Old enough

Oudgenoeg

My name is Frouktje Oudgenoeg, I am aged 2. My last name means Old enough.

That is exactly what I am.

I am old enough to sing and dance.

I am old enough to play outside in the garden, come rain or shine.

I am old enough to get my face dirty with jam and chocolate and old enough to get my hands all muddy.

I am old enough to have love given to me in abundance.

I am old enough to wake up at night because of a nightmare.

However I am not old enough to live in a nightmare.

I am not old enough to experience hate

I am not old enough to be deprived from everything that is good in this world.

I am not old enough to die.

And I am certainly not old enough to be brutally murdered.

Yes I was murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenkau on November 2,1942, age 2.

I hope I will be old enough to be remembered by you.

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Forbidden for Jews

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The Holocaust didn’t start with the mass extermination of Jews, it started in ways which could even be considered non violent, with gradually excluding Jews from society.

In this blog there are some examples of signs sating ~Forbidden for Jews” or”No Jews allowed” from several locations in the Netherlands.

On the signs above it says dogs are not allowed to walk freely, in other words they were allowed in the park but on a lead. Underneath it says “Forbidden for Jews” this indicates that dogs had more privileges than Jews.

Sign at the entrance of a shop

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Sign on the door of a cinema

3

Sign at a butcher shop in Amsterdam

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Propaganda was also used to isolate and alienate the Jewish population, the poster below shows the blatant disrespect and hate against Jews and others.

It says “Goering has forbidden vivisection on animals, we have enough Jews and Marxists to use instead.”

cartoon

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Source

Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam

NIOD

 

October 5,1942- The Bombing of Geleen.

Geleen 1

October 5th,1942, was one of the darkest if not the darkest days of WWII for my hometown of Geleen, at the time it was a small mining town in the south east of the Netherlands, in the province of Limburg.

Shortly after 21.30 the alarms sounded,warning the population of an imminent attack. The bombing  did happen  between 21:55 and 23:10. But it wasn’t the Luftwaffe but the RAF.

A squadron of 257 RAF bombers were on the way to Aachen in Germany , to bomb the mine’Anna’ in the German city near the Dutch border. However due to bad weather , and limited vision 30 of the 257 bombers had deviated from their course, When they had reached Geleen and  saw the Statesmine ‘Maurits’ they mistakingly believed they had reached Aachen and therefore they dropped their load.

aerial

The bombing resulted in 83 being killed,  57 houses totally destroyed , severely damaging 227 more house and causing further damage to another 1728 homes.

geleen 2

Additionally  13 coal miners were killed in the raid, the Maurits was heavily damaged and it took fire crews from several cities to help extinguish the fires caused by the bombing. There were even fire crews which came from Rotterdam which is about 200 KM away from the mine to help with the fires.

geleen 3

 

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Source

NIOD

The Dutch SS training camp-Built with the blood of slaves.

SS

Although there were many Dutch who with disregard of their own safety and lives were willing to help their Jewish fellow men and women, however there were  also those who ceased the opportunity to fulfill their own evil ambitions and joined the SS.

I know there will be some who say that some of these men were just misguided and did look passed the policies of the Nazi regime, and only joined the SS for the adventure and the chance to fight in an efficient army unit, and to an extend that was true. But it had to have become very clear to them shortly after joining what the SS really stood for.

SS NL

It already started at the building of the SS training camp Avegoor which had been a stately home prior to the start of the war.

One of the key areas the Nazis focused on was sport,Hitler was convinced that a good athlete would make a good soldier.

Hauptscharführer Karl Hautz was responsible to build a state of the art sport facility at the SS training centre Avegoor.

He did this by using 139 Jewish slave laborers to build a sports hall.an athletics ttacl, a sports field and 2 exercise facilities and stands.

2018-10-05 (2)

The sporting complex was also used by the Hitler youth and the Youth Storm for matches and competitions.

The 139 men arrived on 2 and 3 September 1942, they had to carry out the work under appalling circumstances. Not enough food, little sleep and comfort long hours and the constant fear of punishment.

Three of the Jewish slave labourers died  while building the sport camp. They died so that others could be trained to kill.

Camp

Of the 139 men only 33 eventually survived the war.

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Football in time of Horror-The football competition in Westerbork

voetbal

This must be one of the most amazing events I came across but amidst all the killing,torture,deportations and other horrors in Camp Westerbork, they actally found time to set up a football competition.

The competition was made up of several teams of Jewish inmates and started in spring 1943, it was a welcome distraction and gave some sense of hope of survival.

It must also have been a way of taking a bit of revenge on the members of the OD(Ordnungsdeinst) or Capos some of them also played in the tournament.

Some players did survive the Holocaust but the majority of them died in the extermination camps, along with Han Hollander who had been a famous Dutch sports commentator,with the broadcaster AVRO prior to  the war. He died on July 9,1943 in Sobibor.

han

Juda de Vries, who had been a celebrated goal keeper of HFC Haarlem was send Westerbork in 1942. For a short time he entered the competition, he was transported to Sobibor in May 1943 where he was killed.

Juda

Although the competition was short lived for most it had given them that feeling of ‘normal’ life again, however short lived it was it must have felt magical.

spel

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Sources

NIOD

 

September 11,1940-The Foundation of the Dutch SS.

dUTCH ss

I am immensely proud of the country I was born in and where I grew up, but like nearly every other nation on earth there are some black paged in its history.

One of the darkest days for the Dutch history wasSeptember 11,1940. This is the day when the ‘Nederlandsche SS, was founded. Only 4 months after the invasion by Nazi Germany.

The leader of the Dutch national socialist party ,NSB,Anton Mussert, had already been ordered during a meeting on June 9,1940 by Adolf Hitler via Gottlob Berger of the German SS-Amt, to to recruit Dutch men for the Wiking division of the Waffen-SS.

Some Dutch historians will tell you that those joining the SS were forced to do so, however this was not the case, all 7000 of them were volunteers.

One of the conditions to join was the promise of unconditional obedience to all superiors.

ss

In the spring of 1941, a training school for the Dutch SS was opened at the Avegoor estate in Ellecom .

On 1 November 1942 the name was changed to Germanic SS in the Netherlands. The name change indicated that the Germanic aspect outweighed the Dutch element.

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The Murder of a perfect child

Bernhard Leo

Dear little boy , you are perfect in every aspect . Even your imperfect hair is perfect.

Imperfect and perfect in one sentence is a paradox.

A paradox is what you are because you were hated event though all you gave was love.

It is said that the eyes are the portals to the soul and in your eyes I see perfect love.

Dear little boy your are perfect in every way because there are no imperfect 2 year old’s.

Jacob Loisstraat 12 a, Rotterdam a random address but to you it was the perfect place for it was your home.

Alas your home was not the safe place that every child deserves. Nit because you had a bad family.

No, they loved you for nearly 800 days and each day was perfect because you were in it.

Your home wasn’t safe for one reason only, hate.

Hate by those who didn’t even know you

Hate by those who children of 800 days themselves, so they should know you were perfect.

But their hate made them blind

Dear little boy your are perfect, you were Bernard Leo Laden age 2. Murdered by hate in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Dear little boy your are perfect, to me you shall always be perfect, may you rest in perfect peace.

 

Source

Joods Mounument

 

 

 

 

Dolle Dinsdag-Mad Tuesday-September 5,1944.

Dinsdag

Reporting the news accurately is important at any given time. Reporting it accurately during wartime when tensions are high is vital, if you fail to do so it can create false expectations and can potentially cost lives.

On Tuesday September 5th 1944, the Dutch  Prime Minister Gerbrandy announced via the Radio Oranje  that the allied army had crossed the border and Breda had been liberated. In fact he had announced it twice initially on September 4th at 23:45 and then again inhe morning of September 5th. The BBC had picked up the announcement too.

Premier

The  information was totally inaccurate, but the Dutch expected the Allied army to be in Rotterdam the same day. The Germans panicked, their army fled North and East in the Netherlands.

Germans

The news spread fast, with underground newspapers preparing headlines announcing the “fall of Breda”

The Nazi leadership Arthur Seyss-Inquart and Hanns Albin Rauter, SS and police leader added to the  speculation by announcing a “State of Siege” for the Netherlands to the 300,000 cable radio listeners.

“The population must maintain order … it is strictly forbidden to flee areas that are threatened by the enemy. All orders from the military commanders must be strictly adhered to and without question … any resistance to the occupation forces will be suppressed with force of weaponry. Any attempt to fraternize with the enemy or to hinder the German Reich and its allies in any form will be dealt with harshly; perpetrators will be shot”

The Dutch did not heed the warning  and went out and celebrated on the streets while preparing to welcome and cheer on the Allied liberators. Dutch and Orange flags and pennants were prepared, and many workers left their place of employment to wait for the Allies to arrive.

vlag

Some kids even took down German road signs.

kids

German occupation forces and NSB members got in a panic .documents were destroyed and many fled the Netherlands for Germany.

Many of the NSB fled temporarily to  the Lüneburger Heide in Germany .While the NSB leader .Mussert , moved more eastward to Almelo. The illegal newspaper “Het Parool” reported on the 11th of September on how these NSB”Heroes” fled the country.

Parool

Luckily there were no fatal casualties as a result of this, among the general Dutch population, although a few celebrants were shot and others were arrested.

The day after however, on September 6 a train carrying wives and children of members of the NSB headed for Germany. The train was attacked by allied planes and about 30 passengers were killed. I do feel sorry for the wives and especially the children for they were innocent bystanders  but I do also believe this was karma, and the irony is not lost on me for the NSB had helped to put so many Jews and other on trains to their final destinations.

The name ‘Dolle Dinsdag’ was coined by Willem van den Hout, alias Willem W. Waterman, who first used it in the Dutch Nazi  propaganda newspaper ‘de Gil’ (the yel) which was funded by the German propaganda department.

De Gil

The whole confusion of ‘Dolle Dinsdag’ had come about because of one word. Before the radio broadcast , Prime Minister Gerbrandy had changed the text from ‘the allies approached the border’ to ‘crossed the border’

It would take another 9 days before Maasticht would be liberated, which was the first major Dutch city to be liberated by allied troops.

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The abdication of a Queen.

Wilhelmina

On this day 70 years ago, the Netherlands’ war time Queen,Wilhelmina, handed over the reign to her oldest daughter Juliana.

On 4 September 1948, after a reign of 58 years, Wilhelmina abdicated in favour of her daughter Juliana, because of advancing age and declining health. The abdication meant that she would henceforth be known as addressed as “Her Royal Highness Princess Wilhelmina of the Netherlands”

She had been inaugurated as Queen aged 18 on September 6 1898.Technically she had been Queen since 1890, after the death of her Father ,King William III. But since she was only 10 at the time her mother,Queen Emma served as regent until Wilhelimina turned 18. Therefore technically her reign was for 58 years even though the first 8 years her Mother reigned in her stead.

Wilhelmina queen

During World War II she took charge of the Dutch government in exile,in the UK. On  August 5, 1942 She addressed the U.S. Congress and was the first queen to do so.

cONGRESS

In the night of 20/21 February 1944 she was nearly killed during Operation Steinbock, sometimes referred to as Baby Blitz, by a bomb that took the lives of two  of her staff and severely damaged her country home near South Mimms in England.

Junker

She was not a great fan of  politicians, instead stating a love for the people. When the Netherlands was liberated in 1945 she was disappointed to see the same political factions taking power as before the war.

Following the end of World War II, she made the decision not to return to her palace but to move into a mansion in The Hague, where she stayed for eight months. She traveled throughout the Netherlands to motivate people, sometimes using a bicycle instead of a car. But in 1947, as  the country was still recovering from  the woes of World War II, the revolt in the oil-rich Dutch East Indies saw sharp criticism of the Queen by the Dutch economic elite.

Around the same time, her  health started failing , forcing her to  temporarily cede her monarchial duties to Juliana at the end of 1947 (14 October tto 1 December). At that stage she already contemplated abdication, but Juliana convinced  her to stay on for the stability of the nation, urging her to stay on the throne until 1950 so she could celebrate her diamond jubilee. Wilhelmina had the intention of doing just that , but unfortunately exhaustion forced her to relinquish  duties as a monarch  to Juliana again on 12 May 1948. The timing wasn’t great  as it left Juliana to deal with the early elections caused by the demand for  independence by the Indonesian colonies.

Dismayed by the return to pre-war politics and the pending loss of Indonesia, Wilhelmina abdicated on 4 September 1948.

abdication

During the last years of her life  she wrote her autobiography entitled Eenzaam, maar niet alleen (Lonely but Not Alone), in which she gave account of the events in her life, and revealed her strong religious feelings and motivations.

Wilhelmina died in Het Loo Palace at the age of 82 on 28 November 1962.

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Why the story of Edith Stein is still relevant.

Edith Stein

An increasing amount of people say that stories of the Holocaust are no longer relevant and should be left in the past. I don’t subscribe to that point of view, remembering the Holocaust is now more important then it ever has been.In a time where some politicians are making policies based on hate, it is relevant to remember it could cost the lives of millions.

The story of Edith Stein also has personal relevance to me. It is a story that intrigues me for it shows how much the Nazis hated the Jewish people, for, and I do apologize for the phrase but I don’t think there is any other way of saying it. to the Nazis once a Jew always a Jew. It also highlights an ignorance I had as a youngster.

I will not go to deep into the life of Edith Stein because so much is already written about her, and I will not be able to add any value to that.

1938

Edith Stein was born to Jewish parents in Breslau on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11. In 1921 she converted to Catholicism, as did her sister Rosa Stein.

Edith entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery St. Maria vom Frieden (Our Lady of Peace) in Cologne in 1933 and took the religious name of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

In 1933 the Nazis also came to power, according to their Nuremberg Race laws both Edith and her sisters were considered to be Jewish, despite the conversion to Catholicism, therefor to avoid persecution by the Nazis, Edith and her sister were transferred to a monastery in Echt in the Netherlands.

Klooster

As I mentioned my youthful ignorance before, Echt is only about 15 km away from my birthplace. It is a small town in the province of Limburg in the south east of the Netherlands. In my late teens and early twenties I would often frequent a nightclub’the Majestic’ in Echt. which was really a stones throw away from the monastery. I also would go their by train and would get off on the very same station which was used decades earlier to transport Edith and Rosa to Camp Amersfoort. And I was completely oblivious to all of that.

station

The Stein sisters were arrested by the SS on 2 August 1942. They were imprisoned at the concentration camps of Amersfoort and Westerbork before being deported to Auschwitz. A Dutch official at Westerbork was so impressed by Edith’s  sense of faith and calm, he offered her an escape plan. She  refused his assistance, stating, “If somebody intervened at this point and took away her chance to share in the fate of her brothers and sisters, that would be utter annihilation”

Edith and Rosa among 985 other Jews were sent to Auschwitz on August 7,1942. It is believed that Edith and her sister both died in the gas chambers on August 9th 1942.

who you are

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