31 August 1941

Mauthausen, Austria

"Blanche, if it’s a boy, name him Jacob Ben Meier. If it’s a girl, name her Rachel."

Letter from Mauthausen

Meier Vieijra was born on 26 December 1918 in Amsterdam.

In 1939, Meier married Blanche Nabarro. A baby boy, Aaron, was born in 1940, but sadly died three days later.

Meier’s parents lived in central Amsterdam, near the Portuguese Synagogue on the Jonas Daniel Meijerplein, the square that became the scene of the first large round-up of Jews in Amsterdam, on 22-23 February 1941. On 22 February, Meier was on his way to visit his mother when he was brutally arrested on the stairs of her apartment building.  Together with some 400 young Dutch Jewish men, he was taken to the Jonas Daniel Meijer Square and then deported, initially to Buchenwald and from there to Mauthausen. Most of the deportees were murdered within a few months.

Blanche received a postcard from Meier, written on 2 March 1941 in Buchenwald – in German and clearly not in his handwriting.  She recognized only his signature.  In the postcard Meier announced that he was being moved to the Mauthausen concentration camp.

On 31 August, Blanche received what turned out to be the last letter from her husband, in which he said: Blanche, if it’s a boy, name him Jacob Ben Meier. If it’s a girl, name her Rachel.

Blanche gave birth to a baby daughter on 2 October 1941 and called her Rachel.

A letter written by Blanche to Meier in Mauthausen on 14 October 1941 was returned to sender. Meier was murdered on 17 September 1941.

In May 1943, in the wake of rumors of an impending Aktion, Blanche went into hiding in Oldebroek with her two-year-old daughter Rachel, her sister Annie Bromet-Nabarro, Annie's husband Jacques Bromet and their baby daughter Bertha.  Due to the danger and the extremely cramped conditions, Blanche, now answering to the name Marie van Dorp, her daughter Rachel, now to be called Ella, and Bertha moved to the home of Helmig and Gerritje Flier, also in Oldebroek.  Shortly afterwards, the Bromets were betrayed and deported to Auschwitz. Annie survived.

As the Fliers had five children of their own, Bertha was taken in by Hermanus and Elisabeth van Essen, in Oldebroek.  The Fliers prepared three different hiding areas on their farm for Blanche and Rachel, in the haystack and behind the pigsty, where Blanche slept when they were warned of a possible house-search.  Blanche and Rachel survived several such house-searches and were liberated in April 1945.

 

 

31 August 1941

Dear Blanche,

Thank you for your letters and money orders. Today I have the opportunity to write to you. Blanche, please thank Aunt Aggelen for the money order. You ask in your letter if you can send me 15 RM weekly.  It is probably allowed. Blanche, if it will be a boy, name him Jacob Ben Meier. If it is a girl, name her Rachel...
[The text that was censored apparently expressed condolences on the death of Samuel Vieijra. Samuel, Meier's uncle, his father's brother, was murdered on 7 August 1941 in Mauthausen.]
Please send regards to the entire family and especially to Clara and Chellie, and consider yourself warmly greeted and kissed by your loving Meier Vieijra.
Dear parents and mother-in-law! How are you? Well, I hope. Please write to me sometime.  Regards, Meier Vieijra
(The handwriting in the letter is not Meier's.  Only the signature is in his own hand).

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