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Number of pages: 5
Reference number: 1656/2/1/175
Catalogue ID: 104767
Subject: RescuePolishSchools
Summary:

This report is a sworn statement in which the author tells what he and his family experienced in Hamburg from 1933 - 1939. Later, his parents were deported to Poland, after he and his brother were taken to England with a Kindertransport.

The father was forced to give up one business after the other to Nazis, as well as his lodgings. After a car accident, in which he was gravely injured, he went to court, won the case, but did not get a compensation; the bill amounting to RM 2000 was paid by a friend of his. From September to November 1938 he was in Buchenwald.

The report describes the school surrounded by SS; some children beaten; the author and his brother were rescued by a non-Jewish lady and teachers were arrested. Two SS-men smashing up a synagogue fell to their deaths.

In 1947, the two brothers were naturalised in England and served subsequently five years each in the British Army, in Korea and Malaysia respectively. Unable to find the jobs which would secure their future, they are trying to save the money for emigration to Canada.

Number of pages: 50
Reference number: 1656/3/4/197
Catalogue ID: 105322
Subject: RescueResistanceSynagogues
Summary:

A personal report by Heinz Landwirth, formerly from Vienna, who came with a children's transport to Holland in December 1938. He stayed first in a Children's Home, later with families. In 1941 he made Youth Aliyah to the Hachscharah-Farm Gouda. In 1942 the persecution of Jews became more and more threatening. This report includes details of an escape of a group of 25 young Zionists to Israel through Spain!. Amsterdam assumed an aspect of decay, inhibition and terror. Final razzia, including all Jews, on 20 June 1943. Mr Landwirth, meanwhile was 16-years-old, and went underground using false documents supplied by Hechaluz (Kurt Reilinger Gideon Drach) working as a farm hand with Jan Kuperus. In 1943 - via Belgium - he became known as the ‘Dutch’ boatsman John Gerrit Overbeck on one of the German Rhine barges.

Number of pages: 3
Reference number: 1656/3/5/694
Catalogue ID: 105549
Subject: ChildrenKindertransport
Summary: Six short reports of individual instances of non-Aryan children being victims of racial persecution. The reports were written in Germany, probably in 1936 or 1937, by a member or members of the Bekenntniskirche. Some of the reports show that even well-meaning school-teachers were helpless in the face of official policy on the one hand, and the antisemitic spirit of German children on the other.

Unfortunately the reports mention the names of neither persons nor places.

Number of pages: 10
Reference number: 1656/3/5/1185
Catalogue ID: 105578
Subject: ChildrenKindertransportMixed marriage
Summary:

The daughter of a Jewish dental surgeon and his Christian wife reports on her experiences as a child in Berlin, during the time of the Nazi persecution.

Born in 1927, she attended a common primary school until the Kristallnacht, in November 1938. After ½ year in a Jewish school in 1939, she went to a Mischlings school which later was prohibited; she could then attend a special form at another Jewish school but was excused most of the time, as she had to help her parents in the surgery as well as in the household. A renewed application for 'Arisierung' was turned down, in 1940, and she had to leave school for good.

The Jewish Labour Exchange, Fontanestrasse (p.2) sent her to work at Martin Michalski, a workshop for uniforms, where she was paid RM 0, 30 per hour at 15 and RM 0,35 at 16 and 17. No bad treatment, but for occasionally rather risky errands (p.2-4). Extremely exciting summons; Kommissar Wenzel (p.4-8).

Here, the recorder has inserted a short report on the interviewee's mother (p.7-8). On 3 February 1945, the family's home was completely bombed out. After the War, the young girl attended a commercial course and later became employed at an office of the Jewish community in Berlin. In September 1948, she left the Evangelical Community and, in 1949, rejoined the Jewish Community (p.9).

Number of pages: 10
Reference number: 1656/3/5/1186
Catalogue ID: 105579
Subject: Mixed marriageChildrenKindertransport
Summary:

The author, a Jewish dermatologist, has been living with his Christian wife in East Berlin for about 25 years. He had served in the First World War for a short time, after his brother had been killed in action. From April 1933, he was no longer qualified to work for the National Health Insurance (p.1) and had to move out of his flat. In the year 1938 he became “Judenbehandler“, i.e. he got permission to attend [illegible] Jews. His sister was deported and never heard of again, his mother fell ill of persecution mania and finally died of hunger in Theresienstadt (p.2); the beautiful furniture at her flat was stolen by an official who had been sent there on duty (p.6).

When the Gestapo turned up to arrest the author, he could hide in time. The men asked for his six year old son to take him instead of his father, but he was at school. Several times, the doctor had a narrow escape; at such an occasion, SS-men who were looking for deserters and Jews murdered fourteen Jews (p.3-4).

At a collection of arms, an officer pocketed the pistol Mrs. H. was delivering to the Police (p.5). Another time, she was summoned to the Police-Station and urged to divorce her husband; she refused in a wise and determined way (p.6).

Some Christian patients: Herr Frank, a decent man, though a member of the NSDAP (p.6-7); another patient became an antisemite after he had prospered through the situation; a well-off factory-owner who would pay most generously for the smallest advice (p.7).

Death of a lame old spinster who had served her Führer fanatically (p.7-8). The house in which the old maid voluntarily perished burnt down, and the doctor who had lived there, too, with his family, lost all their belongings. After the War, they started a new life and the doctor is still busy.

Number of pages: 33
Reference number: 1656/3/6/808
Catalogue ID: 105607
Subject: ChildrenKindertransportDanish
Summary:

Mrs Wijsmuller, a Dutch Christian woman, took a prominent part in organising the emigration of Jewish children from Germany. In December 1938 she even went to see Eichmann in Vienna and got his permission for the emigration of 10,000 Jewish children to England. As a first instalment he ordered a transport of 600 children to be sent across the Dutch frontier within a few days to see if Mrs Wijsmuller would really get them into England. After Mrs Wijsmuller had succeeded - 100 children were accepted by Holland - she organised transports of 150 children twice a week from various parts of Germany to Britain as well as the emigration of Youth Aliyah and other groups from Germany, Holland, Denmark and Riga. She accompanied the children up to Marseille on their way to Palestine.

Mrs Wijsmuller also tried to find asylum for grown-up Jewish refugees. In 1939 she arranged for the acceptance by Holland of 200 refugees from the 1200 passengers of the ship St. Louis, who had not been allowed to land in Cuba because their visas had been forged. Also in 1939 she helped with the departure of the Greek ship Dora, which sailed from Holland with illegal immigrants for Palestine. As late as 15 May 1940 Mrs Wijsmuller tried to get 80 refugees released who were kept in bad conditions in a disused market hall in Gravenzond. But the Dutch Aliens' Police refused her request and send the refugees back to Germany. Only one survived.

During her journeys Mrs Wijsmuller was repeatedly taken as a spy and arrested. She was asked by the Germans to work as their agent and refused. She had her passport stolen (which was later found on a German spy in a French camp). She was told by German frontier police about the impending invasion of Holland, but neither she, nor the Dutch Foreign Ministry believed it.

Number of pages: 21
Reference number: 1656/3/7/918
Catalogue ID: 105664
Subject: ChildrenKindertransportDeportations
Summary:

The outstanding impression of the account, written in the first person, is the deep religious faith of the writer. Rather than a record of facts, it is a praise of the Lord for her salvation, both physical and spiritual, and an explanation of her eventual conversion to the Christian Faith.

The author was born in Berlin, the daughter of Orthodox Dutch Jews. When the Nazi regime started, the family moved to Amsterdam, but the happy atmosphere of their home was never recaptured there. After the German invasion and with the gradual elimination of the Jews from the economic and cultural life, the Dobschiner's moved to the Jewish part of Amsterdam, and an uncle and two cousins lived with them.

In February 1941 German armed soldiers raided the town, demanding 4,000 Jews, and author's two brothers were taken away and murdered. Her parents, already weighed down by fear and expropriation of their property, broke down completely. The author's relation to them became strained, particularly as her father insisted on her training as a tailoress, whereas she longed to become a nurse. She finally yielded to this urge and looked after the many Jewish orphaned children. In December 1942 author contracted scarlet fever and during her illness felt that life held a message from God. The raids had already taken her uncle and the cousins, when in April 1943 her parents were arrested. The author was allowed to see them twice at the collecting centre and later she witnessed their deportation from the Children's Home, where she then worked.

Some time later the Children's Home was raided, the 150 children and staff deported. Shortly before, the author had been placed with a Jewish family, but they, too, were arrested and taken to the Amstelstation. The author, quite apathetic to her own fate, offered to take charge of the children, and later, when they were herded into a goods train, she discovered spots on a child and diagnosed a contagious disease. The Gestapo let her take the child to Dr. van Emden-Boas who, impressed by her courage, made her his nurse. She worked at the station and at a hospital until July 1943, when patients and nurses were deported. The author was already on the train, guarded by armed soldiers, but the same night she was back at the hospital “God delivered me!”.

When the hospital was raided again in August 1943, the author happened to nurse at a private house. For some time she then worked at the Joodse Invalide, the Jewish home for the aged. In the end, underground life was the only escape from deportation. With the help of the porter at the Home, the author contacted an unknown lady in whose flat she met Uncle Bas. On 3 September 1943, he took her on a hazardous journey to his home in Nieuw Beerta. With five other young people in hiding, the author lived with the Rev. Ader and his wife for 13 months. Several books have been written about this heroic man and the life in his manse. When danger approached, he found new underground places for his protegees.

The author lived in more than 27 different houses during the last span of this period. While in Uncle Bas' house, she came across the Children's New Testament and sometimes listened, hidden behind a door, to his services. He never tried to convert her, but she became more and more impressed with the teachings of Christ. South Holland was liberated by the Americans in September 1944, and in November she was baptized. She had never been able to discuss her intention with Uncle Bas. He and his wife were finally tracked down by the Gestapo. He was offered their freedom at the price of the name of ten of his protegees. As he would not speak, he was shot on 20 November 1944.

Number of pages: 10
Reference number: 1656/3/7/1046
Catalogue ID: 105666
Subject: CatholicsChildrenKindertransport
Summary:

The author worked at the Belgian Ministry of Labour as a welfare officer. At the beginning of the year 1943, she joined theC.D.J. (Comité de défense des Juifs), in order to hide and help Jewish children. She describes the various departments and tasks of this organization (p.1) and how the work was done in the children’s group, to which she belonged; some examples of the complicated rescue work (p.2, 5-7). Reports on the extreme difficulties which had to be overcome, in order to return a small child to his mother, after the baby’s name had to be changed twice, his mother had been known to be dead for years and the foster parents wanted to keep the child (p.3-5).

Some people at Brussels were still afraid of the “Fünfte Kolonne“ when the occupation was over (p.4). Help from Catholic nuns, Avenue Clémenceau; deportation and imprisonment for other non-Jews helping Jews; Mr and Mrs Ovart, and their daughter who had hidden Jewish children and adults, pensionnat Gaty de Gamont (p.6). The author arrested twice could get away (p.6). Help from a police-officer; the Chief of the food office at Brussels generously helped out with ration cards (p.6-7).

Repeatedly they succeeded to rescue the children under the nose of the Gestapo during the raids, whilst the parents were arrested (p.7).

Number of pages: 40
Reference number: 1656/3/8/382
Catalogue ID: 105791
Subject: ChildrenKindertransportLublin-Majdanek (concentration and ex...
Summary:

This is a remarkable story told by an outstanding personality who seems to combine courage, intelligence and the gift of leadership to an unusual degree.

Mr Weichselbaum emigrated from Frankfurt am Main to Belgium towards the end of 1938; he was then 16 years of age. After considerable difficulties, he made his way via Dunkirk, Antwerp and Lille to Paris. He passed the final school examinations and, furnished with false identity papers, began to study medicine. Discovered, he fled to the south of France. At Limoges he founded a youth organisation which sent food parcels to Jewish concentration camp inmates; he also made contact with the Resistance. In August 1942, on the point of being arrested, he managed to escape together with all the fourteen young people under his care. At Lyon he worked for the Resistance, getting Jewish children across to Switzerland. (p.1-5). Again he was compelled to flee, became a 'Rabbi for young people' in the Jewish Resistance in the south of France, and joined the French Maquis (p.6).

When after the Italian capitulation the Germans began to occupy the whole of France, Weichselbaum, in the uniform of a French Army Captain, succeeded to obtain six lorries at the Italian Headquarters at Abbeville; these lorries were used as transport for escaping Jews (p.7).

Weichselbaum became a leader of the Maquis. In the disguise of a French Volunteer for the Waffen-SS, he managed to save 9 Jews from arrest, when the SS ordered the arrest of all Jews (p.10).

In September 1943 Weichselbaum was arrested by the Germans and after heavy torture confessed to being a Jew (p.11). He was deported to Birkenau concentration camp, where he was again maltreated. He then worked as a railway worker near Krakow, was then taken to Majdanek concentration camp, where the new arrivals were sadistically exposed to the winter frost, and when he returned to Birkenau he saw his mother, father and two sisters being dispatched for the gas chambers (p.12).

Between periods of extreme hunger there were short periods during which Weichselbaum, at the danger of his life, took part in the black market in foodstuff. He was able to provide his third sister with some food shortly before she, too, was gassed (p.17).

When about 15 coaches with children under 7 years arrived, SS-men killed the children in a horrible manner and afterwards shot the prisoners who had watched the scene (p.19). Another time Weichselbaum observed SS-men first raping, then shooting women and children (p.23).

Weichselbaum became a male nurse, and in the absence of the doctor had to operate on boils. When the paper dressing did not stay quite clean, the patients were beaten on their wounds (p.24)

In April 1944 Weichselbaum together with 20 other male nurses was taken to the concentration camp at Tannhausen near Waldenburg in Silesia. He contracted pneumonia, but had to continue work without being cured (p.27). In January 1945 the Death March, i.e. the flight from the approaching Russian armies commenced; after three weeks only 40 out of 400 prisoners survived. On 9 May the commandant and the SS left the camp and the Russians took over (p.30).

Weichselbaum remained in order to look after the burial of the dead and the necessary medical care for the many sick.

Number of pages: 13
Reference number: 1656/3/8/823
Catalogue ID: 105961
Subject: ChildrenKindertransportDeportations
Summary:

Mrs Sternberg-Sitte is a Christian and emigrated to Amsterdam in 1933 with Mr Sternberg-Sitte, a Jewish lawyer from Berlin. The Nuremberg laws prohibited a legal marriage. At first the couple lived precariously, he as a taxi-driver, she as a dressmaker. Later, Mr Sternberg-Sitte had an agency for groceries. After the German invasion, Mr Sternberg-Sitte ostensibly left their flat and lived illegally as an “onderduiker”. In September 1942 they were denounced and arrested and taken to the Amsteveensche Weg prison. Mr Sternberg-Sitte was sent to Amersfort camp and later gassed in Auschwitz (p.2). Mrs Sternberg-Sitte remained in prison until 1943. Conditions there were tolerable, although the cells were badly overcrowded. She was then put on a transport of prisoners which stopped at the prisons of Scheveningen, Cleve, Utrecht, Düsseldorf, Hannover and Berlin, collecting prisoners of all types and nationalities, finally to end in Ravensbrück. There were approximately 50,000 prisoners in Ravensbrück, both political and criminal.

The account goes into the details of the appalling conditions there, describing the organisation in the various blocks (p.4), the insufficient food and clothing (p.5), the brutal treatment under the command of supervisor Binz ( p.5) and the atrocities and penalties for the least lapse (p.5-7). There were three brothels in the camp (p.7-8) whose inmates had preferential treatment, but if they became ill they were gassed. Pregnant women had to submit to abortions, and if a child was born, the prisoners killed it and considered this an act of humanity. Of two smaller camps nearby, one was turned into an extermination camp, and of the 4,000 women sent there only 30 survived (p.8).

The women were allocated to various “commandos“ and Mrs Sternberg-Sitte got into the group working for Siemens. This entailed various privileges e.g. an extra ration of bread - “Siemensbrot”- and housing in special blocks (p.7). In March 1945 Siemens no longer had work for the prisoners, and they returned to the general camp. In April 1945 the Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourg prisoners had to report to the “Volkssturm”, the SS having disappeared, and were told by some Swedes arriving at the camp that they were free. When lorries arrived to fetch them, they took other prisoners as well, and Mrs Sternberg-Sitte was one of them. They were first taken to the International Red Cross centre in Lübeck and from there on a hazardous journey (p.10) with frequent air attacks and breakdowns via Bremen, Kiel and Hamburg to Flensburg, and after a short stop at the Danish frontier town of Padborg they went to Malmö in Sweden. From here Mrs Sternberg-Sitte was later repatriated to Holland.

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