The Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands is an Internet monument dedicated to preserving the memory of all the men, women and children who were persecuted as Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and did not survive the Shoah.
Every person in the Monument has a separate page commemorating his or her life. This ‘personal page’ gives the person’s most basic personal details. Where possible, it also contains a reconstruction of his or her family relationships. The basic aim is to try to show the circumstances of each individual life. What emerges is a snapshot of the household in 1941 or 1942. Addresses are added, enabling visitors to take a virtual walk through streets and towns. The Digital Monument also contains a good deal of other information. These notes explain how the site has been set up and how it can be used.
Home page and beyond
The home page is the actual ‘monument’, consisting of a screen with thousands of tiny coloured bars. The bars are grouped together in blocks, with each block representing a family and each little bar within a block representing someone who died in the war.
Tall blue bars represent adult men; tall red bars represent adult women. Half-length green bars represent boys aged 6 to 21, yellow bars of the same length represent girls aged 6 to 21. The shortest bars represent children under six: boys are light blue, and girls are pink. Surviving family members (about whom the Monument does not feature any other information) appear not on the home page but only on the family pages, as clear bars without any information about gender or age.
You can click on any block or bar on the home page. Clicking on an ‘arbitrary’ block will take you to an ‘arbitrary’ family. The family consists of different individuals, each with their own personal page.
For thousands of individuals and families, biographical information has been included. If additional information is available on the Monument, this individual’s name or the family name is followed by a symbol. The digital nature of the Monument means that there is almost unlimited scope for adding information and photographs. It can therefore grow into a unique presentation of Jewish life in the Netherlands in the 1930s and early 1940s.
For most of the families, addresses are known. Clicking on a family’s address will take you to the address page for that family. To the left and right you will see the Jewish families who lived closest to them. Clicking on the address of one of the ‘neighbours’ will take you to that family. In this way you can take a virtual walk down the street or through the neighbourhood, village, or city. The streets within a town are arranged in alphabetical order.
Inventories of household effects have been preserved for several thousand families. Over 3,300 of these have been posted to the Monument.
The following examples illustrate the kind of information that can be found on the website. The personal page of Henri Polak includes a detailed biography, several illustrations, and an obituary. On the page for Maurits Blits and his family, there is an illustration of a diamond workers’ registration form, to which photographs of all family members were added. Sophia Morpurgo has a personal page with several obituaries from the Joodsche Weekblad. The page of Josina Elize van Gelder contains moving letters from a child, a girl she had met on a holiday. There is a poignant biography on the page of David Jonas Bierman from Dalen. The biography on Zadok van den Bergh’s page includes links to descriptions on other websites. The page of Ruth Emilie Sollinger lists several of her personal documents from the Documents Collection of the Jewish Historical Museum. The personal page of Roosje Aandagt includes an account of how she and her co-workers were taken away from the Hollandia-Kattenburg textile factory. The Ephraim Machiel Abrahams Family is one of the many families whose page includes a reference to a Jokos file. Finally, the Leon Denneboom Family includes a detailed inventory of the household effects removed from the house during the war.
Adding information yourself
You can provide information to be added to the Monument yourself. All corrections, recollections, photographs, letters or any other kind of additions are welcome. You can add your information on the Community Jewish Monument. For further details about adding your own information, please see the page Additions and corrections.