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Small Droste cocoa box saved by a Dutch Jewish girl

Object | Accession Number: 2011.426.2

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    Brief Narrative
    Miniature Droste cocoa box given to Margalit Lujten before the war and saved while she was in hiding in the Netherlands from September 1944 to May 1945. On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. Margalit’s father Adrian was Christian and her mother Hanna was Jewish. Margalit and her brother Ad were raised as Christians, but according to German law, they were Jewish. Adrian secured a voucher that stated no one in the family was Jewish, so they were protected and remained at home for most of the war. Margalit and her father became involved with the Dutch resistance. From 1943-1944, Margalit, 17, reported to British intelligence whether a daily train carried German troops or weapons. In 1944, one of Adrian’s coworkers told the authorities that they were Jewish. On September 15, the family went into hiding. The Netherlands was liberated on May 5, 1945.
    use:  approximately 1940-1945
    manufacture: Haarlem (Netherlands)
    received: Dordrecht (Netherlands)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Margalit Lujten
    front and back, yellow ink : DROSTE’S / CACAO [Droste’s cocoa]
    right side, gold and white ink : DROSTE’S / CACAO / DROSTE’S CACAO & / CHOCOLADEFABRIEKEN / HAARLEM / HOLLAND [Droste’s cocoa / Droste’s cocoa and chocolate factories]
    left side, black and blue ink : AU CACAOYER / BRUSSELS 1904 / HIGHEST / AWARD / HAMBURG / 189(?) / THE HAGUE 1898
    top, black ink : AU CACAOYER [the cocoa tree]
    Subject: Margalit Lujten
    Manufacturer: Droste
    Margalit Lujten was born on October 31, 1926, in Dordrecht, Netherlands, to a Christian father and Jewish mother, Adrian and Hendrika Rosendaal Lujten. Margalit had a brother, Adrian, called Ad, born on October 10, 1928. Margalit’s father Adrian was born on June 12, 1889, and her mother Hendrika, called Hanna, was born on September 10, 1889, both in Dordrecht. Adrian had a business cutting glass and repairing and painting houses, and owned Electomotorenfabriek, a factory that painted machinery, with his brother-in-law Roel Rosendaal. Margalit and Ad were assimilated and celebrated Christian holidays, but Margalit was interested in Judaism. She went to her maternal grandmother’s home for Passover. While on a summer vacation, Margalit paid visits to a rabbi, who taught her about Judaism.

    On May 10, 1940, Germany attacked the Netherlands. Margalit woke at 4:30 AM from the sound of German planes. German parachutists landed near the river to capture a strategically important bridge. Two soldiers came to Margalit’s home and told the family to leave because they were going to burn down their neighborhood. The whole neighborhood was taken to the local school. The women and children were separated from the men and locked downstairs. In the afternoon, the women and children were let go, but the men were not. During the fighting, the school was hit and eighteen people were killed. Margalit knew first aid and helped care for the wounded. Her father Adrian was not injured. On May 15, the Netherlands surrendered. In September, Adrian became involved with the Dutch resistance and Margalit helped by delivering messages. On January 10, 1941, all Jews had to register with the government. Jews were defined as anyone with more than one Jewish grandparent. A friend who worked in their municipality gave Margalit’s father a voucher that stated no one in the family was Jewish. They were protected from the increasing anti-Jewish restrictions and the deportations that began in 1942.

    From 1943 to 1944, Margalit was responsible for reporting on the daily train that went from the town to the harbor. She sat in an apple tree near her house between 1:30 and 2 PM to watch the traintracks. She would note whether there were weapons or German soldiers on the train, then write a report, which was radioed to British intelligence. In 1944, Margalit’s father Adrian was told that they were being sent east for forced labor. Adrian refused to go and made plans to go into hiding with a friend. Their home was under constant surveillance. One of Adrian’s colleagues was a Nazi and wanted to take their home and business. Adrian decided to close the business and made it lookas if it had been destroyed. Eventually, the colleague informed the authorities that Hanna, Margalit, and Ad were Jewish. On September 5, 1944, Mad Tuesday, the Prime Minister-in-exile alleged that Breda had been liberated and rumors spread that the Netherlands was about to be liberated. Dutch civilians began celebrating and many Germans and Dutch Nazis panicked and fled for Germany. Most of the Germans evacuated from the Dordrecht area. The area was not liberated, but Margalit and her family were able to escape. On September 15, Margalit and her parents went into hiding with the Boohaerdt family. Margalit’s brother Ad was sent to the Stolk family farm. The Netherlands was liberated on May 5, 1945, and Germany surrendered on May 7.

    Margalit’s family returned to Dordrecht and Adrian reopened his business. Margalit became increasingly interested in Judaism. She finished high school and got a degree at a university in Leiden. She studied medicine for two and a half years, then joined a Hachshara, a Zionist youth movement, in ‘s-Graveland in 1950. In 1951, Margalit immigrated to Israel. Her brother Ad did not consider himself Jewish. He remained in Dordrecht and took over his father’s store. He married and had two children. Margalit became a microbiologist. She lived on Kibbutz Amiad and married a man from Jerusalem. The couple had three children. They eventually moved to Jerusalem.

    Physical Details

    Dutch French
    Physical Description
    Small, foldable, rectangular cardboard box covered with colorful printed paper, with top and bottom flaps and overlapping left and right flaps, and sides with gold borders. The front and back are red, with the image of a nurse holding a tray with a steaming mug and a Droste cocoa box in the center. The right and left sides are light blue. The right side has a crest with a gold crown and red canopy over 2 crowned gold lions holding shields. The left side has a yellow circle with a red shield with an oval with a tree on a hill with a gold D in the center, surrounded by 7 gold circles.
    overall: Height: 1.625 inches (4.128 cm) | Width: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Depth: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm)
    overall : cardboard, paper, ink, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The chocolate box was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2011 by Margalit Lujten.
    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:
    2023-02-13 09:25:41
    This page:

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