The War Stories Of The Van Gelderen Fam

The Dutch kept immaculate records which only made the Germans job easier. Also, the government mostly cooperated with the Germans. 140,000 thousand Jews in Holland, 105,000 were sent to the camps. 75% of the Jewish population

All newspapers under German control, radios had to be handed in, no TV, Internet Most people believed that the Jews, gypsies, communists and political enemies were sent to Germany for temporary labor in factories and quarries.

Had to be in total secrecy They lived next door to a family who were dedicated members of the NSB (national socialist movement) sympathetic to the Germans and cooperated with their policies.

Wim and Jet Brakel His brother Piet was heavily involved in the resistance work (the underground movement) and helped many people find places Piet was caught, tortured, and killed. Nurse was not so nice, was ready to turn all the children over to the Germans until the Jewish underground movement got hold of the information

My mother wrote a letter to my parents in May 1945 talking about the liberation. Her parents hitchhiked up to Friesland to bring Karina home. They had almost nothing. They moved into a rented apartment in the Hague.

Things seemed to be in order until a Dutch policeman asked for their marriage certification Shortly after this period of time, any persons found helping the Jews would be killed. Incidently, the SD policeman who was in their home was executed after the war.

50,000 jews were processed at the theater until the end of the war. Miserable conditions until they were sent to Camp Westerbork or Camp Vught. A nursery was arranged for babies and toddlers from 4pm until the next morning by girls and nurses (also prisoners)

Nurse Sari Katan, an old friend of my grandparents, is storing belongings when the door is pulled open and a member of the resistance pulls Ernst off the train. Ernst was on the departure list for that day, but was not “booked in” at Westerbork. Sari ended up at Bergen Belsen but survived the war and was able to come home and tell my parents about Ernst.

The group that was active in Southern Limburg was led by two chaplains Berix and Hermans. Jan Bosch was a 25 year old key member, living in Hoensbroek; he had falsified documents stating he worked in the Emma coalmine This exempted him from working in the German factories and gave him some freedom to move around. His father, Sijbe Bosch, was a merchant in groceries and bought tea from a trader in Maastricht, Arie van Mansum. Arie made arrangements to get Jewish children in safe houses in the area. They placed a total of 33 children. Ernst was one of those children.

Jan made regular deliveries to the Thissen couple, who had a small grocery shop by horsedrawn carriage. By the way, in 1995, Jan Bosch’s “children” still living in Holland and Israel, started an action to get him the “Yad Vashem Medal of the Righteous” All the survivors came together for an emotional luncheon.

This is part of why this story needs to be told. The “great Silence” plays a role; they rarely talked about this period of the war. Ernst – exchange student overseas, two years in the military, then married and lived overseas for 13 years The house my Oma and Opa lived in was only one street behind where Ernst had spent his first year in hiding