Swarts, Samuël.

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Swarts, Emuël, born 26-07-1917, in Amsterdam was a furniture maker by profession. He married the Jewish Jansje Canes shortly before the German invasion in May 1940. In December 1942 they had a son together who died after two weeks. Swart’s mother was of Jewish descent, his father was not. Because both his mother and wife were Jewish, Swarts was also considered a Jew by the Germans. He and his wife were locked up in the Hollandsche Schouwburg, from where they would be transported to Camp Westerbork. (see Setella Steinbach) They managed to escape through a toilet window. Swarts took shelter in Oosterbeek, his wife in Amsterdam. His pseudonym was Christiaan van der Wal.

In 1941 the Nazi occupiers changed the theatre’s name into Joodsche Schouwburg (Jewish Theatre). After that, only Jewish actors and artistes were allowed to perform there – for a strictly Jewish audience. Between July 1942 and September 1943 more than 46 000 Jewish men, women and children were detained in the theatre and transported from there to the Dutch transit camps in Westerbork or Vught. These were the last stop before they were herded into trains bound for one of the extermination camps.

In Oosterbeek, Swarts joined the resistance. He was section leader of the Internal Forces established in September 1944. On 17-09-1944, the sart of Operation Market Garden, the British 1st Airborne Division under command of  Major General Urquhart, Robert Elliott “Roy”,  landed around Arnhem. As part of Operation Market Garden she had the task of conquering Rijnbrug. Swarts volunteered to volunteer with the British Red Cross after landing. He was given the task of assisting in the transport of injured people.

Death and burial ground of Swarts, Samuël.

On 20 September, the Dutch doctor Gerrit Van Maanen    asked if he wanted to fill buckets with water for the emergency hospital in the De Tafelberg building.

The Germans had cut off the water supply to Oosterbeek. Swarts went out with another Dutch volunteer Willem Gerritsen. Their car was hit by a mortar shell on Pieterbergseweg. Swarts died instantly, while Gerritsen jumped out of the car with his clothes on fire. Gerritsen would eventually lose sight in one eye. The daughter of doctor Anje Van Maanen wrote a book about her father.

Initially Swarts was buried in a field grave in front of De Tafelberg. His widow was determined to be reburied at Airborne War Cemetery. He is buried there as one of the eight Dutchmen, and the only citizen. He received the Resistance Memorial Cross posthumously.

Swart’s mother was transferred to Westerbork, but because his father was able to demonstrate that he had no Jewish ancestors three generations ago, she was released. Canes, who survived the war herself, lost her parents and a sister in Sobibor and Auschwitz.


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