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Netherlands, 1 gulden silver voucher, kept by a Dutch Jewish woman in hiding

Object | Accession Number: 1990.23.195

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    Netherlands, 1 gulden silver voucher, kept by a Dutch Jewish woman in hiding

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    Brief Narrative
    Dutch 1 (een) gulden silver voucher kept by Flory Cohen Levi in her pouch, see 1990.23.191, while she was in hiding in Amersfoort, Netherlands, from June 1942 to May 1945. Flora intended to send it to her mother Alijda, but Flora could not find her, so she always kept the pouch with her. Flora's mother Alidja had been deported to Auschwitz in September where she was killed. Flory met Felix Levi, a refugee from Hitler's Germany, in the mid-1930s. After Germany invaded Poland, Felix convinced Flora to flee. In November 1939, they sailed for South America aboard the SS Simon Bolivar, which was sunk by German mines. They were rescued by the British military and taken to a hospital in England. After recuperating for six months, they had to leave because Felix, a German, was considered an enemy alien. In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. Flora and Felix went into hiding in June 1942 in the home of Piet Brandsen, a resistance member. They married while in hiding. After Piet was arrested in January 1944, they found refuge with Hank Hornsveld and family. The Netherlands was liberated in May 1945. The couple emigrated to America in 1948 on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam.
    issue:  1938 October 01
    issue: Netherlands
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Felix and Flory Van Beek and their Estate
    face, right top and bottom corners, red-brown ink : 1.-
    face, top center, black ink : Serie HM No 447088
    face, center, underprint, black ink : EEN / GULDEN
    face, center, brown ink : WETTIG BETAALMIDDEL KONINKRIJK DER NEDERLANDEN / ZILVERBON / GROOT EEN GULDEN / Wordt ter betaling aangenomen door / De Nederlandsche Bank en aan alle Rijkskantoren. / Inwisselbaar in Zilver na aankondiging. / Geregistreerd / De Agent van het Ministerie van Financiëns / illegible signature / 1 October 1938. / De Minister van Financiën / illegible signature] [Legal currency of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Silver voucher, 1 Great Gulden, Is adopted for payment by the Dutch Central Bank and all Government Offices. It is redeemable in Silver after notification. Registered Agent of the Ministry of Finance]
    reverse, corners, red-brown outline : 1.-
    reverse, center, green ink : Wettig betaalmiddel. Koninkrijk der Nederlanden / Het namaken of vervalschen van zilverbons met het oogmerk / om die als echt en onvervalscht uit te geven of te doen uitgeven, / wordt gestraft met gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste negen jaren. [Legal tender. Kingdom of the Netherlands. / Forging or falsifying of zilverbons with intent to give or spend as genuine and unadulterated, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding nine years.]
    Subject: Mrs. Flory Van Beek
    Issuer: Kingdom of Netherlands (Koninkrijk der Nederlanden)
    Flora Cohen was born on December 3, 1914, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Abraham and Alijda (Aleida) Van Beek Cohen. Flora had three older siblings, Izak (1900-1965), Salomon (1904-1981), and Elisabeth (1906-1996), and two siblings who died before she was born, Moses (1901-1901), and Rosina (1902-1903). Flora’s father Abraham was born on January 23, 1874, in Rotterdam, to Isaac and Elizabeth van Lier Cohen. Flora’s mother Alijda was born on July 23, 1880, in Amersfoort, to Mozes Hartog and Rozina (Annegje) Van Esso Van Beek. Alijda had two sisters: Roosje (Rosa) (1876-1939), and Flora (1878-1943). Alijda and Abraham were married on October 11, 1899. When Flora was 5 years old, Abraham died on May 6, 1920. The family moved to Amersfoort to be closer to Alijda’s family. They were Orthodox and Flora attended services on Friday nights with her grandfather. She attended grammar school, where she learned three languages. After her grandparents died, Flora’s family moved to Amsterdam, then Rotterdam, where they had other relatives, including Flora’s paternal grandmother. In the 1930’s, many German Jewish refugees fled to the Netherlands after Hitler rose to power in 1933. Flora met Felix Levi, a German Jewish refugee who was born on May 2, 1912, in Sennfeld, Germany, to Maier and Jette Aufhauser Levi. He worked for an international import-export grain business.

    Germany annexed Austria in March 1938 and invaded Czechoslovakia in March 1939 and Poland in September 1939. Felix believed that the Germans would invade the Netherlands. His company offered to send him to their offices in South America. Felix offered to take Flora with him to save her life. On November 17, 1939, Flora and Felix sailed on the SS Simon Bolivar. The next day, the ship was hit with two German mines and sunk. It was the first neutral ship to be destroyed by the Germans. Flora and Felix were severely injured and were rescued by a British destroyer. They were brought to Harwich, England, where they recuperated in military hospitals. Felix was a German citizen and was not allowed to stay in England. He wanted to continue to South America, but Flora wanted to return home. In April 1940, Flora and Felix returned to Rotterdam. Felix booked passage on another Dutch ship, which would sail to South America on May 11. On May 10, Germany invaded the Netherlands. After the SS arrived, they began implementing anti-Semitic restrictions. All Jews living on the coast, including Rotterdam, had to move inward. Flora and Alijda returned to Amersfoort. In the fall, they had to turn over their radios, jewelry, gold, and other valuables. In September 1941, they were not allowed to go to public places, including the zoo and parks. They were eventually forbidden from using the train and going into stores. In 1942, the SS led them to believe that they could immigrate to Cuba. They paid for it but never received visas. In January, they were issued identification cards stamped with a J for Jew. Beginning in May, they had to wear Star of David badges. In summer 1942, German authorities began arresting and deporting Jews. Flora’s mother Alijda was taken and her siblings were missing.

    In June, Flora got a summons to report to the train station. On her way there, she was stopped by Piet Brandsen, a Christian who was active in the resistance movement. He offered to hide Flora in his home in Amersfoort. She told him about Felix, so Piet found him and brought him to the home. Piet got false papers for the couple under the names Johannes Jacobus van Ophuizen and Hendrika Helmina Gejtenbeek. Piet insisted that they be married before they could hide in a room together, so he found a rabbi. The rabbi gave Piet seven Hebrew words and told him that if Flora and Felix repeated them, they would be married. Piet could only remember two of the words but married Flora and Felix on July 9. They hid in a small room upstairs and could not come downstairs during the day. In the fall, they received a farewell letter from Flora’s mother, written on September 7. She had been taken to Amsterdam, then sent to Westerbork transit camp. She knew she was going to be deported and believed she would not survive. Piet helped look for Alijda and went to Westerbork, where he learned that she had been sent to Poland. Flora and Felix eventually got involved with the resistance. Felix could pass as a German soldier, so Piet got him a Dutch mailman’s uniform and added insignia to make it look like a German uniform. They listened to BBC broadcasts on a radio, then Felix spread notes from the broadcasts. Flora typed food coupons and the resistance newspaper, Het Parool, which included lists of names of reliable Dutch citizens who could be trusted to hide Jews. Flora dyed her hair blonde and would sometimes leave the house to distribute the news on a bicycle.

    On January 21, 1944, the Gestapo came to arrest Piet. They searched the house, but did not look upstairs and did not find the couple. Felix and Flora decided to leave so they did not endanger Piet’s family. They looked for Jacobus and Gezina van der Hoevens, who were hiding Felix’s sister and mother. Jacobus could not take them in because he was already hiding several Jews. He gave them the name of Hank Hornsveld, who would most likely hide them. Flora and Felix walked to the Hornsveld family home on the outskirts of town, with Felix wearing his fake German uniform. The Hornsveld family agreed to let them to stay. Flora and Felix had to stay upstairs because the family had a wood business downstairs with employees. There was a severe food shortage in winter 1943, so Flora, Felix, the Hornsvelds, and their neighbors stole grain from a German silo. When the Allied forces parachuted into the area in September 1944, Flora and Felix thought they were liberated, but the Allies were pushed back by the Germans. In January 1945, Flora, Felix, and the Hornsveld family were ordered to leave the house by German soldiers and evacuated to Soest. Flora and Felix had to leave behind their false papers. They were eventually able to return to Amersfoort in a circus wagon. The Netherlands was liberated on May 5, 1945.

    Flora and Felix went to Amsterdam, then Rotterdam, and were eventually legally married. Flora learned that many of her relatives perished in the Holocaust. Flora’s mother Alijda was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp or Sobibor extermination camp in September 1942, where she was killed. Her paternal uncle Salomon and his wife Sophie, and her paternal uncle Charles and his wife Betsie were killed in a concentration camp. Her maternal uncle Jacob Coster, Rosa’s husband, her maternal aunt Flora, and Flora’s husband Jules Frank were most likely killed in May 1943 in Sobibor. Flora was reunited with her three siblings. Izak and Elisabeth survived in hiding with Christian families. Salomon escaped to Spain and enlisted in the British Army. Flora and Felix decided to immigrate to the United States. On April 27, 1948, Flora and Felix arrived in New York on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam. They settled in Los Angeles and changed their names to Felix and Flory Astrid Van Beek, adopting Alijda’s maiden name. Flory worked at an attorney’s office. Felix worked a variety of jobs until the couple opened a furniture store in 1968. They remained in close contact with the Brandsen and Hornsveld families and helped Hank Jr. and Burt Hornsveld immigrate to California. In 1954, Felix and Flory adopted a son, who died at age 16 of cancer. Felix, 97, died on January 26, 2010, in Newport Beach, California. Flory, 95, passed away on June 30, 2010.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Physical Description
    Rectangular, watermarked offwhite paper currency printed in red-brown, black, and green ink. The face has a rectangle with an ornately flourished border. The denomination 1 is in the upper and lower right corners. On the left is a medallion with the left profile of woman, Queen Wilhelmina. In the center is an offwhite rectangle with Dutch text and the denomination ZILVERBON Groot EEN GULDEN. Along the top are the series letter and number over an underprint of the denomination EEN GULDEN. The reverse has a rectangle bordered with overlapping bands with a geometric flourish.The denomination 1 is in each corner. In the center is an offwhite rectangle with Dutch text and the arms of the Netherlands: 2 lions supporting a crown. It is creased, and the back is faded.
    overall: Height: 2.875 inches (7.302 cm) | Width: 5.125 inches (13.017 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The money was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1990 by Felix and Flory Van Beek.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:21:21
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