Joseph Barmes, born 16 June 1872 in Amsterdam, was a son of Abraham Joseph Barmes and Jansje Levie Mossel. He married in Basel in Switzerland on 23 October 1906, the birthday of his Swiss bride, the 29-year old Lucie Rueff, daughter of Leopold Rueff and Julie Levie. She was born in St. Louis in Alsace, a place bordering Swiss Basel. Both however were murdered in Sobibor.
The Barmes couple had two children: Jeanne on 7 September 1907 and Juliette on 11 January 1913. Both were born in Amsterdam and both survived the Shoah: Jeanne survived Vught and Auschwitz and has been liberated in the end with the Philips-group by the Swedisch Red Cross and her sister Juliette and her daughter survived the Shoah by hiding. (Her husband however was murdered in Auschwitz).
After the wedding, Joseph Barmes lived with his wife Lucie in the Blasiusstraat 66 1st floor in Amsterdam. There, also their two daughters were born. He was a diamond polisher by trade but if there was no work in the diamond industry, then he was dependent on unemployment benefit, which he therefore received and furthermore, the was financially supported by other family as far as possible.
In addition to his income as a diamond cutter, Joseph sometimes earned some additional money by selling car polish from his Swiss brother-in-law Marcel Rueff from Zürich. His brother-in-law travelled with that product through Europe and sold it everywhere. When he and his wife came to visit the Netherlands, the car polish was usually prepared on the veranda of Joseph and Lucie’s home and bottles were filled for sale. According to one of the surviving daughters, that was always a big mess.
In addition to his profession, Joseph Barmes was a passionate photographer. He had a camera in which photos were taken on glass plates. He was allowed to develop and print those photos on the glass plates at the photo store Capi-Lux in the Kalverstraat in Amsterdam and the photos he had taken of the events where displayed there in the windows. People could buy them. It is not unlikely that by this, his photo’s became public.
On 20 March 1943, Joseph Barmes and his wife Lucie Rueff were arrested and taken to Westerbork, where they both ended up in barrack 67. (barrack 66 and 67 were only designated as penal barracks from May 1943: till then they were in use as "normal" barracks. Already three days later, on 23 March they were put on transport to Sobibor. On arrival there on 26 March 1943 they were immediately murdered.
Sources among others: City Archive of Amsterdam, family registration card and archive cards of Joseph Barmes and Lucie Rueff; the file cabinet of the Jewish Council, registration cards of Joseph Barmes and Lucie Rueff and family stories, recorded by the editors of Joods Monument.