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Dutch Victims from Tilburg und Goirle

Archivist Gerrit Kobes paid a two-day research visit to the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen in mid-December. “I intend to gather the names of the victims coming from my hometown Goirle and publish and preserve their biographies for the next generations”, said the Dutchman. In collaboration with Ad de Beer, he undertook a similar project on the victims of Nazi persecution and war from Goirle’s neighbouring town Tilburg. “In the ITS archives I have found more information to add to that project, too.”

For almost 30 years Kobes has studied documents originating from the occupation era at the regional archives at Tilburg. “When I started delving into the material of the archives, I came to find that hardly any records existed”, explained Kobes. “The only documentary evidence of the time available was publications on two resistance groups and on the liberation of Tilburg on 27 October 1944.” In the last years, he tried to collect the names of Jewish victims and forced labourers, but also of soldiers who had fallen in action, and to document their stories. “It is important to record the fates and pass them on”, underlined the 64-year old. “By means of my research work, I get a picture of events and can process and edit them for the next generations.”

Through appeals in newspapers, the publication of photos on his website www.goirle40-45.nl and talks with contemporary witnesses, his collection has grown continually. “Meanwhile I have even established contact with families in England”, rejoiced Kobes. “On a cemetery near Goirle 28 Allied soldiers were buried. When I publicized photos of the tombstones, the son of a Jewish soldier wrote me. It relieved him to know where his father’s burial place is.”