Conversion Digital Monument
In the first week of December we updated the monument to a newer version. A couple of things do not work yet as they should. We will have these problems fixed as quickly as possible.
Jewish Monument Community to open up a wealth of new possibilities
Toward the end of 2009, the Digital Monument will undergo major changes. The monument will remain in existence in its current form, but will also serve as the centre of the new Jewish Monument Community. Visitors will be able to post their own responses, additions, photographs, reminiscences, and stories – directly, without the involvement of the site editors. It will also be easy for visitors to enter into dialogue with each other. Another new feature will make it possible to draw family connections between individuals. Once this new version of the website has been unveiled, the editorial staff will play more of a supervisory and coordinating role.
These changes will make the Digital Monument a more active, vibrant site. Our aim in taking this new step is to make the Monument a place where the past and present meet, where relatives and other interested individuals from different generations can come into contact. The enhancement of the website has been made possible by financial support from the European Union and the Maror Foundation (Stichting Collectieve Maror-gelden Nederland).
Due to pressue of the circumstances
During the war many Jews ended their own lives due to the pressure of the circumstances. Especially during the invasion in May 1940 and at the start of the deportations in 1942 many people chose this end instead of delivering themselves to the nazis. Thanks to archive sources gathered by the late Isaac Lipschits 75 new people who ended their own lives in 1942 were added to the monument.
Co-operation with Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei
The passed year we have worked together intensively with the Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 Mei. The Comittee hosts the website Oorlogsmonumenten.nl, with data on basically all the war monuments in the Netherlands. 197 monuments with the names of approximately 2700 Jewish victims are now linked to the Digital Monument and vice versa. By linking both websites different ways of commemorating are brought together. Jeff Overste has worked with dedication for the monument (as a volunteer) to collect the data and put them on the website.
Last biographies written by Isaac Lipschits on the website
The late Isaac Lipschits has written thousands of biographies for the Digital Monument during his life. The passed year the last 2000 of them were edited and placed on the monument by our volunteer Marga Pepping. Thanks to the biographies many families could be reconstructed and dozens of people were added to the monument, among whom many victims who died in Tröbitz and Buchenwald.
Dozens of new entries in the Glossary
The Glossary of the Digital Monument has been enriched with dozens of new entries. These new entries include terms concerning warfare and strategy like Atlantic Wall, 'Vesting Holland' and 'Radio Oranje'. Other new headwords concern the bombardment of Rotterdam, Loods 24, anti-Jewish measures, the Sobu-group of the electronics company Philips in Eindhoven and resistance fighter Gerrit van der Veen. Certain geographical places are specified as well, such as Mechelen, Drancy, Natzweiler, Kosel, Ravensbrück, Vichy and Tröbitz.
On our website the terms are explained with a purple box containing a brief statement. By clicking on the term, the Glossary will open, where additional background information can be found.
Search for the origins of a memorial plaque
A memorial plaque was found at a garbage site on a farm in Zeewolde (Flevoland). The persons who found the plaque started a search on the internet to find the origins of this plaque.
The text on the plaque reads 'In Memoriam 1940-1945', followed by twelve names. The most prominent name is P. May. This name most likely stands for Siegfried Paul Daniel May, the director of the established bank Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co located at the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat in Amsterdam (this is not the same bank as the German looting bank Liro at the Sarphatistraat).
The search for the origins of this plaque can be followed on the website www.inmemoriam40-45.nl. Any additional information concerning this mysterious find is welcome.
A Good and Sweet New Year!
The Jewish New Year began on 1 October. According to the Jewish calendar, we are now living in the year 5769. According to Jewish tradition, we wish each other a ‘Good and Sweet New Year’. ‘Sweet’ stands for a year that is full of joyful moments and is symbolized by eating an apple with honey. The editors of the Digital Monument would like to take this opportunity to wish all the visitors to the website a year full of simcha (joy).
‘Jewish’ interior discovered
At the beginning of September, the media reported the discovery of a ‘Jewish’ interior on J.J. Viottastraat in Amsterdam. With the aid of the Digital Monument, it was soon discovered that the house had belonged to the Korijn family.
Lodewijk Korijn inheritted his fathers Disconto en Effectenbank. He also started his own stockbroker's office called CV Bankvereeniging Lodewijk Korijn located on the Damrak in Amsterdam.
At the beginning of the war, Lodewijk Korijn and his father-in-law Abraham van den Berg, who lived in Lodewijk’s home, died of natural causes. His wife and three daughters were deported and were killed in concentration camps. The house on J.J. Viottastraat provides a glimpse of the life of a prosperous Jewish family on the eve of the deportations. The building’s present owners plan to conserve the interior in the style of the Amsterdam School, and possibly to give it a function related to Jewish culture.
Last wish Lipschits fulfilled
Ies Lipschits, founding father of the Digital Monument, had one last wish. His wish was to write biographies for his own family to add to the Monument. Over the past years Lipschits wrote over 7000 biographies for the Monument. It remained painful, however, to write about his own family. Only days before he passed away he managed to gain the courage to do so. These biographies are now published on the website, supplemented by pictures and fragments from his book 'Onbestelbaar' ('Undeliverable'). The writings can all be viewed by starting at the page of Sander Lipschits and his family. Not all the additions have been translated into English yet.
Founding father passed away
On 24 May 2008 Prof Isaac (Ies) Lipschits passed away in his hometown Groningen. Lipschits was the founding father of the Digital Monument. After his retirement as a professor at the University of Groningen he spent a long time researching the estates of the victims of the shoah. The unpublished material he found in many archives formed the foundation of the Monument. Lipschits wrote about 7000 biographies for the website. To him this was the completion of his life’s work. We are grateful to Lipschits for this special project that connects the generations.
Response to the documentairy
The response on the documentary was enormous. On a usual day about 10 messages are sent to the Digital Monument. During the traditional memorial days, on 4 and 5 May, we expect about 50 messages per day. This year we received 180 messages on the day after the documentary was broadcasted. The messages were encouraging and contained useful information.
Documantairy on Dutch television
On the 4th of May at 23.15 a documentary on the Digital Monument will be broadcasted on Dutch television [Kruispunt (KRO/RKK), Nederland 2]. The initiator of the Monument, prof. Ies Lipschits, will be interviewed. A visitor of the website will tell about the material he provided for the Berklou-Lopes Dias family. He has donated a photo album on the family to the Jewish Historical Museum. Then the coordinator of the Monument, Daniël Metz, gives an explanation of the website. Prof. Ido Abram will elaborate on the educational program he developed for an Amsterdam elementary school, using the Digital Monument.
After 4 May 2008 the documentary can be viewed online on the website of Kruispunt.
FAQ added to website
A section called FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) has been added to the website. It contains a brief description of the objective and working methods of the Digital Monument. In the FAQ section there are links to pages on the website with more information about relevant topics.
K addish and El male rahamim
The Kaddish is a prayer traditionally said after a person dies, or on a person’s Yahrzeit. The Hebrew text (and a transcription) of the Kaddish has recently been placed on the website, so that visitors to the Digital Monument will have the opportunity to recite it. On the website you can also find the text of the El male rahamim, a special memorial prayer for the victims of the Shoah. These two prayers, plus background information, are included in the Glossary. There is also a link to the Kaddish at the bottom of the ‘Search result’ page.
New article: ‘Zionism and hakhsharah’
In the ‘Themes’ section of the Monument, a new article has been added on Zionism. This was the movement to establish a Jewish state in what was then the mandate of Palestine. At first, it had few supporters in the Netherlands, but with rising anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, there was a growing desire to leave Europe. Young people were especially willing to become pioneers in Palestine, where their first task would be to cultivate the desert landscape. A number of training centres were established in the Netherlands to prepare them. For more information, see the article Zionism and hakhsharah.
Formal transfer to the JHM
On 23 October 2007 the Digital Monument was formally transferred to the Jewish Historical Museum. The board of the foundation set up to oversee the entire set-up phase handed over responsibility for the Monument at a festive reception hosted by the JHM. The change will not affect the way the Monument operates on a day-to-day basis. It does mean, however, that the Museum’s expertise, as well as its collection and facilities, will be more fully integrated with the Monument. In addition, the Monument will become a more prominent element of the museum’s public function.
More search options
The Monument’s search options have been updated. It is now possible to search by street address and place of residence. We also lifted the distinction between names with and without a dieresis or accent. This will help you find what you are looking for more easily.
The 'Explanation' pages restructured
The contents and design of the Explanation to the Monument received a make over. The pages have been partly rewritten and have been structured more clearly. All these changes have been made to make it more convenient for you to consult the Monument and for us to work more efficiently.
A column in the periodical Misjpoge
Starting January of this year, the Digital Monument has the pleasure to print a column in Misjpoge, a periodical issued by the Netherlands Society for Jewish Genealogy. The purpose of the piece, which goes by the name of 'Monumentjes', is to highlight interesting findings concerning the Monument. The first article in the series is dedicated to the memorialbook Party verloren... (Lost match...) published by the Dutch Chess Association in 1947. 240 Names of chess players are listed in the book, all of whom were killed in the second world war. If you are interested in learning more about Misjpoge, check out the website of the Netherlands Society for Jewish Genealogy.
On Sunday 26 November Daniël Metz, coordinator of the Digital Monument, will give a lecture for the Netherlands Society for Jewish Genealogy. The lecture will give an insight in the dealings of the Monument. Also the possibilities and limitations of the Monument for genealogical research will be under discussion. The lecture will be in Amsterdam. For more information and registration contact the NSJG: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The processing of corrections and additions of visitors of the website is making good progress. The editors can handle about 500 email messages each month. We still receive about 300 new messages per month, on top of the large number of messages that still has to be processed. Right now we are making technical improvements to increase the processing speed even more. It‘s our goal to create a situation in which we can respond directly to new email messages.
More biographical information
The information that is provided by the visitors of the website seems to be changing since the launch of the website. During the first year the Monument was online, most messages contained personal data and family relations. This year visitors seem to add more personal memories and biographies. So far hundreds of biographical texts have been added to the website.
Letter to everyone who sent information to the Monument
In May 2006 the following letter was sent to everyone who sent infromation to the Digital Monument.
Dear Madam, Sir,
In the past year, you sent one or more messages to the Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, we were unable to reply within a few months‘ time, as we had promised. We are writing you now to bring you up to date on the latest developments.
A great deal has happened since the Digital Monument was established one year ago. It is evident from the large number of incoming messages that many people are enthusiastic about the initiative. In the past year, we have received some 9,000 corrections and additions, and we have worked hard to incorporate them into the Monument. More than 3,000 changes have already been made to the website. We have given priority to restoring family relationships and correcting personal details. Furthermore, many photos and much additional biographical data has been added to the website, along with hundreds of market cards from the Amsterdam Municipal Archive.
It takes time to handle each message carefully. Our aim is to incorporate the remaining 6,000 into the website in the coming year. It will not be possible to correspond with everyone who has contacted us, but we do intend to keep you informed about what we do with your information.
One important change is that the Digital Monument is coming under the management of the Jewish Historical Museum. In future, as the Digital Monument continues to evolve, it will draw on the museum's collections and expertise. Because the museum's role is to serve the public, interested parties will have the opportunity to consult documents and reference works there. If you are looking for an organisation that will properly care for the documents and/or photos you have sent for inclusion in the Monument, the museum will gladly accept your donation. If you would like to make use of this possibility, we invite you to make an appointment with the staff of the Digital Monument, or the Resource Centre at the museum.
With your help, we hope to come ever closer to the Monument's objective of 'preserving the memory of all men, women and children who were persecuted as Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and did not survive the Shoah'. We attach tremendous value to your corrections and additions.