The cantor leads the Passover service in the synagogue in Boxmeer.
Photograph | Photograph Number: 63199
- Boxmeer, [North Brabant] The Netherlands
- Photo Designation
LIFE BEFORE THE HOLOCAUST -- Netherlands -- Religious Life/Weddings
- Photo Credit
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Alfred Drukker
The cantor leads the Passover service in the synagogue in Boxmeer.
- Alfred Drukker is the son of Maurits Drukker (Amsterdam, April, 23 1902 - Petach Tikvah, June 29, 1979) and Erna Jacob (Boxmeer, July 23, 1909 - Herzliah, February 01, 2006). Alfred was born on August 1, 1932 in Schagen, Holland, north of Amsterdam near the town of Alkmaar. His younger sister Elly Erna was born in Waalwijk (North Brabant,) on June 02, 1934. Alfred's father was a notary and worked as a tax inspector for the government. He was one of the very few Jews in the Dutch civil service. Alfred's family kept a kosher home, but became observant after the war. His maternal grandfather was a cow-dealer and butcher, known by the local in Catholics in Boxmeer as "Albert the Jud", an endearing term at the time. Alfred's paternal grandfather was a diamond worker in Amsterdam. Due to Alfred's father position, the family moved around quite a bit. After Alfred was born the family relocated to Waalwijk and then to a town in northern Netherlands (province of Groningen) called Winschoten, which had a fairly large Jewish community. Due to the town's proximity to the German border, the Dutch government suggested before the war broke out, that the Drukker family move temporarily to the center of The Netherlands behind the so-called "water line" made-up by the delta of the Rhine River. Since the "waterline did not provide obstruction for the German invasion, two weeks after the war started the Drukkers returned to Winschoten.
Following the German occupation, after Alfred's father was dismissed from the civil service for being Jewish, he worked for private notaries until he was picked up and sent to Camp Westerbork in 1942. Alfred's mother remained at home with her two children. She had severe bilateral thrombo-phlebitis and was bed ridden. The household was run by a Jewish caretaker. Alfred was not allowed to continue to attend a public school and instead went to a Jewish school in the Shul of Winschoten. When Alfred was 10-11 years old, he was picked up by the police during a large razzia and taken to an area where other Jews were suddenly being held. His mother managed to get him out, and he returned home. The other Jews were sent to Westerbork and later deported east. However eventually Alfred, his sister Elly and his mother were also sent to Westerbork; since his mother could not walk anymore the three were taken by ambulance, at least part of the way. There they reunited with Alfred's father, Maurits. Alfred and Elly attended school, and Maurits worked as a notary for the camp civil administration of the camp. His tasks included performing civil marriages. Alfred recalls celebrating Passover in Westerbork with the family and friends.
One day in 1943 Alfred's father learned that the family was on the deportation list for the next transport. Because of his position, he obtained a week's reprieve via Mr. Schlesinger, the Jewish head under the Germans. The brother of Maurits was married to Christian, Clasien (Stien) Drukker-van Doorn. Maurits managed to send her a letter requesting that she ask the Secretary General of the Department of Internal Affairs (a certain Mr. Frederiks) in the asking if Maurits, Erna and the children could be placed on the so-called Barneveld list as soon as possible. Barneveld was the site of a camp where about 700 prominent Dutch Jews were interned and at the time exempt from other deportation. As a result of the intervention of Alfred's aunt, the family in Westerbork received four large important-looking, yellow envelopes with letters that stated that they would like to be placed on the Barneveld list, although in essence they were not actually on it. From this moment, however, the Drukkers were considered part of the Barneveld group although their actual acceptance only came much later. This also meant that they in the meantime they would remain in Westerbork. For ten days the Drukkers were actually in the town of Barneveld. However, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah the special arrangement was suddenly annulled, and all the Jews interred in Barneveld were brought (or in Alfred's case brought back) to Westerbork.
In September 1944 the Drukkers were sent in closed cattle wagons to Theresienstadt where they remained until May 1945. There Alfred stayed with his parents and worked as a messenger in the building of the Judenrat. He also worked handling ashes of prisoners who had died of old age, exhaustion, or an epidemic and were cremated. Alfred was initially not aware of what he was really doing, and eventually his mother got him out of this job. Alfred also worked in the garden. Alfred's father performed strenuous physical work outside the ghetto in a group of mostly Dutch Jews. They shipped food to the German forces on the Eastern front. Alfred's mother also worked and managed to obtain some extra potatoes for the family.
A few weeks after the liberation by the Russians in early May 1945, the Drukkers, together with other Dutch prisoners, went in open trucks to Pilsen, They then boarded an open cargo train. After about ten days, they returned to The Netherlands, eventually reaching Maastricht and Eindhoven. The family relocated to Amsterdam in the beginning, living with Alfred's uncle Isidoor Drukker and his wife and two children. Alfred celebrated his bar mitzvah at the end of June 1945. His father was reinstated in a civil service position of the Dutch treasury in Amsterdam. After attending a school bridging elementary and secondary school, Alfred started his medical studies at the University of Amsterdam. He immigrated to Israel in 1957, where he finished his medical studies at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School. After Maurits retired, Alfred's parents also came to Israel and lived in Petach Tikvah, near Elly (now Maoz) and her family.
Alfred began pediatric training in Israel, returning for a year to Amsterdam to continue his pediatric residency at the BinnenGasthuis. In Holland he married Helene (Ilana) Tikotin, the oldest daughter of the German born Tikotin family who survived in hiding in the Netherlands. They later had four children and six grandchildren. After his return to Israel, Alfred finished his pediatric training at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. He pioneered the treatment of children with end-stage renal failure with dialysis therapy in Israel. Though retired he continues to volunteer as a doctor in the Barzilai, Governmental Hospital in Ashkelon.
- Photo Source
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumProvenance: Alfred Drukker
Record last modified: 2011-03-02 00:00:00
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