EXPERIENCE THE HOLOCAUST STORIES OF MY FAMILY IN THE 

J O M A    F A M I L Y   A R C H I V E

Maarten van der Heijden

           My name is Maarten van der Heijden and I am Jewish. I was born in 1947. Just after the war. My father was Jewish and my mother was Jewish. I belong to the so called Jewish second-generation. My grandfather Martin Spanjaard was a musical conductor. He was murdered in Auschwitz.
            From 1970 till 1992 I played violone/double bass in baroque orchestras with Ton Koopman, Gustav Leonhardt, Phillip Herreweghe and Jan Willem de Vriend.
            From 1982 till 2002 I worked as a child psychologist at the university of Amsterdam and Leiden.
            After a midlife crisis I studied from 2005 on at the Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy Amsterdam,  where I graduated in 2010 with photocollages reflecting my Jewish second-generation identity.
             From 2008 onwards I have been working on an autobiographical project ‘141 BOXES’: the unpacking, archiving and photographing of 141 moving boxes filled with family stuff.
             I always knew that I was Jewish, but I did not do anything with it. During my midlife crisis I made a quest into my Jewish roots and Judaism. And what did I find? On the one hand the beauty of the talmud and Jewish mysticism. On the other hand the horror of the shoah.


My grandfather Martin Spanjaard

           The conductor Martin Spanjaard (1892-1942) is the grandfather-who I-never-knew.
His father was a textile manufacturer in Borne.
           Martin studied music in Berlin and in 1920 became the conductor of the ‘Arnhemsche Orkestvereeniging’ He also conducted many orchestras abroad such as in in Vienna, Berlin, Budapest and Prague. In the ‘Musikverein’ in Vienna in 1930, he led the Vienna Philharmonic in a sold out Austrian premiere of Stravinsky’s Capriccio, with the composer at the piano.
           In June 1939, Martin Spanjaard conducted the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. They played Mozart, Bosmans and Bruckner.
           Martin Spanjaard was murdered in Auschwitz in 1942.

My grandmother Clara Spanjaard-van Lier

           Most of my nicest and most beautiful childhood memories are of experiences with my grandmother Clara Spanjaard-Van Lier (1896-1991): the holidays in the ‘Julianahof’ in The Hague, the trips in the blue tram to Scheveningen, circus ‘Strassburger’ and the fireworks from the terrace of the ‘Kurhaus’ . My first symphonic concert in the building for Arts & Sciences with Rudolf Firkusny piano. The puppet theatre of Guido and Felice Van Deth. Bike tours through Meijendel and excursions to ‘De Beer’ nature reserve.
           The food at ‘omi’s’ was always a treat and she could bake delicious Christmas bread and apple pies. Before the war she cooked for the musicians who performed at concerts with Martin Spanjaard such as Bronislaw Huberman, Zoltán Székely and Paul Wittgenstein. 
           Omi survived the war by going into hiding. But omi was a rather vivacious and enterprising person. She could not bare the hiding and took a suicide pill.
           Her daughter Claartje, my mother, had to decide whether or not they would drain omi's stomach in the hospital. My mother decided to do so.
           They disguised and dressed her as a very old woman and smuggled omi out of the hospital because it was too dangerous for Jews there.

More family stories in the JOMA . . .