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Child’s striped knit wool cap with a tassel made for a hidden Dutch Jewish child

Object | Accession Number: 2002.140.4

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    Child’s striped knit wool cap with a tassel made for a hidden Dutch Jewish child

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Red, white, and blue striped knit cap made for Vera Reiss by her foster mother, Huberta Van Pelt, in Baarn, Netherlands, in spring 1945. Huberta made the hat in the colors of the Netherlands flag to celebrate their liberation in May 1945. Vera was born in German occupied Amsterdam in March 1942. That summer, the Germans began mass deportations to camps in the east. In July, Vera’s father Salomon allowed himself to be arrested, to spare his wife Sophie and their infant daughter. Sophie and Vera went into hiding with Sophie’s cousin Cato and then were hidden separately. Vera, now 9 months old, was sent to live with the Van Pelts, who knew Vera’s paternal grandfather Abraham. Her mother assumed a false identity as a housekeeper. On May 5, 1945, the Netherlands was liberated. Vera was reunited with her mother. Vera’s father was killed in Auschwitz in February 1943. Most of Vera’s large extended family was murdered in the Holocaust.
    Date
    creation:  1945 May
    Geography
    use: Baarn (Netherlands)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Vera Waivisz-Reiss
    Contributor
    Subject: Vera Waisvisz-Reiss
    Artisan: Huberta J. Van Pelt
    Biography
    Vera Reiss was born on March 5, 1942, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the only child of a Jewish couple, Salomon and Sophie Duim Reiss. Salomon, called Sal, was born on January 24, 1902, in Amsterdam, to Abraham Hartog and Vrouwtje Duyts Reiss. Abraham was born March 2, 1875, in London, to a Dutch family. He was a well-known and prosperous merchant and owned a textile business in the center of Amsterdam. Vrouwtje was born August 17, 1876, in Amsterdam. Sal had four siblings: Hartog, called Harry (b. 1900), Jacob, called Jaap (1905-1944), Lehman (1907-1943), and Elizabeth Jeannette (b. 1909). Vera’s mother Sophie was born on August 7, 1903, in Amsterdam, to Wolf and Keetje Meijer Duim. Wolf was born August 16, 1856, in Amsterdam. Keetje was born March 15, 1858, in Groningen. Sophie had a sister and two brothers: Jansje (1885-1943), Mozes (1896-1944), and Salomon (1898-1943). Their father Wolf died on January 11, 1911. Sal and Sophie were married on December 23, 1936. Sal was a literary editor and devoted much of his time to charitable organizations. Sophie’s mother Keetje died on December 1, 1937.

    On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. In 1941, Jews were required to register with the authorities. Large scale deportations to camps in the east began in summer 1942. In July, Vera’s father Sal allowed himself to be arrested, so Sophie and Vera would not be taken. He was sent to Westerbork transit camp. Sophie received a letter from her brother Salomon, who was also imprisoned in Westerbork. Salomon, his wife Rose Velleman (b.1904), and their daughter Kitty Jeanette (b. 1935) had gone into hiding, but they were betrayed and arrested. He wrote that Sophie should resist being arrested because of the terrible conditions, and that he was fearful of what awaited them. Soon after, German soldiers attempted to arrest Sophie, but she convinced them that she could not walk and that Vera was in poor health, so they let her go. Sophie decided to flee before they could be deported. For a short time, Vera and Sophie hid with Sophie’s cousin, Cato Duim, who married a non-Jew. In late 1942, Sophie and Vera were hidden separately. Vera, 9 months old, was placed in hiding in Baarn in Utrecht province with a Dutch couple, Hermanus Gerrit and Huberta Johanna van Wyngaarden Van Pelt. They were clients of Vera’s paternal grandfather Abraham. They also hid Abraham’s religious articles. Vera’s false name was Vrouwke Peters, but the Van Pelts called her Meiske, the Dutch word for girly. They said she was their niece who had survived the bombings. They lived near a large botanical garden where they would hide Vera if it seemed dangerous at home. They had a ladder which they hid nearby for this purpose. On May 5, 1945, the Netherlands was liberated. The war ended when Germany surrendered on May 7.
    Soon after liberation, Vera was reunited with her mother Sophie. Vera suffered from malnutrition and was hospitalized for a while. Sophie moved constantly while in hiding, living under a false identity as a seamstress and housekeeper. Vera and Sophie returned to Amsterdam. Vera’s father Sal had been deported on December 8, 1942, to Auschwitz and died on February 28, 1943, in Auschwitz-Monowitz. Almost all of Vera’s extended family was killed in Auschwitz: her paternal grandparents Abraham and Vrouwtje on December 7, 1942; her paternal uncle Lehman on January 9, 1943; her maternal aunt Jansje on February 26, 1943; her paternal uncle Jaap on October 12, 1944; her maternal uncle Mozes on March 31, 1944; and Mozes’ wife Rebecca Troeder (b. 1896) and their children Sara (b. 1923) and Wolf (b. 1928) on October 22, 1943. Vera’s maternal uncle Salomon, his wife Rose, and their daughter Kitty were killed in Sobibor on July 16, 1943. Vera’s maternal cousin Benjamin de Vries survived the war. He was active in the Dutch resistance and was the editor of the underground newspaper Het Parool. Vera’s paternal uncle Harry and paternal aunt Elizabeth also survived. The family had left many valuable belongings, such as jewels and stamp collections, with friends before deportation or going into hiding, but few items were returned after the war.

    Vera’s mother Sophie, 61, passed away on July 25, 1965. Vera married Herman Eduard Waisvisz, who was born on November 2, 1934, in Pangkalpinang, Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), to Max and Eva Dejong Waisvisz. Herman’s family had fled the Netherlands to the Dutch East Indies before the outbreak of war. Vera and Herman eventually immigrated to Canada, then the United States. They had a son, David (1967-2004). Vera remained in touch with the Van Pelts until their deaths, Hermanus circa 1960 and Huberta on December 10, 1970. Vera's husband Herman, 65, died on May 9, 2000.
    Huberta Johanna van Wyngaarden was born on April 10, 1888, in Gennep, Netherlands, to Cornelis Adrianus and Johanna Maria Esseling van den Wyngaarden. Huberta married Hermanus Pieter Van Pelt, who was born on September 11, 1886, in Zoeterwoude, to Gerrit and Maria Anna van der Made Van Pelt. Huberta and Hermanus lived in Baarn, where Hermanus was a civil servant. They had a son, Gerrit. On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. Huberta and Hermanus’ son Gerrit became involved in the Dutch resistance. In late 1942, Huberta and Hermanus agreed to hide a Jewish infant, Vera Reiss, born in March 1942 and approximately nine months old. She was the granddaughter of Abraham Hartog Reiss, a textile merchant from Amsterdam. Huberta and Hermanus were client of Abraham's textile business. On May 5, 1945, the Netherlands was liberated. Vera’s mother Sophie came to Baarn for her daughter and they returned to Amsterdam. Huberta and Hermanus remained in contact with Vera and Sophie. Hermanus died circa 1960. Huberta passed away December 10, 1970.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Dress Accessories
    Category
    Headgear
    Object Type
    Hats (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Child’s hand knit wool yarn cap with 5 stripes: a white, seed stitched bottom stripe, a red, dark blue, and white stockinet stitched center, and a rounded, red, rib stitched top with a twisted red and white yarn tassel with a knotted end inserted through the top and held with black thread.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 5.875 inches (14.923 cm) | Width: 7.500 inches (19.05 cm)
    Materials
    overall : wool, thread

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The knit cap was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2002 by Vera Waisvisz-Reiss.
    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:
    2022-09-19 16:01:36
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn510987

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