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  • The Jewish Community of Den Ham

    This article is as far as could be established the only remaining written history of the Jewish community of Den Ham.

    The author/researcher had not much to go on, as he himself states in the article, by lack of written historical source material, enabling him to reconstruct the history of the Jewish community of Den Ham in the way that is done with other communities.
    The article is based, therefore, mostly, but not exclusively, on the records of the Civil
    Registry, this having a bearing on its character, that is mostly genealogical and in a lesser way: -anecdotic and story telling.
    Resultantly only the surnames pertaining to the Jewish families of Den Ham are noted here. (Including names mentioned in sources).
    Most persons bearing those names that made up or were related to the Den Ham’s Jewish community are mentioned in the body of the article itself.

    Surnames mentioned in the article (in order of appearance):
    Beem, Brandes(Brandis), Lievendag, Wolff, Corwin, Lieveboom(Lievenboom), de Vienne (Duveen), de Jong, Schaap, Wertheimer, Boekbinder, Weiler, Schlosser, Sion, Kaijzer (Keyzer, Keizer), Hompersmaar, Gomperts, van Boelen, Gazan, Laamle, Falkenburg, van Coeverden, Muller, van Leer, Hilberink, Gerrits, Zevenbergen, van Dam, Israels, Alfing.

    There are two Jewish cemeteries in Den Ham, one atop of the Mageler Es and the other one at the beginning of the road from Den Ham to Vroomshoop, somewhat to the east of the general cemetery at the corner of the Molenstraat and the Dorpsstraat. More information hereabout is hard to find, the history of the Jewish residents of Den Ham is nowhere written, it is only oral tradition. The oldest cemetery is the one at Mageler Es. Cadastral is this cemetery in its triangle form, since the land consolidation, known under section A, nr.4122, area 110 m2. This property has been registered since 1955 in the name of the Dutch Jewish Community (Nederlandse Israelitische Gemeente-the NIK) in Amsterdam; formerly, since 1854, the ownership belonged to Jewish community Den Ham.
    On the request of the owner, the civil municipality has taken over the maintenance of this cemetery since 1952, while the NIK has placed a memorial as a future identification mark. This stone is 65 cm. high and 40 cm. in width and it is the only external distinguishing mark that ornaments the cemetery. Unfortunately, miscreants were not ashamed to mishandle this stone destructively.
    On the stone below the words”Jewish cemetery” we find an abbreviation of the five Hebrew words ”May their soul be bound in the bundle of life”. A Jewish cemetery is as a mitigating expression also called ”Home of the Living”.
    In a disposition of the state council (Director-General of the Reformed Church) dated 21 December 1821 nr. 4173/2046, pertaining to the subdivision and description of the synagogue resorts in ecclesiastic rings and the so called church circles the name Den Ham is not found.
    In a regulation- by -law from 27 June 1877 of the Jewish community, the name Den Ham does not appear either, therefore the official Jewish sources doubt whether in the 19th century Den Ham was a separate Jewish community. However, Mr. Beem found by coincidence in Israel a supplementary document from which it became clear that in the 19th century efforts had been made to organise independent church services in Den Ham. It refers to a disposition of the Head Commission for Jewish Affairs, nr.35 sent 26 February 1857 in which on request of Mr. Brandes permission is given to have Sabbath services in a house synagogue, but under certain conditions. This permission was given for one year and each year a new request had to be handed in. It is thus clear that Den Ham had a “minjan” in 1857.Documents from the National Archives show that Brandes already tried in 1856 to have a house synagogue in Den Ham, but he succeeded in getting the permission only in 1857, and not longer than for that single year only.
    On January 1, 1860 a census was taken in Den Ham, 36 Jewish people were mentioned. That means 7 or 8 families who could have been able to form a minjan in 1857 and that could have been the background for the request of A. Brandes in 1857 to realize a house synagogue.
    According to a regulation from 1906, Den Ham belonged to the Dutch Jewish Community in Ommen. This municipality was dissolved in 1947 in order to be added to the Jewish community in Almelo. Is is certain, however, that Jews resided in Den Ham already in 1750. Six Jews lived in Den Ham according to the location description of Den Ham dated 1835, 33 Jewish residents were counted in the year 1850 and 36 in 1860. The annual almanac of 1913/14 published by the Central Organisation for the Religious and Moral Elevation of the Jews in the Netherlands (Amsterdam 1913) mentions that Den Ham had at that time 5 male and three female members of the Dutch Jewish community. At the registration for identity cards during the German occupation 4 men and 3 women came forward as being fully Jewish, 4 men and 3 women had 2 Jewish grandparents and 6 men and 6 women had 1 Jewish grandparent, this out of a total population of 7486 persons.
    The (new) Jewish cemetery on the Vroomshoopseweg, which has been registered since 1900 in the cadastre in the name of the civil municipality Den Ham under the number B 2395, is 400m2. Five gravestones are still visible, two with a Hebrew text only, two with a Hebrew and a Dutch text and one with a Dutch text only. Those with the Hebrew and Dutch text relate respectively to Sophia Brandes-Lievendag, born on 26 October 1820, deceased on 3 November 1895 (the Jewish year is on the tomb) and to Abraham Brandes, born 15 March 1820, deceased on 4 November 1907. The gravestone with the Dutch text is on the grave of Heyman Wolff, born 8 December 1893, deceased on 17 July 1920.
    The name Brandes is probably derived from the little town Brandes in the vicinity of Prague. The name also appears elsewhere in Holland, among others at the name adoption in Harderwijk in 1811. Another source concerning the Hammer Jews is the Annual ‘Jaarboek Twente’ of the year 1962 containing an article written by H.M.Corwin named:” About old Jewish Cemeteries in Twente pp.43-53. (Over oude joodse begraafplaatsen in Twente).
    Corwin writes that Izak Philip Lieveboom (which became later on Lievenboom), ancestor of a respected Jewish family in Borne, left the town Liechtenstein (in that time Kingdom Bohemen) to settle in Borne in the beginning of the 19th century. It is interesting that his first wife was called Lena Israel Joseph de Vienne (French for Vienna). According to a descendant who still lived in 1962, Lena de Vienne was born in Den Ham and her name had been Duveen, but no evidence has been found to confirm this to be true. Many well known antiquaries descend from the Duveen family, one was raised to the peerage and thus became Sir Duveen. There are many reasons-Corwin writes-to assume that their family coming from Vienna first settled in Twente and from there spread all over Holland.

    Documents from the local government offices show that the Brandes family tree is as follows:
    Isaac Simon Levie Brandis married to Clara Isaak de Jong on 16 October 1820 in Borne. They had a son Abraham, born on 15 March 1820 in Harderwijk; Abraham married to Sophia (also called Heije) Lievendag, daughter of Salomon Hartog Lievendag en Rose Schaap on 16
    October 1820, in Borne. Abraham was a housepainter and lived in the Molenstraat.
    Abraham and Heije had two children:
    Salomon Brandes, born 19th January 1854 in Den Ham, first he was a vendor, later on a house painter. He remained unmarried just as his sister Clara Brandes, born 8 January 1847 in Den Ham, a tradeswoman, later on without a profession and known to be somewhat strange.
    Abraham died on 4 November 1907 in Den Ham, Sophia (Heije) on 3 November 1895 also in Den Ham. The tombstones are to be found at the Jewish cemetery on the Vroomhoopseweg. Salomon died in Almelo on 5 Januari 1931, Clara in Apeldoorn on 11 February 1927; both were buried at the Jewish Cemetery on the Vroomhoopseweg.
    Not much is known today about the Brandes family, one of the oldest Jewish families living in Den Ham. No doubt he must have been a prominent Jewish resident which can be concluded from the fact that several times he gave death notice about deceased Jewish fellow believers. In 1864 he signed the death certificate of the 71 year old butcher Abraham Samuel Wertheimer, born in Weerts, Beieren (Germany). Abraham lived in Den Ham and was married to Hanna Boekbinder. De death certificate also mentions that the family and private names of Wertheimer’s parents are unknown, a phrasing that appears in several death certificates of the Jews in the nineteenth century.
    In 1865 Abraham Brandis also signed the death certificate of the 50 year old unmarried Jew Philip Levie Weiler, born in Winterswijk,without a profession, living in Den Ham, the private and family names of his parents are unknown as well.
    The Wolff family has apparently played an important role in the Jewish life of Den Ham. The ancestor of the Wolff family in Den Ham was Jacob Wolff, who was born on 21 June 1861 in Boxem. He lived on the Twistweg. He had a kind of clerical function, which can be deduced from the fact that he was in control of funerals. Their ancestor Jacob married to Bet Schlosser on 23 April 1896 in Den Ham, a descendent of another well-known family in Den Ham. It is mentioned in their marriage certificate that Jacob was the son of Theodor Wolff (a manufacturer in the year 1896) and of Johanna Sion (who died already in 1896). Neither Theodor nor his wife ever lived in Den Ham. Older informants still remember that he was a butcher, which is also mentioned in his marriage certificate. His wife, Bet Schlosser was born on 24 April 1875 in Den Ham; she died on 15 February in Den Ham and was buried in the Jewish cemetery on the Vroomhoopseweg. Her husband Jacob was deleted from the local records on 11 January 1932, he left for the Central Jewish Orphanage in Leiden, and he died during WWII.
    The Wolf-Schlosser family had 6 children; the eldest two Heyman and Levie were legalized at the marriage of their parents. Heyman, born in den Ham on 8 December 1893, left home when he was 22 years, returned when he was 26 and died one month later in Den Ham. His tombstone can still be found. Did he die like his sister Lea Johanna, suffering from tuberculosis? According to the municipality archives Heyman’s house functioned as a kind of temporary home for other Jews like Simon de Vries and Mozes Kaijzer (Keyzer), an uncle of Wolff’s wife.
    Levie, (born on 27 March 1896 one month before the marriage date of his parents) left Den Ham when he was 14 years old in order to try his luck somewhere else.
    The fourth child Johanna Helena Wolff, born on 30 September 1900 died nine months after birth (16 June 1901) and her sibling Leea (also called Lea) Johanna Wolff, born in Den Ham on 24 July 1903 died on 28 August 1928, at the age of a mere 25 years. She was buried in the Jewish Cemetery on the Vroomhoopseweg. Lea left her home to live in Twente when she was only 15 years old. Lea Johanna’s child, Betje Jacoba Wolff was born in Den Ham on 13 July 1924. She lived in Ubach and escaped the persecution mania during the war. A brave non-Jewish citizen of Den Ham went to the registry office in 1942 just before the mass deportations of the Jews, and in front of the clerk declared the child to be his. Betje Jacoba thus officially got his name and escaped the gas chambers.
    The sixth child from Jacob Wolff and Betje Schlosser was born in Den Ham on 26 January 1911 and was called Bertha Theodora Wolff. Contrary to the Jewish Schlosser family, the Wolff family has left no traces in Den Ham. The former lived on the Esweg, but a little away from the main road. Gompert Schlosser the ancestor of the Schlossers in Den Ham originated from Germany. He was born on 10 July 1819 in Ahausen, son of Levie Schlosser and Hendrika Hompersmaar, his offspring in Den Ham were called by the name Gomperts.
    Gompert Schlosser married when he was 50 years old on 23 June 1870 in Den Ham. His wife, Lena (also called Lea) Keijzer was born on 15 May 1836 in Hasselt, she was the daughter of Philip Manus Keijzer and Naatje Levie Ruben van Boelen. Lena Keijzer was a sister of the already mentioned Mozes Keijzer.
    Gompert is a small retailer at the day of his marriage and Lea is without a profession. Lea obviously had lived already for some time in Den Ham because when she marries, her first three children born in Den Ham (Hendrina, 3 January 1866; Levie, 1 October 1867 and Philip 26 February 1870) are legalized by both partners. Gompert Schlosser died at the age of nearly 80, on 21 March 1898. It is not known where he was buried. Abraham Brandis was one of the persons who registered his death. His wife Lena Keijzer who traded in draperies after her husband’s death, died when she was 92 on 2 October 1923. Salomo Brandis registered her death. Lea was buried in the cemetery on the Vroomhoopseweg.
    After being married and after legalizing the three children mentioned before, Gompert Schlosser and Lea Keijzer had 6 more children; Hanne who was born 18 June 1877; David, born 4 August 1880; Sara, born on 22 February 1883; Simon and Salomon born respectively on 22 December 1885 and on 30 December 1890. All were born in Den Ham.
    The Schlosser children Hendrika, Levie, Philip, Hanne, Sara and Simon are mentioned in the later Jewish life of Den Ham. Hendrina, the eldest married on 21 April 1887 in Den Ham to Philip Gazan who was thirty years older than she was. Philip was the son of of Levie Raphael Gazan and Betje Phillipus Abrahams Laamle who lived in Den Bosch. Philip was born in Amsterdam on 28 October 1835 and when he married he was legally separated from Jette Keizer. He died in De Ham on 27 July 1905 where he was also buried.
    When Hendrina married, she had already a daughter, Lea Lena who was born on 26 April 1888 in Den Ham. Hendrina and Philip Gazan lived on the eastside of the Daarlseweg, near the crossing with the Vroomhoopseweg. They had nine children, all born in Den Ham but still at young age, they all left for elsewhere.Those 9 children were:
    Levie Raphael (3-11-1887); Betje (20-3-1889); Hendrika (9-1-1891); Doortje (21-1-1894); Gompert (11-8-1895); Mietje (16-5 1897); Anna (13-1-1899); Bernard (31-12-1900); and Isaak Geerts (11-1-1903).
    After the death of her husband, Hendrina remarried on 19 May 1911 in Den Ham to Joel Falkenburg, eleven years her junior. He was born on 16 June 1877 in Sneek, being the son of Isaak Falkenburg and Jantje van Coevorden. He was a hawker who had come to Den Ham from Winterswijk. Their marriage did not last very long, to be precise from 1911 till Hendrina’s death (during the Spanish flu) on 24 October 1918. After Hendrina’s death he left Den Ham again and remarried a much younger woman. Hendrina’s daughter Lena Lea Schlosser, born before Hendrina’s marriage to Philip Gazan, married Joel Falkenburg’s brother in 1913; as a consequence her mother became also her sister in law, her uncle became her husband and Mozes was in addition to being Joel’s brother also his son in law! The married couple Mozes Falkenburg- Lea Lena Schlosser lived near the crossing Vroomhoopseweg-Daarlseweg where their 8 children were born:
    Philip (4 May 1914-6 June 1914) was buried in Den Ham; Philip (18 April 1915); Izak (1 March 1917); Hendrina (20 January 1920); Jansje (2 September 1921-14 March 1931); Bertha (12 November 1922); Louis (25 January 1924-4 March 1924) buried in den Ham and David (8 June 1925). Mozes and Lea Lena moved to Apeldoorn with their children Philip, Izak, Bertha and David on 30 October 1939. Their daughter Hendrina married Izak Muller on 12 April 1939 in Den Ham. Izak Muller was born on 15 June 1915 in Hagen in Westfalen, Germany. After WWII Izak was chairman of the Jewish community in Leeuwarden.
    Hanne Schlosser had two children before she married Philippus van Leer on 4 October 1901 in Den Ham: Theresia (6 October 1896) and Gompert (12 July 1899) who were at the legitalized at their marriage. Philippus was born on 7 July 1879 in Drachten, son of a merchant from Smallingerland, Leman van Leer and his wife Frouke Levi. Later on Hanna and Philippus had two more children: Vrouke (born in Leiden in 1902 and deceased in the same year in Harderwijk) and Leman, born in 1903 in Groningen.
    The Van Leer-Schlosser family with Theresia, Gompert en Leman left on 7 May for Zutphen where they were divorced on 22 August 1908.Theresia returned later on to Den Ham and married on 27 August 1920 a gentile who was 19 year old, Willem Hilberink. Not long afterwards on 21 August 1923 she died from tuberculosis. She was buried in the municipal cemetery.
    Sara Schlosser had lived some time in Amsterdam, when she married on 25 March 1904 in Den Ham to Jan Gerrits (born in den Ham on 24 April 1882). She and her husband are registered at the local authority office as Dutch Protestant. Both lived a long time in Vroomshoop, Sara died on 10 March 1968.
    Philip Schlosser who married the Dutch Protestant Neeltje Zevenbergen (8 November 1879) in all probability in Rotterdam, has also lived in Vroomshoop on the Vierzonenweg. He left for Rotterdam on 10 January 1921 with his eight children, registered as Jews.
    Simon Schlosser married on 25 April 1914 in Leek to Judic van Dam who was born in Leek on 29 September 1886 as the daughter of Miechel van Dam and Rebekka Freerks Israels. They lived at the Daarlseweg and had three children; Lena (12 August 1914) who married on 8 October 1937 the Dutch Protestant W.Alfing; Miechel (8 July 1918) who was a brush maker and stayed unmarried and Gompert (30 July1931), a cattle dealer.
    Simon, Judic and their children Miechel and Gompert as well as Levie Schlosser were transported to Westerbork in March 1943; they were murdered on 20 March 1943 in Sobibor (Poland).

    Based on:
    The Jews and their cemeteries in Den Ham
    published in 8 parts and 5 commentaries in the Periodical of the Society for Antiquities Den Ham Vroomshoop
    January/February 1973.

    (Photocopied material in the genealogical library of the Center for Research of Dutch Jewry Hebrew University Jerusalem)

    A shortened and reconstructed excerpt from the original:
    Editing and translation:Trudi Asscher & Ben Noach

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