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Purple striped cloth bag saved with hidden Dutch Jewish infant

Object | Accession Number: 2002.140.17

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    Purple striped cloth bag saved with hidden Dutch Jewish infant

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    Brief Narrative
    Light purple striped tallit storage pouch used by Abraham Hartog Reiss in Amsterdam. The tallit bag and his other religious articles were hidden with his infant granddaughter Vera Reiss. Vera was born in March 1942 in German occupied Amsterdam. That summer, the Germans began mass deportations. In July, Vera’s father Salomon allowed himself to be arrested, to spare his wife Sophie and Vera from deportation. Sophie and Vera went into hiding with Sophie’s cousin Cato and then were hidden separately. Vera was taken in by Hermanus and Huberta Van Pelt in Baarn, clients of Abraham's textile business. Sophie assumed a false identity as a housekeeper. On May 5, 1945, the Netherlands was liberated and Vera was reunited with her mother. Abraham and his wife Vrouwtje were killed in Auschwitz on December 7, 1942. Vera’s father was killed in Auschwitz in February 1943. Most of Vera’s large extended family was murdered in the Holocaust.
    use:  before 1942
    use: Amsterdam (Netherlands)
    use: Baarn (Netherlands)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Vera Waivisz-Reiss
    Subject: Vera Waisvisz-Reiss
    Subject: Abraham H. Reiss
    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.
    Abraham Hartog Reiss was born on March 2, 1875, in London, England, to a Jewish couple, Hartog Abraham and Elizabeth Veerman Reiss. His father Hartog was born on September 4, 1849, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. His mother Elizabeth was born on January 20, 1851, in Amsterdam. Hartog and Elizabeth married on June 17, 1874, in Amsterdam, then moved to London. Abraham had seven younger siblings: Mary, born on March 17, 1878, Jacob, born on February 14, 1880, Simon, born on September 24, 1882, Clara, born on December 26, 1884, Isaac, born on August 22, 1886, Barend, born on February 18, 1889, and Maurits, born on May 19, 1891. The family returned to Amsterdam in approximately 1879. On June 15, 1899, Abraham married Vrouwtje Duijts, who was born on August 17, 1876, in Amsterdam. The couple had five children: Hartog, called Harry, born on April 1, 1900, Salomon, called Sal, born on January 24, 1902, Jacob, called Jaap, born on July 24, 1905, Lehman, born on June 8, 1907, and Elizabeth Jeannette, born on June 21, 1909. Abraham was a properous and well known merchant and owned a textile store in Amsterdam and as well as a network of sales stalls at markets throughout Holland.

    On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. In 1941, Jews were required to register with the authorities. Deportations began in summer 1942. Abraham and his wife Vrouwtje were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, and killed on December 7, 1942. Almost all of Abraham’s family was killed in Auschwitz: his sister Clara and her husband Juda Aarons on September 10, 1942; his brother Maurits on October 22, 1942; his son Lehman on January 9, 1943; his son Sal on February 28, 1943, in Auschwitz-Monowitz; his brother Jacob and his wife Grietje on November 19, 1943; and his son Jaap on October 12, 1944. Abraham’s brother Isaac and his wife Rebecca were murdered on June 4, 1943, in Sobibor killing center. Abraham’s daughter Elizabeth, son Harry, brother Barend, and sister Mary survived the Holocaust. His granddaughter Vera survived in hiding with Hermanus and Huberta Van Pelt, who had been clients of Abraham. Abraham’s brother Simon’s fate is unknown.

    Physical Details

    Jewish Art and Symbolism
    Object Type
    Tallith bags (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Square, light purple, faintly striped, satin pouch made from a single piece of cloth with a top flap with angled sides and a button loop closure. The edges are trimmed with twisted, light purple cord. The interior is lined with textured, brown cloth.
    overall: Height: 14.500 inches (36.83 cm) | Width: 14.125 inches (35.878 cm)
    overall : satin, cloth, cord, thread

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The bag 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:
    2022-10-03 11:02:34
    This page:

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