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 also heard the story about the neighbours of my grandparents, one house further along, the Jolink ladies, who were taken away along with the Jewish people they were hiding. Such was the fine line between fortune and misfortune.
My search began when I came across papers that belonged to the Jewish people who had been taken from the Jolink house. That search resulted in my 2005 book
‘Halte Varsseveld’, about the people who hid with the Jolink ladies and kindred spirits in Varsseveld. I placed the names of those who were killed on the Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands.
Now I’m choosing Sinie Cozijn, the young girl who was taken with her father Barend Cozijn and other people who were hiding in the Jolink house. Her mother spent that night with my grandparents, one house away, and survived.
A gripping story, told to me by my family, who had to look on helplessly, together with mother Liesje Cozijn-Groen and another Jewish person in hiding, how her husband and small daughter were taken away. Sinie Cozijn was murdered, together with her father, in Auschwitz.
Her mother survived, and lived into her nineties. She kept a photograph of her husband and daughter, framed with a tiny carpet beater and red ribbon.
A daily reminder of her husband Barend and daughter Sinie.
A picture of Sinie hangs in my study.
And now her name will appear on the memorial.
So that she cannot be forgotten.