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Portrait of Miep de Zwarte sitting at a desk and cutting shapes out from a piece of paper with scissors.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 69278

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    Portrait of Miep de Zwarte sitting at a desk and cutting shapes out from a piece of paper with scissors.
    Portrait of Miep de Zwarte sitting at a desk and cutting shapes out from a piece of paper with scissors.


    Portrait of Miep de Zwarte sitting at a desk and cutting shapes out from a piece of paper with scissors.
    1938 - 1940
    Amsterdam, [North Holland] The Netherlands
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Miep Koenig-de-Zwarte

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Miep Koenig-de-Zwarte

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Miep Koenig-de Zwarte (born Miep de Zwarte) is the daughter of Frieda Coster and Salomon de Zwarte. She was born in Amsterdam on February 17, 1932. Her younger brother Simon was born in 1935. Salomon came from a large close-knit liberal Jewish family and had six siblings. Though they were not religious, the entire extended family gathered at the home of Miep's grandparents, Mietje and Simon de Zwarte, every Friday night. Frieda, by contrast, was born to Christian German parents and had grown up in an orphanage in Amsterdam. She had one younger brother, and every year she brought Miep and Simon with her to visit him at Christmas. The family lived in an apartment near the Jewish area of Amsterdam. Miep's father was employed in the Carlton Hotel, first as a silver polisher, and later as a waiter, and shortly before the start of the war he worked as a steward for the Holland America Line. An active socialist, he was also a member of the Dutch Worker's Party. In May 1940, when Miep was eight years old, Germany invaded Holland. In August of 1941, Miep and the rest of the Jews in her class were expelled from school sent anstead to an all Jewish school. By 1942, Jews began to be deported in large numbers. By the end of 1943, Miep's grandparents and all of her father's siblings had been rounded up (except for one aunt who survived in hiding). Most of the family was killed in either Sobibor or Auschwitz. After witnessing his siblings' deportations, Salomon hired a lawyer to investigate Frieda's background and construct a family tree to prove her Aryan descent. Throughout the war, Miep helped her family obtain extra food without using ration coupons and gathered firewood from bombed out buildings. She also rolled cigarettes for her father from butts she found on the street. Miep's father sheltered Jewish people in the apartment for short periods of time until the resistance groups could provide forged identification papers for them. Eventually, German police came to the apartment and arrested him. Salomon spent close to a year in various Dutch camps. Miep, her mother, and her brother were allowed to visit him in Zand in North Holland, but he also spent time at Schiphol (the Amsterdam airport), Vught, and Westerbork. Since Salomon was married to an Aryan, on March 21, 1944, he was given the choice either to be sent to a camp in Poland or to go back to Amsterdam to be sterilized. Salomon chose to return to Amsterdam, but he avoided sterilization by hiding in the basement of one of the hotels he had worked in before the war.

    After Amsterdam was finally liberated in May, 1945, Miep enrolled in the second year of a high school which emphasized the study of languages and literature. Her father got a job as a steward for K.L.M., the Dutch airline. Miep's parents eventually separated and in 1951, Miep's father told her that he was moving to Canada for five years. Miep decided to accompany him and went on to become a teacher.

    [Source: Koenig-de Zwarte, Miep, Before I Came to Canada; Kitchener, 2004]
    Record last modified:
    2005-09-20 00:00:00
    This page:

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