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The arrest of Alex

March 5, 2023 - 10 min read

Saturday June 12, 1943. Iinitially it was unknown to me where Alex lived before his arrest on the Apeldoorn train station platform. A letter from "aunt" states that he is staying with a family whose father is in prison in Utrecht and is being defended during his trial by Mr Schim van der Loef from The Hague. During the corona period I tried to collect information at the archive in Utrecht, but that was not possible due to the lockdown. Then suddenly Roeland Oudejans-Albers gave me a number of documents that he had found in the Central Archives of the Special Administration of Justice (CABR). This information put some pieces of the puzzle into place. I reproduce here the full text from the archive as I received it.

This first testimony comes from Marten Huigen ( the father of the family where Alex stayed):

On June 12, 1943, after being imprisoned in Vught for seven months, I returned home. Before that I had already taken in a Jewish child, named Alex Kan, from Amsterdam. I didn't know this, his real name, then. I knew him as Frank Lodeize [Lodeizen-ed.]. He was a boy about 12 years old. He stayed with my wife all the time I was in Vught. June 12, 1943, in the evening around 8 o'clock, I did not yet know that Frank had been arrested, two persons dressed in civilian clothes arrived at my house on the Ritbroek[dwars]straat here. I knew one of them, named Pelk. I later got to know the other one as Oosterdijk. Pelk came in the back and Oosterdijk in front. Pelk asked me who or the lady who had visited us in the afternoon. Since my wife and I were not aware that the lady had been arrested in the afternoon, we could not immediately give a conclusive answer. Pelk then told that the lady with a Jewish child who was hidden with us had been arrested by them in the afternoon.
He wanted to arrest my wife on the grounds that she had provided housing to a Jewish child. I then said that he should not arrest my wife, but me, because the child was already in our house before my arrest, seven months ago, and that I was therefore the culprit. I informed them that an arrest of mine would be wrong, because the boy meant was not a Jew, but a half-Jew. They were still free at the time. I protested against the arrest of the child on the same grounds and told them that I would use all means to get the child released. I then wanted to show them the papers relating to the child, but I discovered that the child had taken the papers with him that afternoon. Pelk and Oosterdijk admitted this and said they had seen the papers, but suspected that they were false.
Co de Wilde managed to escape from the police station here on the same day of her arrest. I spoke to her again later and she told me that then. Also that she had been arrested on the platform with Alex Kan. The boy was transported to Westerbork. From there I received another letter from him and I sent him his clothes. My second letter to him was returned to me with a large "T" on it, as a sign that he had been deported to Germany. From everything I got the impression that Pelk was in charge of the pair. He also mainly did the talking. I got the impression, certainly from Pelk, that they did the arresting of Jews with full ambition. Oosterdijk admitted to me that he sometimes reluctantly did this work. If they really wanted to, they could have released the child on the basis of the papers, which were all very official. According to the papers, the child even went to school. When they say they couldn't act otherwise, that's a lie. Without objection to themselves they could have let the child walk.

Here is the I-figure Mr. Marten Huigen, whose wife with the 3? daughters to keep the family going during his imprisonment. So the letter of 19 April 1943, shown above is from her, which was the reason to start searching in Utrecht.
On the same day, Frank (Alex) also wrote a letter to his father.

The transcript of the above letter is:

Mr Gart

Thank you very much for the card for my husband.
Well, I'm very happy that he regularly is getting cigarettes now.
This morning I received another letter from him, which said he received the packages so well.
So I can conclude that everything goes well!
If he's lucky he'll be released soon, then you will of course receive your card back immediately.
He is doing very well. He writes, if you are as healthy as I am then you have nothing to complain about. I am very well. His case comes before the Civil Court in Utrecht late April before May.
Ten minutes before the hearing, I can speak to him and attend the court hearing.
So just take courage again. Mr. Schim van der Loef steps up for him. He is a lawyer from The Hague.

Now Frank is doing very well. He already feels at home here.
My children play in the street a lot. He has already picked up that habit too, and gets along with the boys very well. How wonderful that children are so quick to adapt!
Now sir till a next time. All the best and greetings from Franks’

A letter from Co de Wilde to Gart - [Julia Polak to Jules Kan]
A letter from Co de Wilde to Gart - [Julia Polak to Jules Kan]


Dear Gart,

This morning I took my first steps towards W. de Bé.
I didn't get much result from him, because as you will see from my note, his advice is "do nothing". However difficult it is to follow this advice, we believe that it is really, what the "legal" side concerned, the best we can do.
I explained the issue of the lawyers, but here too he was of the opinion “do nothing”.
The food menu has also been discussed. But later, when I was with Mrs. Meeusen, I heard that there was not a black, but a red card in A. Now I understand why comments were made on that card, in A they should all be black. Mrs. H also had to have her cards, and there was one red, whereupon the remark was made, "Oh, this one must have been bought black." Now do you understand what happened. Other than that, I wouldn't worry about this issue.
Mrs. Meeusen indeed had a visit from H and forwarded him to L. She was extremely pleased with H. And he, in turn, was very satisfied with Fr.
The M. fam has of course not had any rest and, in spite of everything, has also set out to make every effort to do what is possible and impossible for the boy.
They also approached everyone to find out where the boy is, but until today we both have the same negative result. They also considered whether parcels and letters could be found, and also discussed it with other lawyers, but the unanimous verdict is 'don't do it'. He is probably in the Orphan Room (Mrs M. also told me that) and they have it there, given the circumstances. After we share the results of the past week
we were of the opinion that we "independently" of each other have arrived at exactly the same results and that now both have arrived at the same, I would almost say "dead" end. Quite remarkable! Monday morning I went to the JR together with W de Bé to send the request and Mr M. visited him the same evening to ask what steps could be taken. W de Be replied to him that he would try to get a word from the boy by courier. I was astonished to hear that they too were in contact with him, and that he had not told them or me anything about it. Do you understand that?
I also asked B de Wé, if the boy had mentioned his name, if it would be possible to get him a so-called 120,000 stamp.
That costs 33,000 was his answer. Absolutely no objection, was my reply, that money will be fine. But then he said, w for a person in hiding he saw no chance.
The JR is hopeless at the moment. Nothing comes through, no messages from W. No letters, yes, not even couriers come from A.
My honest opinion is to do everything possible to illegally get the boy out, because officially the contact is, at least at the moment, very difficult. Oh yes, we will get an answer to our letter, but every minute is precious, even if it is kept, so long as there is correspondence about it. If everyone is well behind the rags, then maybe it will work out well.
I haven't heard from Fred yet. Mrs. M told me that your Father has moved, she did not know where to, because no one is allowed to know his address, only the nurses, where he has been so far, are aware, and have promised to stop contact between him and the outside world. Everything happened in the best harmony, so luckily you don't have to worry about that.
Tonight I'm going to E (?). I do not believe, however, that I shall ask him to go to a lawyer, now that W de Bé has so strongly advised against it. However, if you have a different opinion about something, please let us know as soon as possible, so that we can act according to your wishes.

I also went to an acquaintance of the JR to ask if he could see on the list whether Fr L or LK at W are registered. This was "unofficial". He was immediately ready, but returned with the announcement that lists with the names of the persons brought to W in the past few weeks have still not arrived. This was wrong again. Unfortunately. Now Gart keep me posted on your adventures, Be strong Co

Mrs. M. has been given an introduction to go to Ascher this afternoon.
She asked me if I advised her to just say it or to keep it up. My advice was, "hold on". Is this to your liking? Day. Co

Testimony from Co de Wilde [Alias Julia Polak]

  • She was in hiding in Deventer, just like Alex Kan's father
  • Father Kan wanted his son to stay for a weekend, Julia was asked to pick him up
    to fetch. }

*{ Julia POLAK (Alias - Co de Wilde)

  • She was in hiding in Deventer, just like Alex Kan's father
  • Father Kan wanted his son to stay for a weekend, Julia was asked to pick him up
    to fetch. }

Mr. Kan wanted to have his son with him for a weekend and asked me if I wanted to pick him up. The boy had gone into hiding in Apeldoorn with a certain Huigen, who lived in the Ritbroek[dwars]straat. The day I went to get Alex, Huigen had just returned from a concentration camp. Alex Kan had papers in the name of a half-Jew named Frank Lodeize. These papers were real and belonged to someone real. The half-Jews were then free, provided they had not transgressed, so that no measure was applicable to him. After I got Alex we went to the station in Apeldoorn. While waiting for the train we walked behind on the platform outside the roof. At one point two persons approached us and spoke to us. Both were dressed in civilian clothes, one tall and the other a relatively short person. They were dressed in civilian clothes. I don't remember whether they identified themselves as policemen. I don't remember which of the two appealed to us. I do know that the tallest (Pelk) questioned Alex. When I intervened in this conversation I was barked at by the longest and I was told to keep out of it. On the platform it turned out that Alex, alias Frank Lodeize, was half-Jew, although he was not a Jew. Later at the police station. I then brought up his papers and tried to get him released as he was supposedly half-Jew. However, this did not work for me. Alex was taken by the tallest and I by the shorter to the police station in Apeldoorn. Neither of them realized that I was a Jew myself. I had papers in the name of Jacoba de Wilde. On the way, the smallest asked me if I was more involved with Jews, which I of course denied. At the police station I was put in a separate room by the short one (Oosterdijk), while Alex was questioned separately by the tallest one (Pelk). When the smallest was in that separate room, an agent came to make the phone call. In the meantime the little one went away for a while, after which the policeman also left. Without saying anything I followed that officer and walked out of the police station. They didn't get me again. I made an effort to smuggle Alex out of the police station as well, but before I had enough connections, Alex was already forwarded. Both policemen were fierce and foul in their demeanor, especially the tallest.

Then follows a statement from Huibertus Oosterhuis (the short one as mentioned above):

On the occasion of a station check, Pelk and I once stopped a Jewish boy at the station over here. This boy, named Frank Lodeize, was accompanied by a lady named Co de Wilde. This is at least according to their statements. Both walked behind on the platform outside the canopy. Pelk saw them and alerted me that the child was a Jew. He spoke directly to the child and it immediately became clear that his suspicion was correct. Since the child was in the company of that lady, I took pity on her and Pelk and I brought them together to the police station over here. On the platform it had already become apparent to us that the child had papers proving that the child must be a half-Jew. We did not trust these papers.
Since he came from Amsterdam, the population register in Amsterdam was called from the police station, which stated that the child was not a half-Jew, but was a Jew. That the population register was called was completely normal. This always happened with detainees.


Roeland concludes the following:

Concerning Oosterhuis:

  • He acknowledges Co de Wilde's flight
  • Alex would have said that he had been in Huigen's house.
  • According to the policemen, Huigen tries to convince them that he did not know that Alex was Jewish. They have him left in that delusion.
  • In hindsight maybe Huigen is right that we were right about that child's papers to run without getting into trouble. However, we did not dare to do this then.

Concerning Pelk:

  • Doesn't say that he, but Oosterdijk addressed Alex Kan at the station.
  • Pelk is not sure if a standard check took place that day. Maybe they had to take the train, or did they just leave (the cops that is).
  • The watchkeeper notes several times in the file that Pelk never knows anything and everything on the shot dead Doppenberg tries to slide - that's easy because he can't defend himself.
    Pelk's testimonies often coincide moderately with those of other people involved (Jews, hiders, etc.). He also denounces that Pelk tries to put everything on Oosterdijk with regard to Alex Kan, while the witnesses also claim something else here regarding leadership and brutality

Postscript from Alex F Kan:
Why did father Jules want Alex to undertake his journey (only 15 km) from Apeldoorn to Deventer on Saturday, June 12?
Jules celebrated his 43rd birthday on Tuesday, June 15, 1943 and Alex had his birthday also, turned 13 on June 1. Did the fact play a role that Jewish boys reaching that age become Bar Mitzvah, the initiation ceremony marking the 13th birthday of a Jewish boy and signifying the beginning of religious responsibility.
In any case, it appears that Co de Wilde, Julia Polak's alias, travelled with him from Apeldoorn to Deventer.

It is a very special document for me because it is now clear to me for the first time how Alex's arrest took place. My/his father Jules Kan told me that Alex was interrogated in the SD building on Euterpestraat/Gerrit van der Veenstraat in Amsterdam. Here Willy Lages and Ferdinand aus der Fünten were most responsible. I well remember how shocked my father was that aus der Fünten was released from Dutch prison.
These witness statements would show that Alex was sent directly from Apeldoorn to Westerbork, so without having been to Amsterdam.
All the more special that Alex and Freddy and my grandparents Joëls, Freddy's future parents-in-law, left Westerbork in the same transport on 29 June 1943.

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