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Albert David Hamburger papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2004.298.1

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    The collection documents the Holocaust experiences of Albert David Hamburger and his parents Abraham and Rosa Hamburger of Gorinchem, Netherlands. Included are four letters written by Betty Bouten-Bergen, who hid David and his sister in Amsterdam; family photographs; copies of documents related to Albert’s release from Theresienstadt; and a Dutch translation of a diary written by Sergei Kaplan, husband of Olga Kaplan, who adopted Albert while he was in Theresienstadt.
    inclusive:  circa 1930-circa 1945
    Collection Creator
    Albert D. Hamburger
    Albert (Bertje) David Hamburger was born on August 11, 1940, in Gorinchem, Netherlands. His father, David Abraham Hamburger (b. 1907), worked for the Phillips light bulb factory. His mother, Rosa Sophie Engers Hamburger (b. 1914), was a housewife. Rosa’s parents, Simson and Dilia Engers, survived World War II in hiding. Abraham and Jetje Hamburger, David’s parents, were deported to Auschwitz in August 1942 and were murdered upon arrival.

    From early 1943, Albert, who was called Bertje, was hidden with his mother in Eindhoven, Netherlands, and his father continued to work for Phillips in the SOBU (Speciaal Ontwikkelingsbureau- Special Development Office). In March 1943 Rosa became pregnant. Henriette (“Jettie”) Hamburger was born on December 24, 1943. Soon after her birth, Bertje and his baby sister were placed with Betty Bouten in Amsterdam, Netherlands, while Rosa Hamburger continued to hide in Eindhoven. At the end of May 1944, all Dutch Army officers were called up for a headcount by the Germans. When they arrived, the trains were already waiting to take them to a POW camp. David Abraham Hamburger was taken to Oflag XXIc in Schildberg, Germany (now Ostrzeszów, Poland).

    In the summer of 1944, an attorney in Amsterdam denounced Betty Bouten-Bergen and the Jews she was hiding in her home. The two children, four-year-old Bertje and six-month-old Jettie, were taken to the Westerbork transit camp. Betty tried to convince the denouncer that the children were “Mischlinge” (of mixed blood) and that their father was a prisoner of war, but after interviewing Bertje, the arresting policeman found out that his father worked for SOBU. Betty was arrested as well and deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp and later to Dachau concentration camp where she was liberated in 1945.

    In Westerbork, the two children were tended by Olga Kaplan, a Russian Jewish woman, whose husband, Sergei, was employed by Phillips as well. On September 6, 1944, on a transport from Westerbork, a group of children called “Unbekannte Kinder” (Unknown Children) because of their unclear racial status were deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. On the transport list Jettie Hamburger appeared as “unknown child” number 27, and her brother, Albert Hamburger, appeared as “unknown child” number 29. Jettie died either on the train during the transport or shortly after the arrival of the children in Bergen-Belsen. The official date of her death is October 7, 1944, in Bergen-Belsen.

    On November 17, 1944, Albert and all of the other children from this transport were then sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp, and he and the others remained under the care of Olga Kaplan the entire time. While in Theresienstadt, he was officially adopted by Olga. In May 1945, they were liberated by the Russian Army, and the “Unknown Children” were eventually transported back to the Netherlands. Albert Hamburger and Olga Kaplan were repatriated to Eindhoven where Bertje’s mother was waiting for him. Rosa Hamburger took her son from Olga, brought Olga a bunch of flowers the next day, and severed all contact with her.

    David Abraham Hamburger returned from the POW camp and refused to relate to any of the experiences of his surviving son and wife. Albert’s parents never spoke to him about his experiences, their experiences, his sister, or Olga Kaplan ever again. A year after returning, David was called up by the Dutch Army reserves and sent to the Dutch colony of the East Indies for military service and returned to the Netherlands again in 1948 or 1949. Albert’s brother, Jacob Edward, was born in 1950. After many years, Dr. Alfred David Hamburger renewed contact with the family of Betty Bouten-Bergen and with Olga Kaplan.

    Physical Details

    Dutch French German
    1 folder
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as a single series.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Dr. Albert David Hamburger.
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-03 10:44:48
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