What is the point of killing a 102 year old.

clara

The picture above is taken from a local Dutch newspaper. It is a small article from April 30,1942. Although it is a small notification it gives a wealth of information. The article is about Klara(or Clara) Borstel-Engelsman, born in Amsterdam  the piece announces her 100th birthday and how it is celebrated.

It tells us she was staying in the hostel of the Morpurgo family, I believe this was a Jewish family. It continues to say that she still has all her faculties and still likes to play a game o Domino and that she loves to chat with the the fellow residents hostel. Her chair was decorated and above the chair there was a Jewish wish “ad meea weësriem sjana” meaning up to 120 years.

What it doesn’t say but yet makes it clear is that until that date April 30,1942 the Jewish population still had some normality in their lives. It was only a day before her 100th birthday the Jews had to wear the yellow star.This was nearly 2 years after  the Nazis invaded the Netherlands.

In May 1942 construction started on Vught Concentration camp, and in the summer of 1942 the deportations started.

In March 1944 Klara was deported to Westerbork where she celebrated her 120th birthday. From Westerbork she was sent to Auschwitz, on a cattle train, where she dies on October 12 1944, aged 102.

clara 102

Now some may say that she lived a long life, which is true. However what sense does it make to put a 102 year old woman on a train so she can get killed inn a place hundreds of kilometers away from where she was. Taken away all the emotions and looking at it with a purely clinical view, not only is it a waste of resources and time , it also makes no economical sense, she was likely to die soon anyway. And that’s another bit of information the article doesn’t give us but it blatantly , the Nazis were so full of hate that they forgot all sense of proportionality.

Klara would be the oldest Dutch Jewish citizen to be murdered during the Holocaust.

Below is another notification of her pending 100th birthday.

Clara verjaardag

Many thanks to Norman Stone for pointing out the story of Klara to me on the Facebook  page Holocaust Educators of America.

 

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Sources

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/418106361560509/permalink/2776891269015328/

 

Annelise Julie van Voolen-Murdered age 9 months.

annelise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holocaust – Victim by Victim

remy

The UN designated this day January 27 as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It coincides with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, although Auschwitz (which consisted out of about 40 camps) was the biggest death camp. There were other camps, though smaller in scale but equally as evil.

I know it is hard for people to fathom the amount of people who were murdered, but you can start remembering them victim by victim.

Victims like Koenraad Huib Gezang aka Remy van Duinwijck, two days from now it would have been his 78th birthday, but he didn’t even reach his 2nd birthday.

In October 1942, he was taken in by the crèche opposite the Hollandsche Schouwburg in Amsterdam. He was left as  an abandoned child.Nobody knew who he was. They named him Remi van Duinwijck, after Remi after the boy in the book ‘‘Sans Famille’ or Nobody’s Boy by Hector Malot. Duinwijck was the place where he had been found.

The little angel was real heart breaker as he had stolen the hearts  of the  staff at the crèche and even of SS-Hauptsturmführer Ferdinand aus der Fünten, who came to visit him regularly. But all this attention he received made it impossible to keep him safe send him into hiding, he was taken away and sent to Westerbork in April 1943, where he remained until May 18, 1943/ From there he was sent to Sobibor where he arrived on May 21 and was killed. After the war,in 2002,.  his true identity  was discovered, his real name was Koenraad Huib Gezang.

His parents had decided in August 1942 in order to increase the chance of survival to split up the family. Koen was initially send to another family member and via other shelter places eventually ended up at the crèche, where he was left as an abandoned child.

His mother Florence Gezang-Goudeket was also murdered in Sobibor, om April 9, 1943 just a few weeks before Koen was murdered.

His father Maurits, who had been a member of the resistance in the Hague , the Netherlands and Koen’s brother Edward both survived the war.

Koen

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

https://jck.nl/nl/page/koenraad-huib-gezang

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/144975068/koenraad-huib-gezang

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/144975068/koenraad-huib-gezang

NIOD

 

 

#holocaust

 

107,000 people on 97 transports

Train

I am not a great fan of statistics because without the full story behind them, they can be manipulated and often they are.

However sometimes they can be useful to indicate a scale, In this the scale of death and destruction during the Holocaust.

Between July 15,1942 and 13 September 1944 107,000 Jews were deported  from Westerbork in the Netherlands to other camps in Europe, mainly eastern Europe and for the majority to the death camps.

107,000 people over 97 transports, which is an average of about 1,103 people per transport. Just think of that for a minute.

If you have come to terms with that number  , then leave this sink in 107,000 is only about 1.6% of the total numbers of Jews murdered.

train 1

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

NIOD

 

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

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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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/

 

93 Trains

transport

93 trains left concentration camp Westerbork in the Netherlands between July 1942 and September 1944. All the trains were heading eastbound. Not one single  journey would be  a pleasant one , The final destination would more then likely result in death.

I deliberately call Westerbork a concentration camp, because that’s what it was, It is often referred to as a Transit camp, although technically correct, I am not comfortable with theat description, because I believe it lessens the horrific nature the camp really had. The irony,for lack of a better word,  is that in the summer of 1939 the camp was designated for Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany.

93 Trains

Auschwitz  58,380    854 survived.
Sobibor  34,313           18 survived.
Theresiënstadt 4,894   approximately  1,980 survived.
Bergen-Belsen 3,751     approximately 2,050 survived.
Buchenwald and Ravensbrück 150      10 survived.

Each number is a human being with a story of life lived, and a life that could have been.

On September 3,1944 the last train to Auschwitz departed from Westerbork. On that transport was an author who go one to sell millions of books. She and her family all arrived in Auschwitz 3 days later.

list

The author was Anne Frank.She never got to enjoy the success of her book. The fact is that if she would have survived, her diary would probably not have been published, and if I am honest, I would have preferred it that way. I would have preferred that she would have survived the war, together with all the other millions who were brutally murdered because they were either Jewish, Gypsy, Disabled,Communist,Jehovah Witness or just someone who spoke out to the regime.

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

Traces of War

Joods Mounument

NIOD

jodenvervolginginfotos.nl

 

Ivor Arnold Troostwijk-10 weeks old Holocaust victim.

ausch

I so vividly remember the day my wife told we were expecting out first child. The only way to describe it was magic. And that is how new life should be celebrated as a magical moment, young expecting parents should only have to worry about the health and well being of their baby.

But what if you are expecting a baby and you don’t even know if you will survive leave alone your child.

Annie Troostwijk-Samuel and her husband Abraham Troostwijk knew in In October 1943 that their baby was due in 6 weeks time.

The couple got married on April 9, 1941. On March 17 , Abraham notified the governing Church authorities about his plans to marry Annie Samuel. Although they were Jewish it was standard practice that  the church authorities would also be notified. Abrham did this in writing.

letter

 

In October 1943 they decided to move from Arnhem to Amsterdam, in the hope that they would be safer there and their son could be born in a safe place. They left their other child,one year old daughter Greetje behind in a safe hiding place.

Alas Amsterdam was not the safe place they thought it would be. The couple decided to take  the gamble: and go by train to Belgium.But they were arrested at Den Bosch train station and .ended up in a detention centre.

November 13,1943 was a cold Saturday but it was also the day that little ray of Sunshine Ivor was born in the prison hospital.

One month later, Annie, Abraham and Ivor were transported to Westerbork.

westerbork

On 25 January 1944 Annie, Ivor and 946 other Jews were put on transport to Auschwitz. Even the heavens were sad that day because on January 25,1944 there was a Solar eclipse.

Annie and Ivor arrived three days later in Auschwitz and were killed straight after arrival.

It is not clear what exactly happened to Abraham or when he was put on transport, but he died March 28,1945.

Greetje survived and lives now in Israel.

There is a picture of Ivor available but I decided not to use it because even though it is a picture shortly taken after his birth, it is still distressing to see this tiny infant knowing he would be dead 10 weeks later.

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

Brabant remembers

Joods Mounument

 

The Löb siblings

Family

In the 1920’s it would not be uncommon ,in the Catholic south of the Netherlands, that 1 or 2 children in a family would join a monastery or convent. But 6 from the 8 children was rare. What makes it even more rare with  the Löb siblings that their parents had been Jewish. but they had converted to Catholicism.

Three of the Löb  brothers went to the Koningshoeven Abbey in Berkel-Enschot and two sisters to the nearby Koningsoord Trappist convent.

In 1926, when the oldest son George entered the Cistercian Abbey of Koningshoeven. Robert and Ernst would soon join their brother. George would take the name
Father Ignatius, Robert was Brother Linus and Ernst, Father Nivardus. The
girls in the family soon followed suit the oldest daughter Lina entered a
Trappistine monastery where she was later joined by her twin sisters. Lina
became Mother Hedwig, Dora became Mother Maria Theresia. The  youngest, (by a margin), of the six, the frail Louise, joined her sisters  there in 1937, henceforth she became known as Sister Veronica.

Only Hans and Paula, the two youngest children stayed at home . The Löb parents had died before the Netherlands was occupied.

Catholic Jews, such as the Löb family, did not appear to be in any imminent danger from the German occupiers.

However on 2 August 1942 5 of the Löb siblings were arrested The immediate cause of the arrest of the Löb family  was the letter of protest against the deportation of Jews that was read aloud in churches by order of the bishops in late July 1942. A declaration was being read in churches across the Netherlands, on behalf of the Archbishop. The declaration was a protest at the deportation of Jews.

The 5 had been urged to flee by other Nuns and Monks but they refused, The 3 Brothers said the Nazis threatened to kill ten priests if the brothers didn’t give ourselves up.

The 5 Löb siblings  were transferred to Amersfoort, Westerbork and finally to Auschwitz where, in the autumn of 1942, George and Ernst were killed on August 19, 1942. The other 3 were all killed on September 30,1942.

Louise managed to evade persecution, Several times she was summoned but she always received help, once by  the Jewish Council.And another time by a Doctor who worked at the monastery. Unfortunately because of being frail and sickly she died on August 1,1944 due to Tuberculosis.

Hans,Hans the youngest brother was also arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz,
where he died in February 1945.Paula, the youngest child who had married was hidden by a Catholic family during the Nazi persecution,survived the war.

On 2 August 1942, 245 Jewish Catholics were arrested along with the Löb siblings. To the Nazis it didn’t matter if they had converted to Catholicism, in their eyes and according to their laws these people were still considered Jewish.

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

Brabantremembers.com

Joods Monument

Catholic Heritage Curricula

 

 

Westerbork the Jewish refugee camp that became a concentration camp.

Westerbork

What a lot of people don’t realize is that Camp Westerbork was actually established as a refugee camp for Jews escaping the Nazi regime in Germany and Austria.and who had illegally entered the Netherlands. It was established by the Dutch government in the summer of 1939.

In July 1942, the Nazis took over the camp and turned it into a transition camp. Jews arrested in the Netherlands were taken to the camp and put on transport. Transport trains arrived at Westerbork every Tuesday from July 1942 to September 1944, and left with close to 100,000 jews.But also Roma and Sinti were transported from Westerbork.

The Deportations were part of  the responsibilities of Gestapo sub-Department IV-B4, which was headed by Adolf Eichmann.

train

Although the camp was relatively “humane” by  Nazi standards , it was cruel in other ways. Jewish inmates with families were housed in 200 interconnected cottages The cottages  contained two rooms, a toilet, a hot plate for cooking, and a small yard. Single inmates were put  in oblong  shaped barracks which contained a separate bathroom for each sex.

The camp also had a school, hairdresser, orchestra and even restaurants arranged by SS officials to give inmates a false sense of hope for survival but also to aid avoiding problems during transportation.

school

Nearly t all of the  estimated 95,00 persons deported to Auschwitz and Sobibor in German-occupied Poland were killed upon arrival.

The camp was  liberated by Canadian forces on April 12, 1945. A total of 876 inmates were found.

liberation

The fact that the Nazis maintained that false sense of hope is probably one of the most sickening aspects of the camp. They knew what the fate was of the inmates and giving them that hope that they would survive, that they were only going to be resettled to Eastern Europe.

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

USHMM

Liberation Route Europe

 

Law abiding citizen

Louis

I don’t know what it is but the last few days I have discovered several accounts of victims of the Holocaust which are very near to me. Not so much that I was related to these people or that I knew them, but I knew the locality and the addresses where they lived. In fact I passed these places by on a daily basis and in the case of Louis van Dam , sometimes even more then 10 times a day.

At the back of my secondary school there was a square . It was really a small park with a few benches and some trees, surrounded by houses. The square was known(and still is) as the Jubileum plein (Jubilee square)

We would often use this square for physical education lessons. One of the tests we had for PE was a run around the small park, We had a certain time (I believe it was 10 minutes) to run around the park as often as we could. 10 times or more would be a pass, anything below 10 was a fail.

plein

You probably are thinking “where is he going with this” ? Well the name I mentioned earlier was Louis van Dam, Louis and his family lived in one of the houses on the square, Jubileumplein 12,Geleen from 1930 to 1939. In 1939 they moved to a village a few miles south, Doenrade. The reason why they moved was because of health reasons. Louis’s wife  Sophie Silbernberg-van Dam, had asthma and the pollution caused by the nearby coal mine was bad for her health. However Louis also wanted to live in a remote spot near the German border so he could help Jewish refugees. who crossed the border.

In that same year Louis became a bit of a ‘celebrity’ but not in a beneficial way, He had overheard a smuggling scheme in a local pub. Some smugglers had been smuggling Dutch army uniforms to Germany(the uniforms were to be used by the German army for the invasion of the Netherlands). As a law abiding citizen Louis reported this to the Police. Two men were arrested as a result.A newspaper article was published about the incident.

Artikel

Despite the fact that Louis van Dam’s name only appeared in an abbreviated from in the newspaper, it was still known that he had reported the smugglers. Louis and his family received death threats afterwards because of this they moved again, this time to Amsterdam.

A few months after they moved, the German army invaded the Netherlands. Louis’s son Guus got involved in a students resistance group and was arrested at the end of 1941 or start of 1942.

Guus

Although the intended target for the arrest was Louis himself, some neighbours had betrayed him for listening to an English radio station, which was forbidden by the Nazi authorities. But Louis was ill and Guus was arrested instead.

Guus was sent to Auschwitz on November 10th,1942 via Scheveningen, Amersfoort and  Westerbork. It is not known where he died , his formal death certificate states date of death March 31,1944 in middle Europe, aged 22.

Louis, his wife and 2 daughters, Roos en Mimi, went into hiding.

van dam

Louis van Dam had gone into hiding using the alias Christiaan Willem Zijlstra. He died while in hiding and was buried under his alias at the Algemeene Begraafplaats Crooswijk in Rotterdam on 23 April 1945.

After the war  his remains were exhumed and  reburied at the Jewish cemetery Toepad in Rotterdam. Louis van Dam’s wife and daughter survived the war.

It just goes to show you can be passing by a house every day without being aware of the historical significance of it.

12

 

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

Stichting Stolpersteine Sittard-Geleen

Joods Monument

Google Streetview