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.

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Sources

Traces of War

Joods Mounument

NIOD

jodenvervolginginfotos.nl

 

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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.

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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 benched and some trees, surrounded by houses. The square was known(and still is) as the Jubeleum 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 want 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 neighboyrs 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

 

 

Your hate will die with you. My love will last.

LUIS KOE

You hate me simply because I am a Jew.

You hate me just because I am not a pure Aryan.

Yet by your own definition I look more Aryan then your leader, the same man who has told you to hate me.

You hate me because you lack the intellectual capacity to recognize that your hate is based on nothing.

You hate me  that’s why it is easy for you to kill me, but you only kill the body that encapsulated the essence of me.

You hate me and you will take that hate in to your grave and your hate will die with you, whereas my soul and love will love forever.

You hate me,  but I am loved by so many

I am Louis Koe I was born on January 3, 1936. I was deported to Sobibor in June 1943 from Vught via Westerbork on the so-called children’s transport. I was murdered  on July 9th, 1943 age 7.

 

Source

Yad Vashem

Joods Museum

 

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

Donation

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Sources

NIOD

 

The last single Journey: Westerbork-Auschwitz

Sign

One of the cruel jokes the Nazis played on their victims was giving them hope. Like a railway sign indicating a return journey that was never to be. Only empty trains returned ready to pick up more victims like lambs led to the slaughter.

Trein

On September 3,1944 the last transport by train from Westerbork Transit Camp to Auschwitz took place.

Westerbork

Between July 15 ,1942 and September 13,1944 a total of 99 trains had left Westerbork for either Auschwitz,Sobibor,Theresienstadt and Bergen Belsen.

On the September 3rd transport 1019 victims were transported to Auschwitz. A journey which would take 3 days. Even before they reached Auschwitz they endured hell, because they were cramped in cattle cars, quite literally like cattle. There were no toilets, barely any food or water, nowhere to sleep. Some would die even before they reached their final destination.

What makes this transport special is because of one family, A Father,mother and 2 daugthers, only the father would eventually survive. This family was the Frank Family.

scheule

Anne and Margot Frank had one more journey to make on 28 October they were selected to be transported to Bergen-Belsen, where both girls died. Otto and Edith Frank remained in Auschwitz but Edith eventually died of starvation in January 1945.

Frank Family

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Transport 64:Westerbork-Sobibor

Westerbork

The Transport 64  from Westerbork in the Netherkands , was the designated transport number for the moving of 2511 people to Sobibor in Poland, on May 18th 1943.(The transport also had designated number 12, there would often be more numbers for 1 transport)

Trein

Most of them were residents of the city of Nijmegen. In the middle of the night 17/18 May they were taken from their homes by the SS and NSB.

The journey would take 3 days, those 3 days were the last days of the 2511 alive.Among these 2511 were,620 children. One of those  children was 10 year old Lotte Löbenstein .

cHILD

As they arrived in Sobibor all 2511 were led straight to the gas chambers and were killed.All that was left of these people were their names on a list, a number, no longer seen as a human being.

Lijst

 

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 Sobibor

Joods Monument

 

 

Johnny & Jones-Jazz musicians, killed because they were Jewish.

Prentbriefkaart_Johnny_and_Jones

Aside from the human costs of he persecution of the Jews by the Nazis, it also had a devastating impact on culture. So many very talented painters,writers,musicians and other artists were killed because they were Jewish. Artists whose art could still have been enjoyed today,but they never got a chance.

Johnny & Jones were a Jazz/Cabaret duo from Amsterdam. Nol (Arnold Siméon) van Wesel (Johnny) and Max (Salomon Meyer) Kannewasser (Jones).

The duo worked together at the De Bijenkorf (Beehive) department store.bijenkorf

During a company party in 1934, they joined up with The Bijko Rhythm Stompers, where their talents were discovered. Two years later they quit their jobs and began performing under the name Johnny & Jones. Their biggest hit was “Mr Dinges doesn’t know what swing is” (“Mijnheer Dinges weet niet wat swing is”).

hoes

They made jazz music accompanied by the guitar, and their lyrics, invariably pronounced with an American accent, were characterized by humorous, topical parodies. Beginning in 1937 they were regularly played on the VARA-radio and became immensely popular.

In May 1940 the Germans invaded and occupied the Netherlands, gradually but at a fast pace the Nazi began introducing antisemitic laws. Also laws banning some musical genres were introduced, Jazz was labelled as Entartete Musik or Degenerate music, alabel applied in the 1930s by the Nazi government in Germany to certain forms of music that it considered to be harmful or decadent.

Entartete_musik_poster

Because they were Jewish,  Johnny & Jones could only play for Jewish audiences, during the German occupation,and after 1941 were not allowed to play at all. In 1943 Max,Nol and their wives were arrested and were send  to the Westerbork transit camp.In the camp they performed once under the name Jonny und Jones since in the revue only the German language was allowed. In 1944 they were sent on a day’s work assignment from Westerbork to Amsterdam, during which they managed to clandestinely record the song “Westerbork Serenade”.

The song starts of with them singing that they don’t feel like themselves and that they aren’t great. Their hearts beat like the airplane demolishing  yard, which was actually the job assigned to them in the camp,dismantling crashed warplanes.

(Drawing by Leo Kok, a Jewish artist who drew this picture of ‘Johnny and Jones’ dismantling planes in 1944. Leo Kok died a week after liberation day)Tekening_Nol_van_Wezel_en_Max_Kannewasser

Below is the translated text of the song.

“Hello we feel a little out of order,
To pull myself together is quite hard,
Suddenly I’m a different person,
My heart beats like the airplane wrecking yard.

I sing my Westerbork serenade,
Along the little rail-way the tiny silver moon shines
On the heath.
I sing my Westerbork serenade
With a pretty lady walking there together,
Cheek to cheek.
And my heart burns like the boiler in the boiler house,
Oh it never hit me quite like this at Mother’s place
I sing my Westerbork serenade,
In between the barracks I threw my arms around her
Over there
This Westerbork love affair.
And so I went over to the medic,
The guy says: “there is nothing you can do;
Oh but you will feel a whole lot better
After you give her a kiss or two
(But that you must not do…)”

Even in this dark period they managed to keep composure and a sense of humour.

On 4 September 1944 Van Wesel and Kannewasser were deported on one of the last transports from Westerbork to a series of concentration camps: Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Ohrdruf and Bergen-Belsen. They died of exhaustion during the last days of the war in 1945, Nol van Wesel (Johnny) died on 20 March 1945

Max (Salomon Meyer) Kannewasser (Jones) .on 15 April, the day that the camp was liberated.

Vergeb Belsen

The only consolation in this story is that Johnny and Jones songs can still be heard and because of modern day technology their voices can still be heard all over the world.

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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Source

Wikipedia Netherlands