One in Six Million

The definition of ‘one in a million’ is : a person or thing that is very unusual, special, or admired.

Herman Wertheim was certainly that. However, sadly he was also one in six million. He was one of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

Herman Wertheim was born on February 17, 1912 in Strijp, the Netherlands . He was the eldest son of Hester and Jacob Wertheim. Herman worked as a tobacco trader for A. J. van Beek in Rotterdam.

Herman married Esther Rosenfeld from Amsterdam on August 4, 1936.

The first child, a daughter whom they called Margaretha Beatrix, died as an infant on 6 February 1938. In 1939 a son was born: Jaap.

During the war, the family went into hiding, all three in different places. Son Jaap is brought to Laren in 1942 at the age of three. He is taken in by the couple Tom and Anneke van Blaaderen. Esther is hiding in Eindhoven with the Hoekstra family in the Fuutlaan and also temporarily with the Boudrez family. Herman Wertheim attempted to flee to England. He ought false work papers for an amount of between 750 and 1000 guilders. Herman Wertheim ended up in Paris in June 1942. On his way to England, however, he was betrayed by a seller of false papers and brought back to the Netherlands where he was charged on 14 August 1942 with ‘unauthorized crossing of the Belgian-Dutch border’. On the same day Herman was taken to Westerbork. From there he was deported on 24 August 1942 to Auschwitz where he was murdered almost two years later, on 15 May 1944. His wife Esther and son Jaap survived the war. Source: Remember the names, September 18 Foundation.

It is impossible for me to remember all the millions who were murdered during the Holocaust. But I believe, remembering the individuals will have a bigger impact.

Herman and I both married a beautiful wife. If I was born in 1912, our fates could have easily been the same.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/29231/herman-wertheim

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Herman-Wertheim/01/13520

Westerbork Hospital-Creating the illusion of normal life.

When Westerbork was built in 1939 as a refugee center for Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria, it also included a hospital.

The hospital grounds were originally known as Centraal Vluchtelingenkamp Westerbork, a camp for refugees arriving mainly from the neighboring country, Germany. It was those refugees themselves who in 1939 built Barrack No.12 and converted it into a hospital equipped with little more than tweezers and scissors.From May 1940 to July 1942, the camp stayed under Dutch administration. Under the Dutch, conditions were still reasonably good.

When the Nazis took it over in 1942 however things changed. Westerbork became a transit camp, an stop over as such, before the prisoners were deported to the extermination camps. But it was important for the Nazis to keep the illusion going that things were still fairly normal. Therefor the Hospital played an important role.

While the doctors and managers had their heads in the sand, the harsh reality finally hit home in October 1942. A tsunami of new patients, including their doctors and nurses, inundated the camp. Jewish hospitals and nursing homes had been emptied straight into Westerbork’s hospital. This flooded the hospital’s capacity, created shortages, chaos, and one disease outbreak after the other. Both patients and personnel who fell ill found it hard to recover. Chronic fatigue was endemic. Camp disease and relentless diarrhea were common. Tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, yellow fever, whooping cough, scarlet fever, and lice all reigned supreme. Quarantine measures became necessary, and provided one last reason to delay transport. Escape was now virtually impossible. Suicide attempts increased to around four a week, and though the medical staff again managed to save most, the psychiatric ward in Barrack No. 3 exploded.

The disturbing thing is that people who were too sick to travel to the death camps, first had to be nursed back to a reasonable level of health, in order to be send to the extermination camps.

No one was safe in Westerbork and it didn’t matter what age you were. Whether you were an infant, like the children in the picture above, or a 102 year old woman. You eventually would be send to your death.

The photo aboveshows Mrs. Klara Brush-Engelsman. She was born in Amsterdam on April 30, 1842 and was to be murdered in Theresienstadt(although some sources say Auschwitz)at the age of 102, on October 12, 1944.
The oldest Dutch victim of the Nazi terror

Of course, the question was then also why these elderly people had to be deported for the ‘Arbeitseinsatz’. Statements by Nazis that older women could still change diapers were, of course, inhumane.

sources

https://www.geni.com/people/Klara-Engelsman/6000000088276943915

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/228136/klara-borstel-engelsman#intro

https://hekint.org/2017/02/22/westerbork-hospital-a-blessing-in-disguise/

Remembering Elisabeth Huisman-Lees

The 4th of May is the date when all deaths from World War 2( and the last few years also from other conflicts) are remembered. At 8pm a 2 minutes silence is observed nationwide.

There were 7,900 military death, 198,000 civilian deaths, of which 20,000 died between late September 1944 and early May 1945 due to famine. But I will be remembering one victim of the estimated 104,000, Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

Elisabeth Huisman-Lees was born on August 17,1908 in The Hague, Netherlands. She died on May 4,1945 ,one day before the Netherlands was officially liberated, in Tröbitz, Germany.

Like most of the Dutch Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust, Elisabeth was Jewish but above anything else she was Dutch. She even played ‘Korfbal’ which is a typical Dutch sport.It has similarities to netball and basketball, and is played by two teams of eight players with four female players and four male players in each team. The objective is to throw a ball into a netless basket that is mounted on a 3.5 m (11.5 feet) high pole.

Elisabeth is on the right in the middle row

On February 1,1944 Elisabeth was sent from Westerbork to Bergen Belsen. From there she was put on the so called ‘Lost Train: Bergen-Belsen to Tröbitz’.

On April 10, 1945 a transport carrying Jews left Bergen-Belsen with an intended destination of Theresienstadt. However, due to bombings, the train ended up in the German town called Tröbitz.

In early April 1945, prisoners from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp were transferred to Theresienstadt concentration camp.

One of the three trains used for this was liberated by the Russian army near the village of Tröbitz. Many passengers did not survive this train journey. A large number of those who survived the train journey have died as a result of the outbreak of the typhus epidemic. The deceased were buried in a common grave behind the management barracks of the “Hansa” quarry.

211 died on that transport in Tröbitz. The really sad thing is that they all died just before or after the end of the war. Some died in June 1945. The youngest was Raphael Dasberg. He was only 8 years old, he died on April 22,1945.

If I would have to be silent for 2 minutes for each individual Dutch world war 2 victim, I would have to be silent for just over 300 days.

If I would have to remain silent for 2 minutes for each individual Jewish Holocaust victim, I would have to stay silent for 8,3344 days or 22.8 years. 10 years longer then the duration of the Holocaust.

Just think of that for a second.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/149380/elisabeth-huisman-lees

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/135297/raphael-dasberg

https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/60772/

http://www.musiques-regenerees.fr/GhettosCamps/Camps/TheLostTrain_Bergen-BelsenToTroebitz.html

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Elisabeth-Huisman-Lees/01/31022

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Escaping a Jewish Work camp.

There were 4 concentration camps in the Netherlands. The best known was Westerbork, the other 3 were Vught,Amersfoort and Ommen.

A relatively unknown fact is that there were also an estimated 42 work/labour camps. Between January 1942 and October 1942 , the Jewish work camps in the Netherlands spread across the countrie from which unemployed Jews had to carry out outdoor work.

The work in the camps was heavy, in almost all cases waste ground had to be cleared. The digging is done by hand. The men work long days, from six in the morning to six in the evening.

On the night of October 2–3, 1942, during Yom Kippur, the Jewish men were removed from most of these camps. They were transported to camp Westerbork on the pretext of family reunions. Most of them were sent later to Auschwitz, Sobibor and other camps, where the majority were murdered.

Maurits Jakobs was one of the men who were interned in Vedder one of the work camps. The camp was run by a Dutch company, Nederlandsche Heidemaatschappij, although it was under supervision by the Nazi regime.

At the end of September 1942, Maurits Jakobs cycled through a pitch-black forest in the middle of the night. He had just escaped from the Jewish labour camp Vledder in Drenthe. At that time, hw was not yet aware that his old camp mates would be deported to extermination camps a few days later, via Westerbork.

He managed to escape from Camp Vledder with the help of supervisor Willems, who was employed by the Nederlandse Heidemaatschappij. Willems has parked his bicycle at the sandy path. But the initiative for the escape came from Jo Oldenburger, a former employee of Maurits.

Oldenburger knew that the situation for Jews was becoming increasingly ominous and arranged a hiding place for Maurits and his wife in the town of Emmen. In the evening Oldenburger is waited for Mauris at the camp with an extra bicycle. Maurits, who initially still had doubts, decided to go along and follows Jo via the sandy path into the dark forest.

Maurits knew. as long as he would see the red bicycle light of Jo Oldenburger, who cycled in front of him, it would be safe. That was the arrangement.. Suddenly the light disappeared from view and Maurits hid with bicycle and all in a ditch. But Jo appeared to have turned a corner. They agreed to stay closer together.

The bike ride of almost seventy kilometers was tough for Maurits, who had not been on a bicycle for at least a year. After a long and painful journey they arrived at the hiding place in Emmen. Thanks to various hiding places, the Jakobs’ couple managed to stay under the radar all this time. They both survived the war.

This was probably the most ‘Dutch’ escape one could imagine. Escape by bicycle.

sources

https://www.ru.nl/rich/our-research/research-groups/cultures-of-war-and-liberation/current-projects/projects/knhm-1929-1954/

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/artikel/maurits-jakobs-ontsnapt-dagen-voor-grootschalige-deportatie-uit-kamp-vledder

https://joodsewerkkampen.nl/geschiedenis

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Only a death certificate to remember her by

All stories of children who were murdered during the Holocaust are extremely sad, but even in that there are different levels.

The story of Helga Renate Sara Zons is particularly heartbreaking . There are no pictures of her just a death certificate to remember her by, The certificate was even issued 10 years after she was murdered.

What make it really sad is the fact that she would be 79 today, she could still have a few decades left to live. But she never really had a life to begin with, she was born on April 26,1941. Her place of birth was Westerbork transit camp, she was born in captivity.

Sara only had 2 journeys in her short life. The first one was to Theresienstadt on September 4,1944.Her second and her last journey was to Auschwitz where she was murdered upon arrival on October 6,1944, she was only 3 years old.

A life never fulfilled.

Rest in peace little angel.

Sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Helga-Renate-Sara-Zons/01/97835

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/217307/helga-renate-sara-zons

The murder of Philibert Steinbach- a boy from Geleen

Geleen is a small former mining town in the province of Limburg, in the south east of the Netherlands. It is not a particular famous place, although it is the place where the first professional football was played in the Netherlands, and it used to host one of the world’s biggest rock festivals’PinkPop’

It is also the place where I was born and a boy called Philibert Steinbach. Most of us will have seen the picture of his sister ,Settela Steinbach.

Philibert Steinbach was born in Geleen on September 4, 1932. On May 16, 1944, Philibert Steinbach was arrested in Eindhoven. From May 16, 1944 to May 19, 1944 Philibert Steinbach was imprisoned in Camp Westerbork. From May 22, 1944 to August 3, 1944 Philibert Steinbach was in the Gypsy Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Sinti and Roma had to live in assembly camps outside cities from 22 June 1943, such as near The Hague or Eindhoven. At the behest of the Nazi occupier, the caravans were pulled together here and the Sinti and Roma concentrated. From that moment on, the Sinti and Roma were forced to live in the assembly camps or in a house. This made it easier for the occupier to arrest the Sinti and Roma a year later during the gypsy roundup.

Not the actual camp where the Steinbach family stayed.

The travel ban for Sinti and Roma , also known as the towing ban, was introduced on 1 July 1943. The wheels of the caravans were confiscated or had to be removed. Horses were also seized.

From May 22, 1944 to August 3, 1944 Philibert Steinbach was imprisoned in the Gypsy Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. On August 3, 1944 Philibert Steinbach was murdered in Auschwitz, he was aged 11.

The Sinti and Roma were seen by the Nazis as an inferior race and were persecuted for that reason. About 500 Sinti and Roma were deported from the Netherlands, almost the entire community. Across Europe, it is estimated that some 500,000 Sinti and Roma were murdered in concentration camps.

The picture at the top of the blog is an old picture of the start of the street in Geleen where I I grew up. When I was 11 I felt very safe and secure, due to a large part of my family living in the street. Nearly every second house would be occupied by an uncle, aunt or older cousin. Despite the fact that Philibert had a large family, he never enjoyed that safety. Most of his family were murdered just like him.

Only recently I discovered that I am related to the Steinbach family via some in laws. 77 years after the war I am still discovering new aspects of the horrors of the Holocaust.

This is the only official document I could find of Philibert, it was issued by the war graves foundation on February 26,1958.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Philibert-Steinbach/01/102563

https://www.stolpersteinesittardgeleen.nl/Slachtoffers/familie-Steinbach

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/658691/philibert-steinbach

Liberation of Westerbork

Westerbork was liberated on April 12, 1945, by Canadian forces. At the time there were still 876 inmates there. Something which isn’t widely known is that this liberation nearly was a destruction. The Canadians thought the camp was a Germany military base. They had plans for shelling Weseterbork.

This was published in de Telegraaf on September 14,1998.

“Title: ESCAPED PRISONER SAVED WESTERBORK FROM BEING BOMBARDED
Publication: DE TELEGRAAF
Date of the Publication: 14-09-1993

————————————–Title————————————————

ESCAPED PRISONER SAVED WESTERBORK FROM BOMBARDMENT
————————————Summary———————————————

As now is evident, the last 900 Jewish prisoners held captive by the Germans in concentration camp Westerbork
escaped near death on the 12th of April 1945.
—————————————Text———————————————–

Escaped Jew saved Westerbork from being bombarded.
From our correspondent
WESTERBORK, Tuesday
As now is evident, the last 900 Jewish prisoners held captive by the Germans in concentration camp Westerbork escaped near death on the 12th of April 1945.
The Canadian Army, which liberated the camp that day, were about to destroy the camp by bombarding it. The Allies believed it to be a military camp housing German troops which were determined to fight to the end. A fatal error only averted in the very last moment through the intervention of a Jewish camp inmate from Amsterdam. He managed to escape in the night from the 11th to the 12th after the German SS guards secretly had fled on the 10th.
The man, who recently turned 70 years old (Ed.: in 1993) and now lives in Canada, told his perilous adventure last week for the first time to the Director D. Mulder of the herinneringscentrum – Remembrance Center Westerbork. “We keep his identity for the time being a secret because he still is quite undone by what happened to him during wartime.” according director Mulder.

Oranjekanaal – the Orange canal

In the meantime, this sensational statement has been confirmed by the second principle player in this near-drama, Brigadier-General Allard of the 6th Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division. Allard was promoted to Chief of Staff of the Canadian Army.
The escapee, who hailed from Amsterdam, managed to swim across the Oranjekanaal, in the early hours of the morning of the 12th of April. Next he was apprehended by recently arrived troops under Allard. The Canadians dit not believe the escaped prisoner who told them that only civilians were in the camp and returned him to Westerbork together with a reconnaissance patrol in order to obtain certainty. Although the patrol encountered wandering Germans with whom they exchanged shots, the soldiers managed to bring out report that the man from Amsterdam had been correct. This convinced Allard, resulting in the cancellation of the planned bombardment.
According to Mulder, the statement of the people involved is of significant importance, because very little is known about the circumstances surrounding the events dealing with the liberation of camp Westerbork. “I have arranged with Allard that together we would conduct an investigation into this matter,” according to the director.

It is unfortunate indeed that more that 60 years have gone by without having obtained a crystal clear picture as to what exactly happened on that momentous day, the 12th of April 1945. Various stories have emerged, several have been recorded on this Website. I believe all who were there and lived through the liberation period are sincere men. Each of them sheds a ray of light on an otherwise clouded over bit of history. Somewhere in between rests the truth.”

Westerbork was originally built in 1939 as a refugee camp. Given the increasing number of German Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi regime.

Jacques Schol, a Dutchman, was commander of the camp from 16 July 1940 and until January 1943. On July 1st 1942, the Germans took over the control of Westerbork and transformed it into a transit camp.

On 1 July 1942, the camp was officially placed under the jurisdiction of the SS; it was no longer a refugee camp, but a transit camp. A fortnight later, the first deportations to the east began, dozens of cattle cars left the camp every week for the death camps of Poland.  Westerbork became the biggest transit point in Western Europe.

Although it was not a death camp, it was a cynical place. The illusion was created that things were not as bad as they seemed, given the inmates a sense of hope. It had a football league, schools and an orchestra and there were regular cabaret performances.

Actress Camilla Spira, who was briefly a member of the cabaret, remembered her disbelief at the enthusiasm of the audience:

“This couldn’t be, they enjoyed themselves so, and they sat there in rags. We were the collection camp, these people were dragged here, and then it was on to Auschwitz or Theresienstadt. These volleys of laughter, this excitement – in the moment when they saw us, the people forgot everything. And it was horrible, for the next morning they went to death … they were only there for a night.”

Etty Hillesum wrote in one of her letters:

“the comic Max Ehrlich and the hit composer Willy Rosen, who looks like a walking corpse. A little while ago he was on the list for transport, but he sang his lungs out a few nights in a row for an enchanted audience including the commander and his followers … the commander, who valued art, found it wonderful and Willy Rosen was spared … and over there is another court jester: Erich Ziegler, the favourite pianist of the commanders. There is a legend that he is so amazing that he can even play Beethoven’s ninth as a jazz piece, and if that isn’t something else…”

The camp even had healthcare services and a Hospital. Again to create this illusion that life would continue as normal as possible and that the accommodation was only temporary . Soon they would be resettled. For 107,000 people this resettlement meant being murdered in Auschwitz, Sobibor and other extermination camps or labour camps.

Abraham Mol ,a former civil servant of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works and former male nurse of camp Westerbork recalled his memories of the liberation in an interview a different liberation story of Transit Camp Westerbork. This camp was located in the moors of the province of Drente, from where Dutch Jews were deported to the extermination centers in Poland.

Abraham Mol a former civil servant of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works and former male nurse of camp Westerbork recalled his memory of the liberation during an interview with ‘De Telegraaf’

“Commandant Gemmeker, together with his SS guard unit, absconded on the 11th of April, 1945, when the Allied forces moved in northern direction. They posted posters which said that the camp was turned over to the Red Cross. For the last Jewish prisoners still in the camp it said that we could remove our Jew stars. Furthermore, we were advised to remain in our barracks, seeing the camp had now become front-line.”

After the liberation, the 876 Jews that were liberated, had to stay in the camp for a few more months longer. This was initially as security measure The entirety of the Netherlands hadn’t been liberated yet. There was still fighting further up north. In addition, the Canadian and Dutch authorities first wanted to investigate why these Jewish prisoners hadn’t been deported: were there people amongst them who had worked with the Nazis and had to be imprisoned (again)? It would take to July 1945 before the last prisoners were allowed to leave Camp Westerbork. In the meantime, most people had received the heartbreaking news that their deported family members, friends, and acquaintances who went to ‘the East’ were murdered there by the Nazis and would never return.

The prisoners had asked civil servant Aad van As to take charge as soon as the SS had left. Van As belonged to one of the few Dutch citizens who held a position in the camp.

Van As issued this statement:

“Since I have accepted the position of leadership for this camp for the time being, I issue the following orders:

1e. The present “Dienstbereiche – Heads of Service” have been changed as follows:

                        Administration .......................  R. Friend
                        Field Service .........................  E. Zielke
                        Technical Service ................... E. Wachsmann
                        Guard Service .......................  A. Pisk
                        Medical Service ..................... Dr. F. Spanier
                        Clothing Repair Shop ............. G. Frank
                        Woodworking Shop ............... H. Beyer

2e. In order to maintain discipline in the camp, the above mentioned services will continue to operate.

3e. The representatives in whom I have placed my trust, and who have promised to work alongside with
me in the interest of camp life are as follows:

                         M. de Jong
                         F. Schiff
                         K. Schlesinger
                         Dr. Speijer
                         A. van Witsen

These men will form together with me the leadership of this camp.

4e. Everyone is advised to carry out his or her task in his own best interest, and to maintain camp
discipline.

5e. I will not hesitate to take corrective action against anyone who, one way or another, attempts to
disturb order and discipline in the camp.

6e. Labor hours will be changed as follows:

  women: from 8 until 12 o'clock, or when required at other times.
  men: from 8 to 12 o'clock and from 14 to 16 hours (2 to 4 in the afternoon).

  No work will be required after Saturday at noon until Monday morning.
  Should it be in the best interest of camp life these hours may be adjusted to a longer work schedule.

The office for the directors of the camp is in Barrack No. 33 as of this afternoon.

                                                                              Signed by Aad van As

     Westerbork, d. 12 April 1945.                            ( A. van As Jr.)

Translation of the Dutch order issued by Aad van As, dated 12 April 1945″

The late Ed van Thijn, former Mayor of Amsterdam and Dutch Minister for Interior affairs, was one of the 876 people who were liberated.

In the spring of 1943, Eddy van Thijn and his mother are taken from home in a raid. They end up in camp Westerbork and after three months they go on the train, not to Auschwitz but back to Amsterdam.

Thanks to a ruse by his father, the family did not have to go to the concentration camps in Eastern Europe.

However, he had to go into hiding as a 10-year-old boy.

He went into hiding in Brunssum, a town in the province of Limburg, and subsequently went to 18 different hiding places in Limburg and Overijssel. The eighteenth address was betrayed and so he ended up in Westerbork again in January 1945

Hidden in a kitchen cupboard, he heard soldiers’ boots on the stairs. He was betrayed and arrested. But because the war was coming to an end, he again avoided transport from Westerbork to the Auschwitz extermination camp. ,,I wasn’t allowed to exist, but I do exist’, said Van Thijn later. Both his parents survived. Ed van Thijn died on December 19,2021

Ed asked himself the following questions most of his life, I think we can ask ourselves some of those questions also.

“Had I not been a child in the war, how bravely would I have behaved? Would I have joined the resistance? Would I have resisted? Would I have been as untouchable as my father? Would I have had the courage to jump out of a moving train? Would I have succeeded in getting my child out of Westerbork?’

sources

https://www.normandy1944.info/blog/liberation-of-camp-westerbork-nl

https://www.annefrank.org/en/timeline/225/westerbork-transit-camp-is-liberated/

https://holocaustmusic.ort.org/places/camps/western-europe/westerbork/

https://www.ushmm.org/learn/timeline-of-events/1942-1945/liberation-of-westerbork

https://kampwesterbork.nl/en/history/second-world-war/durchgangslager/66-history/durchgangslager/268-liberation

https://kampwesterbork.nl/de-stichting/nieuws/item/in-memoriam


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The Rooselaar Family-Murdered April 2.1943 in Sobibor.

I wish I could tell you a long story about the Rooselaar family, but I can’t. However the few things I do know I will tell you because it is a chilling tale of evil and destruction.

The Rooselaar family lived in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. They were moved or rather deported to Westerbork at some stage. I know this because on March 30th 1943 the whole family were put on transport from Westerbork to Sobibor. They arrived in Sobibor on April 2nd 1943, where they were all murdered upon arrival.

The family were:

Father -Hartog Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, on 23 July 1900.Reached the age of 42 years, occupation: Furniture maker.

Mother -Anna Rooselaar-Presser born in Amsterdam, 3 July 1904.Reached the age of 38 years

Son-Salomon Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 14 September 1930.Reached the age of 12 years.

Son-Barend Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 30 June 1932. Reached the age of 10 years.

Daughter-Estella Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 9 July 1936. Reached the age of 6 years.

Son-Eduard Rooselaar born in Amsterdam, 6 October 1938.Reached the age of 4 years.

All 6 members of the Rooselaar family were put on the March 3rd 1943 transport to Sobibor, but they weren’t the only ones. In total there were 1246 people who were on that transport.

On April 2nd 1943,1252 Dutch Jews were murdered in Sobibor. 113 were 18 years or younger. Among them were, Jacob de Vries born in The Hague on April 13.1941. He was 11 days away from his 2nd birthday when he was murdered.

Isidore Kiek born in Hilversum, 17 February 1932 .Reached the age of 11 years.

The oldest of those 133 children would have been 97 today. This means they all could have been still alive on April 2,2022.

On October 14, 1943, some 300 Jewish labourers at the camp rose in revolt and killed several SS supervisors and Ukrainian guards. Many inmates were killed during the rebellion or in the attempt to escape. All who remained were executed the following day. The Nazis dismantled the installations and planted the area with trees. Only about 50 Sobibor prisoners ultimately survived the war.

Imagine if the camp had remained open until the end of the war? More then 34,000 Dutch Jews were murdered in Sobibor which closed in November 1943. It had only be operational for just over 18 months.

Just over 56,000 Dutch Jews were murdered in Auschwitz ,which closed in January 1945.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Salomon-Rooselaar/01/65178

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/158373/hartog-rooselaar

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Donald Davids Murdered innocence

I always try to keep my emotions out of it when I write about the Holocaust, but I often fail. How could I not get emotional when I see a picture of a baby who was murdered.

Donald was born in Amsterdam, on 30 March 1941 .He was murdered in Sobibor, on 11 June 1943., aged 2.

His Father was Meindert Davids and his Mother was Alida Davids-Hoost.

Meindert Davids was born on 23 April 1911 in Rotterdam .He was the son of David Davids and Betje Godschalk. Meindert married Alida Hoost, on 3 July 1940 in Aamsterdam.Alida was born on 1 December 1917 in Amsterdam. She was the daughter of Godschalk Hoost and Leentje Beugeltas. The couple had one child, their pride and Joy Donald, who was born on 30 March 1941 in Amsterdam.

On 17 February 1943, Meindert, Alida and their baby boy Donald were deported from their house on the Waverstraat to concentration camp Vught. From the registration card of the Jewish Council archive of Meindert Davids, it shows that he has been transferred on 21 May 1943 from Vught to the Moerdijk Command, a satellite command of Vught, and subsequently to to Vught and then to Westerbork where he steyd in barrack 62. On 21 September Meindert was put on transport to Auschwitz.

Where he was immediately murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, upon arrival on September 24,1943

Little Donald and his Mother were sent to Westerbork on the 7th of June 1943.

Donald Davids was deported to Sobibor, together with his mother on the 8th June 1943 with the so-called children’s transport.

There were about 3000 people on that transport. Below is the breakdown of the age groups.

Off the 3000 people, 2743 are murdered in Sobibor. 17 Others are murdered elsewhere

Donald Davids is murdered on June 11.1943 He reached the age of 2 years. Another 3000+ Dutch Jews were murdered in Sobibor that day.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/156499/donald-davids

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Donald-Davids/01/3831

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Donald-Davids/01/3831

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Meir Levison-Born in Westerbork and murdered in Bergen Belsen.

Meir Levison was born in Westerbork on 19 November 1943.He was murdered in Bergen-Belsen on 21 March 1945. He was 1 year old when he was murdered.

There are no pictures of Meir. The opportunity for his proud parents to take pictures was taken away from them. Because Meir was born in captivity.

About 5 months after he was born he was born, he was deported to Bergen Belsen, on April 5 1944. He wasn’t the only person who was deported that day. There were another 29 people who were on that transport, all Jewish.

In Bergen Belsen he was murdered on March 21,1945. Only a few weeks before the camp was liberated and less then 2 months before the war ended in Europe.

On June 22,1951 his death certificate was signed on behalf of the then Dutch minister for justice. But justice was never done for the baby Meir Levison.

His parents survived the war.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/533861/about-meir-levison

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Meir-Levison/01/64221?lang=nl

https://www.wiewaswie.nl/nl/detail/99909664