menu  

Joods Monument Arnhem
Joods Monument Arnhem

Alijda Jacobs smuggled Jewish persons out from Westerbork

Richard Woolderink, auteur van Raalte in oorlogstijd ’40-’45 (Doetinchem 1986), schreef in 1986 uitgebreid over het verzetsverhaal van Alijda Jacobs, die o.a. haar verloofde Simon Bachrach en zijn broers Bennie en Maurits uit kamp Westerbork bevrijdde. Richard's verhaal reconstrueert tevens hun onderduikperiode in de omgeving van Raalte en de tragische dood van Maurits. Ook de presentatie van Richard's boek en de herbegrafenis van Maurits komen aan de orde.


De auteur stuurde de Engelstalige versie van zijn verhaal recentelijk naar het Holocaust Social Archive (HSA). Ook deed hij op Facebook een oproep aan de Arnhemmers om Alijda Jacobs te eren met een gedenkteken. Voor de tekst van de oproep klik hier.


Alijda Jacobs from Arnhem smuggled over ten Jewish persons out from camp Westerbork in the Netherlands

 

When Alijda Jacobs, a young woman (21) from the city of Arnhem, found out that her fiancee and his two Jewish brothers were staying in camp Westerbork, she immediately took a train to go there. She contacted a local workman who drove buildingmaterials into that camp, and with his help she smuggled over ten Jewish persons out from camp Westerbork. Right under the nose of the Germans. Readers of the Dutch womens magazine Margriet honoured her with a special medal. And Yad Vashem honoured with the Yad Vashem medal. But in the city were she was born there is still no tribute to honour her…

Around 1980 I visited the local municipality of Raalte / Netherlands. Searching for information about World War Two. I wanted to write a book about it. Because we lacked one about that time. I received a large number of photocopies with information about people who died in that war because of German or allied actions over here. One dokument mentioned the death of a young man named Hendrik Bakker. He was killed together with two other young man during a razzia on oktober the 14th 1944. That day Germans and others searched the area of Schoonheten and Espelo for young man who had to do forced labour fort he occupiers. Hendrik Bakker tried that day to reach his secret shelter but had to cross an open field. A so called Landwachter, a Dutch who collabarated with the Germans, aimed at him and shot him. He died directly and his body was buried in the field.

 

With the help of articles in the local and regional media I asked persons to come forward with stories about World War Two in our municipality. Every story or piece of information was welcome to complete that puzzle. One day I received a message from a man named Simon Bachrach. He had a story for me that happened inside our municipality during World War Two. I forgot what he told me exactly in that moment. But than I lived in Doetinchem and he in Arnhem. So it was not that far to travel in order to meet him.

 

So I went to Arnhem and in a place close to the Arnhem trainstation we found a silent place to talk together. I was curious because I could not see a connexion in names between Simon Bachrach and Hendrik Bakker. Than Simon started to explain. He and his two brothers were forced by the Germans to report themselves at labor-camps. It was part of the German trick to fool people. They were promised work, food and housing. The brothers reported themselves at two of those labor-camps. Some time after that all those camps with Jewish persons were emptied and all were brought to camp Westerbork. Also known in the Netherlands as the camp were Dutch Jews were locked up before the trains would move them toward the determinationcamps in Poland. In that time his fiancee Alijda Jacobs in Arnhem found out that the brothers stayed in camp Westerbork. She took one of the first trains available and travelled tot he station of Hooghalen that was near Westerbork. Alijda found a man who drove on a transporttruck that brought buildingmaterials into the camp. Geurt Kreuze was willing to help Alijda and helped her to get into the camp. She pretended to be a new secretary that was still waiting for her official documents. In the camp she was able to talk to her fiancee and his two brothers. She unfold her plan and in the end they agreed and would try to escape. They would go out of the camp and pretend they were a collegue of Geurt. To make the story more believable they were dressed in an overall with a lot of dust on it. In this way Alijda managed to smuggle the three brothers out from the camp. But after this success she didn’t stop. She continued to bring at least eight other Jewish persons out of the camp.

 

After the succesfull escape the Bachrach brothers found a hiding place in the town of Duiven near Arnhem. More later they were taken to the area that was part of the municipality of Raalte. Members of the local resistance helped them to hide at farms over there. And as other young men had to do in that time they had to help the farmers with their daily work. But the resistance did not tell those farmers that those men were brothers and also not that they were Jewish.

But the Bachrach brothers each received forged documents that were bearing fake names. Simon’s name changed into Gerrit Salemink, Maurits got the name Hendrik Bakker and Bennie changed his name into Chris Geensen. So for some time everything went well and the brothers stayed and worked in the area of Salland an area in the province of Overijssel. Until oktober the 14th 1944. The Germans were in need for young men to work for hem in factories in Germany or for work at defencelines they were constructing in this region. So early that day they started to search for those young men moving from one farm to another. And the area was closed of in all directions. But the warning system among the farmers and members from the resistance worked well but too late to escape from the area. Maurits who also was warned for the nearing danger tried to reach the farm were his hiding place was. When he was crossing an open field between hi mand the farm a member of the so called Landwacht, Dutch persons in uniforms who collaborated with the Germans, spotted him. He aimed his gun and shot Maurits who died on the spot. He was buried temporarily in the field were he died. Later his body was brought to the general cemetary in Raalte. His brother Simon whitnessed the moment Maurits was shot and killed. But he could not say anything. Because than the farmers would find out they were brothers. And maybe also that they were Jewish. And in case that would frighten them he and his brother Bennie could loose their hidingplace. Both Simon and Bennie stayed untill the end of the war in the area. When the war was over both returned to Arnhem. Simon and Alijda married the 8 of august 1945 and got three children. Two sons and one daughter.

 

(foto Richard Woolderink)

It was a long interview that I had with Simon in Arnhem. And in the meantime I also understood why Simon Bachrach wanted to tell his story. And why I did not get the connexion between his family-name and that of Hendrik Bakker. Because it was a false name but still it was in use by the officials. Long after the end of the war and even untill the time I had the interview with Simon (between 1980 and 1986 when the book was finished) the name on the grave was still Hendrik Bakker.

But that day in Arnhem brought me a special story. I received the story behind the death of Hendrik Bakker alias Maurits Bachrach in our municipality. But totally unexpected I also received the story about a woman from Arnhem, who was just 21 years young, and who managed to free her Jewish fiancee, his two brothers and at least eight other Jewish persons from camp Westerbork. Not with arms or a large group of resistence fighters. No she fooled the Germans, pretended to be the new secretary, managed to meet her fiancee and his brothers in the middle of the camp to discuss her plan how to get them out of there. And disguised as ‘workers’ dressed in overall with a lot of dust on them and in the face they got out of there…

Every person who knows a little bit about World War Two in the Netherlands, the behavior of the Germans, camp Westerbork will think at first: This can not be true… But the facts speak for themselves.

After the succesfull escape of those ten or more Jewish persons, the Germans found out about it. Unfortunately Geurt Kreuze who drove all of them out of the camp was suspected and arrested. He did not survive the war and died in the spring of 1945 in the age of 34 years. Leaving his wife and three children behind. In 2005 Geurt received the Yad Vashem award.

But I still had to finish a job that I gave to myself. Completing my book about my town Raalte during World War Two. I wrote the story about Maurits Bachrach and made it ready for print. And after finishing many other stories about ’40-’45 the day of Friday the 21st of november 1986 arrived. The day that I could present the first copy of the book ‘’Raalte in oorlogstijd ’40-‘45’’.

Most persons that I’ve interviewed, or who helped me with photographs from that time, or with dokuments accepted the invitation to be my guest that evening. Mr. Jan Rekers who was in command of the resistance in this area received the first copy of the book. And with that I tried to offer our thanks for our regained freedom to all persons involved. Resistance, allied aircrews and more.

Also Simon Bachrach and Alijda Bachrach – Jacobs were present together with their son John. After the official part of that evening they had the opportunity to meet again with Jan Rekers who helped them and Simon’s brothers to find a hiding place over here. And most of the countries who had lost one or more nationals over here did sent a representative. The United States of America, Canada and Poland. Israel was not able tob e present because it was on the evening of shabbath. So I brought a book to the embassy in the Hague later.

The family Bachrach had to go to Dutch court in order to get back the name Maurit’s Bachrach in the official administration from the municipality and others.

The book was sold out in a very short time. Saturday november the 22nd I could sell the books that were pre-ordered. Approximately between 800 and 900 persons ordered the book in advance. So the next morning when the doors from the shop opened at 9 o clock there was a long line of persons waiting. And that continued fors ome hours that day. The most important part of that was the great interest from young and old people in what happened in the war from ’40-’45. Around 2003 there was still a great demand for the book that was sold out early 1987. So I decided to make a second edition, a reprint, with some new information that I received after the first print. I was lucky that after 1986 in my job I learned how to work with a graphic design program. So this time I could make the book exactly as I wanted it to be. And again there was a big interest in the reprint among young and old people.

But the story about Maurits Bachrach was not over and complete. Because of the publication of my book also Ab Petter, the man from the municipality who was responsable fort he graves of allied aircrew and civilian victims, started to research his dokuments about the cemetaries in our municipality. Early 2005 he informed me about a dokument that he had found. It was about the grave of Maurits Bachrach. The information told him the remains were buried again after the war in the same cemetary. But that he was buried in a grave with two other persons. And one of them seemed to be a German soldier, or someone who was in service with the Germans because there was information that he was wearing an uniform…

When I heard about this my first thought was how can it be that a Jewish person who died because of the Germans is buried in the same grave as his enemy… Ab Petter shared that same feeling with me. We agreed together that researching the ho wand why had to wait for later. More important was to find a solution. Maurits Bachrach should have a grave for his own. Not shared with somebody from the enemy who was responsable for his death.

So I informed Ab Petter that I would share this information with two former members of the local resistance over here. The last ones who still were alive. I told them that they should inform the municipality about this actual information. And that they as former members of the resistance should request the burgomaster to do something about this unacceptable situation.

Shortly after they had informed the burgomaster I mailed the information to my collegue from the daily newspaper De Stentor. So Benny Koerhuis also started to publish about the fact that Maurits Bachrach shared his grave with two others, and one was a former enemy.

The plan worked out well to our idea. The municipality contacted the Dutch ministry of Defence. And they ordered a special unit of the army to re-open the grave. So that happened and the remains were taken with them to their laboratory for more research on the identities of the remains.

 

After that study was finished the Bachrach family expressed their wish that Maurits should be reburied at Loenen cemetary. The Dutch cemetary for civilian victims of World War Two. So that happened and Maurits now find his final place of rest in his private grave.

The remains from the German person were reburied at IJsselstijn, the cementary for the German soldiers from World War Two. The third person that could not be identified was reburied in the cementary in Raalte on the location Westdorplaan.

As a result of the re-opening of the grave of Maurits Bachrach in 2005 the Dutch Red Cross together with the army and police started in 2006 to use a special database for securing DNA from remains from humans. So when remains are found and buried, they do not need to re-open the grave, when they want to find out if there is a connexion with families who are still searching for someone who has been lost. They simply can compare the DNA from that database with the person / persons who is / are searching for a lost family-member.

So in other words the tragic death from Maurits Bachrach has in some way a positive follow up because of the start of that database.

An example that the database is working well came up just a few days ago. A Dutch man was missing for a long time. Several weeks. Nobody knew what did happen to him since he left home. Fishermen who were fishing on the Northsea found a small piece of the head of a person. It was delivered tot he police who contacted the organisation who runs that special database. After the remain was compared with the DNA from family evidence came up that the DNA from both matched. So the faith of the missing man is clear now.

 

Richard Woolderink

auteur van Raalte in oorlogstijd ’40-’45, Doetinchem 1986

Verhalen

Alijda Jacobs smuggled Jewish persons out from Westerbork

Richard Woolderink, auteur van Raalte in oorlogstijd ’40-’45 (Doetinchem 1986), schreef in 1986 uitgebreid over het verzetsverhaal van Alijda Jacobs, die o.a. haar verloofde Simon Bachrach en zijn broers Bennie en Maurits uit kamp Westerbork bevrijdde. Richard's verhaal reconstrueert tevens hun onderduikperiode in de omgeving van Raalte en de tragische dood van Maurits. Ook de presentatie van Richard's boek en de herbegrafenis van Maurits komen aan de orde.


De auteur stuurde de Engelstalige versie van zijn verhaal recentelijk naar het Holocaust Social Archive (HSA). Ook deed hij op Facebook een oproep aan de Arnhemmers om Alijda Jacobs te eren met een gedenkteken. Voor de tekst van de oproep klik hier.


Alijda Jacobs from Arnhem smuggled over ten Jewish persons out from camp Westerbork in the Netherlands

 

When Alijda Jacobs, a young woman (21) from the city of Arnhem, found out that her fiancee and his two Jewish brothers were staying in camp Westerbork, she immediately took a train to go there. She contacted a local workman who drove buildingmaterials into that camp, and with his help she smuggled over ten Jewish persons out from camp Westerbork. Right under the nose of the Germans. Readers of the Dutch womens magazine Margriet honoured her with a special medal. And Yad Vashem honoured with the Yad Vashem medal. But in the city were she was born there is still no tribute to honour her…

Around 1980 I visited the local municipality of Raalte / Netherlands. Searching for information about World War Two. I wanted to write a book about it. Because we lacked one about that time. I received a large number of photocopies with information about people who died in that war because of German or allied actions over here. One dokument mentioned the death of a young man named Hendrik Bakker. He was killed together with two other young man during a razzia on oktober the 14th 1944. That day Germans and others searched the area of Schoonheten and Espelo for young man who had to do forced labour fort he occupiers. Hendrik Bakker tried that day to reach his secret shelter but had to cross an open field. A so called Landwachter, a Dutch who collabarated with the Germans, aimed at him and shot him. He died directly and his body was buried in the field.

 

With the help of articles in the local and regional media I asked persons to come forward with stories about World War Two in our municipality. Every story or piece of information was welcome to complete that puzzle. One day I received a message from a man named Simon Bachrach. He had a story for me that happened inside our municipality during World War Two. I forgot what he told me exactly in that moment. But than I lived in Doetinchem and he in Arnhem. So it was not that far to travel in order to meet him.

 

So I went to Arnhem and in a place close to the Arnhem trainstation we found a silent place to talk together. I was curious because I could not see a connexion in names between Simon Bachrach and Hendrik Bakker. Than Simon started to explain. He and his two brothers were forced by the Germans to report themselves at labor-camps. It was part of the German trick to fool people. They were promised work, food and housing. The brothers reported themselves at two of those labor-camps. Some time after that all those camps with Jewish persons were emptied and all were brought to camp Westerbork. Also known in the Netherlands as the camp were Dutch Jews were locked up before the trains would move them toward the determinationcamps in Poland. In that time his fiancee Alijda Jacobs in Arnhem found out that the brothers stayed in camp Westerbork. She took one of the first trains available and travelled tot he station of Hooghalen that was near Westerbork. Alijda found a man who drove on a transporttruck that brought buildingmaterials into the camp. Geurt Kreuze was willing to help Alijda and helped her to get into the camp. She pretended to be a new secretary that was still waiting for her official documents. In the camp she was able to talk to her fiancee and his two brothers. She unfold her plan and in the end they agreed and would try to escape. They would go out of the camp and pretend they were a collegue of Geurt. To make the story more believable they were dressed in an overall with a lot of dust on it. In this way Alijda managed to smuggle the three brothers out from the camp. But after this success she didn’t stop. She continued to bring at least eight other Jewish persons out of the camp.

 

After the succesfull escape the Bachrach brothers found a hiding place in the town of Duiven near Arnhem. More later they were taken to the area that was part of the municipality of Raalte. Members of the local resistance helped them to hide at farms over there. And as other young men had to do in that time they had to help the farmers with their daily work. But the resistance did not tell those farmers that those men were brothers and also not that they were Jewish.

But the Bachrach brothers each received forged documents that were bearing fake names. Simon’s name changed into Gerrit Salemink, Maurits got the name Hendrik Bakker and Bennie changed his name into Chris Geensen. So for some time everything went well and the brothers stayed and worked in the area of Salland an area in the province of Overijssel. Until oktober the 14th 1944. The Germans were in need for young men to work for hem in factories in Germany or for work at defencelines they were constructing in this region. So early that day they started to search for those young men moving from one farm to another. And the area was closed of in all directions. But the warning system among the farmers and members from the resistance worked well but too late to escape from the area. Maurits who also was warned for the nearing danger tried to reach the farm were his hiding place was. When he was crossing an open field between hi mand the farm a member of the so called Landwacht, Dutch persons in uniforms who collaborated with the Germans, spotted him. He aimed his gun and shot Maurits who died on the spot. He was buried temporarily in the field were he died. Later his body was brought to the general cemetary in Raalte. His brother Simon whitnessed the moment Maurits was shot and killed. But he could not say anything. Because than the farmers would find out they were brothers. And maybe also that they were Jewish. And in case that would frighten them he and his brother Bennie could loose their hidingplace. Both Simon and Bennie stayed untill the end of the war in the area. When the war was over both returned to Arnhem. Simon and Alijda married the 8 of august 1945 and got three children. Two sons and one daughter.

 

(foto Richard Woolderink)

It was a long interview that I had with Simon in Arnhem. And in the meantime I also understood why Simon Bachrach wanted to tell his story. And why I did not get the connexion between his family-name and that of Hendrik Bakker. Because it was a false name but still it was in use by the officials. Long after the end of the war and even untill the time I had the interview with Simon (between 1980 and 1986 when the book was finished) the name on the grave was still Hendrik Bakker.

But that day in Arnhem brought me a special story. I received the story behind the death of Hendrik Bakker alias Maurits Bachrach in our municipality. But totally unexpected I also received the story about a woman from Arnhem, who was just 21 years young, and who managed to free her Jewish fiancee, his two brothers and at least eight other Jewish persons from camp Westerbork. Not with arms or a large group of resistence fighters. No she fooled the Germans, pretended to be the new secretary, managed to meet her fiancee and his brothers in the middle of the camp to discuss her plan how to get them out of there. And disguised as ‘workers’ dressed in overall with a lot of dust on them and in the face they got out of there…

Every person who knows a little bit about World War Two in the Netherlands, the behavior of the Germans, camp Westerbork will think at first: This can not be true… But the facts speak for themselves.

After the succesfull escape of those ten or more Jewish persons, the Germans found out about it. Unfortunately Geurt Kreuze who drove all of them out of the camp was suspected and arrested. He did not survive the war and died in the spring of 1945 in the age of 34 years. Leaving his wife and three children behind. In 2005 Geurt received the Yad Vashem award.

But I still had to finish a job that I gave to myself. Completing my book about my town Raalte during World War Two. I wrote the story about Maurits Bachrach and made it ready for print. And after finishing many other stories about ’40-’45 the day of Friday the 21st of november 1986 arrived. The day that I could present the first copy of the book ‘’Raalte in oorlogstijd ’40-‘45’’.

Most persons that I’ve interviewed, or who helped me with photographs from that time, or with dokuments accepted the invitation to be my guest that evening. Mr. Jan Rekers who was in command of the resistance in this area received the first copy of the book. And with that I tried to offer our thanks for our regained freedom to all persons involved. Resistance, allied aircrews and more.

Also Simon Bachrach and Alijda Bachrach – Jacobs were present together with their son John. After the official part of that evening they had the opportunity to meet again with Jan Rekers who helped them and Simon’s brothers to find a hiding place over here. And most of the countries who had lost one or more nationals over here did sent a representative. The United States of America, Canada and Poland. Israel was not able tob e present because it was on the evening of shabbath. So I brought a book to the embassy in the Hague later.

The family Bachrach had to go to Dutch court in order to get back the name Maurit’s Bachrach in the official administration from the municipality and others.

The book was sold out in a very short time. Saturday november the 22nd I could sell the books that were pre-ordered. Approximately between 800 and 900 persons ordered the book in advance. So the next morning when the doors from the shop opened at 9 o clock there was a long line of persons waiting. And that continued fors ome hours that day. The most important part of that was the great interest from young and old people in what happened in the war from ’40-’45. Around 2003 there was still a great demand for the book that was sold out early 1987. So I decided to make a second edition, a reprint, with some new information that I received after the first print. I was lucky that after 1986 in my job I learned how to work with a graphic design program. So this time I could make the book exactly as I wanted it to be. And again there was a big interest in the reprint among young and old people.

But the story about Maurits Bachrach was not over and complete. Because of the publication of my book also Ab Petter, the man from the municipality who was responsable fort he graves of allied aircrew and civilian victims, started to research his dokuments about the cemetaries in our municipality. Early 2005 he informed me about a dokument that he had found. It was about the grave of Maurits Bachrach. The information told him the remains were buried again after the war in the same cemetary. But that he was buried in a grave with two other persons. And one of them seemed to be a German soldier, or someone who was in service with the Germans because there was information that he was wearing an uniform…

When I heard about this my first thought was how can it be that a Jewish person who died because of the Germans is buried in the same grave as his enemy… Ab Petter shared that same feeling with me. We agreed together that researching the ho wand why had to wait for later. More important was to find a solution. Maurits Bachrach should have a grave for his own. Not shared with somebody from the enemy who was responsable for his death.

So I informed Ab Petter that I would share this information with two former members of the local resistance over here. The last ones who still were alive. I told them that they should inform the municipality about this actual information. And that they as former members of the resistance should request the burgomaster to do something about this unacceptable situation.

Shortly after they had informed the burgomaster I mailed the information to my collegue from the daily newspaper De Stentor. So Benny Koerhuis also started to publish about the fact that Maurits Bachrach shared his grave with two others, and one was a former enemy.

The plan worked out well to our idea. The municipality contacted the Dutch ministry of Defence. And they ordered a special unit of the army to re-open the grave. So that happened and the remains were taken with them to their laboratory for more research on the identities of the remains.

 

After that study was finished the Bachrach family expressed their wish that Maurits should be reburied at Loenen cemetary. The Dutch cemetary for civilian victims of World War Two. So that happened and Maurits now find his final place of rest in his private grave.

The remains from the German person were reburied at IJsselstijn, the cementary for the German soldiers from World War Two. The third person that could not be identified was reburied in the cementary in Raalte on the location Westdorplaan.

As a result of the re-opening of the grave of Maurits Bachrach in 2005 the Dutch Red Cross together with the army and police started in 2006 to use a special database for securing DNA from remains from humans. So when remains are found and buried, they do not need to re-open the grave, when they want to find out if there is a connexion with families who are still searching for someone who has been lost. They simply can compare the DNA from that database with the person / persons who is / are searching for a lost family-member.

So in other words the tragic death from Maurits Bachrach has in some way a positive follow up because of the start of that database.

An example that the database is working well came up just a few days ago. A Dutch man was missing for a long time. Several weeks. Nobody knew what did happen to him since he left home. Fishermen who were fishing on the Northsea found a small piece of the head of a person. It was delivered tot he police who contacted the organisation who runs that special database. After the remain was compared with the DNA from family evidence came up that the DNA from both matched. So the faith of the missing man is clear now.

 

Richard Woolderink

auteur van Raalte in oorlogstijd ’40-’45, Doetinchem 1986

 

Locatie Joods Monument Arnhem:
Kippenmarkt/Jonas Daniël Meijerplaats