1933 Kool family photo

Photo: Kool family in summer of 1933

A Kool family photo from the summer of 1933. (Courtesy of Halbo Kool)

A Kool family photo from the summer of 1933. (Courtesy of Halbo Kool)

The back of a Kool family photo from the summer of 1933. (Courtesy of Halbo Kool)

The back of a Kool family photo from the summer of 1933. (Courtesy of Halbo Kool)

This photo reminds me of half the family photos I’ve eve taken, where you hit the button before everyone is paying attention. It was sent to me by Halbo Kool and he had a go at deciphering the handwriting on the back, as well as identifying the faces he knew in the photo. Here’s what his note said:

“…Summer 1933 Her(man ?) Brouwer ( ?) ; Germ & Anni ; Hendrik & Irene ; HCK & Chr. (Hendrik 3rd from right, HCK and Chr the two on the left)”

To further translate, Christina Kolle is on the far left, and Halbo Kool (b.1873) is standing next to her. Halbo Kool (b.1873)’s brother Hendrik Kool is the third from the right with wife Irene, but we are not sure which woman she is. Germ Kool and wife Anni (Anna Hebelina Klugkist) are also in the photo, as are host Her(man?) Brouwer and another female.

As for the Brouwers, they may be relatives, but I am not sure. They may just be family friends. It’s funny, though, because my best friend and I are both interested in genealogy and she recently found some family members in her tree from the Netherlands with the last name Brouwer and so I’ve been on the lookout for connections between our families.

Recognize anyone? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to further narrow down who’s who in this photograph.

Cousin Anje has identified everyone in this photo:

1. Christina Kool (née Kolle) 1873-1957 married with Halbo Kool (b.1873)
2. Hendrik Kool 1869-1962 brother Halbo Kool, not married
3. Elsina Anna Kool 1867-1944 sister Halbo Kool, not married
4. Germ Kool 1875 – 1950 brother Halbo Kool, married with Anna Hebelina Klugkist
5. Anna Hebelina Kool (née Klugkist) 1880 -1944 married wirh Germ Kool. Her mother was a sister of Germ’s father.
6. Halbo Kool 1873 – 1943 married with Christina Kolle
7. Catharina Brouwer (née Meijer) 1870 – 1948. Married with Hergen Brouwer. Catharina’s mother was Annechiena Gezina Duintjer, a sister of Halbo Kool’s mother Gonda Margaretha Duintjer.
8. Hergen Brouwer 1871 – 1944

Thanks Anje!

WWII: Wartime letter from Halbo Kool, Christina Kolle in Haren, Netherlands

Wartime letter from Halbo C. Kool, Christina Kolle

Page one of a wartime letter from Halbo Kool (b. 1873) and Christina Kolle. (Courtesy Halbo Kool)

Wartime letter from Halbo C. Kool, Christina Kolle

Page two of a wartime letter from Halbo Kool (b. 1873), Christina Kolle. (Courtesy Halbo Kool)

Halbo Kool, son of Halbo Christiaan Kool and grandson of Halbo Kool (b. 1873), sent me this wartime letter from 1942 — from Halbo Kool (b. 1873) and Christina Kolle to their grandchildren — along with an extremely helpful translation with annotations. Halbo Kool called it “A bit off the cuff and not very polished translation but rather close to the original.” I call it a godsend on account of me not being able to read Dutch. Google Translate still isn’t user friendly. Without further ado…

START LETTER

Haren 24 July 1942

(Haren is a place near Groningen where my grandparents had a house on the Rijksstraatweg in a residential area. It was requisitioned later and my grandmother lived for years with her brother-in-law Hendrik, but moved in 1956 back to her house in Haren (but got only half of it, the rest was still let) and lived there till she died in 1957.)

Dear Children!

The last few days it was here too an unpleasant atmosphere. Sunday all the man’s bicycles were seized and Monday they asked door by door to hand them over. Then there was suddenly the rumour that the blankets were also asked for but it appeared to be a false alarm.

What a situation these days, I can understand that it’ll be bad in Amsterdam. Is it true of all those suicides?  People say that Amsterdam and Rotterdam have been surrounded with barbed wire, is that true as well? There seems to be much tension in the air, everybody is very nervous.

As far as food is concerned things aren’t to bad here, we still have a regular supply of potatoes and vegetables. Milk is getting difficult and is going to be rationed from August. It’s a big problem for Dad (Halbo Kool b. 1873) as I’m always making porridge from the bread, the grains (larger bits) stick in his throat and then he must cough terribly. (Christina’s note: Halbo Kool (b. 1873) died the following year)

The weather is a bit rotten these days and we don’t go out of the house now that’s it’s almost August.This morning we received a letter from Kees (her son Cornelis Kool) and Loes (Christina’s note: Louise Lopes-Cardozo) demanding us a statement about our parents and ourselves so he can prove that we don’t descend from Jews (mixed Aryan-Jewish – excuse me the unacceptable expression – couples were then still had some respite, and it may well have saved Loes and her children from deportation, as it did for the first husband of my sister Anneke’s first husband, Emile Mot. His parents were both Jewish, almost all their family was deported, but he and his parents escaped, they lived in Hilversum, not far from Naarden, and a policeman had — to my knowledge –declared that Emile was his son from an adulterous relation with Emile’s mother.)

What can he do with this, perhaps that things are a bit easier for Loes? We’ll do of course straight away the necessary. Monday auntie Trui (Geertruida Kolle, sister of my grandmother) has her birthday and if at all possible I’ll pay her a visit. Auntie Marie (probably Johanna Maria Kolle, another of her sisters) is there and she’ll be able to tell us where we should go (for the information). Did you already visit Mrs. Cardozo (should be the mother of Loes, who was sent off to a concentration camp with or like her daughter Frederika, neither returned. This information and the names of the aunties was given to me by Anje.) or she you? How terrible all this is, such a family being ripped apart like this. You hear about such things but if you know the people well, you really feel it.

How are you Willy (my mother)? Do you still get extra food and are the children all right again? Are things all right in Haarlem (where Willy’ s parents and sister live). Do give them my greetings when you can. What kind of sugarsweet product is that, Halbo, and under what name is it sold in the shops, is it something for us to buy?

Well, dear children, the very best, greetings and a kiss from your loving Grandpa (and) Grandma. (C. Kool-Kolle)

END LETTER

I find this letter super interesting because it really reflects the issues of the day. It sounds like Cornelis Kool was trying to arrange it so his wife and family would avoid persecution and execution during the war. One of my uncles had said that was possible because Cornelis worked at a paper mill and the Nazis needed paper; therefore, his family was probably lower on a list somewhere (and speaking of commandeering bicycles, he’d saved for years for the car the Nazis took from him and stayed angry about that for many years after). As for this, though, it sounds like maybe he was doctoring some genealogy records? I certainly would.

Editor’s note: The name of Halbo Kool (b. 1973) has been updated in this posting. It was misstated in an earlier version of this post.

Halbo Kool, Christina Kolle attend 1903 Groningen Tentoonstelling van Nijverheid en Kunstindustrie

Halbo C. Kool's pass

Halbo Kool’s (b. 1873)  pass to 1903 Groningen Tentoonstelling van Nijverheid en Kunstindustrie (Groningen Exhibition of Craft and Art Industry). (Courtesy of Halbo Kool, living)

Christina Kolle's pass to exhibition

Christina Kool’s (n. Kolle) pass to 1903 Groningen Tentoonstelling van Nijverheid en Kunstindustrie (Groningen Exhibition of Craft and Art Industry). (Courtesy of Halbo Kool, living)

The Groningen Exhibition of Craft and Art Industry, roughly translated, was a big event, seeing about 300,000 visitors over its two-month run from June 15-August 15, 1903. Some accounts have the event running until September 1 of that year, but the official dates on the tickets and poster indicate that it was supposed to end on August 1st. It had a 60-page guide book and a commemorative coin. One would have to cross over a bridge, under a sign that read Tentoonstelling (Google translated: Shows) to enter the grounds. In one courtyard, a giant wine bottle stood two stories high, and in another, a fountain.

Halbo Kool, the living grandson of Halbo Kool (b.1873) and son of Halbo Christiaan Kool (I know, not confusing at all, right?), sent me these scans of Halbo Kool (b.1873)’s and Christina Kolle’s permanent passes to the event. In his notes, Halbo Kool says he’s not sure if they have had a stand for the H.C. Kool hat shop, but I’m fairly confident they would have, being located in Groningen and such good business people.

Image from inside Inside the Groningen Tentoonstelling van Nijverheid en Kunstindustrie in 1903.

Inside the Groningen Tentoonstelling van Nijverheid en Kunstindustrie in 1903.

See a poster for the event here.

See photos from the event here.

A FAMILY BUSINESS: Details, photos of the H.C. Kool hat shop in Groningen

A photograph of the H.C. Kool hat shop window in Groningen, Netherlands. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

A photograph of the H.C. Kool hat shop windows in Groningen, Netherlands, taken about 1925. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

I have heard about my mom’s great-grandparents running a hat shop in Holland for just about as long as I can remember. On the ground floor was the hat shop itself; on the second floor, the factory; and on the third floor, the family apartment. Recently, I’ve had a little more time to look into it and finally put up this blog post, which I’ve been meaning to do for about six months or so. So here goes…

Portrait of a young Halbo Kool, taken about 1898-1900. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

Portrait of a young Halbo Kool, taken about 1898-1900. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

A young Chirstina Kolle, date unknown. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

A young Christina Kolle, date unknown. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

The shop was named simply for my great-great-grandfather and great-great grandmother: H.C. Kool (Halbo Christina Kool).

Halbo was born on Feb. 11, 1873, in Veendam, Groningen, Netherlands.

Halbo was 26 when he married my great-great-grandmother Christina Kolle, also 26, on Feb. 23, 1899 in Groningen. On their wedding certificate, he is listed as a merchant, which I believe allowed him to travel and procure materials. While Christina did not list an occupation, she did have a reputation as an excellent seamstress.

In March of that year, the advertisement below was printed to announce the shop’s opening. From what I can tell via Google Translate, the writing essentially says he has opened a shop for women’s and children’s hats in mid-March with many French styles.

He also writes that it is in the “Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat” — a street that cousin Anje says exists and has existed since 1739 — following that with the abbreviation “H 178,” which I am inclined to think was the address, or House 178 Anje suggested.

An advertisement for the H.C. Kool hat shop in Groningen, Netherlands, dated March, 1899. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

An advertisement for the H.C. Kool hat shop in Groningen, Netherlands, dated March, 1899. (Carolyn Kool/Contributed)

Cornelis Kool. (Carolyn Kool/Contributed)

Cornelis Kool. (Carolyn Kool/Contributed)

The next year, when their first son (Cornelis “Cees” Kool, July 6, 1900) was born, Halbo was listed as a “reiziger,” or a “traveler” in English, on the birth certificate. I suppose working as a traveler could be similar to working as a merchant, but I do not know why the wording changed. Because the store — with the three levels — was located at Stoeldraaierstraat 2  later (see the address on the brochure below), I wonder if the first store did not thrive at the first location, a second was at Stoeldraaierstraat 2 and in the meantime Halbo kept things running by securing materials in his travels? Or possibly it just moved and there’s no real distinction to be made between the Dutch words for merchant and traveler.

The cover of the hat shop brochure, or so-called fashion magazine, for H.C. Kool in Groningen, Netherlands. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

The cover of the hat shop brochure, or so-called  “modemagazijn” or “fashion magazine,” for H.C. Kool in Groningen, Netherlands. Likely printed between 1905-1920. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

The inside of the hat shop brochure, or so-called fashion magazine, for H.C. Kool in Groningen, Netherlands. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

The inside of the hat shop brochure, or so-called fashion magazine, for H.C. Kool in Groningen, Netherlands. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

The Kools on Jan. 25, 1907, had a second son, whom they named Halbo Christiaan, making it a family of four in the apartment above the workshop and store.

Christina ran the shop and trained the women who worked there, but now she had two sons to raise as well, according to cousin Anje (a descendant of Halbo Christiaan) and her aunt Anneke, who also noted that Christina traveled to Paris and Brussels to buy stock for the stock — so it wasn’t just Halbo securing materials.

Kool famille

The Kool family, from left: Halbo Christiaan Kool, Christina Kolle, Cornelis Kool, and Halbo Kool. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

The Kool family apartment above the H.C. Kool hat shop at Stoeldraaierstraat 2 in Groningen, Netherlands. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

The Kool family apartment above the H.C. Kool hat shop at Stoeldraaierstraat 2 in Groningen, Netherlands. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

A photograph of the inside of the H.C. Kool hat shop in Groningen, Netherlands. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

A photograph of the inside of the H.C. Kool hat shop in Groningen, Netherlands. (Anje Belmon/Contributed)

“When Halbo and Christina where married 25 years, in 1924, their employees made a small picture book with photos of the shop and the house to congratulate them,” cousin Anje wrote in an email, which also noted that there was a basement floor of the building that acted as the kitchen. The two images to the left are from the anniversary present.

Anje estimates Halbo and Christina purchased a home in Haren, a village near Groningen, between 1920-1935. Around 1934, Halbo and Christina were renting out the shop and enjoying their free time, vacationing at “Noordwijk bij Zee” a small popular seaside resort in province South-Holland, according to cousin Anje.

Halbo eventually passed away on October 4, 1942, after which Christina went to live with Halbo’s brother, Germ.

Germ was “A former ship’s captain, who had a housekeeper, so Christina couldn’t even cook herself,” according to an email from Anje. “I can’t imagine how this must have been for this strong independent woman. Eventually in 1956, she was “allowed” to go back to her house in Haren. But not before her two children, Cornelis and Halbo Christiaan had discussed this thoroughly and given their permission.

“Cornelis was afraid that something could happen to her in that big house, my grandfather Halbo Christiaan said ‘just let her go, if she wants to.'”

The shop was leveled on April 15, 1945, less than a month before WWII ended. An “exploding ammunition car destroyed some streets in the center of Groningen, including the hat shop,” Anje wrote. Christina was given financial compensation by the council for the loss.

Eventually, Christina passed away — in her own house mind you — on November 21, 1957. She was buried next to Halbo and the grave still exists to this day.

Portrait of Christina Kolle and Halbo Kool

This is a portrait of my great-great-grandparents, Halbo Kool (b.1873) and Christina Kolle, courtesy of my cousin Anje Belmon, who in turn got it from her uncle. So now we know where I get my good looks (joking!).

According to digital records on Genlias.nl, Halbo was born in Veendam, Groningen, Netherlands, in 1873 and Christina was born in Oostdongeradeel, Friesland, in the same year. They were married in 1899 in Groningen. This photo, which I’ve lightly retouched, had to have been taken prior to 1943, when Halbo died. I think it’s cute how she has a pillow propping up her feet.