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Unused yellow Star of David badge printed with Jood

Object | Accession Number: 2006.476.2

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    Unused yellow Star of David badge printed with Jood

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Uncut Star of David badge issued to the Vromen family in the Netherlands. Minnie Vromen, age 34, and her 2 children, Jaap, age 13, and Clary, age 12, were living in Enschede when Germany occupied the country in May 1940. Minnie's work as a social worker helped them escape deportation to Westerbork internment camp in November 1942. She decided to go into hiding and in February 1943 sent the children to Duerne where they were hidden in separate homes with non-Jewish Dutch families. They had to change hiding places several times during the war. After liberation in spring 1945, Minnie did not know where Clary was living. She placed her name on a register of missing people at a local synagogue. A few days later, Gerards Hoefs contacted her and told her that he and his wife, Riek, were Clary's foster parents. Clary was reunited with her family. She had renounced Judaism while in hiding and when they relocated to Amsterdam, Minnie enrolled her in Jewish schools. Both Minnie and Clary later emigrated to Israel.
    Date
    issue:  1942-1943
    Geography
    issue: Netherlands
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Clara R. Vromen
    Markings
    front, center, black dye : Jood [Jew]
    Contributor
    Subject: Clara R. Vromen
    Subject: Minnie Vromen
    Biography
    Clara Renee Keren Vromen (also known as Clary) was born on September 27, 1931 in Enschede, Netherlands, to Abraham Vromen and Minnie van Dam. Minnie was born in Enschede on June 6, 1907 to Isidoor van Dam (1876-1952) and Clara Samson (1880-1964). She had two sisters: Hettie Wilhelmina van Dam (later Hettie van der Meulen, 1902-1975) and Edith Rebecca van Dam (1918-1988). Minnie and Abraham married on December 13, 1927 in Enschede.

    Clara had one brother, Jaap Herman Vromen (also known as Jacob, b. July 21, 1930). Clara’s father was a businessman and head of Hachsara, a Zionist youth movement. The family immigrated to Palestine and settled in Tel Aviv. Minnie and Abraham divorced in 1934, and Minnie and the children returned to the Netherlands and settled in The Hague. Minnie studied to become a hospital assistant.

    In May 1940 Germany invaded and occupied the Netherlands. Minnie worked as a social worker, and received papers that protected her from deportation. By 1943 Minnie had gone into hiding under the false identity of Nellie Boorsman. She later used the false identity of Mininie Helene Lebeboer. Minnie hid her children first with two different families in Deurne, Netherlands. Jaap was later hidden with Annie (Anneke) and Johan Le Febre until liberation. Clara was hidden with a Catholic family, Riek and Gerard Hoefs and their children, in Utrecht, Netherlands. Clara remained in the house until liberation under the false identity of a cousin from Zeelandic Flanders.

    Clara and her family were all reunited after the war. They moved back to their home in Enschede, but found that their apartment was occupied by strangers. The family then moved to Amsterdam. Clara moved to London in 1950 to study nursing, and immigrated to Israel in 1952. Both of Minnie’s parents were briefly imprisoned in Westerbork, but survived the Holocaust.

    Riek and Gerard Hoefs were named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1977.
    Minnie van Dam was born on June 6, 1907, in Enschede, Netherlands, to Clara Samson, born October 4, 1880 in Herbern Westfalen, and Isidoor van Dam, born March 22, 1876, in Enschede. Minnie had two sisters Hettie Wilhemina, born July 28, 1902, and Edith Rebecca, born December 25, 1918. Her father own a textile factory, M. van Dam and Zonen. On December 13, 1927, Minnie married Abraham Vromen in Enschede. The couple had a son, Jaap Herman, born July 21, 1930, and a daughter, Clary (Clara) Renee, born September 27, 1931. The family moved to Tel Aviv, Palestine, but Abraham and Minnie divorced, and, in October 1934, she and the children moved back to the Netherlands.

    Minnie and the children settled in The Hague. She enrolled in a Red Cross training program and became a hospital assistant. On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. Minnie was a member of WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization) and they offered her a position as a social worker which provided papers that authorized her continued stay in Holland. The Germans anti-Jewish policies became increasingly punitive. After about a year, the Germans began to transport Jews from all over Holland to Amsterdam. Most of the family’s possessions were confiscated. By the summer of 1942, Jews were being deported to extermination camps in Poland. At the end of November, two Dutch policemen came to deport the family to Westerbork internment camp. A member of the Jewish Council was able to convince them that Minnie’s social work activity was essential to the community and they were released. Minnie decided that they needed to go into hiding. She sent her children to her parents while she sought a safe place. She stayed with friends, Louise and Suzanne Meyers, and until they also decided to go into hiding. In February 1943, the children were told to remove their Star of David badges and were taken by a friend to Deurne where they were hidden in separate homes: Jaap with the vicar and Klara with the parents of the vicar’s housekeeper. Minnie was able to visit them only on their birthdays. Minnie assumed a false identity, Nellie Boorsma, and hid at a farm in southern Holland from April 1, 1943 to October 1943. She helped care for the six children and was able to listen to forbidden Allied Dutch radio broadcasts in the evenings.

    When people in the community became suspicious, Minnie was moved to the home of a peasant family, and two weeks later, to the town of Neuren where she was employed as household help by a Catholic family. Minnie pretended to be Catholic and attended Mass. However, as they were expecting a new baby and had many visitors, she did not feel safe. She next stayed for a few weeks with her cousin, Anneke, and her Christian husband, Johan le Febre. She then found a job as a chambermaid with the Fernhout family in Laren; they were also hiding three Jewish men. Minnie shoveled coal and tended the furnace; the men in hiding offered to help but Madame Fernhout said it was work only for the servants. She stayed there from March 1, 1944 to February 1, 1945. When another family moved into the house, the work burden became too hard for Minnie and she gave notice. She hoped to find a hiding place with her children, but the 1944-45 Winter of Hunger was an extreme hardship for everyone. Just before Minnie was to leave, thirteen year old Jaap, arrived; he had been asked to leave the home where he was hiding. Madame Fernhout let him stay. When Minnie left for her new job, Jaap went to stay with Anneke and Johan. Minnie found work as a maid for the actor and actress, Jan Musch and Mary Smithuizen, who worked with the resistance. At this time, Jaap was traveling with her sister, Edith, who had the false identity, Aurelia Ledeboer, to a village to exchange fabric for food. Jaap became ill with appendicitis, but they found a surgeon, Hilversum, who operated and did not expose him as a Jew.

    After the war ended in spring 1944, Minnie began to get mail from other parts of the country. She received letters from her parents in Amsterdam. However, she did not know where Clara was located. She registered that she was searching for her and put their names on various lists around Holland. One day about a month later, she was contacted by Gerard van Hoef in Bossum who told her that he and his wife had taken in Clara and hidden her during the war. The couple was honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations in 1977. Mother and daughter were reunited. Clara now rejected Judaism, but Minnie insisted that she attend Jewish summer camp. They returned to Enschede and found strangers living in their apartment and all their belongings gone.

    Minnie then relocated the family to Amsterdam. Because Clara had missed so much school, she had to attend Jewish high school for two years, although she did not graduate. Jaap returned to school but could not finish because he became ill; Minnie then enrolled him in an academy in Haarlem. Her parents, Isidoor and Clara, had survived the war in hiding. Isidoor had been interned briefly at Westerbork and their belongings were confiscated, but they were able to remain in their apartment in the early years of occupation. Isidoor had been Parnassim (trustees) of their synagogue with two other men, Sieg Menko and Gerard Sanders, which became the Jewish Council during the war. He was also the treasurer and he often had to inform families that their loved ones who had been sent to work camps had been killed. As persecutions worsened in 1942/3, they left Enschede for Boekelo where they were given refuge with the family of Henk and Wies van Heek. Minnie's mother knitted items for the family and her father helped in the kitchen. When Mr. van Heek had to hide as he worked illegally, the couple returned to Enschede and stayed with three different households until the liberation. Isidoor died in 192 and Clara died in 1964. Minnie died, age 95, in Haifa on April 2, 2002.

    Physical Details

    Language
    Dutch
    Classification
    Identifying Artifacts
    Category
    Badges
    Physical Description
    Rectangular yellow cloth printed with a 6 pointed Star of David. The star outline is formed from 2 overlapping, dyed triangles and has Dutch text in a font resembling Hebrew in the center. There are cut guide marks printed around the outside of the star.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 5.000 inches (12.7 cm) | Width: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm)
    Materials
    overall : cloth, dye

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The uncut Star of David badge was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2006 by Clara Renee Keren Vromen, the daughter of Minnie Vromen.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:30:04
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn524113

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