During the second world war my parents, Bert and Annie Bochove lived in Huizen, Noord Holland. For three years they opened their home and offered protection to a total of 36 Jewish people whose lives were threatened by the Nazis. One of those families were Abraham and Lea Rodrigues with their children Henry and Elly. At one point our family was betrayed and the Rodrigues parents were harbored in Utrecht while Henry and Elly ended up at other addresses.
In the summer of 2004 I typed my own name into Google and discovered that a little Jewish boy with the same name as me was murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau when he was eight years old! After the initial shock I decided to start investigating the fate of this little boy and his family.
My parents were Austrian-born Jewish refugees who fled their homeland in 1938 arriving to 'safety' in Amsterdam in August, 1938. They were lovingly taken care of by the Papegaaij family who lived on the Rapenburg (the address does not exist nowadays).
ANNA SCHWARTZ & MAURICE LEIBOVICI, a wartime love story
I never met the older sister of my mother, Anna Schwartz.
Anna moved from Budapest to Paris, hoping to start a new life with her father, stepmother, brother and little sister, my mum.
In Paris she met Maurice Leibovici, another young Jewish émigré from Romania.
Here is my story for the reason I adopted Salomon Czapnik:
My father Sydney Czapnik was the first cousin of Salomon Czapnik who was murdered at Auschwitz on 7th September 1942 aged 9. Salomon and his family, brother Leo, sister Fanny, and parents Chaim and Frajdla lived in the same neighbourhood of Tilburg as my father, his twin sister Frances and his parents Nathan and Priscilla Czapnik.
Ro was my mother’s younger sister; she had a very unhappy life and she was the first in the family to be deported and murdered, on August 3rd in the first Auschwitz gas chamber at the age of 38. She had responded to the Nazi call-up to report for “labour in Germany”.
She lived in Rotterdam at the family home where I was born on Bergweg 99 where she had her own room on my grandparent’s floor.
We recently adopted the names of a couple for the Holocaust Monument. We live in the old Jewish neighborhood on the Rapenburg. We wanted to honor a family that lived on our street by adopting their names on the Holocaust Memorial Wall. We looked up the Rapenburg on the Jewish Digital Monument website, and found the names of Rosa Elframowitz (37) and her husband husband Israel Elframowitz (41) who lived at number 60. Now we often think of them when we walk by their building.
I am the son of Aron Houtkruijer and Clara Houtkruijer – Duits. Besides adopting the names of my parents and grandparents, I have also adopted the names of several uncles, aunts and cousins. As a substitute teacher in New Mexico I get invited from time to time to talk about my experience as a Holocaust survivor, that is as a Hidden Child, during the last 2 years of the war.
This is a picture taken in 1943. The baby is me, Heleena van Raan (now nearing 73) the young boy is Rudy Klijnkramer age about 9 or 10 (now 82). He was hidden with another child by my parents Ger and Gerard van Raan. The story they told anyone who asked was that the two children were my father's nephews and that their mother was in a TB sanatorium.
I have adopted the names of my father, both grandfathers and both grandmothers. I survived the Holocaust along with my mother. I’m almost 80 now, and I hope I live to witness the completion of the memorial. Then I’ll visit it with my children and grandchildren.
I have adopted the name Sophia Abram. Why? I often bumped into Sophia on Generaal Cronjestraat in Haarlem. She lived there with her parents and brother. Her parents had a shop that sold toys that I sometimes frequented, fond as I was of fun things. I was born in 1932, so I was about 11 at the time. The persecution of Jews was often discussed in our home, so I knew what was happening.
My sister and I have adopted the name Sientje Bril, our great-grandmother. Our grandmother was the youngest of her three daughters. The older two and their families were murdered in Auschwitz, just like our grandfather.
I was born in Amsterdam in 1938, a child of the marriage between Izaak Sealtiel and Theodora Sealtiel-Leon.
My parents probably sensed that the Nazis would pick up Jews, so through the heroes of the underground resistance movement they managed to get me into hiding with 4 different families in Limburg, and even in Switzerland, but we weren’t allowed to stay there.
Fredi was my girlhood friend. She was about 3 years older than I was, but our parents were friends, and both of us were only children.
On Wednesday afternoons, if we had no school, we would often go with our mothers to the V&D department store for lemonade and ice cream.
Fredi always skipped and jumped ahead, hopping along the pavement slabs, two-one, two-one, with her jacket flapping about her.
The alias used by this young Jewish boy was Robbie Rietmeijer, but his hair and eyebrows were not bleached, because he was an albino.
His real name was Samuel Groenteman, born on 30 December 1937 in Amsterdam. He was the son of Michiel Groenteman and Rachel Groenteman-Mozes.
Roosje Henselein, 16 July 1928, 14 years old. This is the name adopted by my mother Sjaan Turkenburg, who died on 23 July 2015.
What most impressed her was that Roosje lived with her family in Ouder-Amstel.
We have adopted the name Simon Knap. The boy was a neighbour of my husband Henk Klootwijk, who lived on Banierstraat in Rotterdam.
His sisters, in particular Aartje, played with him on the street. One day my husband, then aged 8, saw the whole Knap family being deported.
Up until 1943 we lived in half a house with an alcove on Knollendamstraat in Amsterdam. Luckily, that September we were offered a better home at Majubastraat 7II in the Transvaalbuurt district, a neighbourhood that was initially home to many Jewish families, but where many homes were left empty after the Nazi roundups.
I was too young to remember my father, or my grandparents and uncles and aunts. Our mother couldn’t bring herself to talk about the war, which I can understand. It influenced her life forever in a negative way. That’s why I’m so happy now for the attention being given to all these people who had names, with a memorial you can visit if you need to.
What a wonderful initiative. I experienced at close hand the effects of the Nazi roundup in my home town of Putten. Of the 661 people deported from Putten, just 48 returned. The last survivor, Jannes Priem, passed away last year. A close friend, he was in Bergen Belsen when Anne Frank died there. He told me that he might have carried her to the crematorium.
On 12 May 2009 I visited the former Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the world’s most infamous symbol of terror, genocide and the Holocaust. An atmosphere of foreboding still hangs in the air at this ‘Anus Mundi’, as an SS doctor once put it. The entrance building to Auschwitz-Birkenau in particular looks lugubrious to the visitor.
David van Rijn was a cousin of my great-grandfather. On 13 March 1929 David van Rijn married Judith Mol, a Jew, in Rotterdam. They had two children: Geertruida (1930) and Gerson David (1933). David van Rijn died in 1937.
Hello my dear grandmother and grandfather!
Quite a normal sentence that grandchildren say to their grandparents. But it’s also a sentence I was never able to utter, since all my grandparents were dead before I was born. We didn’t grow old in our family, they always used to say...
It was in about 1922 when my mother, Corrie, then aged 18, enters the employment of Mrs Katoen, probably already widowed (I never heard my mother speak of a husband) with two small sons: 5-year-old Max and 4-year-old Alfred. A small Jewish family living on Van Musschenbroekstraat in Amsterdam.
I’ve been living back in Amsterdam for some twenty years now, and I like it a lot. We currently live with two small children in the Plantagebuurt district, next to the Jewish synagogue, on Nieuwe Kerkstraat.
My mother Elisabeth Agsteribbe came from a family consisting of a father and mother, with two sisters, one brother, and herself.Apart from my mother, who went into hiding in Belgium, none of them survived the war.
I’ve been living in America for some 18 years now, but I cannot forget the Netherlands. I was born on 20 May 1946 in Amsterdam. My father, Mozes Wessel, and my mother, Anna Wessel, survived the war, but many other family members did not, unfortunately. I cannot forget that I never knew my grandparents or aunts or uncles. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to meet up now and again for a family reunion?
I have just adopted the name of Maria Eva Wiesel, born on 22 May 1934 in Budapest, died in Auschwitz on 5 October 1942.
She was not a relative, but she was born in the same city and died on the same day as my aunt, Anna Marie Schwartz. Both of them were called Maria.
Daniel van IJssel, born in The Hague on 22 October 1915, married Elisabeth van der Kleij. They had one son, my father Hubertus (Bert) van IJssel. Strange to admit, but I am proud when I look at the certificate I received bearing the name Daniel van IJssel, Holocaust Memorial of Names. Proud of my second name, which will always live on and may never be forgotten.
We, the nine grandchildren of Anna van Duren - van Lier (1871-1937) never knew our grandmother.
Her three sons, Kees, Maurits and Hans, were crazy about their ‘Moetje’. Moetje in turn was very attached to her four brothers. There is an old studio photo from the turn of the century showing all five of them together, and there are pre-war photo albums and 8 mm films of them.
The following drama took place at the neighbours’ house opposite us on Anna Paulownastraat number 33 in Groningen.
After Mr Israël de Haas was deported, it was the turn of Froukje Polak. For us kids aged about 6-7 years old who were always playing on the street, Mrs de Haas did not know that it was his housekeeper, who lodged in his house.
My name is Alexandra Broekarts, born in 1971. My mother was Maria "Marietje" van der Vennen. Her dearest school friend was Eva "Evi" Voss, born on 25 May 1930. She was the first person after the family to write in my mother’s poetry album, when she got it for her 9th birthday in 1940.
My name is Salomon Natkiel. My parents Joseph Natkiel and Marianne Velleman died in Sobibor, as did my grandfather and grandmother Betje Goudsmit and Salomon Natkiel, and David Velleman and Rachel Wijnschenk.
During the war a girl was in hiding in Lopik. She was 8 years old and hid under the name Fanny. The family that hid her was called De Bruyn and ran a transport business. There were a lot of children, and now they would very much like to know if she’s still alive and if everything is okay with her. Her name is still mentioned on birthdays. All the family know is that she returned to Amsterdam. Who can help the family?
This is the last birthday party of my school friend Sonny Mogendorff. She is seated second from the right. Her little brother Bertie is sitting beside her. To Sonny’s left is Tamara Groen, who made it to America with her parents just in time, as did her cousin Myra Stein, who’s on the very left.
I would like to adopt three names on the memorial. Two names on behalf of my deceased parents, who were active in the resistance at the time. (My father’s drawing talent proved useful in forging such items as identity cards so that people in hiding, among them that small Jewish girl, whose name luckily does not need to be put on the memorial, could survive.
Writing my name openly here almost feels like a liberation. For that’s the double layer that you carry around with you all your life…I am, I think, the youngest of the second generation. What for many seems so long ago is actually very recent.
After the war my grandfather took a foster daughter into our home, in addition to his own 5 children. She was a Jewish woman from Germany, who became my aunt. I have adopted somebody with her family name. My grandfather was probably of Jewish extraction, but we will never know that, because he took that secret with him to the grave.
In memory of David Hoch.
(22 December 1898, Janikowo, Poland — 18 October 1941, Mauthausen, Austria).The married couple David and Hella Hoch moved from Lódz (Poland) to Enschede after the First World War. David Hoch worked in Enschede as a textile merchant.
Not very spectacular, I have adopted four names, but I would have liked to adopt more than a hundred. For that’s how long the list of names is of relatives who met their end somewhere in Europe, the majority of them in Auschwitz and Sobibor.
One event has always stuck clearly in my mind.I was 11 years old and walked along Rapenburg in Leiden.
In front of me was a young girl with a Star of David on her coat.
She wanted to walk though Van der Werff Park, forbidden for Jews.
Every time I make ginger snaps I still think about the de Pool family. My grandmother got the recipe from the mother of Chelly de Pool. Chelly was my mother’s bosom friend right from schooldays. The girls were the same age, both born in 1907. They went to high school together, and Chelly even joined my grandparents’ big family during the vacation.
I am the granddaughter of Mr Jozeph van Cleef and I would like to share with you the story of my grandfather – whom I never knew – and of his wife Agnès van Cleef-Smekens and their daughter, my mothers, Colette van Cleef-Keymeulen.
I am making my donation in memory of a friend and neighbour girl, Helena Spreekmeester. She lived with her parents – very loving people – and older brother in the Rivierenbuurt district of Amsterdam, at Waalstraat 180 III.
I read in the newspaper about your proposal to erect a 'Holocaust Names Memorial' in Wertheim Park in Amsterdam, and I must say I think it’s a good plan! That’s why I immediately adopted a name, Sara Arpels, born in Amsterdam on 29 April 1892, murdered in Sobibor on 2 July 1943. She was married to Isaäc Polak (died in Amsterdam on 10 May 1941); I don’t know what exactly she died of, only the date of death is known, but murdered seems a fitting word for what happened to her.
These are my grandparents on my mother’s side. Until I was 17 I never knew or suspected that there even was a Jewish side. Around the time of the commemoration of the dead in 1961, my mother suddenly said “I’m also Jewish”.
I have adopted the names of my granddad Hartog Sacksioni and grandma Mathilda (nicknamed Tilly) Sacksioni-Perel. I never met either my granddad or grandma. I would love to have known them, and I would love to have been spoilt by them too.
I would very much like to adopt Alida Kropveld (1935), my mother’s younger sister. The big tragedy for my granddad and grandma was that their young daughter Alida was betrayed for a few guilders by the son of the butcher from her hiding place in Honselerdijk. She was picked up on Queen’s Day and transported to Westerbork. My grandparents travelled after her, but to no avail.
When I read the letter of recommendation for the Holocaust Names Memorial, my eye was caught by the fourth photo, in which Peter Zwaga holds a photo of Meijer Groenteman with his wife and children. During the war Elisabeth Groenteman went into hiding with my uncle and aunt in Bolsward.
Alfred Kahn, my great-uncle, Trude (Bauer) Kahn, my great aunt and their 13 year old daughter, Annemarie Kahn, all died in Auschwitz. I am related to both of the parents as they were from my father's and mother's family.
This initiative – driven in particular by the chair of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee, Jacques Grishaver – is worthwhile on many levels and there are a number of things that struck me about it. Firstly, we are close to the seventy year mark of the end of the war and the generation that consciously lived through it, survived it, is disappearing. My own father, passed away last year and his formative years as a teenager were spent in war torn Europe where he had to hide during the last year of the war.
My father was active in the resistance movement. However, he was betrayed in 1944 by a bad Dutch person.
This event has had a huge effect on my life.
Despite the good upbringing I received from my mother, I am convinced that my life would have been completely different if I had known my father.
My mother is named after her great-grandmother Sophie Sachs. When I was young I asked if she probably also named me after Hans, the brother of my father. My mother answered decisively that it was not the case, but that she simply thought Hans was a nice name.
My mother, Elsje Neeter, was 26 years old when both her parents were taken away and murdered. The fact that she never spoke badly about the Germans still amazes me. Throughout her later life this turned out to be the best character trait of my mother, never judging other people. She died in July 2013 in a caring institution at the age of 97. For the last year I visited her every day.
Almost every person who dies, wherever in the world, is given a funeral.
Loved ones come to pay their last respects and loving words are spoken.
People mourn and remember.
Then together we bury the person who has just left this world.
Later, surviving relatives can visit the grave, lay flowers and touch the stone bearing the name of the deceased.
In that way, the deceased lives on in the minds of those dear to them and we come to terms with the fact that one of us is no longer among the living. We can commemorate and remember.
As a child I played in the hiding closet in the house of my parents and heard part of the story of how a Jewish couple, Sander and Regina Israëls-Kern, hid with my grandparents in Varsseveld. Their oldest daughter was born while they were in hiding. I was also staying with them, and it made a deep impression on me.
I was born in Israel, the only daughter of parents who emigrated in 1947 to what was then Palestine, because life in Amsterdam had nothing more to offer them: parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews… they had all been murdered.
This afternoon I received your appeal to support the Holocaust Names Memorial. I did that, and ‘adopted’ the names of my four grandparents.
They are: Hartog Natkiel and Zientje Natkiel-van Dam (murdered on 2 April 1943 in Sobibor) on my father’s side; and Mozes Hartog Doof and Sara Doof-Reens, (murdered on 12 February 1943 in Auschwitz, together with almost all their children), on my mother’s side.
Even though I was born 11 years after the liberation, World War Two has always played an imperceptible, latent role in my life. I spent much of my youth with my grandparents. When they told stories, they were never specific about dates, but said things like ‘before the war’, ‘during the war’ or ‘after the war’.
My brother and I grew up as children without a granddad. That didn’t seem all that remarkable until, at some point, I realized that my father grew up without a father (and without a granddad either). Of course, we did have another granddad, but it wasn’t quite the same.
On my father’s side: he brought my aunt Sofie Wittmann-Stein, her husband Emanuel and son Friedrich from Vienna to the Netherlands after the annexation of Austria. In 1942 they were deported and murdered in Auschwitz; other members of his family were deported from Vienna and murdered. He also took my grandmother Chana Stein to the Netherlands, but she died in the Jewish Home (Joodse Invalide) in Amsterdam before the Nazis deported all the occupants of this institute.
How hard and horrible life can be. Sometimes the fate suffered by some people is beyond description you don’t want to experience it!
Our father Jozef (we called him Joop) Swaalep, born on 25 July 1911, came from a family of 5 children (all of them boys), one of whom, Michel, died soon after birth. So he was saved from all ‘the misery’.
Joseph Schrijver didn’t keep a diary. No museum bears his name, his life hasn’t been filmed, and he isn’t the subject of any musical. You could count on one hand the number of people alive who knew Joseph Schrijver.
On 7 August 1927 a terrible tram accident occurred on Naarderstraat in Laren. Two trams collided. A number of people were killed, among them three members of one family. Husband and wife Emanuel Lisser and Jeannette Vischschraper and their young daughter Greta. The only member of the family to survive was eight-year-old Nico, although he was seriously injured. He had to have a leg amputated.
I chose Jetje Wilhelmina de Vries, because she was a schoolfriend of my mother’s. I still have the poetry album that belonged to my mother, and she often spoke about the Jewish girls who were in her class and who never returned after the war.
I think the Holocaust Memorial is a wonderful idea. The names of many Jewish people killed are listed in the former Hollandse Schouwburg, but it would be great if there were another memorial bearing the names of murdered Jewish families. I hope the project succeeds and wish the people behind it all success.
My name is Sandra Jansen. I am 48 years old and married with 3 daughters. So I only know about the war through my grandparents and parents. Three Jewish people hid in the house of my grandpa and grandma and survived the war.
I never knew my grandparents. Their names were Moses and Rebecca Abram-de Paauw, and Nathan and Rachel Berkelo-van Coevorden. I’ll be happy when the Names Monument is built. I’ll be able to touch the names of my grandparents, because I’ve missed them so much.
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