On 4 May 2016 in the framework of "Open Jewish Houses' we were at the synagogue on the Folkingestraat Groningen to participate in a war walk through the city of Groningen. To hear how people lived during the occupation. Then we went to the Central Station. From there, between July 1942 and March 1943 were deported the Jews living in Groningen. In station restaurant Starbucks historian Stefan van der Poel gavea lecture about the deportation of Jews from this station. He has also written a book entitled "Jewish Stadjers. About the life of Jewish Groningen.
On the way to the Synagogue in the Folkingestraat we saw this tripping threshold in front of Folkingestraat 34. Here lived Rachel van Gelder until she was deported from Groningen and was murdered in Sobibor. This stumbling threshold laid by the German artist Gunter Demnig laying stumbling stones across Europe to commemorate the Jews who lived there have to keep alive

On the threshold is the text:

"We will never forget you
See our tears for all Jews
This place for the families van Gelder
Who were murdered and deported from the Netherlands
and were murdered during the Second World War (1940 - 1945) "

At the entrance to the synagogue on the Folkingestraat in Groningen we are waiting for our guide who will lead the war walk through the city. In the meantime, I have some time to see the building.

View from above on the synagogue on the Folkingestraat.

This is how the synagogue in Groningen looked inside in former years.

This is how the synagogue looks inside today.

The door is never open again to the Folkingestraat symbolizes Jewish life in Groningen, which has disappeared. The door has no handle and no letterbox.

Folkingestraat with synagogue before the war.

Folkingestraat 1930

Here we are in front of Gedempte Zuiderdiep 49, on the spot where a second synagogue was that you can see below.

The decision by the church council to accompany the singer by a choir led to a serious conflict in 1851. During a synagogue service even comes to a scuffle between supporters and opponents and the police should come between them. The opponents decide to secede and form the municipality Teschuath Israel. In 1856, they take their own synagogue in use at the Zuiderdiep. Only 25 years this 'Israel Rescue' the full. Although the town then rising back into the mother church remains "nije shul 'even exist until 1933. Site recalls the building now only a picture on a glass-glass-window in the replacement building designed by architect John Prummel Oude Boteringestraat 49.

On the place where the second synagogue stood is currently the property, Gedempte Zuiderdiep 49.

On the Grote Markt we saw these pictures of the liberation of Groningen by the Canadians.
In this building on the corner of Herestraat was the German Wehrmachtheim established.
Christmas dinner in 1943 in the Wehrmachtheim sitting with third from the left Ortskommandant Rauch and fourth from the left police commissioner Blank.
Under the heading 'Thanks' visitors to the city could experience the liberation of Groningen insistently from three different perspectives. How was it for a Canadian soldier to liberate Groningen? How did it feel for the people to be liberated? How did Groningen looked before and after the liberation? If you looked at one of the barrels you saw a film about the liberation of Groningen. This glass tank we saw on the Waagplein.
While we looked at the spared venture building on the Waagplein, I made this shot of the back of the hall with war damage during the liberation fighting between 13 and April 16, 1945.

We are walking on the Vismarkt in Groningen with a view on the Corn Exchange and Aa-kerk.
Campaign for the labour union 'Het Nederlandse Arbeidsfront' on the Vismarkt at Groningen. This organisation should replace the excisting unions who were forbidden by the nazi occupier. But never this organisation became a success and was lifted in 1945.
At the end of 1941 in the Netherlands signs appreared with the text 'Forbidden for Jews' and 'Jews not wanted'. Also on the Vismarkt in Groningen this sign appeard. Jews were no longer allowed to do their shopping on this market.

Air raid shelter on the Vismarkt.

SS Parade on the Grote Markt at Groningen

Indissolubly linked to the dark period of the occupation is the Scholtenhuis. The Scholtenhuis, also called Scholtenshuis, was a notorious building in the center of the city of Groningen on the east side of the Grote Markt. It was built between 1878 and 1881 to a design in eclectic style of the Groninger architect J. Maris, commissioned by the Groninger industrial Willem Albert Scholten. The building was occupied by two families Scholten: Father W. A. and son J.E. Scholten, hence the name Scholtenhuis. In World War Two the building was used by the Germans for the establishment of one of the six Dutch Aussenstelle, a headquarters for the regional department of the Security Service and Security Police. Led by including the dreaded SD officer Robert Lehnhoff were imprisoned hundreds of resistance fighters, interrogated, brutal treatment and torture. Then they often were executed at various remote places. The Scholtenhuis was therefore often popularly referred to as the gateway to hell. During the liberation of Groningen, the building was heavily fired, burned and completely destroyed. It lives on in the memory of many inhabitants who experienced the war deliberately. Nowadays Scholtenhuis is available virtually.
The executioners of the Scholtenhuis have more than 473 human lives on their conscience. In addition, there has counted those who were sent to concentration camps by the SD and died there, but not the deportated and not returned Jews.

The notorious Scholtenhuis whith the flags with the swastika and SS-rune sign in top.
When the Canadian army was advancing to the Grote Markt the dreaded leaders in Scholtenhuis had meanwhile fled through Zoutkamp to the Island Schiermonnikoog. The Germans set on fire the buildings at the Grote Markt, including the Scholtenhuis that was completely destroyed.
Unique colourpicture of Herebrug in Groningen December 1940. The feldpost number belongs to Stab SS-Aufklarungs-Abteilung.

During occupation German roadsigns appeard in the streets.

German roadsigns on the Grote Markt in Groningen.

Café-Restaurant De Beurs at Aa-Kerkhof, where the pictures below were made during the liberation of Groningen when a Canadian Bren Carrier with a Canadian radio station in it stood beside that property.

Canadian radio station in a Bren Carrier at the today named café De Beurs at A-Kerkhof.
After the end of the war walk we went to the main station for the lecture of historian Stefan van der Poel in Starbucks about the deportation of Jews from the station to the death camps in the east between June 1942 and March 1943.

The main station of Groningen 2016

The main station of Groningen in 1938

The main station of Groningen in 1947

Vanaf het Hoofdstation werden tussen juni 1942 en maart 1943 de Joden gedeporteerd via Kamp Westerbork naar de vernietingskampen. De provincie Groningen kende tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog een relatief hoog aantal weggevoerde en vermoorde Joden. Tot op de dag van vandaag is de verwerking van deze zwarte bladzij uit het verleden een moeizaam proces. Tot in de oorlog had de provincie Groningen verscheidene Joodse gemeenschappen. Zo was Winschoten na Amsterdam de stad die het hoogste percentage Joodse inwoners had. Maar ook in de stad Groningen woonden veel Joden. Heel wat kostwinners waren werkzaam als slager, (vee)handelaar of werken in de confectie-industrie.

Sign 'Forbidden for Jews' at Noorderplantsoen (near the Oranjesingel) in Groningen, 1942.
Also in front of the window of cafe De Beurs at Aa-Kerkhof was a shield 'Forbidden for Jews'.
The Cohen family house on the Stationsstraat 4 in Groningen daubed with anti-Semitic slogans. Bernard Arie Cohen was a wholesaler in luxury stationery. Until September 25, 1942, he was with his wife Betty Schnadig registered at this address. Then they moved to the Lord Street 98a. On New Year's Eve 1942, they were unsubscribe there, with destination Westerbork. The couple was murdered in the German extermination camp Sobibor on May 21 1943.
A man with a Star of David walking along the southern side of Aa-Kerkhof  in the city of Groningen. This might be sheepmaster Elimelech Lazarus Cohen(Veendam 1873 - Sobibor 1943)

With the German occupation in May 1940, the persecution of the Jews begins. The deportations to Westerbork, which serves as a 'transit camp' to other extermination camps, come on stream in 1942. After a major raid in October of that year the city has few Jewish residents. In December 1943 abandoned the last few Jewish residents of the city.

Simon van Hasselt with his daughter Sophie, ca. 1942

The main station in Groningen is the most beautiful station of The Netherlands. This is the lobby. Unfortunately a sad story is involved with this station: the deportation of the Jew population in Groningen.
Nowadays in de station buffet Starbucks is estableshed. Here we listen enthralled to the lecture of historian Stefan van der Poel. There was much interest.

The Dutch Railways worked nicely on schedule to run trains with Jews for the Germans.