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Egg crate used as a suitcase by family living in hiding

Object | Accession Number: 2005.380.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Egg crate used as a trunk by the family of 2-year-old Uriel Cohn to move their belongings from one hiding place to the next in the Netherlands. Eggs were brought to auction in these wooden egg boxes packed in a bed of hay to avoid breakage. On July 15, 1942, the family received a summons from the German occupying authorities for deportation to a labor camp. They decided to go into hiding instead. Uriel’s 6-year old brother, Michael, was placed alone with one family and Uriel was hidden by Everdina and Marinus van der Beek. The van der Beek’s soon offered refuge to both his parents and they were able to stay together until the region was liberated by Canadian forces in April 1945. They were reunited with Michael and later moved to Israel.
    use:  1942-1945
    creation:  1940
    use: Netherlands
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Uriel Cohn
    Subject: Uriel Cohn
    Uriel Cohn was born on July 13, 1940, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Adolph, a graphologist, and Elfriede Strauss Cohn, a teacher. He had an older brother, Michael, born in Amsterdam in 1936. His parents had emigrated from Germany in1935 because of the increasingly harsh anti-Semitic policies and persecution of Jews by the Nazi government. They were refused permission to immigrate to Palestine, so they went to the Netherlands. Adolph was able to re-establish his practiced as a professional graphologist and had several large Dutch companies as clients.
    The Germans occupied Holland in 1940. On July 15, 1942, the family was told to report for deportation to a labor camp. They decided to go into hiding instead. Michael was hidden alone with the van Lith family in Geldrop, a village close to Eindhoven, but the rest of the family had to keep on the move, hiding in different places, sometimes together, sometimes not. Executives from one of the factories that used Adolph’s services offered to help the family find refuge, but the offer was soon withdrawn because of fear of the German authorities. Two-year-old Uriel was taken in by Marinus and Everdina van Beck on their isolated farm in the village of Bennekon, near Arnhem. The van Beeks were strict Calvinists who felt it was their duty to help the Jews during this difficult time and they contacted underground groups offering to provide refuge for Jews. In 1943, they took in Elfriede and soon afterwards, Adolph as well, when their hiding place with another family, the van der Put’s, became too dangerous. The Cohn’s had 2 small rooms in the farmhouse and a hiding place in the basement. Visitors were told that Elfriede and Uriel were distant relatives whose home had been destroyed in the war. They went to church with the van der Beek’s on Sundays and often went on trips to the market. Adolph, however, never left the farm, as his features were recognizably Jewish. A local Protestant priest, E.H. Broekema, also helped them during this time, and even appealed to his parishioners during sermons to assist the family.
    In late September 1944, an Allied operation, Market Garden, failed to liberate Arnhem. The van der Beek’s were ordered to evacuate the area, but they found the Cohn’s another hiding place and notified the Red Cross about their situation. The area was finally liberated in April 1945 and Uriel and his parents were reunited with his brother, Michael. The Cohn family later moved to Israel. Their rescuers have been recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Crates (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Square wooden crate constructed of dovetailed slats, with small gaps, attached by metal nails to supporting slats on the top, bottom, and corners. The lid is attached by 2 nailed metal hinges on the back and has a front metal clasp that latches with a thin rod; there is a hole for a padlock. There is English text in yellow chalk and faded lettering in black marker on the lid, Dutch text stamped in black on the back, and 3 initials on each side. There are arrows in yellow chalk pointing upward on all sides and spots of white paint on both sides.
    overall: Height: 15.750 inches (40.005 cm) | Width: 24.000 inches (60.96 cm) | Depth: 22.000 inches (55.88 cm)
    overall : wood, metal, ink, chalk, paint
    top, yellow chalk : X IV / NOT (underlined) TO BE/OPENED
    front, lower center, stamped in black ink : COOP. EIERVEILING 1940 / EDE [COOP. EGG AUCTION]
    back, lower center, stamped in black ink : COOP. EIERVEILING 1940 / EDE
    left side, center, behind rail, stamped in black ink : EDE
    right side, center, behind rail, stamped in black ink : EDE

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The crate was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Uriel Cohn.
    Record last modified:
    2022-09-28 15:47:22
    This page:

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