Van Velzen-Viskoper family. Collection

Bijkomende meta info

This collection contains: a pre-war photograph of Barend and Rebecca van Velzen-Viskoper ; a postcard from the brothers Louis, Benjamin and Salomon van Velzen sent from camp Jawischowitz to the Papegaai family in Antwerp in 1943 ; a postcard from A. van Wien to Mathilda Randolfi sent from camp Westerbork ; a photograph of Benjamin van Velzen taken just after his repatriation in 1945 ; documents concerning the war damage suffered by the van Velzen family, including statements about the emptying of their house ; documents concerning Benjamin van Velzen's application for recognition as a political prisoner ; correspondence and certificates concerning the estate of Louis van Velzen and Sara Halberstadt ; documents concerning the application for Wiedergutmachung for the deported Adele Keyser ; post-war work permits of Benjamin van Velzen ; post-war identity card of Benjamin van Velzen ; registration at the commercial court of Benjamin van Velzen’s post-war business.
Content Date
Van Velzen-Viskoper family
French, Dutch, German
Digital copy available as collection KD_00592 at Kazerne Dossin
Level of description
Extent and medium
48 digitised images (2 photos, 31 documents)
Administrative and biographical
Barend van Velzen is born on 19 January 1896 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as the son of Louis van Velzen and Johanna Wurms. Barend becomes a peddler by profession. On 10 January 1917 he marries Rebecca Viskoper in the Dutch capital. Rebecca was born in Amsterdam on 2 April 1898 as daughter of Benjamin Viskoper and Johanna Beveren.
The four children of Barend and Rebecca van Velzen-Viskoper are all born in Amsterdam: Louis on 25 April 1917, Benjamin on 25 April 1919, Salomon on 12 April 1922 and Raphael on 9 February 1926. After a few unsuccessful attempts the family moves permanently to Belgium at the end of 1927 and settles at 17 Statiestraat in Antwerp. From July 1937 the van Wezel-Viskoper family lives at 58 Thaliastraat in Berchem. Father Barend continues to work as a peddler. Eldest son Louis becomes an office clerk, second son Benjamin a hairdresser and third son Salomon a furrier. Youngest son Raphael studies.
In May 1940 Nazi Germany invades Belgium. The van Velzen-Viskoper family tries to continue their normal lives. On 3 December 1940 eldest son Louis marries seamstress Sara Halberstadt (born on 11 October 1918 in Amsterdam). The couple settles at Gitschotellei 123 in Berchem. A few weeks later, on 21 January 1941, second son Benjamin van Velzen marries paper paster Adele Keyser (born on 7 September 1920 in Amsterdam). They settle at Draakstraat 13 in Antwerp.
The van Velzen family obeys the anti-Jewish decrees and registers mid-December 1940 in the municipal Register of Jews. Their identity cards are stamped "Jood-Juif" in 1941. From June 1942 the family members wear the yellow star.
On 11 and 12 September 1942, the Nazis organize a third major anti-Jewish roundup in Antwerp. The Thaliastraat is also raided. Rebecca Viskoper, together with her youngest son Raphael van Velzen and her daughters-in-law Sara Halberstadt and Adele Keyser are arrested at home and taken to the Dossin barracks in Mechelen. None of them survives deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau via transport X on 15 September 1942. Their home is completely emptied by the occupying forces on 23 December 1942.
Father Barend van Velzen and his three eldest sons are not at home at the time of the raid. The four men have reported to the German authorities in mid-July 1942 where they have been arrested. They are then taken to northern France. There, together with 2.248 other Jewish men from Belgium, they are put to work as forced labourers by subcontractors of Organisation Todt. Father Barend van Velzen is separated from his sons and placed in a labour camp in Boulogne-sur-Mer. On 31 October 1942, Barend is deported via Transport XVII from northern France via Mechelen to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He does not survive.
Sons Louis, Benjamin and Salomon van Velzen are detained in the Les Mazures camp in France where they perform forced labour for the French company Vaisset, subcontractor for Organisation Todt. On 21 October 1942, this group of workers is transported to the Dossin barracks, from where they are deported on 24 October 1942 via transport XV to Auschwitz-Birkenau. On arrival on 26 October 1942 Louis, Benjamin and Salomon van Velzen are selected for forced labour. The respective numbers 70808, 70810 and 70809 are tattooed on their arms. Then the three brothers are taken together to the Jawischowitz camp. In June 1943 they can jointly send a postcard to the Papegaai family, neighbours in the Thaliastraat in Antwerp. Salomon van Velzen probably perishes in Jawischowitz before the "evacuation" starts in January 1945. Louis and Benjamin are sent on a death march from the camp to Buchenwald. Then they have to march on to the Kommando Ohrdruf. Louis does not survive this last march. Only Benjamin survives and is liberated on 24 April 1945 in Ohrdruf. At the end of May 1945 he is repatriated to Belgium. Benjamin van Velzen settles in Brussels. He marries Mathilda Randolfi, born on 18 June 1926 in Rotterdam. She survived the war in the Netherlands and migrated to Belgium in 1949. Together Benjamin and Mathilda have a daughter. Benjamin van Velzen passes away in Ganshoren on 26 July 1963.
The original photos and documents in this collection were kindly donated to Kazerne Dossin in 2020 by Cicilia van Velzen, daughter of Benjamin van Velzen.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Cicilia van Velzen, daughter of Benjamin van Velzen, 2020
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  • Object hiërarchie: 1 items