Gerard Wiegel *1926
Via Rob Kist we came in touch with his uncle, Gerard Wiegel, who, together with his sister, Rob’s mother Hendrika Maria Wiegel(1930-2011) were at the Dam on May 7 1945.
Gerard Wiegel: We lived then in the 2e Jan Steenstraat 52. Mayor de Boer would speak and people were dancing at the platform. Some Domestic Armed Forces wanted to disarm the Germans by the Grote Club; they didn’t want it, only with an officer with a high rang, I only had it on hearsay.
A shooting developed, I stood in the middle and was swept away in a straight line to the other side, the Bijenkorf. You fell over empty prams, bicycles and people that lay on the ground. On the opposite side we fell on top of each other. People on top of me shouted: ‘we can’t stay here, they are shooting’. When they got up I could see the sky again and we ran away to an alley. We had the feeling that we sat for hours on a stair .I can’t remember that my sister was at the Dam, but that could be the age. I wasn’t hurt I just lost my scarf.
Three days before, May 4 1945, Gerard was also witness of the murder on Sigi Mendels.
Rob Kist: By reporting about the capitulation, people were on the street during ‘sperrzeit’ in de Quellijnstraat. Amongst them was also Sigi Mendels, Portuguese-Jewish roots.During the war he went into hiding, but was now on the street. A German patrol who drove over the Ceintuurbaan, fired a salvo into the crowd, and hit Sigi Mendels in his back.He survived until August 1945. [editor: Siegfried Maurits Mendels, born November 11 1928, son of Willem Johannes Mendels and Sara Bueno de Mesquita, lived 2e Jan Steenstraat 48 and died on January 1 1946. His mother was one of the survivors of Theresienstadt.]
Gerard Wiegel completes:
Since October I was home. I worked by an insurance company and delivered the mail. My shoes were worn-out and the tapes were broken, so I stayed at home (After the liberation I received my dismissal ’because of work absence’).
In those days I drew a lot, I’m still an illustrator. My father had no work and we fell hungry. I drew bread coupons, it was delicate work. I used old files from my work as paper. My father succeeded in getting bread with my drew coupons. When his sister once came she said ‘ O, I save that too’. She could swap the coupons for other food. Our neighbor made soup in the soup kitchen and we also exchange our selfmade bread coupons. I’m not proud of that but it was necessary. I often wondered how others survived. After the war I got tuberculosis in my leg and stayed in the hospital for almost 1,5 year. But I survived the war..