The Murder of a 12-Year-Old Girl

The number 12 is significant in religious, mythological and magical symbolism, generally representing perfection, entirety, or cosmic order in traditions since antiquity. It is also the number of full lunations in a solar year, thus the number of months in a solar calendar, as well as the number of signs in the Western and the Chinese zodiac.

It is also significant in both Judaism and Christianity. The significance is especially pronounced in the Tanakh. Ishmael, the first-born son of Abraham, has 12 sons/princes (Genesis 25:16), and Jacob also has 12 sons, who are the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. This is reflected in the Christian tradition, notably in the twelve Apostles. When Judas Iscariot is disgraced, a meeting is held (Acts) to add Saint Matthias to complete the number twelve once more. The Book of Revelation contains much numerical symbolism, and many of the numbers mentioned have 12 as a divisor. 12:1 mentions a woman—interpreted as the people of Israel, the Church and the Virgin Mary—wearing a crown of twelve stars (representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel). Furthermore, there are 12,000 people sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (the Tribe of Dan is omitted while Manasseh is mentioned), making a total of 144,000 (which is the square of 12 multiplied by a thousand).

According to the New Testament, Jesus had twelve Apostles. The “Twelve Days of Christmas” count the interval between Christmas and Epiphany.

There are 12 units on a clock. Twelve was also the number of years that Keetje van Zanten lived. She was born in Rotterdam on 16 May 1930. Twelve years after she was born on 16 May 1942, the Sobibór extermination camp became operational.

Keetje’s Mother was Esther van Zanten-Bekkers born in Rotterdam on 10 December 1898, murdered at Sobibor, 11 June 1943. Her father was Marcus van Zanten born in Rotterdam on 7 February 1899 and murdered in Auschwitz on 28 February 1943.

Keetje also had 2 older brothers, Aron van Zanten born on 17 Augusts 1923 and Benjamin van Zanten on 24 February 1927. Both were murdered in the aforementioned, Sobibor Camp on 9 July 1943.

In her 12 years, she witnessed the invasion of the Netherlands on 10 May 1940.

She also witnessed societal changes. On 7 January 1941, the Dutch Cinema Association decided that Jews would no longer be allowed access to cinemas. On 12 January 1941, this measure was published in the newspapers.

From 1 September 1941, Jewish children had to go to separate schools and were no longer allowed in public schools. In Amsterdam, this became law on 1 October 1941.

The Compulsory Star of David was introduced on 3 May 1942 and required to be worn by all Jews over the age of six. It had to be visibly at chest height. The star was distributed by the Jewish Council and cost 4 cents each.

In July 1940, the freedom of Jews in the Netherlands was curtailed by the introduction of anti-Jewish measures, the first of which was the ban on working for the air defence service. From 1942, the measures followed each other in rapid succession, with the most visible on 3 May 1942: the introduction of the Star of David.

About 104,000 Jews from the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust. Keetje was one of them. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 28 January 1943. She had reached 12 years of age.

A 12-year-old girl was murdered only because she was Jewish.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Keetje-van-Zanten/02/176698

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/125673/keetje-van-zanten

Babies Deported to Westerbork Concentration Camp

The one I can’t get to terms with, and even refuse to get to terms with, is the murder of babies during the Holocaust.

I know one of the reasons behind it was the purification of the Aryan race. But, how pure are you as a race when you murder babies? Another reason was that they were afraid that when these babies grew up, they would possibly look for revenge for the death of their families. The only time you expect revenge is when you know you did something wrong.

The picture above is of Roosje van der Hal. She was born in Groningen on 17 March 1942 and murdered in Sobibor on 21 May 1943. She reached the age of one.

Nehemia Levy Cohen was born in Amsterdam on 20 December 1940. She was murdered in Sobibor on 7 May 1943. She had reached two years of age.

Both babies had been deported to Westerbork on 25 January 1943. From there they were deported to Sobibor where they both were killed. These were only two of the 1.5 million children. The scary thing is that there have been genocides, albeit on a smaller scale, after the Holocaust where babies once again were victims.

I want you all to look into the faces of these two sweet angels and ask yourself, “What can I do to stop this from happening again?”

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/191815/nehemia-levy-cohen

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/26236/roosje-van-der-hal

The Sad Story of Betje Weijl-van Praag and her Daughter

On 16 November 1941, Betje Weijl-van Praag died from what appears to be suicide. The police report does not mention suicide, but the circumstances indicate that probably was what happened.

“Notification is given by telephone that something has probably happened to the resident of plot Schuttersweg 88 because she has not been seen all day. She lives alone. Police officer Van Rave goes to the scene and a little later announces by telephone that he has gained access to the house by breaking a window. A coal vapour smell was observed by him. The resident was found dead in bed by him so she probably died of coal fume poisoning. Dr Hermanides stated, who will perform the autopsy.”

Later two more officers went to the scene. Two and a half hours later it is noted: “Dr Hermanides had already performed the autopsy. An amount of money, amounting to NLG 40.82, as well as distribution documents were taken by the rapporteur. The stove in the house was still smouldering, while the stove pipe was completely blocked. The house is locked and the key has been taken by detective Wolvenne. According to found papers, the deceased would have relatives in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam police will try to warn them. Dr Lobstein van het Apeldoornsche Bosch later informs him that it is known to him (a daughter of Mrs Van Praag) is being nursed in the Apeldoornsche Bosch) that family (sister) lives in Amsterdam, Oudezijde Achterburgwal 111.”

The report mentions Betje Weijl-van Praag’s daughter. Sophia Charlotte Weijl was born on 14 April 1915. She was a patient at Het Apeldoornsche Bosch, a Jewish psychiatric hospital in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.

I am not sure when she was admitted to the hospital. However her father, Salomo Weijl died on 28 February 1923. Sophia was still nine at the time. Her mother, Betje Weijl-van Praag became a widow and perhaps she wasn’t able to look after her daughter on her own.

Sophia Charlotte Weijl was in Het Apeldoornsche Bos when it was raided on the night of 21/22 January 1943. She was put on transport on 22 January 1943 to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she was murdered on 24 January 1943.

Both women were victims of the Nazi regime.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/152937/betje-weijl-van-praag

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/660803/sophia-charlotte-weijl

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know 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. Thank you. 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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BBC at War

In the last few years, the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) has lost some of its credibility, but during World War II, it was a vital source of information for resistance groups in the Netherlands and other occupied countries.

The caption of the picture above said “January 4, 1944. Jammers and betrayal make listening to the B.B.C. not easy. We listen at night, 11:45 p.m., B.B.C.”

An employee of an illegal newspaper listening to the BBC.

The founders of the first illegal newspapers came to their initiative out of indignation about the German invasion and annoyance about what the equalized newspapers wrote. There was also a need to warn the population against National Socialism and to call for united opposition to the German measures. In 1940 there were about 62 underground magazines and within a year this number rose to 120. Some magazines had succeeded in finding printers and were, therefore, able to abandon the time-consuming stencilling. By the end of 1942, the number of papers had dropped to 96 because many editors of smaller papers considered their activities superfluous when bigger and better editions appeared. In 1943, new illegal newspapers sprang up like mushrooms. These were mainly concerned with translating and distributing the war news received via hidden radios. In total, about 1300 different magazines existed during the occupation years, which together had a circulation of millions of copies.

Due to a lack of radio sets and power, the BBC news had to be brought to the people via the underground. This is where the messages came in.

From the beginning of her exile, Queen Wilhelmina took up her task with great willpower. Uncompromising and with unshakable confidence in the Allied victory, she was able to convey this conviction to others. She constantly advocated the interests of the Netherlands to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt. Her attitude and effort commanded the respect of the Allied leaders.

The message of thanks to BBC radio for the so-called ‘Round the World birthday celebration programme’ broadcast in honour of Wilhelmina during the BBC’s European Empire Programs on 30 August 1941. Her inaction against the treatment of the Dutch Jews before, during and after the war has tainted her legacy somewhat.

The original caption reads: ‘Recording of the B.B.C. news, via a DC receiver as Goes was also without power, for the purpose of the illegal press. Goes.’
Two employees of the illegal magazine ‘Vrije Stemmen’ in Goes are working on the BBC’s news reports.

Radio Orange; Mrs A. A. Koch – de Waard.

The original caption of this photo reads: “BBC European Service: Dutch Section.
The Dutch Section’s principal woman announcer.”

One of the ways, in which Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch government maintained ties with the population in the occupied territory was Radio Oranje. The broadcasts were invariably opened with ‘Hier Radio Oranje, the Voice of the Struggling Netherlands’. In addition to news commentary and entertainment, Radio Oranje broadcasts were also used to pass on code messages to the resistance in occupied territory.

Anyone caught listening to the BBC or other anti-Nazi radio stations could face execution.

source

My Interview with Joosje Asser—The Story About her Parents and their Survival

During the night of 21 to 22 January 1943, the Nazis raided Het Apeldoornsche Bosch, a Jewish psychiatric hospital in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. Nearly 1300 people are deported to Auschwitz.

All 1181 patients, sometimes naked, confused or in straitjackets, were forced by units of the SS and the Ordnungspolizei under the personal supervision of Hauptsturmführer Ferdinand aus der Fünten of the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (assisted by Albert Konrad Gemmeker, the SS commander of Camp Westerbork ) in trucks to the waiting freight train. In the days that followed, another 293 people, mainly personnel, were taken away. Most of them do not survive the war.

Eli Asser and Eefje Croisset, Joosje’s parents, who worked in the Hospital managed to escape. In the interview, Joosje talks about her parents, and the book her father wrote about the time.

There are a few small interruptions during the interview, I had considered cleaning them up, but then I realised the symbolic value of it. So many family lives were disrupted during the Holocaust. I decided to leave the interview as it was, unedited.

sources

https://www.apeldoornschebosch.nl/en/history

https://www.apeldoornschebosch.nl/

The 73 Days of Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum

We now live in an era when we consider 73 years a young age to die. Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum lived for only 73 days. He was born in Amsterdam on 19 January 1943. He was murdered in Sobibor on 2 April 1943.

His father was Ephraim Izak Levie Rosenbaum, who lived with his wife and children until 1943 at 13 JD Meierplein (Houtmarkt 13 at the time). He was a pharmacist in the building on the Hoek Amstel–Nieuwe Heerengracht 1, Amsterdam.

His wife Johanna Frederika Suzanna Zion and son Izak Michel Max went into hiding in Neede (Gelderland). They were betrayed and sent to Sobibor via Westerbork, where they both were murdered on 2 April 1943.

Ephraim Isaac Levie Rosenbaum was murdered three weeks later in Sobibor.

73 Days- 7 + 3 = 10, that’s what you were Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum—a perfect 10.

73 days, just over two months, you were a product of love, but you became a victim of hate.

73 days, but it should have been 80 years because that is what you would be today. Happy Birthday, young Isaac Michel Max Rosenbaum—no longer a human made from flesh and bone, but a star in heaven.

His sister survived the Holocaust.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/200751/izak-michel-max-rosenbaum

Titus Brandsma—Catholic Friar Murdered in Dachau

drawing made by John Dom in Kamp Amersfoort.

I have written about Titus Brandsma before, but I thought the fact that I am going to visit Dachau in a few months time, I thought it would be a good time for another post on the Dutch Catholic Friar. He also has a connection to Ireland, where I live now.

Titus Brandsma was born in the Netherlands on Feb. 23, 1881. His parents named him Anno Sjoerd Brandsma and he grew up in the rural setting of Oegeklooster in the province of Friesland. His family lived on the proceeds of the milk and cheese produced by their dairy cattle.

His parents, who ran a small dairy farm and were devout and committed Catholics, a minority in a predominantly Calvinist region. Except for one daughter, all of their children (three daughters and two sons) entered religious orders.

The grounds of the Franciscan friary in Megen where Brandsma did his high school studies. From the age of 11, Brandsma pursued his secondary studies in the town of Megen, at a Franciscan-run minor seminary for boys considering a priestly or religious vocation.

Brandsma felt a calling to the religious life and joined the Carmelite monastery in Boxmeer, Southeastern Netherlands, in 1898, taking his father’s name, Titus, as his religious name.

Although the Carmelites are known for separating themselves from worldly affairs and engaging in contemplative prayer, Brandsma felt called to a second vocation, journalism, that would draw him into the drama of interwar Europe.

Brandsma was ordained to the priesthood on June 17, 1905. After studying in Rome, he returned home to work in the field of Catholic education.

When the Catholic University of Nijmegen was founded in 1923, he joined the faculty, rising to become the institution’s Rector Magnificus, or head, in 1932. With fears of a second world war rising in Europe, Brandsma was asked by his superiors in Rome to undertake a lecture tour of Carmelite foundations in the United States in 1935.

To improve his English, he visited Ireland, staying with Carmelite communities in Dublin and the picturesque coastal town of Kinsale. Titus Brandsma stayed with his Irish Carmelite brothers at Whitefriar Street in Dublin and Kinsale, Co Cork. He later wrote with warmth about his time in Ireland where he met, among others, the president of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State Éamon de Valera. The same Éamon de Valera would offer condolences to the German people after Hitler killed himself.

After Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940, the authorities imposed severe restrictions on the Church. They ordered Catholic schools to expel Jewish students, barred priests and religious from serving as high school principals, restricted charitable collections and censored the Catholic press. The Dutch bishops asked Brandsma to plead their cause, but without success.

He came to the notice of Nazi authorities even before their occupation of the Netherlands in 1940 as he had written critically of National Socialism at the Dutch Catholic University of Nijmegen, where he was a professor and the press. Accused of being an ally of communism, he was dubbed by the Nazis as “the Dangerous Little Friar”

During the occupation of the Netherlands by the Nazis he actively opposed the publication of Nazi propaganda in Catholic newspapers and in the press generally. In his role as an adviser to the Archbishop of Utrecht he encouraged Dutch bishops to speak out strongly against the persecution of Jews and the infringement of basic human rights by Nazi occupiers.

In January 1942 he delivered a letter from the Catholic bishops to editors of Catholic newspapers in the Netherlands instructing them not to comply with a new law requiring they print Nazi advertisements and articles. He was arrested by the Gestapo at the Carmelite priory in Nijmegen.

The friar was taken to a prison in the seaside town of Scheveningen, where the interrogating officer demanded to know why he had disobeyed state regulations.

“As a Catholic, I could have done nothing differently,” Brandsma responded. The officer, Captain Paul Hardegen, later asked Brandsma to express in writing why his countrymen scorned the Dutch Nazi party.

“The Dutch,” the friar wrote, “have made great sacrifices out of love for God and possess an abiding faith in God whenever they have had to prove adherence to their religion … If it is necessary, we, the Dutch people, will give our lives for our religion.”

After being held prisoner in Scheveningen, Amersfoort, and Cleves, Brandsma was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp, arriving there on 19 June. His health quickly gave way, and he was transferred to the camp hospital. He died on 26 July 1942, from a lethal injection administered by a nurse[of the Allgemeine SS, as part of their program of medical experimentation on the prisoners.

The nurse, known as “Titia,” testified that Brandsma gave her his rosary. When she responded that she could not pray and did not need it, he encouraged her to recite the second part of the Hail Mary, “Pray for us sinners.”

“I started laughing then,” she recalled. “He told me that, if I were to pray a lot, I would not be lost.”

Brandsma is honoured as a martyr within the Catholic Church. He was beatified in November 1985 by Pope John Paul II. His feast day is observed within the Carmelite order on 27 July. On Sunday, 15 May 2022, in front of more than 50,000 people from around the world, Pope Francis canonized Brandsma and nine other saints at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in Rome.

sources

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/dutch-carmelite-who-spent-time-in-dublin-and-cork-to-be-canonised-in-may-1.4819778

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250601/who-was-titus-brandsma-the-wwii-catholic-martyr-who-will-be-canonized-in-may

Behind the Star

Starting in May 1942, wearing a yellow fabric star in the Netherlands, called the “Star of David,” was made compulsory by the Nazis. This measure made it easy to identify Jewish people and was designed to stigmatize and dehumanize them. This was not a new idea; since medieval times many other societies had forced their Jewish citizens to wear badges to identify themselves. With the coming of the French Revolution in the 18th century and Jewish emancipation in the 19th century, the “Jewish badge” disappeared in Western Europe.

However, in the 1930s the Nazis brought it back to Germany, and in May 1942 in the Netherlands. During the war, it was compulsory in all occupied countries. The one thing that puzzles me today is the eagerness of so many people and groups to put ‘badges’ on themselves. In my opinion, the only badge that matters is that of a Human Being, and the only rule that should apply is mutual respect for each other.

Behind every star was a life, a story.

The picture at the start of this post is of the admin team in Westerbork.

Group photo of the De Miranda and Lachmann families in the garden of De Miranda’s house on Sterrelaan in Hilversum, 1942.

From left to right: Alexander (Lex) de Miranda, 7-year-old Michael (Max) Lachmann, Heinz (Hans) Lachmann, standing 12-year-old Frank de Miranda, Anny de Miranda-Meijler and Tea Lachmann-Warszawski on the beach chair. The photo was probably taken by the other son Hugo de Miranda. Both sons tried to flee to Switzerland via France but were arrested. None of the family survived the war. The Lachmann family went into hiding in Limburg with the help of Pastor Henri Vullinghs and survived the war. Henri Vullinghs was a pastor in Grashoek and Grubbenvorst in Limburg and a Dutch resistance fighter during World War II. He was one of the largest organizers of pilot aid and hiding in the entire province of Limburg.

On 1 May 1944 sexton Stappers in Grubbenvorst was warned that the Sicherheitspolizei was on its way from Venlo to arrest the pastor. Stappers hurried to the monastery where Vullinghs lived because his own parsonage had been hit by a bomb. Unfortunately, he did not find him at home because the pastor had already left for the church on his bicycle. Just before the church on the street, Vullinghs was arrested and imprisoned. On 1 June 1944, he was transferred to Camp Vught where he was severely mistreated. On September 6, 1944, he was deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and from there he went to the Bergen-Belsen camp, where he arrived at the end of March 1945, critically ill. Two weeks later he died there of dysentery.

Camp Westerbork. Outgoing transport, with a converted freight train, April 1943.
Nearly 107,000 people were deported from camp Westerbork in the 97 transports. On 15 July 1942, the first transport left for Auschwitz-Birkenau. From 2 March 1943–16 November 1943, there was a weekly rhythm: every Tuesday a train departed with a thousand to sometimes more than three thousand people. The last transport left on 13 September 1944.

Sander Waterman in boxing position. The Star of David is visible on his shorts. He was born in London on 10 June 1914, He was a boxer and boxed at Joop Cosman’s boxing school at the Jodenhouttuinen.

Because of his birth, he had a British passport despite his parents being Dutch. Sander was in the resistance. He was arrested for forging identity cards, but his brother Morest had done so. If he had said that, they would both have been imprisoned, so he kept quiet about it. Unfortunately, his brother Morest was murdered in Mauthausen.
Sander survived the war just like his wife Elisabeth Gobetz and their two children Sal (1941) and Joop (1943). The Waterman family was deported to Westerbork in 1943, where Joop was born, and then to Bergen-Belsen.

The British passport initially ensured that the family could stay for a longer period of time in Westerbork.

Johanna Winnik, at the age of about eight at her house on the Afrikanerplein in Amsterdam’s Transvaal neighbourhood, 1942. She was murdered at Sobibor on 2 April 1943 at the age of 8 years.

Annie de Jong-Wijnman and Maurits (Mau) de Jong from Zaltbommel with the Star of David on their wedding day, Sunday, August 23, 1942, in the synagogue N. Molstraat 13 in The Hague. They didn’t even get to celebrate their first anniversary. They were both killed on 16 July 1943 in Sobibor.

These were just a few of the many who were forced to wear the star of David. The pictures all came from the NIOD. They also have a theme on their website titled behind the star, I added a few more details.

source

https://www.holocaust.org.uk/star-of-david-identifiers

https://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/voices/info/yellowstar/theyellowstar.html

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/jewish-badge-during-the-nazi-era

Then Suddenly, the Classroom was Empty

The murder of children during the Holocaust is what haunts me the most. Sometimes I try to be poetic and philosophical when I try to memorialize them, but often seeing the raw cold data is the most effective way to remember these young innocent lives. So many futures were destroyed.

The picture above is from a class at the Joodsche School in Rotterdam. I don’t know if all children were murdered, I can only presume they were. Below is the data of those who certainly were murdered.

Hartog Berkelouw, born in Rotterdam on 5 January 1932. and murdered in Auschwitz on 14 January 1943. He reached the age of 11 years old.

Mijntje Belia Koppels, born in Rotterdam on 29 December 1931. He was murdered in Sobibor on 28 May 1943 at the age of 11 years.

Abraham Sanders was born in Rotterdam on 8 August 1932. He was murdered in Sobibor on 23 April 1943 at the age of 10 years.

Betsy Jacobs was born in Rotterdam on 2 May 1931. She was murdered in Sobibor on 23 April 1943 at the age of 11 years.

Sophia Aandagt was born in Rotterdam on 19 April 1932. Murdered in Auschwitz on 5 August 1942. She was 10 years old.

Hinda Sanders was born in Rotterdam on 18 August 1932. She was murdered in Sobibor on 23 April 1943 at the age of 10 years.

Kaatje Ensel was born in Rotterdam on 23 June 1932 at Auschwitz on 16 August 1942 at the age of 10 years.

Doortje van der Horst was born in Rotterdam on 7 March 1932. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 9 August 1942 at the age of 10 years.

Gizela Minc was born in Danzig on 12 December 1932. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 19 November 1943 at the age of 10 years.

David Ossendrijver was born in Rotterdam on 5 September 1932. She was murdered in Auschwitz on 8 April 1944 at the age of 11 years.

Never forget what a twisted ideology and false promises can do.

Harassment of the Dutch Jews

Like in Germany, the Holocaust in the Netherlands didn’t start with the mass murder of Jews—it was a gradual process. It started with a number of measures to initially humiliate the Dutch Jews.

Summer 1942
SD agents check the identity cards of Jewish citizens on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, in Amsterdam. At the beginning of January 1941, compulsory registration of Jews in the population register had been announced. Proof of registration must be carried with you at all times. To determine whether someone was Jewish, it was decided in the summer of 1941 that a large J had to be applied in two places in the identity card of the so-called ‘Volljuden.’ From that moment on, Jews could easily be distinguished from non-Jews at street checks.

Handing over of bicycles by Jews. Jews from the municipality must hand in their bicycles, including spare inner and outer tubes, no later than June 24, 1942. Signed by mayor Van Ravenswaaij.Utrecht (this is just one example, that law was in place all over the Netherlands). Anyone who has ever been to the Netherlands will know how much the Dutch cherish their bikes.

Closing of the Jewish district by raising the Magere Brug over the Amstel, in Amsterdam. On February 12, 1941, the Jewish neighbourhood in Amsterdam is cordoned off.

source