Refugee Homes in NL

As far as I know this is the first comprehensive list of all the facilities where refugee children were housed. The list is complete to the best of my knowledge, even over-complete, as I have chosen to include some facilities that were not especially for refugee children. If you have more information about any of these places, please contact me, I would welcome any additions to this overview.

Rotterdam, Achterklooster/Hoogstraat

by Miriam Keesing

Address: Hoogstraat 79


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The facility was opened in April 1939, and closed in April 1940 because it was not deemed safe enough. The girls went to Huis ten Vijver in Scheveningen, the boys to Westersingel in Rotterdam.

The building does not exist anymore: it was destroyed in the bombardment of Rotterdam on May 14th, 1940.

Erna Rechnitz writes:

“On April 12th (1939) we were sent to the Hoogstraat with 100 other children to help and work. The second sister of Heijplaat was the director here at first. The home is in the worst neighbourhood of Rotterdam and not far from the harbour. It used to be city hall (50) and had large ugly rooms. As recreation hall for example we have an enormous hall which is just like a post office, including the counters. So it was not very nice. ….. At first we were not allowed to leave the house and we heard cursing the whole day: we were very unhappy.

Later language and sewing lessons were organized and also gymnastics, that was given in a clubhouse 20 minutes from here. Because of that at least we got to go outside every once in a while”.  (51)

Gertrud Hirsch writes a letter to the German Jewish Aid Committee in London to tell them how unhappy she is in Rotterdam:

‘I’ve been in a camp in Holland now for one month. I am not allowed to go in the street, nor into the fresh air, and you can imagine how depressed a young person becomes when the sun is taken away. I am so unhappy about it that I cry for hours on end. I do not have a prospect to obtain my freedom, because the Dutch government does not allow that”.  (52)

 

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50.  this is probably a misunderstanding: the old city hall was on the Hoogstraat, but more west.

51.  Berkhout-Rechnitz, Erna, Alsnog een grafsteen (Bussum no year)

52.  Letter from Gertrud Hirsch to German Jewish Aid Committee, written from Hoogstraat Rotterdam, undated, NL-HaNA, Zorg voor de vluchtelingen uit Duitsland, 1938-1942, 2.04.58, inv. nr. 115