Andries Sternheim: journal of a Jewish family in hiding in occupied Holland

Scope and Content

This collection contains a diary entitled 'Exiled in one's own country - The journal of a Jewish family in hiding in occupied Holland' written by Andries Sternheim, writer and proponent of the Dutch Social-Democratic movement. The family were victims of the Holocaust. Included is an English translation and photocopy of the Dutch manuscript. Andries Sternheim wrote his journal between 26 May 1943 and 24 November 1943, whilst in hiding with his wife Gholina. The diary entries consist of reflections on political events and his hope for the defeat of Nazi Germany. They also show his dedication to his family as he was writing at the time when his sons had already been deported to Auschwitz via Westerbork transit camp.

Administrative / Biographical History

Andries Sternheim was born into a Jewish family with three children in Amsterdam in 1890. His parents divorced when he was 15 years old. His mother worked in the diamond business and arranged an apprenticeship for him between 1905-1908. In 1910 he obtained a teaching certificate in Political Economy and Statistcs. He joined the labour union of the ANDB and the local branch of the Social Democratic Party (SDAP) for which he wrote several articles. With the serious downturn in the diamond industry Andries had to look for alternative employment. In 1914 he secured a post as writer for Amsterdam's City Council. He advanced within the civil service to become assistant clerk of the Distribution of Food Department but resigned in 1920. He continued to write for the SDAP and was offered the post of head of the Documentation department of the International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU). This post allowed him to develop his interests in the international aspects of the Social Democratic movement.

In 1920 he got married to Gholina (Lina) Cohen, a teacher. They had two sons: Leonard (born in 1924) and Paul (born in 1926). He was put forward to head the new office of the Institut fuer Sozialforschung (IfS) in Geneva in 1931, where he contributed to the publication of 'Study of authority and the family'. With the office in Geneva having to close, the Sternheims returned to Amsterdam in 1938. The children were sent to the best secondary school in Amsterdam but had to transfer later to the Jewish Lyceum. Andries Sternheim was still employed by the IfS and worked on a publication for them. He also wrote articles for the socialist press and gave lectures on the International Trade Union movement. In October 1939 he got a job with his previous employer, Amsterdam City Council, in a food distribution centre. In December 1940 he and other Jewish workers were dismissed. Andries used his connections to organise the supply of ration cards for the growing numbers of people hiding in Holland. He also got involved with assisting at a hostel for German Jews, 'Tehuis Oosteinde'. In late 1942, he and his wife were forced to move to what used to be the Jewish centre of Amsterdam, which effectively became a Jewish ghetto. Their sons were taken into hiding in early 1943 and in May 1943 the couple also went into hiding. This is where Sternheim started writing his diary. Their two sons had already been taken to Westerbork transit camp and later sent on to Auschwitz concentration camp, whilst their parents were in hiding. In January 1944 the couple was found and arrested. Two months later they were deported to Auschwitz where they were killed on the day of arrival. Their sons were still at Auschwitz when their parents arrived. They were murdered one month later.

Access Information

Acquisition Information

Donated by Andrea Simmonds



Related Material

Original deposited with the Jewish Museum, Amsterdam