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Frederik Polak

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Frederik was raised in a religious Jewish home. His father was a scribe of Jewish holy texts. Frederik studied accounting and became a certified public accountant. After his father died, he helped support his three sisters, his blind brother and his mother. When he was in his mid-20's, Frederik married and started his own family.

1933-39: Creating an atmosphere of Jewish observance in the home was important to Frederik and his wife. They loved to celebrate the Sabbath and the Jewish holidays with their four children. In 1937, after Frederik's son, Jacob, passed the exam to be a certified tax consultant, he joined his father's accounting firm. Frederik often worked for charitable organizations, and would charge them a minimum, so his income was irregular and low.

1940-43: After the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Frederik's business worked overtime to "register" Amsterdam's Jews--the Germans had ordered all Jews to be listed. Though the deportation of Dutch Jewry began in 1942, Frederik and his wife were not deported until June 1943 because his business was used for various official purposes by the Germans. After four weeks at the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands, the Polaks were informed that they were to be sent to Poland to work. In preparation, they packed their nicest clothes.

On July 23, 1943, Frederik and his wife, Grietje, were deported from Westerbork to the Sobibor extermination camp, where two days later they were killed.

Grietje was born to a large religious Jewish family in Amsterdam. When ...
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