REUNION

Location
Spoorlaan 72 Tilburg /Veemgebouw 2nd floor, Eindhoven
Author
Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld

In April 1934, nine-year-old Lore Samson, her parents, and her 12-year-old brother, Alfred, fled to Tilburg from the German Rhineland to escape increasing anti-Semitism in Germany. Joseph, Lore’s father, was injured in the First World War and his courage was rewarded with an Iron Cross. In Tilburg he earned a living as a leather and shoe salesman. The family moved into a beautiful house at Bosscheweg 418 (now Spoorlaan 72).

At school, Lore quickly made new friends, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. She was an active scout. She went to camp, where she had great fun with her friends, and could often be found on the tennis court or in the pool. After primary school, Lore went on to High School.

But then, in August 1941, the announcement came: Jewish children were no longer allowed to attend mainstream schools.

Lore would have to go to the Jewish secondary school, which wouldn’t start until February 1942 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Lore was in her final year and wanted to graduate from the High School in Tilburg at all costs. Her parents asked permission for Lore to sit the final exam. They tried to convince the school using her father’s war medal. When Lore wasn’t allowed to go to school, her classmates kept her up to date on the coursework and her maths teacher brought homework to the house.

 

In August 1942, the deportation of Jews from Tilburg began, and in March 1943, the Samson family went into hiding on the Deken Sandersstraat. But in the early hours of 15 June, Tilburg police raided the neighbouring building. Lore’s brother, Alfred, fled to the street with their mother, but their father’s war wound left him unable to run. Lore had to choose: run after her mother and brother or stay with her father? She decided to stay with her father and they were arrested together. The next morning, they were transferred to the prison in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Thanks to her father’s Iron Cross, they weren’t deported straight away, so they weren’t transferred to the Westerbork concentration camp until December 1943. A month later, Lore and her father were taken to Theresienstadt, the concentration camp for the ‘privileged’.

Lore’s mother, Alice, and her brother, Alfred, went into hiding in a chicken coop on a farm in Westelbeers. In September 1944, they were liberated and they were able to tell Lore and her father the good news in Theresienstadt using letters sent through London.

In April 1945, Lore was allowed to write a letter from the concentration camp to her mother and brother in Tilburg. She wrote, “My dearest ones, if you could see me now. I am 1.71 m tall and weigh 62 kilos. No problems. My red cheeks are still there and sometimes I even put on lipstick! Theresienstadt is a small town and we can walk around freely. It is very beautiful here and we often go outside, to the countryside. We also often go to concerts or plays and have already seen operas here.” Alice and Alfred knew Lore well. They knew how to read her letter, and the truth was the opposite of what she wrote…

 

On 8 May 1945, Lore and her father were liberated. On 22 June, they finally arrived in Eindhoven, where they were routed, like so many others, through the Philips Veemgebouw. Lore immediately wrote a postcard to her mother and brother:

“Dearest ones,

Father and I have just arrived. We are doing fine. We are in Eindhoven in the Philips building, in the military hospital on the first floor, 18A. Come as soon as possible. Lots of love and kisses. Father and Lore.

Repatriation centre in the Philips Veemgebouw at Strijp S in Eindhoven, 1945.

Shortly afterwards, the family was reunited.

Back in Tilburg, Lore immediately picked up where she left off and made a decisive choice to become a Zionist. On 16 June 1946, she married Avri Steinberg in the Tilburg synagogue. Together, they left for Palestine to help build the Jewish state. From then on, Lore Samson would be known as Ore Shinan.

PHOTO
Alfred and Lore on their bikes next to their house in Tilburg
(Picture: Addi Shinan Photo Collection, Israel)

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