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David Gomes de Mesquita works as a goldsmith.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 98158

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    David Gomes de Mesquita works as a goldsmith.
    David Gomes de Mesquita works as a goldsmith.  

He was deported to Auschwitz, where he perished on January 31, 1944.


    David Gomes de Mesquita works as a goldsmith.

    He was deported to Auschwitz, where he perished on January 31, 1944.
    Circa 1940 - 1940
    Amsterdam, [North Holland] The Netherlands
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Betty van Essen

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Betty van Essen

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Betty Van Essen (born Betty Kok) is the daughter of Marcus (Max) Kok (b. Feb. 7, 1885) and Julie Vleeshouwer Kok (b. July 17, 1886). Betty was born on Yom Kippur, October 8, 1924 in Amsterdam where her father was a textile salesman. She had two older brothers: Samuel (Samu) Kok (b. Dec. 26, 1918- died Mauthausen, Jan. 22, 1943) and Jacques (b. Jan. 12, 1920- died Aug. 26, 1941). They lived in a house on Nieuwe Keizergracht 24. In order to help support the family, when Betty was just 14 years old, she went to work in an elegant department store in Amsterdam "Metz and Company, Liberty." Betty's brother Samuel went to high school, and Jacques apprenticed to a baker.

    In May 1940, Germany invaded Holland. For the first half year, life remained relatively unchanged. However, in February 1941 on a Shabbat afternoon the bridges over the canals in Amsterdam were shut down and people became trapped. A week later while Jacques was in the Jewish quarter, he was arrested in a raid in the Weesperstraat. He was put into a prison in Amsterdam and from there sent to the concentration camp of Schoorl in northern Holland. A few weeks later Betty received a phone call to return home from the store. The family had received a missive from Jacques on a scrap of paper written in Dutch from Mauthausen sending kisses and saying he was fine. In July another postcard arrived as well, but in August, the chief Rabbi of Amsterdam, Mr. Sarlui appeared at their door bringing the news that Jacques had been killed. He was twenty years old.

    Some ten months later, Betty went into hiding with the help of Gomes de Mesquito, who was in the underground. She walked with him along the Amstel and to the home of her Aunt Theresa, her mother's young sister. From there she was picked up by Piet Mirke who took her to his house. He sheltered her for month and then brought her to another family where she was given a false ID card with the name of Gerritje Cornelia Nieuwenhuiss. Betty stayed there briefly, and at the age of 18 was taken to the residence of Piet and Griet Heymanns in Bussum. Griet was not too happy with the situation, but since Piet had promised to get Betty through the war at any cost, she accepted the situation. Piet found all kinds of work for her. In 1944 during the winter of hunger, they rode 100 miles each month to the eastern part of Holland in order to find food. They bartered towels and sheets in exchange. They rode on bicycles without any inner tubes.

    It became obvious that it would be safer for Betty to get a job on a farm so she eventually moved in with Barta and Karst Timjes. She stayed with then for the five months. At first they did not know she was Jewish, but when she told them they said that they liked her even more. She remained there until liberation when she received a postcard from "Uncle Piet" who told her she was Jewish and had to return to Amsterdam. In fact, he arrived the next day to retrieve her. At first she lived in Haarlem and then went to work in a children's home run by Ezrat Hayeled (children's aid) where she also met her future husband. Betty immigrated with him to Israel in 1950 and lived on Kibbutz Lavie. Three years later they returned to Holland, and in 1965 Betty returned for good. She has four children and three grandchildren.

    None of Betty's immediate family survived. Samuel was registered in the Royal Air Force according to a letter that he sent to their cousin, and Betty feels he was betrayed. Marcus and Julie Kok perished in Auschwitz.
    Record last modified:
    2020-06-18 00:00:00
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