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Minny Cats

The same transport as Selma Wijnberg took Minny Cats and her mother to Sobibor on 9 April 1943. Her mother was send to the gas chambers immediately; Minny and Selma were selected to work in the camp. The two young women cought the attention of the male inmates. Kurt Thomas remembers: “My friend Chaim Engel and I found them attractive. We spent our free time with them; he with Selma and I with Minny. Minny was in her early twenties. She was tall, with a lovely figure, an attractive brunette complexion and nice features. Well-bred and educated, she spoke perfect English and German in addition to her native Dutch. She came from a highly cultured, respected family. Minny had tried to hide from the Nazis in her hometown Haarlem but was discovered and taken to Westerbork."

“How we dreamed of leaving Sobibor! Minny, my girlfriend, once asked me whether or not I thought we would get out alive, I said that my brain told me no, but my heart said yes. She confided that her parents had transferred a good deal of money to England, but had failed to flee there themselves. We spoke of the happy times we had known during our youth. Minny often mentioned her wonderful memories of spending time with friends on the ocean beach that was about an hour’s ride from her home. We talked and dreamed about our chances for the future. Whenever there was an opportunity, we sneaked into my little hut to be alone.”

“Minny told me that she had found US currency hidden in a pot in someone’s luggage. I asked her how much there was and what she had done with it. She said that it was $ 2,000 and that she had thrown it into the latrine because she did not want anyone to find her with it. She vowed that she never would have given it to the Germans.”

Minny Hanny Cats was born on 6 March 1920 in Haarlem where she lived with her mother Elisabeth Speelman (Rotterdam 11 December 1890) at the Schotersingel 7.


Kurt Thicho, My legacy - holocaust, history and the unfinished task of pope John Paul II (Wlodawa 2008) pg. 100 en 108


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