“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Monday, June 9, 2014

The parted journeys of two Jewish brothers in WWII

Brothers Cohen

Goto Episode 1

Introduction and Background

In an earlier post on Jules Haeck, I told you that once I would tell you the story of the father and uncle of my school friend Gina Cohen.

The reason is that the story was published (May 5, 2010) in Dutch only, titled: "Naar Engeland" or translated: "Towards Great Britain", ISBN: 978-90-73850-18-7.

A book with eight stories about men from Hengelo (Netherlands, near to the German border), who fled for the Germans in World War II (WWII) and eventually reached Great Britain.

I discovered this book in 2013, when I visited my mother in Hengelo, and she told me that her neighbor knows also the family Cohen and got the book in 2010.

The story published in this blog was written in Dutch by Marco Krijnsen, and I got his permission to translate it into English and publish on my blog. The book was produced by "Historisch Museum Hengelo" and can be ordered via their website for Euro 9.50. Mail to: info@historischemuseumhengelo.nl .

As I said already in my post on Jules Haeck, Gina was my friend in elementary school in Hengelo, a small city in the east of the Netherlands, where I lived from my 5th to 18th year of age. As I regularly joined her for playing in her home, I knew her parents well and also her brother Julius, who was on the same school, the "Hengelose School Vereniging" or HSV, a private school at the Wolter ten Cate street near the center of the city. However, I was at that time not aware of the tragedy of this family until recently.


  • The Family
  • French Pilots
  • "Du bist mein guter Freund!"
  • Snow and Cold
  • Return to the Netherlands
  • Curacao
  • Enjoying cake with Wilhelmina (the Queen)
  • Cohen Brothers
  • Cohen becomes Coenman


  1. Report Izak Cohen to the ministry of Marine (20 December 1943)
  2. Reminiscences Levie Cohen (written November/December 1987)
  3. Interview with Gina Koopmans-Cohen and Julius Cohen (daughter and son of Izak Cohen, no date, probably 2009/2010)
  4. Interview Rozetta Cohen-Spetter, widow of Levie Cohen (no date)
  5. Netherlands Institute of Militairy History (NIMH)

Goto Episode 1

Note: by clicking on "Cohen" in the Label area in the right frame of this post, you get all the episodes published so far.

Translation by Leo Kolwijck, 2014


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