Jewels held for safekeeping returned to heir of deported Jews


(JTA) — Jewels were returned to the descendant of a Jewish couple who had given them to neighbors for safekeeping before being deported by the Nazis.

A Dutch historical society returned the jewels to Els Kok, a descendant of Benjamin Slager and Lena Slager-de Vries, at a ceremony in Winschoten, in the north of the Netherlands, on Oct. 28.

The ceremony was held 72 years to the day that the Slagers were among 500 of the town’s Jews sent to the Westerbork concentration camp, the Dagblad van het Noorden daily reported. Only 46 of the town’s Jews survived the Holocaust.

Before they were marched to the local train station, the Slagers gave a box with the jewels to their next-door neighbors, the Schoenmakers. Women in the Schoenmaker family passed on the box from daughter to daughter with instructions to keep them for the Slagers.

In 2013, the last keeper, Astrid Klappe, gave the box to the Old Winschoten Society, which tracked down Kok with the assistance of a local resident, Willem Hagenbeek.

Kok received the box containing a few items including rings, a wrist watch and a locket. She was quoted as saying that she was deeply moved and “happy to have something tangible” by which to remember her relatives.

Klappe said that when she was a child, her grandmother showed her the jewels and where they were stored but forbade her to touch them.

The town hall ceremony took place following a silent walk through Winschoten in memory of the town’s Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, the RTV Noord broadcaster reported.


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