Authors

Object ID

2021.1.25

Object Name

Identification

Date

1942

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Description

Stamped and typewritten identification card including picture and grid background

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: This identification document- Persoonbewijs-was designed by J.L. Lentz- head of the Dutch Population Registration Office- and introduced in 1941. ID documents would include passport photos and fingerprints, along with the address, signature, and number of the issuing municipality. They were that much more difficult to forge or falsify for having three watermarks. Every Dutch citizen older than 15 had to carry this document as valid proof of identification. And for Jews, there was the required “J”, along with a second “J” stamped on it to make individuals even more recognizable during checks. All Jews- full or partial- were required to be registered. The Persoonsbewijs, in conjunction with the municipal and central registries, and the so-called “dot maps” which identified the geographical location of Jews by district, became a lethal instrument in the Nazi effort to round up Jews for deportation to transit and extermination camps where 107,000 Dutch Jews were ultimately murdered.

This ID belonged to Mozes van Leeven, born November 7, 1888 in The Hague, Netherlands. He was married to Rosa van Leeven (born van der Rhoer in 1896) at Venlo in the Netherlands in 1919. The marriage produced four children. Mr. Van Leeven worked in the technical office of the department of public works as an engineer. He died March 7, 1963 in Utrecht, Netherlands at the age of 74.

Remarkably, Mozes van Leeven was one of the so-called “Barneveld Group” of notable Dutch Jews, an exclusive group of “cultured” Jews which included doctors, scientists, professors, musicians and other “important” Jews whom the Nazi occupiers allowed to live in the Barneveld Castle and thus escape for the time being the fate of other Jews of the Netherlands: deportation to internment and concentration camps. Indeed, even when they were eventually transferred to the Westerbork internment camp in 1943 the “Barnevelders” took part in processing their co-religionists- including neighbors and relatives- to Auschwitz while still being shielded from deportation themselves

Mozes van Leeven and his wife Rosa-who had worked in the kitchen in Westerbork- were ultimately deported to Theresienstadt, the concentration camp/ghetto near Prague in Bohemia-Moravia. Mozes’ son Aaron reported in his 13 page “memories” that Mr. van Leeven was allowed to work outside the ghetto, and that in all probability it was through his connection with the controversial Benjamin Mermelstein, an elder in the Council of Elders (Judenrat), and the latter’s connection to Karl Rahm, the SS Commandant of Theresienstadt, that Mozes was able to secure a place on a train holding 1200 Jews leaving Theresienstadt bound for Canton St. Gallen in Switzerland on February 5, 1945. Jean-Marie Musy, the former president of Switzerland, had acted on behalf of a number of Jewish groups including the Joint Distribution Committee and the Orthodox Vaad Hatzalah in Command and Heinrich Himmler an exchange of Jews for money.

With the end of the war Moses returned home to the Hague. He died at the age of 74 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Dimensions

9 x 8"

Keywords

Moses van Leeven, Persoonsbewijs, J.L. Lentz, Benjamin Mermelstein

Subcollection

Netherlands

Identification Document Belonging to a Jew Who was Included in the “Barneveld Group” and was a Passenger on a Train to St. Gallen, Switzerland

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