News clippings about the de la Penha claim to Labrador

I recently purchased an subscription and it came with an additional perk, a simultaneous subscription to Since I wanted to know more about the de la Penha claim to Labrador, which I’ve written about here before, I started searching for Joseph de la Penha and the following are some of the clips that came up, in order of discovery. My notes will be below each one. (Spoiler alert: Guess what document is in the USA?)


The Times (Hammond, Indiana) clip from 13th of July, 1935.

Um… Sorry. Did someone say $10,000,000? Wow. Although, I am fairly certain Joseph de la Penha was not a rabbi, so some of these Central Press facts are suspect.


Yep. This excerpt is pretty clear about to whom the land is being deeded. And that, folks, is why you shouldn’t lend people money. But if the story of how Joseph de la Penha loaned William of Orange the money to claim the throne in the first place is true, could you image how world history might have played out if de la Penha hadn’t done so?


You guys. You guys! The document still exists (in Photostat form). It’s in the American Jewish Archives in Cininnati, Ohio. Here’s the listing: William III grant, 1697.

Does anyone have any contacts in Ohio?


No real notes on this clip, but I will say the facts in it jive with most accounts.


Money isn’t everything, but that last sentence does make you a little sad for Isaac de la Penha. I’ll quote the bit I mean here: “…otherwise he would be one of the most wealthy men in the world today.” The world.

Just let that sink in a moment.


With the acknowledgement that this article was published two months before the Great Depression started, Labrador was at the time valued at $80 million. Later, it was considered to priceless. That richest man in the world comment in the 70s is making more sense now.


OK, OK, this is the earlier report I’ve found. It’s interesting to learn Isaac de la Penha had three sisters living in New York. So while some later new coverage did mention the many descendants who died in the Holocaust, they wouldn’t have been among them.

Also, the mention of Quebec and Newfoundland fighting over Labrador at the same time is interesting.

JE MAINTIENDRAI: With Thanks from All Readers

Je Maintiendrai was one of the top five underground periodicals in Holland during the German occupation, according to a book on that subject by Werner Warmbrunn. The French phrase Je Maintiendrai means “I will maintain,” which is the motto of the House of Nassau (the royal family in the Netherlands). The main lettering just below where it says “Je Maintiendrai” on this sheet, which I discovered in the box I got from my grandmother’s house, translates to “With Thanks from All Readers,” according to Google Translate.

Warmbrunn’s “The Dutch, under German Occupation, 1940-1945” talks more about the paper’s history:

“After May 1943 the editorial board of Je Maintiendrai was largely made up of people who have been active in the Netherlands Union or sympathetic to its political concepts. Some of the collaborators were Catholics, but on the whole Je Maintiendrai included a diverse group of people, Protestants, Catholics, and ‘humanists,’ who worked together in harmony…

“The paper suffered two major blows. A number of distributors were arrested in July 1943, but the most important of these were freed from prison. In August 1944, however, the Germans managed to seize two of the founders and key editors. These men were executed in October.”

Of the many names mentioned, I believe N. Siersema was my Opa, Johan Nico Siersema, who was a Dutch Resistance fighter and soldier in the Army, and M. Siersema-Van Erp would have been his step-mother, Maria Wilhelmina.

The original sheet is not in great shape and I spent about an hour working with Photoshop to try to restore the edges for this digital copy. Some parts, I think you can tell, but I tried my best, because I think it’s pretty cool to see a bit of journalism history and my family history intertwine. I especially like the images of people passing the papers from door to door.