Tag Archives: Leendert Groen

5 Passages to Bram: Passage 1: Leendert & Marianne Groen

Over the next 6 weeks I will be highlighting the story of much of my family, particularly with regards to my grandparents, parents, and individuals key in saving both the lives and memories of much of my family.  I will be leading up to a very special story of a lost family member and a most inspirational and memorable  moment.  I call this series, 6 Passages to Bram.

The first installment will be my grandparents on my father’s side, with special mention of my aunts and uncles from this side of the family.

OpaLeendert

We often hear stories of bravery and self-sacrifice.  In many ways the story of Leendert (seen above) and Marianne Groen, my paternal grandparents, epitomizes both of those things like no other story you will ever hear.  They started their family in the port city of Rotterdam, a city that albeit one with a Jewish community in the 1920’s, was not one where being Jewish was particularly easy.   My grandfather Leendert had a successful business until running into difficulties for not being able to remain open on the Jewish Sabbath, the Shabbat.  Rather than compromising the principles he believed in and was teaching to his children, he chose to close his business, and with my grandmother in agreement picked up and moved the family to the thriving center of Jewish Holland, the city of Amsterdam.  It was there that they chose to raise their children, 4 of which would be active the rest of their lives in the Jewish community or would live in the State of Israel for significant portions of their lives. The 5th, the youngest daughter Elizabeth, would be one of the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis.

When the Nazis raided the Jewish neighborhoods, they systematically emptied them out until nothing remained of anything resembling a Jewish identity.  When the time came near to when Leendert and Marianne would be transported out of Amsterdam, ultimately to their deaths in the concentration camp, Jacques Baruch, close family friend and active member of the resistance, attempted to provide them with baptismal papers in order to allow them to hide long enough to survive the Nazi onslaught.  They refused the papers, with Leendert making the statement to Jacques that would define him for eternity, “We were born as Jews, we will die as Jews”. Sadly they would indeed die as Jews in Auschwitz on February 5, 1943.  They would take their faith with them to their death and their lives and devotion to their faith are an inspiration to us all.

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Why I do this and Why You should too

holocaustOn occasion as I sit in front of a computer opining, I stop and consider the fact that there are friends and even family members who ask themselves, what is David doing?  Shouldn’t he be spending more time working?  Is he just looking for attention?  Does he really believe he is making a difference?

I have answers to all those questions, and I am comfortable with my choices, but I am more than aware that those questions are in the minds of some and need to addressed.  I do so however not so much for my personal satisfaction but to make the point of how getting involved is something we all need to do.

A few days ago I sent an email to the Secretary General of the United Nations concerning the United Nations traditional and existing anti-Israel stance and lack of concern for the well-being of the Jewish people worldwide.  That very sentence could be misinterpreted as delusional self-importance.  However, I did not write the letter with some any degree of expectation.  I would not be surprised if no one reads it, let alone the Secretary General, and if by some miracle someone does, I doubt they will care.  So why did I bother?

I will share with you some comments I received when  I posted the letter on Facebook.  The comments will remain anonymous in this post, but will of course be recognizable to anyone who is in that particular group.

“Good you take what action you can! I hope we all follow your lead and write, email, call, express, encourage, confront, support ourselves and the nation of Israel. Silence is inappropriate our people need us.”

“Bravo David Groen! We Need More People like you, that speak up!”

“Thank you for sharing. Heartfelt and really an important thing we can all do and should.”

People generally like compliments and accolades, and although I am no exception, my motivation is less personally motivated than probably anything I have ever done in my lifetime.  I do what I do for me, but the fact is, and this is what makes this so important, I do not do it only for me.  I do it for the Jewish people.  I am aware that I am merely one drop of water in a huge ocean, but resistance to evil needs to be fought on many fronts and with a cohesive understanding of the ultimate goal.  I am just one small person fighting on one of the fronts.

I am the son of Holocaust survivors.  My father’s parents, younger sister & husband were murdered by the Nazis.  My mother’s father and younger and only brother were also victims of the Holocaust.  Both of them lost numerous friends and relatives during the Nazi occupation of Holland.  My father’s parents, Leendert and Maryan Groen were presented with the opportunity to get baptismal papers in order to provide them with the possibility of being seen as non-Jewish so that they would have some hope of survival.  Leendert refused basically stating that he was born a Jew and would die a Jew, and that in his eyes to pretend otherwise was to forsake his covenant with God.  That was the sacrifice my grandfather made.  He sacrificed his life to declare himself a Jew.

So what is it that I am doing?  Nothing compared to what others did before me.  Giving up time from work? Hardly the ultimate sacrifice.  If I am making less money so that I can somehow give some extra encouragement and strength to others than what sacrifice am I making?  If my work motivates others to speak up and build a resistance against evil then what I do does matter.

The ripple effect matters more than we may realize because in many ways it is what we are actually up against.  The evil forces within Islam, and I said within Islam not of Islam, that want to take over the world and will kill anyone in their way, are attempting a worldwide revolution.  Part of this revolution is through ripple effect.  I support Israel 100% in doing anything that needs to be done to protect the Jewish people, but I also know that the ultimate battle extends far beyond its borders.

As a student of the Holocaust I have come to a very sobering conclusion.  The lessons I have learned from my parents and from others regarding that devastating time not only in Jewish but in World history are lessons that need to be given practical application today.  We are no longer dealing with theory of what if a group once again wants to see our destruction?  We are once again up against an enemy that wants us wiped off the face of the planet.  If any of us who know the history turn a blind eye to what is happening or try to wait it out patiently, we will be making a tragic mistake. I respect those who hold out hope that the world can be a peaceful utopia. I too hope that it can be.  But we are not living in a world leaning in that direction and to allow our hope to overshadow our realism will only hasten our demise.

There is a time to hope and there is a time to fight.  Right now is the time to fight, any way we know how.


Complete List of Names in “Jew Face”

This page is a listing of every name mentioned in the book “Jew Face:A story of love and heroism in Nazi-occupied Holland.”

The book is the story of Nardus and Sipora Groen.  They are the first 2 names mentioned in the book.  The following is a listing of every other name mentioned in the book.

1-Leendert Groen – father of Nardus

2-Maryan Groen -Zeelander-mother of Nardus

3-Meyer Groen -brother of Nardus

4-David Groen -brother of Nardus

5-Sofia Groen -sister of Nardus

6-Elizabeth Groen -sister of Nardus

7-Meyer Roos -librarian in Jewish ghetto(unconfirmed first name)

8-Becca Roos -librarian in Jewish ghetto(unconfirmed first name)

9-Marcel Rodrigues -Lopes-father of Sipora

10-Deborah Rodrigues-Lopes -mother of Sipora

11-Abraham(Bram) Rodrigues-Lopes -brother of Sipora

12-Emmy -housekeeper in Sipora’s house

13-Hans de Jong -fiance of Sipora

14-Hetty de Jong -sister of Hans

15-Neville Chamberlain -British Prime Minister

16-Jacques Baruch -Brother in law of Nardus (married to Sofia) and Active member of Dutch and later French resistance

17-Dirk Jan de Geer -Dutch Prime Minister

18-Queen Wilhelmina -Queen of the Netherlands

19-Pieter Gerbrandy -Dutch Prime Minister

20- Arthur Seyss-Inquart -Austrian born  Nazi  leader. Top official in the Netherlands

21-Adolph Hitler -Head of Nazi party

22-Benito Mussolini -fascist ruler of Italy

23- Francisco Franco -fascist leader of Spain

24- Anton Mussert Head of Dutch fascist party (NSB)

25- David Van Hasselt -cousin of Sipora

26-Aaron Mozes -brother in law of Nardus. (Married to Elizabeth)

27-Ferdinand aus der Funten -Nazi administrator in Amsterdam

28-Sam Abram -friend of Nardus

29- Nettie Abram -sister of Sam Abram

30-Block -Dutch Nazi informant (first name unconfirmed)

31-Cornelius Gugjes -Alias of Nardus

32-Jan Coopman -Underground contact (unconfirmed name)

33- Roe Groen -sister in law of Nardus (married to Meyer)

34- Martha Groen -sister in law of Nardus (married to David)

35- Thea -niece of Nardus (daughter of David & Martha)

36- Lilly -friend of Sipora

37- Jan Van de Berg -best friend of Marcel Rodrigues-Lopes

38- Reina Van Creveld -friend of Nardus and Directress of NIZ (Hospital)

39- Schapman -Black marketeer in Zwolle

40- Jan Henraat -Alias of Nardus

41- Joop Van de Berg -farmer near Zwolle (unconfirmed first name)

42- Jan Boekman -owner of boat where Sipora worked and found shelter (unconfirmed name)

43- Spegt -alias of high level operative in Dutch resistance (real name believed to be Stoker)

44-Minister Vogelaar – Religious leader from Lemerlerveld

45-Kruithof -Resistance operative who provided shelter to Sipora

46- Den Olde -Young couple that provided shelter to Sipora

47-Tinie -Alias of Sipora

48-Albert Jan Immink -high level Resistance operative

49-Jansje Immink -wife of Albert Jan

50-Lubertus te Kiefte -high level resistance operative. Provided shelter to Sipora

51-Geeske te Kiefte -wife of Lubertus. Provided shelter to Sipora

52-Gerrit te Kiefte -Son of Lubertus and Geeske

53-Jan te Kiefte -brother of Lubertus

54-Tina te Kiefte -wife of Jan te Kiefte

55-Gerrit Jan te Kiefte -son of Jan and Tina

56-Lies te Kiefte -daughter of Jan and Tina

57-Aaltje te Kiefte -daughter of Jan and Tina

58-Carly -Jewish boy in hiding at home of Jan and Tina

59-Kryn Hoogeboom -mobile supermarket owner in Lemerlerveld

60-Minister Keres -religious leader in Lemerlerveld

61-Schapman -NSB (Dutch fascist party) member in Lemerlerveld (unconfirmed first name)

62-Oosterwegel -high level resistance operative in Lemerlerveld (unconfirmed first name)

63- Aunt Anna- relative of Lubertus and Geeske and mobile nurse in Lemerlerveld

64-Aantje te Kiefte -daughter of Lubertus and Geeske

65-Johann Baptist Albin Rauter -top Nazi SS leader in the Netherlands

66-Joop -nephew of Lubertus and Geeske (unconfirmed last name)

67-Marcel Lubertus Groen -son of Nardus and Sipora

68-Rabbi Tal -Chief Rabbi of Holland after the war

69-Leo Groen -son of Nardus and Sipora

70-Bernice Groen -wife of Marcel Groen

71-Ruben Groen -son of Nardus and Sipora

72-Professor Jacob Marcus -high level Director at Hebrew Union College and religious leader in Cincinnati

73-Rabbi Eleizer Silver -Head of Agudah North America, Orthodox Rabbi and religious leader in Cincinnati

74-Rabbi Goldfeder -religious leader and Conservative Rabbi in Cincinnati

75-Deborah Miriam Groen -daughter of Nardus and Sipora

76- David Groen -son of Nardus and Sipora