My name is Hans Reijnes, and I was born in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1940 to Jewish parents.
When the war started my parents decide that I should go to a safer place because things were getting dangerous. They placed me in the south of Holland where I stayed for two years, until I was arrested by the Germans and moved to a transit camp in the north.
I was there for two months in an orphanage with 51 children aged 2-11 years. All had no parents. Then typhus broke out the children contracted this and other diseases, and the Germans were afraid we would infect them, so they sent us to Bergen-Belzen concentration camp. In Bergen-Belzen we were put in an orphanage but we were sick there, too, and the Germans didn't know what to do with 51 children. So they moved us on Theresienstadt. Why didn't they exterminate us, as was their habit? Because there was a rumor some of the children were born to Jewish mothers from fathers that were German soldiers.
In September 1944, we arrived in Theresienstadt and were placed in an orphanage again. None of us had parents. We were treated by nurses and doctors, and about three weeks later we were all cured. We got good food rations, and they looked after us properly for some reason. We were also looked after by Dutch adults in the camp who thought it was important to take care of us, and they brought us food, took us for walks, and so we recovered soon enough.
We stayed there until May 1945 when the Russians came and liberated us. Then, after adventures, we got to Holland and in the south, in Eindhoven, we were brought together in a school where we were to wait until they could find either a Jewish family who would adopt us or our natural families. After two months in this school a Jewish family in Eindhoven agreed to adopt me but then, somehow, my uncle heard I was alive. When he heard that, they came right away in a car, which was a rare thing - and gasoline for it was even rarer - but they got that and came escorted by the police to see me and took me in.
So in September, or October, 1945, I came to live with my aunt and uncle and stayed with them until I went to Israel in 1961 at the age of 21.
I was born in Germany in 1943. When my mother gave birth she was in prison where I was born. We stayed there three months and then were taken to Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia.
When I was four months old I was taken from my mother. They wanted to send me to Auschwitz. A woman who worked in the babies' house and hid me in a trashcan until the transport left saved me. Then she took me back to the babies' house where there were mainly Czech babies. I hear this woman was sent to Auschwitz later. I was all by myself but there was a woman there, Ruth Schmolkova, today I know her name, who saw I was alone. Her job was to milk the cows three times a day, but otherwise she was free, and she would come to the babies' house and , look after me. I got in touch with her now and she told me that she'd bring me mild from the cow-shed, make dresses for me and even nursed me when I was hospitalized and donated blood for me.
I have to explain that my mother was taken to "the little fortress" where they normally interned political prisoners who had no access to our camp. So there was no one to visit me in the babies' house and look after me, except for the caretakers. But that woman loved me and cared for me like a mother. In the camp there was a man, my stepfather-to-be, who was from our hometown and knew whom my mother was and he came to play with me and take me on strolls.
At the end of the war, when we were liberated, this woman held me in her arms and waited for the little fortress inmates to come out. Most of them did not survive, they either died there or were sent to Auschwitz. And she calls out my name Tanna Kahn at the time, and she shouted "Tanna Kahn" until my mother heard her and approached us. The woman intended to adopt me, she didn't think my mother would be alive. I didn't know my mother and refused to go with her, but that man, Fritz Stern, I knew so I agreed to go with him.
We stayed in the camp another month, until my birthday on June 9th. Since then, my parents celebrated my birthday as our Liberation Day. We returned to Germany, and in 1949 went to Israel.