The final destination for the Cohen family from Geleen-Auschwitz

Geleen Limburg

This blog will be based on facts and some presumptions, but the presumptions are more then likely correct.

I was going over the history of the deported Jews from my birthplace Geleen, south east of the Netherlands. when I noticed the name of the Cohen family. There is not a lot I know or could find out about them except for the fact they used to have a clothing shop in Geleen and Maastricht  prior to  World War Two.

brink_ten_geh_cohen_esthella_winkel.jpg()(4CD2729BAB8DF2822BC2D8B302A08871)

I do know they were a family of 6. The Father Simon, the Mother Esthella Carolina Cohen-ten Brink. Daughters Josephine, age 12, Henny age 16.Frieda age 17 and 1 son Gerrit. Gerrit is the only one who survived the war. He died on September 22, 1998, age 76. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Beek, a town a few miles from Geleen.(Picture courtesy of Frank Janssen)

446px-Graf_Gerrit_Cohen_Beek

 

On 25 August 1942, approximately 20 Jewish citizens were brought to and then deported from town hall by the Germans. The Cohen family were among them. They were then taken to Maastricht.

93c7b7ae5b9fbf0f723497c5787b8a52

On that same day they were put on transport to Westerbork on the 25th of August 1942. On the 28th of August they left Westerbork for Auschwitz where they arrived on the 30th of August.

Simon,Esthella Carolina,Josephine and Frieda all died on the 31st of August. Henny died on the 26th of September.

Gerrit Cohen had escaped on August the 25th  1942. When the Nazis had come for the family he managed to escape via a roof window and went into hiding.

When I mentioned presumptions earlier I was referring to the transport dates, for I do believe they are correct but I could not fully verify them. The transport date from Westerbork  to Auschwitz is correct though.

Treinbord_Westerbork-Auschwitz_Auschwitz_State_Museum

Such was the evilness of the Nazi regime that they even gave people on the transport hope, pretending there was a possible return journey.

One of the citizens of Geleen,Rie op den Camp, mentioned in her diary of the 25th of August 1942, when the Jews were put on transport to Maastricht, she overheard one of the German soldiers saying  “Arme Menschen, wir müssen uns schämen, dass wir zu so eines Volk gehören”, which translates from German to English is “Poor people. we should be ashamed to belong to a people like ours” This indicates that not all Germans subscribed to Adolf Hitler’s ideology but also that they were aware what fate awaited the people on those transports.

kamp westerbork.jpg

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

$2.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

De retour reis die nooit plaatsvond

++++++Text is in Dutch++++++++++

1

‘Westerbork-Auschwitz, Auschwitz-Westerbork’ staat op dit metalen treinbord. De terugreis die wordt vermeld wordt door niemand gemaakt. Op 15 en 16 juli 1942 vertrekken de eerste twee treinen met ruim 2000 joden van doorgangskamp Westerbork naar het vernietigingskamp Auschwitz in Polen.

2

De geschiedenis van kamp Westerbork is onlosmakelijk verbonden met het lot dat de Joodse gemeenschap tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog trof. De Jodenvervolging die zich tussen 1940 en 1945 afspeelde, zorgde ervoor dat een gemeenschap die zich sinds honderden jaren in Nederland bevond, grotendeels werd uitgeroeid.

Bijna 107.000 mensen zijn met 97 transporten vanuit kamp Westerbork gedeporteerd.
Op 15 juli 1942 vertrok het eerste transport naar Auschwitz-Birkenau. Vanaf 2 maart 1943 tot 16 november 1943 was er sprake van een wekelijks ritme: iedere dinsdag vertrok een trein met duizend tot soms meer dan drieduizend personen.

westerdeparture
De deportaties werden georganiseerd vanuit Berlijn: datum, bestemming en het aantal te deporteren mensen. De SS-commandant van Westerbork was verantwoordelijk voor het opstellen van de transportlijsten. De uitvoering werd overgelaten aan de Joodse kampleiding. De bestemming was meestal Auschwitz of Sobibor. Enkele keren Bergen-Belsen en Theresienstadt en soms een ander kamp. Het laatste grote transport vertrok met 279 Joden op 13 september 1944 naar Bergen-Belsen. Slechts 5.000 gedeporteerden overleefden de oorlog.

De gevangenen in Westerbork leven tussen hoop en vrees, van transport tot transport. De avond voor het vertrek is ondraaglijk. In de barak wordt dan bekendgemaakt wie moet vertrekken. De volgende dag is er geen ontkomen aan. In iedere smerige wagon van de lange trein worden soms wel 70 mensen met bagage gepropt. De deuren worden aan de buitenkant vergrendeld. ‘Mannen wordt het te machtig, ze slikken de tranen weg. De trein gilt; de giftige slang begint te schuifelen’, schrijft Philip Mechanicus in Westerbork in zijn dagboek.

Vanuit Nederland zijn 107.000 joden en 245 Sinti en Roma grotendeels via Westerbork weggevoerd.

4

 

The “Jewish-SS” of Westerbork

11548

Ironically Camp Westerbork had been set up in 1939 to house Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany to the Netherlands.

Following the German invasion of the Netherlands, the Nazis took over the camp and turned it into a deportation camp. From this camp, 101,000 Dutch Jews and about 5,000 German Jews were deported to their deaths in Occupied Poland. In addition, there were about 400 Gypsies in the camp and, at the very end of the War, some 400 women from the resistance movement.1024px-Westerbork-monument2

The Ordenienst, or Jewish police in Westerbork, were universally detested by camp inmates for their cruelty and role in collaborating with the Nazis. Composed of Jews from Holland and other European countries, members of the OD were responsible for guarding the punishment block and generally maintaining order in the camp. The OD consisting of 20 men in mid-1942, grew to a peak of 182 men in April 1943 and stood at 67 in February 1944. Wearing the “OD” badge on the left breast was decreed in Camp Order No. 27 of 23 April 1943.

41.-NIOD-96763

The general supervision of the camp was in the hands of the SS and early on they were also responsible for the security in the vicinity of the camp. Daily life inside the camp was overseen by different Jewish work groups, including the Ordedienst  (Order Service). The members of this group, who wore these green coveralls, were responsible for fire safety and internal security.

 

They supervised the labour gangs, both inside and outside the camp. They also guarded the people scheduled for transport to the concentration and extermination camps. At times the Jewish Order Service was also deployed for razzias (roundups) in Amsterdam

 

And also  to retrieve the sick from their homes and for instance to empty the Jewish psychiatric hospital the Apeldoornsche Bosch in 1943.Hoofdgebouw_Apeldoornsche_Bosch_(ca._1930)

Needless to say, members of the Orderdienst were not particularly popular among Westerbork’s prisoners and often referred to as the ‘Jewish-SS’. Ultimately, most of the members of the Jewish Order Service were transported as well.

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

$2.00

Eddy Hamel- Player of AFC AJAX,killed in Auschwitz.

enhanced-2793-1403104209-1

AFC Ajax is one of the most well known football clubs in Europe if not the world.Aside from dozens of national trophies it also won 12 international trophies, a feat repeated by only a few other clubs.

1024px-ajax_puchar

Historically, Ajax was popularly seen as having “Jewish roots”. Although not an official Jewish club like the city’s WV-HEDW, Ajax has had a Jewish image since the 1930s when the home stadium was located next to a Jewish neighbourhood of Amsterdam-Oost and opponents saw many supporters walking through the Nieuwmarkt/Waterloopleinbuurt (de Jodenhoek—the “Jews’ corner”) to get to the stadium.

Die-hard Ajax supporters call themselves “Joden” — Dutch for “Jews” — a nickname that reflects both the team’s and the city’s Jewish heritage. This nickname for Ajax fans dates back to before World War II, when Amsterdam was home to most of the Netherlands’ 140,000 Jews.

The club  has an academy where it draws most of its players from but it has also always attracted foreign players. Eddy Hamel was no exception.

Hamel was the first Jewish player for Ajax. Born in New York City, New York, he moved to Amsterdam in his teenage years. As a right winger, Hamel became a first team regular for Ajax. He was the first player with a Jewish background who made it to the first team, and to date only three others have followed in his footsteps – Johnny Roeg, Bennie Muller and Daniël de Ridder. Hamel was a fan favourite and was cited by pre-World War II club legend Wim Anderiesen as part of the strongest line-up he ever played with.He was Ajax’ right winger from 1922 to 1930.  He scored eight goals in 125 league games.

After his retirement as a player, he managed RKV Volendam, in 1935 they became champion and he also managed  Alcmaria Victrix for three years and continued to play in an Ajax veteran squad.

alcmaria_victrix_logo

Hamel was also to become the club’s only war victim who played for the first team of Ajax. In 1941 all Jewish players were dishonorably discharged from their clubs as decreed by the Nazi’s.He possessed a United States passport, which he could not produce when Nazi Germany invaded.

In October 1942 Eddy Hamel and his family were arrested and deported to Westerbork to the “English Baracks” where he meets and befriends Leon Greenman.

He was murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp on 30 April 1943. In the TV document Auschwitz: The Forgotten Evidence, fellow inmate and friend  Leon Greenman said he was in front of Eddy when he told him he had an abscess in his mouth, while in a regular medical selection queue, while Leon passed that selection Eddy was sent to the gas chambers because of his abscess.

austwitzsurvivorobetype

 

 

 

 

The return journeys that never happened

40-niod-66086

This metal train sign ‘Westerbork-Auschwitz, Auschwitz-Westerbork’ indicated a return trip that nobody would ever make.

40-bord-westerbork

On 15 and 16 July 1942, the first two cargo trains packed with more than 2,000 Jews left the Westerbork Transit Camp headed for the Auschwitz extermination camp in Poland. Most of the people aboard these transports were killed the same day they arrived. A total of 65 trains left for Auschwitz alone.

03

The prisoners at Westerbork lived from transport to transport and between hope and fear. The evening before a departure was unbearable because the names of those who would be transported were announced then. The next day there was no escape. Sometimes as many as 70 people with all their bags were crammed into each filthy boxcar of the lengthy train. The doors were then bolted shut from the outside. ‘It is overwhelming for the men; they swallow their tears. The train screeches: the poisonous snake begins to inch forward,’ wrote the Dutch writer and photographer Philip Mechanicus in the diary he kept in Westerbork.

philipmechanicus

Of the 107,000 Jews and 245 Sinti and Roma who were deported from the Netherlands, for the most part via Westerbork, only a total of 5,000 people returned.

Sadly enough Westerbork was established and built by  Dutch government as a refugee camp, in 1939, financed partly by Dutch Jews, to absorb fleeing Jews from Nazi Germany. The Jewish refugees were housed after they had tried to escape Nazi terror in their homeland.

3110

Following the German invasion of the Netherlands, the Nazis took over the camp and turned it into a deportation camp.

The general supervision of the camp was in the hands of the SS and early on they were also responsible for the security in the vicinity of the camp. Daily life inside the camp was overseen by different Jewish work groups, including the Ordedienst  (Lit. Order Service). The members of this group, who wore these green coveralls, were responsible for fire safety and internal security.

41-overall-ordedienst-westerbork

They supervised the labour gangs, both inside and outside the camp. They also guarded the people scheduled for transport to the concentration and extermination camps. At times the Jewish Order Service was also deployed for razzias (roundups) in Amsterdam, to retrieve the sick from their homes and for instance to empty the Jewish psychiatric hospital the Apeldoornsche Bosch in 1943.

apeldoornse_bosch_personeel1937

Needless to say, members of the Orderdienst were not particularly popular among Westerbork’s prisoners and often referred to as the ‘Jewish-SS’. Eventually, most of the members of the Jewish Order Service were transported as well.

0fc7482266f5f7d2270c5f2ddabb5da1

 

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

$2.00

Barrack 66-Camp Westerbork-the Christmas wish of a little boy.

westerbork-123

The Dutch Christmas is slightly different then other Christmas celebrations. On the 5th of December the Dutch celebrate “Sinterklaas” Saint Nicholas,although it is basically the same figure as Santa Claus or Father Christmas. There are subtle differences in the “configuration”

Sinterklaas doesn’t come from Lapland but from Spain and arrives on a steam boat and a white horse rather then a sleigh and reindeer. His helpers aren’t elves but are moors called ‘Zwarte Piet’ Black Pete, and he comes in the traditional dress as a Bishop. Although it is a Christian tradition generally it is celebrated across most religions.

Leo Meijer was a small Jewish boy in September 1942 when he was aged 7 he was taken from his home together with his Family and was deported to Camp Westerbork.

64_main

In December 1943 he wrote the following note to Sinterklaas

“Dear Sint en Piet,I really like the role of mints and I now give you the last piece of my Rye Bread for your horse. my father is very ill and I don’t like it it in Westerbork, it’s a nasty place. Do you remember from before when I lived in Zwijndrecht you gave me a Trainset. I know you will be coming to Barrack 66, I’ll be there too.”

Leo Meijer attended the Onderdijkschool in Zwijndrecht. When Jewish children had to leave the school, he enrolled at the Jewish school in Dordrecht. Leo Meijer excelled in drawing.

meijer_kader1-foto1-schoolklas

In 1943 he got drawing paper from Sinterklaas. Leo used this paper to draw his experiences in Westerbork and his memories of the time he lived in his hometown Zwijmdrecht, like the time he went to the Circus and he had seen an elephant.

38541

Leo and his family were deported from Westerbork to Theresienstadt on 5 September 1944 and subsequently to Auschwitz on 4 October 1944.Where Leo and his mother are send to the gas chambers upon arrival.

leo-meijer-met-moeder1

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

$2.00

Max Ehrlich-Told to be funny or be shot.

hqdefault

Max Ehrlich (1892-1944) was one of the most celebrated actors and directors on the German comedy and cabaret scene of the 1930s. But his brilliant career was brutally interrupted by the rise of Nazism and his resulting deportation in 1942 to Westerbork concentration camp in Holland. Amazingly, there behind the walls and barbed wire, Max Ehrlich formed a theater troupe composed of fellow prisoners – the majority of them also famous Jewish show business personalities – and produced high quality musical and comedy revues. This artistic activity provided the means for everyone concerned, audience and actors alike, to retain a small measure of humanity, free their minds – if only momentarily – from the tragedy of daily life and nourish the illusion of survival. But, in the end, comedy did not prevail: like almost all of his colleagues from this theater of despair, in 1944 Max Ehrlich was transported to Auschwitz and gassed.

1024px-birkenau_gate

Born on 25 November 1892, Max Ehrlich began his career as a stage actor in the 1920s, quickly building a reputation as a vital force on the Berlin cabaret scene. A popular parodist and poet, he performed with many other Jewish and leftist artists during the Weimar years.  However, like most of his fellow performers, his work was largely apolitical or only subtly critical.  Ehrlich also became a successful movie actor, with more than forty movie credits to his name by the time the Nazi take-over in 1933 abruptly ended his career.

mv5bnda5mtmwotywmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjcyntazmte-_v1_

Max Ehrlich took part in over 40 movies and directed ten of it in his career. He published several records and wrote the book “From Adalbert to Zilzer”, in which he wrote humorous stories and anecdotes about many of his colleagues.

5544097-m

 

With most performance venues either shut down or prohibited to him, that year he decided to assess the scene in Austria.  However, in Vienna as in Berlin, Nazis harassed him while he was on stage, ultimately making his act impossible.  Reluctantly he moved through Switzerland on to the Nerherlands, where he was already well-known as a touring comedian and cabaret star.  (German cabaret was popular in continental Europe during the inter-war years).  After two years touring Amsterdam, Zurich and Bern with other émigré artists, however, homesickness and the hope that things would get better drove him back to Berlin.

In 1935, Ehrlich returned to Nazi Germany. Jewish entertainers once again were permitted to perform there but only within the framework of the Jüdischer Kulturbund (Jewish Cultural Union) and exclusively in front of Jewish audiences.

In 1937 he left Germany and with the help of Ernst Lubitsch he went to the USA.

ernstlubitsch

Unfortunately he was not able to get work there, so he made the fatal decision to return to Europe

kulturbundorchester001

juedischer-kulturbund-berlin-monatsblaetter-year-5-1937-number-1-january-page-10

Ehrlich was named director of the Kulturbund’s light theatre departments. However, following the 1938 pogrom “Kristallnacht,” he decided to leave Germany definitively.

gty_kristallnacht_kb_131108_33x16_1600

Both of his farewell performances immediately sold out, so that a third presentation on 2 April 1939 was added. Here, in front of a full house of fans, calling out their affection and encouragement, Ehrlich made his final appearance in Germany.

Subsequently, he returned to the Netherlands once again and joined Willy Rosen’s “Theater der Prominenten” (Theatre of Celebrities),

 

until in 1943 ,like so many of his colleagues– Ehrlich was imprisoned in the Westerbork concentration camp. While at Westerbork, he created and became director of the “Camp Westerbork Theatre Group,” a cabaret troupe that during its eighteen-month existence staged six major theatre productions, all within the concentration camp’s confines. A majority of the actors were famous Jewish show business personalities; prominent artists from Berlin and Vienna, such as Willy Rosen, Erich Ziegler, Camilla Spira, and Kurt Gerron; or well known Dutch performers, like Esther Philipse, Jetty Cantor, and Johnny & Jones. At its high point, the group counted fifty-one members, including a full team of musicians, dancers, choreographers, artists, tailors, and make-up, lighting, and other technicians, as well as stage hands.

Most of the shows combined elements of revue and cabaret –songs and sketches– but, on one occasion, the program included a revue-operetta, Ludmilla, or Corpses Everywhere—a production whose theme sadly was a premonition of the actors’ and other prisoners’ fate. While some scenes were implicitly critical, of course, the Theatre Group at no time produced openly political cabaret or directly attacked the Nazi regime.

nazis

To do so would have violated the most fundamental condition for the troupe’s and its members’ survival, as life in Westerbork was dominated by the persistent threat of deportation on the next transport to an unknown but deeply feared fate in the East. So, standing helplessly and unaided before the fascists’ executioners and their lackeys, the Theatre Group, of necessity, limited itself to entertaining its audiences and to momentarily distracting them from the surrounding horrors. But in so doing, it also gave their captive audiences renewed hope and the courage to face an otherwise unbearable existence.

Doubtlessly, this artistic activity provided the means for everyone concerned, audiences and actors alike, to retain a small measure of humanity, free their minds –if only momentarily– from the tragedy of daily life and nourish the illusion of survival.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/06/22/holocaust-and-humour/

During the summer of 1944, increasing numbers of transports carried Westerbork’s prisoners to the extermination camps in the East. Of 104,000 camp inmates, fewer than 5,000 survived. In the last transport to leave Westerbork, on 4 September 1944, Ehrlich was number 151 on the list of victims. Eyewitnesses recount that, after reaching Auschwitz, he was recognized by a Hauptsturmführer. As a result, Ehrlich was subjected to additional torture: brought before a group of SS officers holding their loaded guns aimed at him, he was ordered to tell jokes. On 1 October 1944, Ehrlich was murdered in the Auschwitz gas chambers.