The Journey of Steve Jaron

Climbing the tree one branch at a time

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017 #genealogy #holocaust

With the anti-refugee sentiment happening in certain pockets of our country I wanted to share the story of some refugee’s close to my heart and had they not been allowed into the country during the Holocaust I would not be here.

Judith Polak
My grandmother was born on September 7, 1923 to Alfred Polak and Seraphina van Cleeff-Polak in the town Tilburg, Netherlands.  On May 10, 1940 the Netherlands was invaded by Nazi Germany after having declared themselves neutral.  On that day my grandmother, with her parents, sisters, uncle, future aunt, and cousins, left their homes in Tilburg and everything they knew.  One cousin, Bertram, was still in the army and was left behind never to be seen by his family again. Thankfully her father and uncle were prepared and through their dealings in the hide industry had resources in America.  As they made their way they encountered the possibility of destroyed bridges or getting stopped by invading Nazi’s.  At one point the family got split up and my grandmother’s uncle exclaimed that he had lost all his children that day.  However eventually they got back together and made their way to family and friends in London.  Afterwards they boarded a ship to Canada which by chance had some other cousins escaping the Netherlands.  They arrived on July 29th, 1940 in Quebec.

Harry Rothstein
My grandfather was born on May 19, 1924 in Vienna to Markus Rothstein and Bertha Tillinger-Rothstein.  Austria was annexed by Germany in March of 1938 as part of the Anschluss Österreichs and two months later Markus was sent to Dachau.  While Markus was in Dachau Harry and his sister Paula were at the ages of 14 and 18 respectively were sent to the US to  live with relatives already here while Bertha stayed behind.  In September, Markus was transferred to Buchenwald before being released in a prisoner exchange thanks to a Senator Robert Wagner who has some sort of relationship to various family members.  In 1943, Harry became a citizen because he joined the army, but up to that point he was minor refugee living with relatives and then his parents.  Markus petitioned to become a citizen in 1944 but as of this writing I have not found any other naturalization documentation for him or Bertha.

From 1933 to 1945 the US only took in 132,000 Jewish refugees which was 10% of what was allowed by law.  Part of the reasoning for this was because people thought that Nazi’s would be hiding among the Jewish refugees.  It was also fueled by the anti-semitic rhetoric of demagogues. Where would the 79 of 80 descendants of my grandmother’s father and uncle be had they been turned away?  Where would the 28 descendants of Markus and Bertha be had Harry and Paula been turned away as unaccompanied minors?  Where would any of us be if our ancestors were turned away due to irrational fears of the “other”.

https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007094

https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/world-war-ii/resources/immigration-policy-world-war-ii

Finally I wanted to share the names of other relatives  who perished in the Holocaust so their names will live on.

Bertram Polak (Judith’s first cousin)
Joachim Hans Sanders (Judith’s first cousin)
Bernard Keijzer (Judith’s uncle)
Emma Polak-Keijzer (Judith aunt)
Albertine Frouwke Keijzer (Judith’s first cousin)
Julius Barend Keijzer (Judith’s first cousin)

Siegmund van Cleeff (Judith’s uncle)
Jeanette Helena Weiner (Judith’s aunt)
Henny van Cleeff (Judith’s first cousin)
Albert van Cleeff (Judith’s first cousin)

Other Dutch cousins of varying degrees –
James Cats
Louisa van Dantzig-Cats
Wilhelmina Cats-van Dantzig
David van Dantzig
Anna van Dantzig
Paul van Dantzig
Betsy Adele Wiener-Frenkel
Salomon Philip Frenkel
Reina Polak-Kadiks
Joseph Kadiks
Rachel Kadiks-Polak
Jacqueline Kadiks
Rosalie Polak
Andries Polak
Henriette Polak
Arnold Polak
Geertrudia Polak-Frenk
Michel Polak
Meijer de Leeuwe
Nathan de Leeuwe
Mozes de Leeuwe
Andries de Leeuwe

German cousins of varying degrees –
Emmy Levy (Alfred’s second cousin)
Max Levy (Alfred’s second cousin)
Lisolette van Leeuwen (Judith’s third cousin)
Hans van Leeuwen (Judith’s third cousin
Max van Leeuwen (Alfred’s second cousin)
Anna van Leeuwen (Alfred’s second cousin)
Helene van Leeuwen (Alfred’s second cousin)
Fritz Cohn (Judith’s second cousin

Salomon Isaak Tillinger (Harry’s uncle)
Israel Wolf Tillinger (Harry’s uncle)
Julia Silver-Tillinger (Harry’s aunt)
Charlotte Luisa Tillinger (Harry’s first cousin)
Aleksander Tillinger (Harry’s first cousin)
Ernestyna Tillinger-Tilllinger (Harry’s Aunt)
Israel Chaim Tillinger (Harry’s uncle)
Francia/Fanny Tillinger (Harry’s first cousin)
Tsvi Seid (Harry’s second cousin)
Mendel Kaczer (Markus’ first cousin)
Pola Kaczer (Harry’s second cousin)
Nechamka Kaczer (Markus’ first cousin)
Lionel Kosser (Harry’s second cousin)
Eugenia Dzunia Kaczer (Markus’ first cousin)
Hirsch Leib Kaczer (Markus’ first cousin)
Henryk Krochmal (Markus’ first cousin)

Obviously as a genealogist I have many more names I could add to this list.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: