Children of the Holocaust Bertie Levkowitz


Bertie Levkowitz

Bertie Levkowitz
Born 1942 in Groningen, Netherlands When she was three months old, her parents arranged for the Dutch underground to hide her from the Nazis while they went into hiding separately. For the next three years, she was abandoned more than 40 times as she was moved from family to family.


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Bertie was an infant when her parents left her with strangers who promised to hide her from the Nazis.
Bertie’s parents, Henriette (Hetty) and Herman Goslinski, were married on July 4, 1940. They changed their name to Goslins when they moved to the United States.
Bertie Goslinski Levkowitz was named for her mother’s younger brother, Ibertus “Bert” Magnus. He died at Buchenwald concentration camp in 1942, at age 24.
In 1942, Bert Magnus got into a conversation with a stranger on a train, during which he criticized Hitler. He was arrested by the SS and never seen again by his family.
When Bertie tells her story to students, she reads them this list of restrictions that the Nazis imposed on Jews in Holland.
Bertie Levkowitz, 3 months old. This photo was taken right before she went into hiding for three-and-a-half years.
Jeanette Gnirrep (pictured here with her husband, Carl) risked her life to save Bertie during the Holocaust. Bertie called her “Oma Schattepoes,” which means “Grandma Sweetheart.”
Bertie Levkowitz, 18 months old. This photo was taken by Jeanette Gnirrep while she was hiding Bertie in her home.
A page from the baby book Jeanette Gnirrep made for Bertie.
Bertie stayed with dozens of different families over the three-and-a-half years she was in hiding. She estimates that she was abandoned more than 40 times. Each time, she ended up back with the Gnirreps.
Bertie met her parents once while she was in hiding, but she didn’t know who they were.
Bertie was reunited with her parents at age 4, but they were strangers to her.
This picture, taken in 1960, shows Jeanette Gnirrep in front her house. This had been Bertie’s most stable home during her tumultuous early years in hiding from the Nazis.
Rosa and Noach Magnus, Bertie’s maternal grandparents, in 1951. They survived the war by hiding, along with Bertie’s parents and aunt, in the apartment of Egbert Star. He was a Dutch Gentile who risked his own life to save them.
Bertie (right) with her sisters, Rosecarrie and Miriam, taking a farewell photo with their paternal grandmother, Kathe Goslinski, before emigrating to the United States in 1953.
Departing Holland from Rotterdam Harbor in 1953 to emigrate to the United States. Bertie (left), age 10. Her Aunt Sary has an arm draped around her shoulder and is also holding the hand of Bertie’s sister Miriam. Her other sister, Rosecarrie, is a blur beside Miriam. Bertie’s mother is seated in the back, second from right. Bertie’s father is in the background, wearing a hat.
Jeanette Gnirrep in 1962. After the war, Bertie went back to visit the woman who had not only saved her life, but had shown her love and kindness during her years in hiding. They kept in touch through letters after Bertie moved to the United States.
German artist Gunter Demnig created tens of thousands of commemorative plaques throughout Europe to memorialize those killed by the Nazi regime. Called “stumble stones,” they are gold-painted concrete cubes inscribed with the name and life dates of victims. A stumble stone for Bertie’s uncle, Bert Magnus was placed in front of the family home in Groningen.
Bertie attended the 2017 ceremony to install a stumble stone for her Uncle Bert, who was killed at Buchenwald.
This used to be the Magnus family home, on Kraneweg 75, in Groningen, Holland. The current residents agreed to have the stumble stone for Bert Magnus installed in front.
Bertie’s baby photo was featured on the cover of the 2006 calendar of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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