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One Mezuzah, One Family

Suzanne Rodrigues Pereira (standing second to the left) and Miriam Hanina-Tafelkruijer (seated)
Suzanne Rodrigues Pereira (standing second to the left) and Miriam Hanina-Tafelkruijer (seated)


Last month, Miriam Hanina-Tafelkruijer from Moshav Even Shmuel and Suzanne Rodrigues-Pereira from Amsterdam visited the Ghetto Fighters' House archive.  They came to donate a small Mezuzah parchment that was hidden in one of the walls of Suzanne's house on Nieuwe Keizersgracht  #20 in Amsterdam.
Twenty years ago, while renovating her apartment, Suzanne found two Mezuzah parchments that were hidden behind one of walls in her house.  The smaller parchment was rolled into the larger one.  Curious to discover who the previous owners of the house were before World War II, her research led her to the Tafelkruijer family, a Jewish family of Portuguese decent.  
The father, Jozef Tafelkruijer, was born in 1880 and perished in Auschwitz in November 1942.  His wife, Gezina (nee Snatager), was born in 1876 and perished in Sobibor in June 1943.  The couple had two children:  Flora-Clara, who perished in Sobibor in May 1943, and Meijer Jozef.  In October 1940, Meijer married Rebecca Henriette Ricardo.  Rebecca, who was a nurse by profession, was hidden by Dr. Maria Brouwer-Ypes who was later recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations.  Meijer was a member of the Dutch underground, forging false documents.  Joze, their first born son, was born in February 1943.  He was hidden with a family member, Wolf-Wim Tafelkruijer, who was married to a German woman, Erna-Amanda Tafelkruijer-Olewson.  After their hiding place was revealed, Erna was sent to the Ravensbrueck camp and Joze to the Westerbork camp.  Meijer and his fellow underground members drew a false family tree for Joze and Dr.Ypes that Rebecca (who also carried false papers) took with her when she went to release them.   Joze was hidden with Dr. Ypes, but was not told that Rebecca was his mother in order to protect him.  Meijer, Rebecca and Joze survived.  In August 1945 their daughter Miriam was born.

Suzanne Rodrigues-Pereira found Miriam, who had immigrated to Israel in 1967, and told her about discovering the two mezuzot parchments.  The larger parchment was returned to its place on the doorpost after Miriam's husband, who is a Sofer Stam (ritual scribe), established that it has no defects.  The smaller parchment, which was found to have defects, was donated to the museum archive.

As a result of this discovery, all the residents of Nieuwe Keizersgracht Street began a mission to find the names of all the former residents, who were mostly of Jewish Portuguese decent.  They opened a website in remembrance of those that perished during the Holocaust. 

As for Miriam Hanina-Tafelkruijer's family, her maternal grandparents lived next door on Nieuwe Keizersgracht  #22. Her grandfather, Rabbi Benjamin Israel Ricardo, was the rabbi for the Sephardic community of Amsterdam.  He and his wife, Bilha Ricardo- Alvares-Vega, as well as their son, Eljakim Israel, and their daughter, Selina, all perished during the Holocaust.  Their son David immigrated to Israel in the 1930's where he started his family.



                                                                                           The mezuzah parchment donated to the museum

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