made in the past which resulted in professional football.motor racing  to disappear from the town. Where there used to be a vibrant city centre there are only a few shops left at the moment, all because a mayotr had some grandiose plans for the city, grandiose but not well thought through.

The biggest loss howver was the loss of Pinkpop , one of Europe’s biggest Rock festivals. I I am not going to dwell on the reasons ,but I will recapture some of my home town’s great Rock legacy.

However the very first edition wasn’t held in Geleen but in the nearby village of Gulpen. The festival was called PinkNick at the time , the date May 26 1969.

pnk

But from 1970 the festival was renamed to PinkPop(pink taken from the word Pinksteren, meaning Pentecost). and the new venue  was Burgemeester Damen Sportpark in Geleen, where it remained until 1986. In 1987 it moved to Baarlo , the year after Landgraaf was to become the new venue where the festival is still being held to date.

Below are just some impression of  artists who played in Geleen.

David Lee Roth of Van Halen with a broken nose at the Pinkpop Festival in Geleen . May 26, 1980.

dlr

1979 Poster

1979

U2 in 1981

U2

The Cure 1986

Cure

Fleetwood Mac 1971

2019-10-25

Thin Lizzy 1978

Thin Lizzy

ZZ Top 1982

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

You Tube

Pinkpop.nl

When Police Academy’s Commandant Lassard went to war.

lassard

Who hasn’t seen Police Academy or any of the sequels? I reckon mots people have. But one of the actors in the movie had such an interesting life that his story would warrant a movie and would probably become a box office success.

George Gaynes who played the clueless Commandant Lassard was born George Jongejans  May 3, 1917, in Helsinki, Finland  which  was then still, part of the Russian Empire , the son of Iya Grigorievna de Gay , a Russian artist, and Gerrit Jongejans, a Dutch businessman.

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia had abdicated the throne on March 15, two months prior to Gaynes’ birth, and the Empire was about go through some turbulent times, and was already at war.

Tsar

The Jongejans familyy left the country, and George was primarily raised in France, England, and Switzerland.

George attended college in the vicinity of Lausanne, Switzerland and graduated in 1937. He then attended a music school in Milan, Italy for about a year.

In 1940, George Gaynes was living in France,when France was occupied by Nazi Germany. George attempted to flee France, by crossing the Pyrenees mountains into neutral Spain. He was arrested by the Spanish authorities for illegally crossing the border, but was soon released.

In 1943, George joined the Royal Netherlands Navy. With the Netherlands under German occupation, the headquarters of the Navy had moved to London, in the UK. George had no previous military experience, but he was noticed for multilingual skills. He was  fluent in   Dutch, English, French, Italian and Russian. He was soon detached to the (British) Royal Navy to serve as a translator.

During his naval service in World War II, George took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Battle of Anzio in the Italian Campaign, and the Adriatic Campaign. The War ended in 1945 and George was honorably discharged in July, 1946. His highest military rank was that of a sergeant.

In 1946, George returned to France but an American theater director offered him a role in a Broadway musical and he moved to New York City later that year and became an American citizen in 1948.

In the early 1960s, George started appearing as a character actor in various television series. He was also offered a number of film roles. His career unexpectedly took off in the 1980s, with a major part in the television series Punky Brewster.

But his most famous role was that of Commandant Lassard in the Police Academy franchise.

police

He died at his home in North Bend, Washington, on February 15, 2016, at the age of 98.

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

$2.00

Sources

IMDB

 

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.

 

 

Rachel de Groot- A teenage girl, murdered.

Rachel

I wish I could write about how Rachel de Groot survived the war and grew up to fulfill her potential, But I can’t, in fact I can’t even say that much about her. Not because there is not much known about her, because there is.

The reason why I can’t say too much about Rachel is because I am the Father of a teenage girl, the thought that something could happen to her lives with me 24/7 ,but that is normal for any Father or Mother for that matter.

Seeing a picture of Rachel makes me realize how fragile life is and how quick situations can change. One day you are living without a care in the world then suddenly you find yourself in hiding, hiding for people who hate you so much even though they have never met you.

Rachel, her parents and her younger brother al went into hiding in November 1942, the Dutch police, instructed by the Nazi occupiers were rounding up Jews.

Rachel liked to make handcrafts and she used these blac,gold and white beads for that purpose, I do not know for certain but I reckon she used them to make jewelry.

Just cheap disposable beads but they must have been extremely valuable to Rachel because they keep her mind occupied, an escape from the horrors and anxiety she faced.

beadz

Despite everything she still must have had hope because she even made a calendar when she was in hiding, indicating she was still planning her days. People who have no hope do not plan.

calendar

As I stated earlier, I have a teenage daughter and it could have easily been her and I ciuld have been that father with her in hiding, something I just can’t fathom.

Rachel was born on August 15, 1927. My daughter was also born in August. Rachel was murdered in Auschwitz on May 22,1944 together with her mother.Her Father arrived a few months later and was murdered on September 30,1944.Her brother survived the war

Now I know there will be some people who read this and will say that this blog is mainly based on presumptions, and that is true because I never met Rachel how could I have she was murdered before I was even born.But the only way for us to remotely understand the Holocaust(because for those who did not live through it can never understand) is by making it personal.

For some reason Rachel’s story touche me more then other stories, maybe it because of my paternal instincts.

Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/artifact/beads-used-by-a-dutch-jewish-girl-in-hiding

https://www.joodsmonumentzaanstreek.nl/groot-de-rachel-chelly/

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/541363/about-rachel-de-groot

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn513933