Het voorbije joodse dordrecht

Photograph leads to rediscovery
of schoolgirl Mia Agtsteribbe


The photo of the class that started the rediscovery of schoolgirl MIa. If the English-language caption is well understood: Mia sits in the front row, second from the right. Margalit Larsen, her classmate, is "in the second row on the far right", the girl with the white collar.
Photo USHM, Washington

No one would have known of her existence, if not by sheer coincidence a photograph of her had been found.
        Mia Agtsteribbe, a Jewish girl from Groningen Onstwedde, went to a primary school in Dordrecht in the 1930s. Who would have known today? Presumably nobody.
        Fortunately, there is a photo of her during her stay in Dordrecht, from grade 4, a school class with only girls. Motionless with their pens above their notebooks, they look expectantly at the photographer. Thirty girls plus their teacher. They posed, did not move and then the moment was over. It happened in the years 1936-1937.
        Eighty years later this photo was found in the photo archives of the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. For one reason only: because Margalit Lujten was on the photo too (second row, far right). She told the museum the museum about her wartime experiences in Dordrecht, and gave a few photos to accompany the article that was written about her. The correct spelling of Margalit's last name is Lugten and today this nonagenarian and former microbiologist lives in Israel. Elsewhere on this site a separate story has been devoted to her life.
        The caption of the school photo consists of one sentence, a sentence that reveals Mia’s name - albeit again with a misspelled name: "Also pictured is another Jewish girl, Mia Achteribbe in the front row, second from the right."
        The photo puts an unknown girl, passingly mentioned in a caption, in the spotlight. A name that those researching the history of Dordrecht’s Jewish community had not come across before. Who were the Agtsterribbes? And what became of them?
        To reveal the most important finding of the search: the Agtsteribbes did not fall prey to the murderous Nazis. They survived the Holocaust. But such good fortune fell only on this Dordtse family; the other, related Agtsteribbes, were all gassed.

Dordrechtsche Courant bericht op 27 april 12918

The notice of marriage on april 27 in De Dordrechtsche Courant 1918 of Isaac Agtsteribbe and Heintje van Hegten.
Photo RAD

What happened prior to the photo?
        Isaac Agtsteribbe (Amsterdam, 03.05.1889) married in Dordrecht on May 8, 1918 with his beloved Heintje of Hegten (Dordrecht, 25.05.1889). He was 29, and the son of the already deceased Abraham Agtsteribbe (Amsterdam, 03.25.1842 - 01.01.1911) and widow Roosje Deen (Hoorn, 06.05.1846). Heintje was a bit younger than him and the daughter of the 62-year-old cattle trader Hartog van Hegten (Papendrecht, 30.7.1855) and the 55-year-old Magcheltje van Hegten-Haas (Strijen, 27.01.1863).
        The marriage certificate lists Isaac, an accountant by profession, as a traveler. Later he would become a religious teacher and cantor (chazan). Four witnesses were present according to the marriage certificate. Their names are: Joseph Agtsteribbe (38 assistant), Meijer Agtsteribbe (37, shopkeeper), Jacob van Hegten (27 assistant) and Meijer Hegten (22, also an assistant), the brothers of both bride and groom.
        The couple did not settle in Dordrecht. They moved to Utrecht, where in the same year, on October 4, their first child was born: Rosa Magda. Two years later, on 20 June 1920, Isaac and Heintje had their second child, but now in The Hague: Abraham Hartog. The third and last child was born in Onstwedde, a village near Stadskanaal, on June 16, 1925: Mia Rosa - the girl whose photo was taken in that school class in Dordrecht. The traveling in and around the Netherlands had everything to do with Isaac’s profession as a religious teacher.
        Isaac's mother Roosje joined the family in Onstwedde. Apparently she had been widowed since 1911 and needed familial companionship. Roosje died in Onstwedde on 25 January 1924. She was buried in the Jewish cemetery of Stadskanaal on January 25. She never knew her youngest grandchild Mia.

getuigen bij het huwelijk van Isaac en Heintje

The witnesses at the marriage of Isaac and Heintje, on 8 May 1918 in Dordrecht, are all killed in the war.
Photo RAD

Abraham, het tweede kind van Isaac en Heintje

Born in the Hague on 20 June is Abraham, the second child of Isaac and Heintje, according to a message in the New Israelite weekly in 23.7.1920.
Photo Delpher

West Indies
A few years later the Agtsteribbes emigrated to Suriname, Paramaribo. The evidence: at that time passengers of passing steamships were still listed in the newspapers. Thus can be found in the “Suriname”, a colonial newspaper that the family arrived from Amsterdam on 11 December 1927 with the SS Oranje Nassau: I. Agtsteribbe and family. In “The Surinamer”, another newspaper one can read that on 25 December 1927: "As of 19 December 1927 Mr I. Agtsteribbe has been appointed by the Dutch Jewish Community of Paramaribo as religious teacher."
        Right before leaving for what then was then called the West Indies and coming from Onstwedde, the Agtsteribbe family spent a short period in Dordrecht. This has been recorded in the Dordrecht’s town archive: father, mother and three children came on August 1, 1927 to Dordrecht, the birthplace of Isaac's wife Heintje, lived in the De la Reystraat 26 (now also 26). On 2 December, four months later, they left the town again for Paramaribo.
        In the image library of the Regional Archives of Dordrecht two photos have been found of this short period in Dordrecht taken by the Dordrecht’s photographer H. G. Beerman. They have been attributed to Van Hegten from the De la Reystraat, and were made in 1924 and 1925. They show a woman and a boy. This has to be Heintje van Hegten with her only son Abraham Hartog Agtsteribbe.

familie Agtsteribbe

By chance two photos of the family Agtsteribbe are discovered in the image bank of the regional archives of Dordrecht. They are made in 1924 and 1925 by the local Photographer H.G. Beerman, and show according to the caption "Van Hegten, De la Reystraat". This must be Heintje's mother Magcheltje. The boy is maybe her grandson Abraham, photografeerd when he was visiting his grandmother.
Photo’s RAD (nrs. 309_4193 en 309_2527)

Op 25 januari 1924 overlijdt Roosje Deen

On 25 January 1924 Roosje Deen, Isaac's mother deceased. She was a widow and lived at her sons house in Onstwedde. Roosje was buried at the Jewish cemetery in Stadskanaal.
Photo Website Het Stenen Graf

Isaac and his family continued to live in Paramaribo certainly until 1944. To be precise, their addresses were the Wagenwegstraat 59 and the Keizerstraat 102. The length of their stay can be deduced from a chapter devoted to the two Jewish communities of Suriname, the Netherlands Israelite Dutch community and the Portuguese-Jewish community on the website Anda Suriname. This website mentions the religious teachers who had worked for the communities from 1848 until 1944, and there Isaac is listed as the last teacher: 1928 - 1944. The last, since from 1 April 1944, the communities merged and held services together, alternatingly in one of the two synagogues.
        So how is it possible that in 1936/1937 in Dordrecht that school photo was taken with Mia in it?
        Sidney Leever, a great-grandson of Isaac and Heintje (more about him later), heard from his now deceased grandmother, the previously mentioned Rosa Magda that the Agtsteribbe family "spent a year in the Netherlands in the 1930s as part of a sabbatical. "
        That could be true. The newspaper, the Suriname published an official report on August 9, 1935, from the Governmental-secretary in which Isaac was given permission to leave. A reason is not mentioned in the report that consists of one elongated sentence: "The religious teacher of the Dutch Jewish Community in Paramaribo, I. Agtsteribbe, is granted on his request, with effect from 16 December 1935 exemption from service, for reasons other than illness for a period longer than thirty days, with permission of exemption to spend time outside of Suriname and partially in the Netherlands, and in connection with the before mentioned exemption of service, overseas leave to the Netherlands for a period of up to eight months, starting 15 January 1936 because of prolonged continuous employment of at least eight years in Suriname".
        In other words, Isaac and his family were given a break, a holiday to relax

joodse gemeenschap in Paramaribo

A group photo from 1925 of members of the Jewish community in Paramaribo
in front of the Dutch-Israelite synagogue 'Neve Shalom' on the Keizerstraat.
Teacher Agtsteribbe is standing in the middle of these people, in the second row from the top, fifth from the left.
Photo Website 'Het geheugen van Nederland' / UBM: Coll. Bro. 105, Surinamica, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam

 De la Reystraat 26, waarin de familie Van Hegten woonde

This is the house (behind the bike) in the De la Reystraat 26, in which the family Van Hegten, and also Isaac, Heintje and their children lived in 1927, for four months before they left to Suriname.
Photo Redactie Website

Apparently Mia was sent ahead. In the newspaper “Het Vaderland” of 11 September 1935 it was recorded that "M. Agtsteribbe had arrived in Amsterdam on the previous day with the SS Oranje Nassau . That must have been Mia. No other family member’s first name starts with "M". The Dordrecht Courant of January 11, 1936, four months later, provides further information about the other family members. Under the heading ‘van komen en gaan’ (“arrivals and departures”) one the following entry can be found: “arriving: Isaac Agsteribbe and family (N.I.) religious teacher, Paramaribo (West Indies).
        " The family moved in at the address Kasperspad red 68 (now 92). Dordrecht’s records shows that this where Heintjes parents had been living at least since 1930. Isaac, Heintje and the children came to stay with their grandparents.
        This was the time that Mia went to school in Dordrecht school and appeared on that school class photo together with Margalit Lugten. Only though this photo we knew about her very existence. Because apart from the photo, she left no traces in the town.
        It is difficult to establish how long the family stayed in Dordrecht. Probably Isaac stayed no longer than the agreed period of leave. For certain he was back in Paramaribo by April 1938, since “De West” the newspaper from and for Suriname, reported on Saturday, April 16th that His Excellency the Governor, "in the company of Mr de Jonckheere and his deputy" had brought a visit that Thursday afternoon to the synagogue on the Keizerstraat. "The group was welcomed by the teacher of the synagogue I. Agtsteribbe and the synagogue’s councillors C. S. Pos, Ph. A. Samson and M. Abrahams”.
        The family was back in Suranime beyond the reach of the advancing Nazis.

gezinskaarten van de Agtsteribbes

Family maps of the Agtsteribbes shows: per 2 december 1927 they moved to Paramaribo.
Photo’s RAD

adresboek van 1938: zuster Van Ameringen

A message in the Suriname of 13.12.1927 announces that the family Agtsteribbe with the steamer 'Oranje Nassau' has arrived in Paramaribo. In the Surinamer of 25.12.1927 a message explains why the family Agtsteribbe emigrated to Paramaribo.
Photo Delpher

Mid thirties returns the family back to Dordrecht to Heintje's mother Magcheltjhe. In that time, the photo of the class is created, see above. This clipping from the Suriname of 9.8.1935 explains that Isaac has been given leave.
Photo Delpher

The Netherlands was occupied and the Germans gradually began to move against the Dutch Jews. Razzias were initiated, the deportations begun and the massacre unfolded. Did the Jews in Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles feel safer on the other side of the ocean? Not particularly, writes Liesbeth van der Horst, director of the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam in her book “World War in the West: Suriname, the Dutch Antilles and Aruba, 1940-1945” (published by ‘Verloren b.v.” in May 2005). They were almost just as anxious.
        "For the Jewish population of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles," she notes, "the war was difficult. The Jews in the West were very concerned about the fate of their relatives and fellow Jews in Europe".
        They were also concerned for their own wellbeing. When a threat of a German attack came, the Jewish communities in Suriname brought religious valuables to safety outside of the synagogues. "
        Van der Horst explained that in 1940 the Jewish community in Suriname numbered "approximately one thousand people"; In the Dutch Antilles there were around 1,200 Jews. In the Antilles, the majority of Jews, around a thousand, were Sephardic Jews of Spanish and Portuguese descent, while two hundred were Ashkenazi Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe. In Suriname, approximately half was Sephardic and half was Ashkenazi. Grandson Sidney Leever understood that his great-grandfather Isaac was the rabbi of the Ashkenazi community. Public records do not prove that, but that does not necessarily mean it is untrue: abroad the title of ‘rabbi’ is an unprotected title.
        Additional information found on the Resistance museum’s website shows that the news of the persecution of Jews in Europe "made a big impression". Prayers for them were held for in the synagogues, but also in all the churches, temples and mosques (in the West). The population wanted to admit Jewish refugees, but the governors were against this. Austrian Jewish refugees who arrived by ship in the harbour of Curacao were finally allowed to disembark, but because they were citizens of an enemy country, they were imprisoned on Bonaire.
        "Only in 1942, after many requests from the Jewish Relief Committee, they got more freedom of movement." In that same year, travelling via Portugal and Jamaica, two hundred Dutch Jewish refugees were allowed to settle in Suriname. They get their own neighborhood on the outskirts of Paramaribo. Also in 1942, in October, Prince Bernhard, the son-in-law of the Dutch queen, visits Isaac Agtsteribbe. The prince is making a tour from Canada that brings him to Curacao, Aruba and Suriname. According to the Resistance Museum, this is the "first time in a hundred years" that someone from the Royal Family pays a visit. Bernhard visits both synagogues. In the Dutch Israelite (Ashkenazi) synagogue he was received by Mr Pos, Samson and Agtsterribbe.

rabbijn Agtsteribbe

On this photo, taken from the archives of the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, shows Agtsteribbe, standing at the pulpit Rabbi of a synagogue in Paramaribo, circa 1930.
Photo JHM, Amsterdam

Magcheltje Agtsteribbe

Magcheltje Agtsteribbe, Heintje’s mother, later in life.
She is in the age of 82 years gassed in Auschwitz.
Photo Familiebezit

The Agtsteribbes were lucky: they all survived the war. Untouched by the terror of the Holocaust that hit Europe so hard. In the Netherlands, their relatives that stayed behind were less fortunate.
        To illustrate ruthlessness of the Nazis, recall the witnesses of Isaac and Heintje’s wedding, the four brothers:
        Joseph Agtsteribbe (Amsterdam, 08.08.1879) was gassed on the same day as his wife Kaatje de (Amsterdam, 22.3.1870) in Auschwitz on September 24, 1942. Their names are misspelled on the website Joods Monument, as Agsteribbe. They lived in Amsterdam in the Borssenbrugstraat 2 II.
        Meijer Agtsteribbe (Amsterdam, 23.4.1881) was gassed in Auschwitz on August 17, 1942. He was the widower of Rebecca Glasbeek (Amsterdam, 1882-1933) and their three children, Rosa (1904), Gezina (1906) and Abraham (1907) survived the war. Meijer lived in Amsterdam on the Nieuwe Herengracht 171 III.
        Jacob van Hegten (Dordrecht, 10.09.1890) was murdered in Auschwitz on January 31, 1944. His wife and three children survived. The family lived in Breda on de Tuinbouwlaan 24.
        Meijer van Hegten (Dordrecht, 02.07.1896) was murdered in Sobibor on July 16 1943. He lived on the Corn. Beverenstraat of 10 black (now 18) with his mother Magcheltje van Hegten-Haas. This widow was gassed in Auschwitz on December 7, 1942. Her husband, Hartog of Hegten was already deceased in 1936 on August 7 at the age of 81 years old.
        Conclusion: all witnesses were industrially murdered because of their improper origin. *

familie Agtsteribbe in Suriname

Father and mother Agtsteribbe and the children at the table in the succah in the 1930s.
The person standing is Samuel Isay Taytelbaum, the grandfather of George Samuel Taytelbaum,
who sent this photo to the editors of this website from his family Collection.
Photo Collection George Samuel Taytelbaum

familie Agtsteribbe in Suriname

This serie of photos, sent by Sidney Leever, show the family Agtsteribbe in Suriname. Somtimes father and mother pose together with ther 3 children, sometimes only Isaac or Heintje are on the picture. Most photos date back to1932.
Photos Familiebezit.


After the war the Agtsteribbes emigrate again, now to the US. These 2 photos show the naturalizationdocuments of mother Heintje and her daughter Mia.

So what happened to the “Surinamese” Agtsteribbes after the end of the war?
        They emigrated again, this time to the United States. It is not that simple to determine in what year they left Suriname. According to mother Heintje’s naturalization certificate she became a naturalized American citizen on May 26, 1953. Also for Mia such certificate was found dated July 8 1952. The process of naturalisation had probably started some years before the certificate was issued.
        Further evidence of Isaac’s immigration has been found, namely a statement published in The Daily News of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania dated 1 October 1949. In that newspaper it is mentioned that "dr. Isaac Agtsteribbe will lead a special service in the local Agadath Achim Synagogue, on the occasion of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. " He is now a rabbi. We also have records that his son Abraham Hartog Agtsteribbe passed away on December 12, 2003, at the age of 83 in Calverton, New York. He has been buried at the Calverton National Cemetery.
        In short, the whole family moved to the USA. To only person that has not been mentioned is the oldest child, Rosa Magda. In that regard, we here reintroduce the econometrist Sidney Leever. As the grandson of Rosa and her husband Willem Leever he can bring some clarity around Rosa.
        For a better understanding: Sidney learned some details from his grandmother Rosa, who is now deceased. Rosa Magda Agsteribbe married Willem Leever in 1946 and they had two children: Sidney’s father Harry (1947), who married Florence Anna van Emden (1946) and their late daughter Henny (1948 - 2009), who married Marcus Samuel Oudgenoeg (1947).
        With respect to his great-grandparents Isaac and Heintje and his grandmother Rosa, he recalls: "I am not not exactly sure what my great-grandparents did while they lived in the US. All I know is that they lived in Queens, New York and that my grandmother Rosa got a job as a typist at the Holland-America Line. "
        His (late) grandfather Willem Leever had as a Jew "escaped the Netherlands just in time" and ended up in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). He enlisted in the KNIL (The Royal Netherlands East Indies Army) and became a prisoner of war. The Japanese took him to Burma and eventually to Japan. At the end of the WWII, Willem Leever was repatriated by the US navy to San Francisco and went from there by train to New York. It was there that he met Rosa Agtsteribbe arranging his ticket back to the Netherlands with the Holland-America Line.
        They fell in love. Sidney: "The plan was that she would go with him to the Netherlands and for them to return to the US later on. My grandparents were married in 1946 in the Netherlands. Indeed, after two children were born (including my father), the family returned to the US and they were thus also reunited with my grandmother's family. I'm not sure, though, if Isaac and Heintje were still alive by then. I believe they died in the early 1950s [editorial note: as of yet no official records of of their death have been traced]. They were buried in New Jersey, but I do not know where. "
        Willem Leever found the immigrant life "hard". As a result, he and Rosa went back to the Netherlands, their motherland. They had several grandchildren - such as Sidney who married Shoshanna de Goede (1975) - and had great grandchildren.

Rosa Magda

Rosa Magda is the only child that yet again goes back to the Netherlands. She is married to Willem Leever and deceased on May 4th 2011 (NIW, 24.6.2011).
Photo Website Familieberichten

Deceased What happened to the other Agsteribbes from Dordrecht?
        Rosa died on May 4, 2011 in Amsterdam at the age of 92 years.
        Mia, the girl in the front of the school class photo, married Jacob Goldstein. The couple, who had no children, lived in San Diego. Mia died on April 12, 2009 at the age of 83 as "Mia A. Goldstein."
        Abraham died, as indicated, at the same age, in 2003. He was married and had two sons.
        Isaac and Heintje had also died in the meantime, but their dates of deaths have not yet been found.
        In other words, of the original family no one is still alive. Time has passed on.
        Did Mia keep in touch with her classmate Margalit Lugten?
        Sidney: "The name says nothing to me." Did someone from the family ever go back to Dordrecht? Sidney, who can only speak for his grandmother: "Dordrecht meant little to my grandmother. She had lived there for only a short period. She talked mostly about Suriname, which is understandable, because that where she spent her youth. "

* [the Van Hegten family consisted of three children, but two of them had died at a young age: David Hartog the first (Dordrecht, 07.16.1892) died after three months 16.10,1892 and David Hartog the second (Dordrecht, 6:12. 1894) after 19 years on 19.12.1913. Number three, daughter Rozetta (Dordrecht, 03.04.1897) married on 05.12.1921 in Dordecht with the Dutch Reformed Gerardus Gesinus Coenders (Zutphen, 24.1.1895), a drawer and superintendent of public works. The couple moved to Amsterdam, where her husband died on 26.01.1963. Rozetta moved to Oss in December 1986. It is unlikely that she is still alive, but the date of her death is not known.]

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