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Group portrait of the Banens family who hid the donor as a child during the war for almost three years.

Photograph | Not Digitized | Photograph Number: 24600

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    Group portrait of the Banens family who hid the donor as a child during the war for almost three years.

    Jenneke and Joop Banens were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations in 1979.
    Circa 1946
    Zeist, [Utrecht] The Netherlands
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Margalit Ben Ami

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Margalit Ben Ami
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2005.364.1

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Gretha Dotsch (now Margalit Ben Ami) is the middle daughter of Samuel Dotsch (born in 1911) and Elizabeth Viskoop Dotsch (born in 1910). She was born on October 9, 1937 in Amsterdam where her father owned a leather goods workshop that manufactured handbags and belts. Gretha had two sisters, Sonja, born in 1936, and Carla who was born in 1941. The following year, as Dutch and German police began rounding up Jews, the Dotsch family decided to go into hiding. On September 2, 1942, two young people from the Communist Student Organization picked up Gretha and brought her to a hiding place in Zeist, near Utrecht. Gretha was given a new name and was placed with the Banens family, who had eight children of their own. Joop Banens was very active in the Dutch underground. In March 1944 the Germans organized a "Razzia" [deportation Aktion] in Zeist, and Gretha was moved to Heerlen to Mrs. Banens' sister. Gretha's sister, Sonja, was hidden in two different places and was not treated very well in either. The youngest Dotsch girl, Carla, was hidden in Zeist, three houses away from Mr. and Mrs. Banens' house. Gretha, who was not allowed to leave the house, saw a baby carriage in the garden of the nearby house. She spotted her baby sister and happily announced she had seen her. Her foster parents denied this fact, but Gretha, who already had to abandon her own name, was not ready to renounce her own sister. Worried that others might hear Gretha claim the baby as her sister, Carla's caretakers removed her and placed her with another woman at a different location. In May 1944 Carla was denounced and arrested in Zuilen. She was sent to Westerbork concentration camp. Serafine Boas, a Jewish prisoner there, noticed three-year-old Carla and began to care for her. When Mr. and Mrs. Boas and their daughter Esther received their deportation order to Theresienstadt on September 3, 1944, they asked to take Carla with them, but were refused. Instead, on September 6, 1944 Carla was sent with a group of 50 so-called "Unknown Children" (Unbekannte Kinder) to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. After a few days they were transferred to Theresienstadt concentration camp, where Carla was placed in a hospital. Serafine Boas located Carla there and was able to visit her a few times. She adopted Carla and brought her home with her when she repatriated to Holland in June 1945. Samuel and Elisabeth Dotsch went into hiding in November 1942. Samuel was caught by the police in mid-November and imprisoned for three months. In early February 1943 he was transferred to Westerbork transit camp and on February 1943 he was deported to Auschwitz - Monowitz. His fate is unclear. Elisabeth managed to survive in hiding in different places and immediately after the liberation started to search for her children. She knew the location Sonja's hiding place and recovered her first. She then went to Zeist to claim Gretha, but seeing how happy she was with the Banens family, she became hesitant. Elisabeth had no place to live and no means of support. After another visit she decided that whatever might happen, the children should be with her, and she reclaimed Gretha. A few months later, with a lot of effort and help from others, Elisabeth located Carla, who had returned to Holland with the Boas family. Elisabeth struggled financially for many years. In the late 1950's the three Dotsch girls immigrated to Israel and settled there.
    Record last modified:
    2013-09-24 00:00:00
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