Het voorbije joodse dordrecht

Well-known Midwife Nurse van Ameringen:
Where did she suddenly go in the middle of the war?

early photo of Henriette van Ameringen and her dog

An early photo of Henriette van Ameringen and her dog, accidentally discovered in the Dordrecht Regional Archive (RAD)’s image database. The photo was taken in 1925, when nurse van Ameringen had already been working as a midwife in Dordrecht for six years.
RAD photo (no. 309_3093)

Hundreds of proud Dordrecht parents knew her. But did they ever know what happened to her?
        Nurse van Ameringen was a midwife. Together with Nurse Schaap she had a practice at Burg. de Raadtsingel 17. For twenty-four years, Nurse van Ameringen looked after newborn babies. That number surely must have been in the hundreds, during all that time.
        In 1943, all of a sudden, she disappeared without a trace, in the middle of the war. On what day she vanished from the streets of Dordrecht, and under which circumstances – nothing but haze comes up in this respect. The only thing that is clear, is her fate: Nurse van Ameringen went to the gas chamber in Auschwitz on September 17, 1943. She literally went up in smoke. That was because this midwife was Jewish, and in those days that meant you were a person without any mazzel (luck).
        Hundreds of proud parents knew Henriette van Ameringen for a short time, and perhaps they always remembered her. A birth is an unforgettable event. But seventy years after her death, she has completely faded into obscurity. Her name has become insignificant.
        Sometime in 2017, a Stolperstein [lit. ‘stumbling block’, used as commemorative plaque] will be placed for Miss van Ameringen. She is, after all, a Holocaust victim. But who and what else was she? The organizing Dordrecht Stolpersteine committee wondered about that during the run-up to the placement of the plaque. Where did she come from? Did she have any brothers and sisters, and what happened to them? Did they too get caught in the nets of the Nazis?
        This story provides, as best we can, a portrait of the van Ameringen family, putting Nurse van Ameringen back into the city’s collective memory. Research into her and her family produced a surprising finding: Arnold Louis, Henriette’s only brother, managed to build a corporation, International Flavors & Fragrances, that made him fabulously wealthy.

These days, Nurse van Ameringen may be condemned to anonymity, however, she is not faceless. In the Regionaal Archief Dordrecht (RAD)’s image database, two photos of her were found coincidentally, taken 25 years apart by Dordrecht photographer H.G. Beerman. His (digitized) glass plates and negatives archive turns out to be a photo-historic goldmine.
        In the first photo, dated January 18, 1925, Henriette van Ameringen looks good-naturedly at the little dog on her arm. She is obviously dressed for winter, and here she is younger than in the second picture, seen together with someone else, a photo taken on January 1, 1940, according to RAD’s caption. On the face of it, this date seems improbable: January is not the time to walk around dressed as lightly as Henriette (left) is. But perhaps the two ladies just stepped out so the photographer could take their portrait looking as if they were out for a stroll.
        Next to Henriette is her colleague, Nurse Schaap. And again there’s the dog; no doubt Henriette was a dog lover. We recognize the street in this picture: it is Burg. de Raadtsingel, the street where both midwives lived.
        There was no way they could have known, posing so stylishly for the photographer, that just a few months later, the Netherlands would be completely turned upside down – and that the Jews would be trampled underfoot.

The van Ameringen two-part Family Card, from the Rotterdam

The van Ameringen two-part Family Card, from the Rotterdam City Archives, also shows, in addition to various dates of births, moves to another city.
Photo Rotterdam City Archives

[*translator’s note]: Abbreviations used:
AR   maybe ‘Amsterdam’ (?)
bel./bel.toeg   Indicates Tax Authorities were notified.
dr daughter  
GK FC Family card
H M Married
M H Husband
NI Netherlands Israelite Denomination  
O Su Subordinate in Profession/Company column
vrw wf wife
W Widow(er)  
zb wp without profession
zn sn son

Levie van Ameringen en Rosette de Boers gaan trouwen

[newspaper clipping translation]
(From Dutch newspapers)
Ameringen, L.A. van, and R. de Boers, wid. of J. de Boers, Amsterdam

Levie van Ameringen and Rosette de Boers are getting married, according to a notice published by the Javabode on 28.7.1885. A year later, they had Henriette, their first child.
Photo Delpher

First One
Henriette van Ameringen was shopkeeper Levie Aaron van Ameringen and Rosette de Boers’ first child, born May 18, 1886 in Amsterdam. Both spouses were from this city. He was born there on May 3, 1858, she on December 31, 1854. After their first, they had four more children, the last two of which however, came into this world in Rotterdam. In chronological order they are: Betsy (9/9/1887), Estella (12/15/1888), Arnold Louis (10/2/1891), and Rachel (7/24/1893).
        Rosette, the mother, died rather early, at the age of 52, on 5/15/1906. Almost two years later, on 08/24/1908, Levie remarried, in Weesp, Rebecca van Oss (8/19/1867), residing there, also a Jewish woman, originally from Werkendam. No children resulted from this marriage. On 8/24/1914, Levie moved to Hilversum, Nassaulaan 37, and would also die in this town, on 1/30/1933.
        In Rotterdam, where the van Ameringen family had lived twenty years before, Henriette started studying midwifery. To this end, she attended the National College of Midwifery, founded in 1822. On June 26, 1914, the stately new building at Henegouwerlaan 72-76 was officially opened; before that, the school was located at Raampoortstraat.
        Henriette was living in the new building. At that same time, Helena Schaap, from Dordrecht, of Dutch Reformed faith, born January 23, 1885, also registered as a prospective midwife. The two women would become friends for life. Together they finished their studies, together they left for Dordrecht on the same day (July 8, 1919) to begin their practice as certified midwives.
        Dordrecht was not an entirely unknown town to Henriette from Amsterdam. According to her Rotterdam identity card, in 1941 she had lived there for a little while, on Oudenhovenschestraat 14 red. She may have commuted to Rotterdam, where she was studying, before she moved in permanently at the College on September 14, 1917, the same date Helena Schaap moved in.
         In 1919, they passed their exams, and Dordrecht became their final place of residence. Their working life began, offering assistance to a steadily expanding flock of happy parents. The practice was located in a building that no longer exists: Burg. de Raadtsingel 17 (after it was renumbered in the fifties: 53). The residence, part of a block of houses, stood right next to the Tomado building. A photograph, printed here, turned up in the RAD image databank picturing the nurses’ residence.

Helena Schaap’s identy card

Model 1
Serial number. NAME. GIVEN NAMES. SEX. Rel. to head of family. Date of birth. Place of birth (with province indication for foreigners). Marital status: M (married), W (widowed status), D (divorced). Church affiliation. PROFESSION.
1 Schaap Helena F - 1/23/1885 [illegible handwritten notes] Dordrecht DR
Model 2
Serial number RESIDENCE. Date and year of registration. PREVIOUS PLACE OF RESIDENCE. Date and year of departure. MOVED TO (with province indication for foreigners). Date and year of death. Legal residency registration. Comments. 1 Henegouwerlaan 72 National College of Midw. 9/14/1917 Dordrecht 7/8/1919 Dordrecht Bel. toeg. Burg, de Raadtsingel 17 red Nurse Schaap’s identity card, also from the Rotterdam archives: she is Dutch Reformed and left for Dordrecht on 7/8/1919

Nurses Schaap and van Ameringen begin their practice in Dordrecht

Nurse H. SCHAAP and
Nurse H. v. AMERINGEN,
Certified Out-patient and Maternity Nurses.
Temporary address: Oudenhoven-straat no. 14 15540a

to Burg. de Raedtsingel 17 rd
TELEPHONE 857, 11699a
Nurse H. SCHAAP,
Midwives, Certified Out-patient and Maternity Nurses.

Nurses Schaap and van Ameringen begin their practice in Dordrecht. At first, they are temporarily located at Oudehovenstraat 14 (Dordrecht Newspaper, 7/7/1919). Later they move to their final workplace and residence, at Burg. de Raadtsingel 17 red (Dordrecht Newspaper, 8/20/1919)
Photos RAD

A few months after that ‘strolling picture’ was taken, the Germans invaded the Netherlands. Slowly, yet unstoppably, the occupiers began wiping out the Jews.
        Henriette experienced the Holocaust first hand. On September 17, 1943, she was routinely murdered in Auschwitz. It is not known when she was arrested, or if this took place during a raid in Dordrecht, or elsewhere, in hiding. No further information has surfaced about the time before her death. Fact is that all of a sudden she was gone, and was a corpse in a faraway country.
        Meanwhile, how did her sisters and brother fare? That is easy enough to tell: except for the brother, the sisters all died during the war, although not all died in the death camps.
        An overview of their deaths:
        Betsy got married in 1919 in Rotterdam to a Remonstrant civil servant with VNG [Dutch Municipalities Association], Marius Leendert van Putten (Ooltgensplaat, 5/19/1897), and had two children with him, in The Hague: Johannes Gerrit (5/28/1922), and Lodewijk Marius (1/12/1924). On May 6, 1931, a third child was stillborn. According to the Joods Monument website, Betsy ‘spent some time’ in the psychiatric facility Willem Arntsz Hoeve in Zeist, later in life. In 1938, she was discharged. Betsy passed away on March 27, 1942, in Rijswijk. Her husband and children survived the war; Van Putten became VNG’s director.
        Estella married physician Gerard Jean Brand in 1914 (Rotterdam, 10/11/1886), but later divorced him. Estella died in Amsterdam, on September 18, 1943.
        Rachel got married in 1921 to journalist Abram Christian Philip Seijffert (Amsterdam, 9/4/1896), and divorced him in 1926. Rachel, who lived on Cort v.d. Lindenstraat 7 II in Amsterdam, was murdered in Auschwitz, on September 6, 1944.
        After the war, only two family members were left: stepmother Rebecca and Arnold Louis, the son. This story continues with them.

The building where both midwives had their practice

The building where both midwives had their practice, was demolished long ago, at the end of the last century. This archival photo shows the block with number 17 red (later: 53). The houses were behind the former Tomado building.
Photo RAD (no. 552_324990)

Rebecca died shortly after the Netherlands was liberated, in The Hague, on October 2, 1945, 79 years old. Nurse Schaap, Henriette’s true companion, always lived in the same house at Burg. de Raadtsingel, until she too passed away, on June 17, 1970, 85 years old. It is still not clear whether she kept on working as a midwife during the war, or if she stopped with the practice and restarted it after the war, as a 60-year-old.
        Arnold Louis van Ameringen did not have to personally experience the horrors of the Holocaust. Already well before the war, he was living in the United States, far removed from Hitler’s Nazi reign of terror. But no doubt he received the news that one sister after another died under normal or incomprehensible circumstances.
        But Arnold Louis was lucky, he had mazzel, a lot of mazzel even. He managed to build a very successful life in America.
        As early as 1917, he was living in New York, as we read in an archival article at the Perfume Projects website, about him and the company he founded, International Flavors & Fragrances. Arnold Louis was sent there by his Dutch employer, flavor manufacturer Polak & Schwarz, headquartered in Zaandam, later in Hilversum. He was a salesman, a representative, and in that capacity had to introduce his company’s products to the American market.
        However, Arnold Louis got into conflict with his boss and was fired. The website tells the story that he wanted to implement profit sharing, and that did not go over well in the Netherlands.
        He was now on his own and started his own fragrances and flavors business, in 1918, and thus began his victory march through the US. One year later, her married Hedwig Adele Pfaltz (1901) from Newark, who gave birth to their three children: Lily (1922), Patricia (1924), and Henry P. (1930).

A cut from the 1938 address book

A cut from the 1938 address book: Nurse van Ameringen is still ‘Miss’[Mej.] since she is not married.

A few years after starting up, van Ameringen merged with the Morana company, and in 1929 he started collaborating with Dr. William T. Haebler. Together they founded van Ameringen-Haebler, a firm that purchased a flavorings plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey. From 1929 to 1958 the company kept expanding, braving the 1929 Great Depression and World War II, which rather limited the availability of flavorings.
        While Arnold Louis was lucky enough to be amassing a fortune, Polak & Schwarz collapsed. Sales in the US significantly shrank due to import restrictions. During the war, the firm seriously weakened – as a result of the German occupation, it was forbidden for Jews to own property or companies, and because many young employees had to go and work in Germany, for the Arbeitseinsatz [Labor Assignment]. In 1958, Polak & Schwarz, after negotiations with the man who at the time had fired Arnold Louis, joined van Ameringen-Haebler.
        This resulted in the International Flavors & Flagrances (IFF) corporation, that went public in 1964, at the New York Stock Exchange. Since then IFF has swallowed up one company after another and is now a billion-dollar company, with headquarters in Manhattan. Arnold Louis was the founder, later Chairman, although not for long. He died in 1966. His wife, Hedwig, lived for another 30 years, till April 27, 1996. She was 95.

picture of Nurse van Ameringen, this time together with her colleague Schaap (right)

Another picture of Nurse van Ameringen, this time together with her colleague Schaap (right), and again, a little dog. The ladies are taking a stroll (on January 1, 1940) on Burg. de Raadtsingel.
Photo RAD (no. 552_304037)

The van Ameringens were and are generous, as is common in the US. They, or, in fact, their foundations, donate millions of dollars to various organizations.
        Here is a short list.
        In 1950, Arnold Louis established the Van Ameringen Foundation, located at 509 Madison Avenue in New York. This organization mostly supports projects involving mental health care. After her husband’s passing, Hedwig became Honorary Chair of this charity, not to be confused with the H. van Ameringen Foundation.
        This foundation was founded by Arnold Louis’s son Henry P., and focuses on projects for AIDS or the rights of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender persons. Patricia van Ameringen, one of Arnold Louis’s two daughters, also became a philanthropist. In 1951, she married Philip Kind. They had five children. Philip died in 2004, Patricia on January 12, 2016, at the age of 91.
        Patricia van Ameringen-Kind, a nurse, also started her own foundation, in 1966, the Patricia Kind Family Foundation. The Foundation provides charitable subsidies to her insolvent or poor fellow citizens in her hometown Philadelphia, for food, housing, clothing, education, and physical and mental health care. She wanted to help the most vulnerable families, she cared deeply about others and was a thoughtful and involved philanthropist, full of compassion, The Philanthropy Network wrote in an In Memoriam. During the last ten years of her life, she struggled with dementia.

 Arnold Louis van Ameringen

This is Arnold Louis van Ameringen, Henriette’s brother. He was the only one of the family to survive the Holocaust, because he was living in America. As an industrialist and businessman, Arnold Louis managed to build a large corporation.
Photo canonsociaalwerk.nl

Her mother Hedwig did not stop at charitable giving for healthcare. When she passed away The New York Times wrote that she, a life-long devotee of The New York Philharmonic, in 1991 for example, started the Hedwig van Ameringen Guest Artist Endowment Fund, with five million dollars. With this money, prominent soloists from all over the world were invited to play with the Philharmonic.
        And finally, in the Netherlands, Arnold Louis, the only son left, was instrumental in starting the Dutch educational organization Pandora. GGZ-totaal’s E-magazine [a mental health magazine] (December 8, 2014), asserts that Hedwig, during a (belated?) European honeymoon in Paris in the turbulent sixties “got very confused” and had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital, “for a short time. “The couple encountered every prejudice around psychiatric patients” and for “the outraged industrialist” this was the reason to establish Pandora in 1964.
        This progressive organization, known for instance from the posters ‘Ever Met a Normal Person?’ and the movie ‘Child of the Sun,’ no longer exists.


Drie kinderen kregen Arnold van Ameringen en Hedwig Pfaltz: Lily Auchincloss, Patricia Kind en Henry P. van Ameringen

This picture shows Arnold Louis van Ameringen, Nurse van Ameringen’s American brother, with his entire family.
The photo was taken in 1962 at the home of his daughter Patricia Kind, Laura Kind’s mother.
Left to right: in the chair left is Lily, Patricia’s sister, behind her her late (ex) husband Douglas Auchincloss, whom she divorced in 1979. Next to him is Henry, an uncle of Laura’s, and in front of him Ken, one of Laura’s brothers. Sitting on the floor are Laura, Christina (in the middle) and Valerie, Patricia’s three daughters. Behind Laura on the couch is her grandfather, Arnold van Ameringen, with on his knee Alexandra Herzan, a cousin of Laura’s. Standing behind him is Philip Kind, Laura’s father, who died in 2004. Next to grandfather Arnold is his daughter Patricia, her youngest son Andrew in her lap. And far right is Arnold’s wife, Hedwig Pfaltz-van Ameringen, who died in 1996.
Photo Family property

Except for Henry P., all of Arnold and Hedwig’s children have died. Lily, who was not mentioned up till now, died in 1996. She was a journalist, art collector in addition to, of course, benefactress. She worked for various newspapers and magazines, such as Look, World Telegram, New York Herald Tribune, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar and McCall’s. In 1956 she married Douglas Auchincloss, whom she divorced in 1979. Lily Auchincloss had one daughter, Alexandra Herzan, who, in turn, also has a daughter.
        In total, Hedwig and Arnold Louis, brother of the forgotten Dordrecht midwife, had six grandchildren, twenty great grandchildren and four great great grandchildren. One of those grandchildren is Laura McKenna-Kind, Patricia Kind’s eldest daughter. She informed us, in an email, that she was very interested in her great-aunt Henriette’s story, and would love to be kept up to date about the laying of the Stolperstein stone, sometime in 2017.
        Not in Dordrecht, but in the US, the van Ameringens can take on the world again.

Arnold van Ameringen and Hedwig Pfaltz had three children: Lily Auchincloss, Patricia Kind, and Henry P. van Ameringen.

Arnold van Ameringen and Hedwig Pfaltz had three children:
Lily Auchincloss, Patricia Kind, and Henry P. van Ameringen.
These are their pictures, from American websites, Heny P. is on the right.
Photos: pinterest.com, ooyuz.com and hickeysite.blogspot.com

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