Surprising ads in Holland’s oldest weekly, the NIW (New Jewish Weekly, founded in 1865 and still going strong today). They tell me that from 1904 or earlier my great-grandfather Isaac de Leeuw Az.1 was kosher butcher in the Holtjesstraat in my hometown Almelo. In the ad he proclaims to be the one and only butcher in town working under rabbinical supervision, thus trying to enlarge his clientele.
Isaac had been born in Almelo in December 1862, being the seventh of the eleven children of Abraham Marcus de Leeuw (1826-1876) and Betje Fuldauer (1826-1907). He married Hermina Zilverberg (1860-1922) from Enschede and together between 1886 and 1904 they had five children. When this ad was printed in May 1904, Betje had been pregnant for four months; their fifth child, Jacob, was born on 7 October 1904 and died two days after. Arnold (my grandfather), Michael, Iwan and Selma were aged 18, 17, 10 and 4 years.
Isaac’s business was doing well. Three years later he again advertised in NIW, now for a butcher’s man ‘who can slaughter a cow on his own’. As a result of the ad, he seems to have hired 23 year old Benjamin Vromen from Lochem who came to live with the De Leeuw family.2 For some reason, however, Benjamin’s job at Isaac’s store was short lived.
Five months later Isaac de Leeuw again advertised in NIW, announcing that he was looking for a new employer for Benjamin Vromen.
Up until finding these ads, I knew that Isaac de Leeuw had been a Jewish butcher, not that he had been a kosher butcher. Some of the Jewish butchers in The Netherlands had a kosher butchery under rabbinical supervision, but many were not so stringent. To make a living they had to cater to non-Jewish clientele. Isaac’s son Arnold, for example, sold pork.
In 1936 Isaac’s store at Holtjesstraat was continued by his son Iwan (1893-1951) in partnership with a refugee from Germany, Heinz Löwenhardt (1913-1989), and two years later Heinz got engaged with Isaac’s granddaughter Mimi de Leeuw (1917-1971), daughter of Arnold. Isaac de Leeuw himself reached the advanced age of 78; he died on 25 April 1941. His death came almost a year after the German occupation of his country – but a year before the deportations to the death camps began. He is lucky to be buried in the Jewish cemetery of the town in which he had lived all his life.
- Az., Abrahamszoon, son of Abraham; on his matseewa the abbreviation is Azn.
- Benjamin Vromen, Lochem 30 August 1884 – Auschwitz 6 March 1944, see JoodsMonument.nl