Reiss-Duim family collection
The collection consists of a photograph taken in Scheveningen, Netherlands, of Roosje and Kitty Duim [donor's maternal uncle's wife and daughter] who perished in Sobibor, two postwar documents stating that Sophie Reiss-Duim [donor's mother] inherited Roosje and Kitty's estate, and one prewar handwritten note stating that the Reiss family valubles were entrusted to non-Jewish family before their deportation.
- Document Creator
- Vera Waisvisz-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.
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Vera Waisvisz-Reiss.
- Conditions on Access
- No restrictions on access
- Conditions on Use
- No restrictions on use
Record last modified: 2020-05-19 12:01:45
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn514659