On this Day
79 years ago today, on 11 February 1944, 11 relatives in my mother Edith’s family tree were murdered in Auschwitz:
- Carolina Cohen née Bachrach and her three children Louis, Malka and Sara
- Klara Culp née Levy and her daughter Marion
- Theresia Hein
- Albert Katz
- Julius Simons and his wife Veronika née Mohl
- Betje ten Bosch née Nort.
Below is what I have been able to find out about the Culp family. I will share information about the other relatives who perished in Auschwitz on that day over time.
The Culp Family
Klara Culp née Levy was born in Aachen in April 1910. She was the second of four children of butcher Wilhelm Levy (1871-1938) and his wife Sybilla née Rubens (b. 1876).
Klara and my mother were fourth cousins and both descendants of our Kaufmann ancestors, who had lived in Kornelimünster, close to Aachen, since the 1700s.
In December 1938, Klara married accountant Richard Culp in Amsterdam, where both had fled from Germany. Richard had been born in Düsseldorf in March 1912. The couple’s first child, Hans, was born in Amsterdam in November 1941.
By April 1943, Richard and Klara were imprisoned in Vught concentration camp. Hans was not with them. A few months later the couple was taken to the Westerbork ‘transit’ camp, where Klara gave birth to their daughter Marion in August 1943. The three remained in Westerbork for another five months.
On 8 February 1944, Klara, Richard and Marion were deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz, where they arrived on 10 February. They did not survive. Klara and Marion are known to have been murdered in Auschwitz on 11 February 1944. Richard’s official date of death is 30 June 1944 but his place of death is unknown.
Marion was one of the youngest Holocaust victims in my mother’s family tree. Her brother Hans was one of the youngest concentration camp survivors among our relatives. The story of his survival and how it impacted the rest of his life is outlined in Daphne Meijer’s moving documentary and accompanying book about a group of children known as ‘Onbekende Kinderen’.
Hans was among these very young 54 children who had become separated from their parents and had been discovered by the Germans in a range of circumstances. Their identities had not been established conclusively when they were taken to Westerbork and placed in an orphanage. After a few months, the children were then deported to Bergen-Belsen in September 1944, on the last transport to leave Westerbork. Two months later they were transported to Theresienstadt.
After the liberation of Theresienstadt by the Red Army, some of these children were reunited with their parents when they returned to the Netherlands. But many had not only lost their parents – and often siblings – but also any connection to their identity. Hans was placed with the foster parents who had looked after him before he had been taken to Westerbork. They later adopted him and gave him their surname, van den Broeke.
Hans never stopped looking for traces of his family. In 1999, he was contacted by a woman who was able to return some objects belonging to the Culp family to him. A year later, a former neighbour got in touch, a survivor of Auschwitz who was only a few years older than Hans. She was able to fill in many gaps in Hans’ knowledge. She gave him details of how his mother and grandmother, Johanna Culp née Simons, had been arrested one morning in 1943. She knew that his father had attempted to find them and had turned himself in. And most importantly, she revealed how his foster mother (a non-Jewish neighbour) had decided to pick Hans up from school and keep him as a foster child. In later years his foster parents would discourage him from contact with others, including with anyone Jewish, out of fear of losing him.Hans died in the Netherlands in 2009. While I had realised he was a survivor a while ago, I only found out about the circumstances of his survival recently.
Klara’s Parents and Siblings
Klara’s parents Wilhelm and Sybilla had married in Aachen in 1908. Their only son Bernhard was born in 1909 and died when he was only a day old. Following Klara’s birth in 1910, the couple had two more daughters, Erna (b. 1911) and Else (b. 1915). Wilhelm died in Aachen in January 1938.
Sybilla was deported from Aachen to Theresienstadt on 25 July 1942, on the same transport as my mother Edith. On 21 September 1942, she was transported from Theresienstadt to Treblinka, where she was murdered on 23 September.
Erna is thought to have been deported from Aachen to Ghetto Izbica on 22 March 1942. Her details are not included in the Memorial Book – Victims of the Persecution of Jews under the National Socialist Tyranny in Germany 1933 – 1945 but can be found on a reconstructed version of the deportation list for that transport. Her sister Else submitted a Page of Testimony to Yad Vashem which states that Erna died in Lublin in 1943.
Else had fled to England. where she married Arthur Lindner from Nürnberg (Nuremberg) in 1942. The couple had two children. Else died in 2005.
Thank you for helping me commemorate the lives of the Culp family 79 years after the death of Klara Culp née Levy and her daughter Marion in Auschwitz. If you are a descendant of Klara or Else, I would love to hear from you.
* Where applicable, images are hyperlinked to their source website.
- Death certificates for Wilhelm and Bernhard Levy.
- Echo der Gegenwart – zeitpunkt.nrw
- Familienbuch Euregio
- Ghetto Theresienstadt Card File – Arolsen Archives
- Het joodsche weekblad : uitgave van den Joodschen Raad voor Amsterdam – Delpher
- Holocaust Encyclopedia – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)
- Joods Monument
- Memorial Book – Victims of the Persecution of Jews under the National Socialist Tyranny in Germany 1933 – 1945
- ‘Onbekende kinderen: De laatste trein uit Westerbork’, Daphne Meijer, 2001
- ‘Onbekende kinderen’ documentary, 2000 – YouTube (with English subtitles)
- Pages of Testimony – Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, Yad Vashem
- Statistik des Holocaust
- Transports to Extinction: Holocaust (Shoah) Deportation Database – Yad Vashem
NB: I only provide links to online sources that are available free of charge
Published 11 Feb 2023
© Ruth, www.ruthsfamilyhistory.net, 2023