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Gerrit Kleerekoper

Gerrit Kleerekoper
Gerrit Kleerekoper with gymnasts
Born (1897-02-15)February 15, 1897
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died July 2, 1943(1943-07-02) (aged 46)
Sobibor, Poland
Cause of death
Murdered by Nazis at Sobibor extermination camp
Nationality Dutch
Ethnicity Jewish
Occupation Diamond Cutter
Known for Gymnastics Olympic Coach
Spouse(s) Kaatje: murdered - July 2, 1943 at Sobibor extermination camp
Children Elisabeth: murdered - July 2, 1943 at Sobibor extermination camp
Leendert: c. July 31, 1944 at Auschwitz

Gerrit Kleerekoper (February 15, 1897 – July 2, 1943) was a Jewish - Dutch gymnastics coach. He was married with two children and worked as a diamond cutter.

He led the Dutch women gymnastics team to win the gold medal at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Kleerekoper's team scored 316.75 points, defeating Italy and the United Kingdom.

Many years later Alida van den Bos, one of the gold-winning gymnasts, told in an interview how important Kleerekoper's contribution was:

"The training for the Olympics always took place at indoor gymnasiums even though the Olympics that year took place at an outdoor stadium. A few months prior to the Olympics, Kleerekoper made us only practice outdoors because he said that you never know how the weather will be the day of the Olympics and that we must be prepared for hot weather or any weather. The practice outside was very good, because we noticed that you have a lot more energy outdoors than needed."[1]

The members of his Olympic gold-winning team were: Alida van den Bos, Estella Agsteribbe, Jacomina van den Berg, Petronella Burgerhof, Elka de Levie, Helena Nordheim, Ans Polak, Petronella van Randwijk, Hendrika van Rumt, Jud Simons, Jacoba Stelma and Anna van der Vegt.

Five members of the gold-winning team were Jewish and in 1943 were murdered at Sobibor and Auschwitz by the Nazis during Operation Reinhard.

On July 2, 1943, Gerrit Kleerekoper[2] along with his wife Kaatje and their fourteen-year-old daughter Elisabeth were murdered by the Nazis at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland.[3] Their twentyone-year-old son Leendert died of exhaustion in Auschwitz in July 1944.[3][4][5]

Notes

  1. ^ Interview with Alida van den Bos (in Dutch) Retrieved on 2009-04-20
  2. ^ Schaffer, Kay; Smith, Sidonie (2000). The Olympics at the Millennium: Power, Politics, and the Games.  
  3. ^ a b Yogi Mayer, Paul (2004). Jews and the Olympic Games.  
  4. ^ After The GloryPaauw, Ruud. Retrieved on 2009-04-20
  5. ^ Brouwer, Erik (2010). "De Moord op een Gouden Turnploeg". In van Liempt, Ad; Luitzen, Jan. Sport in de Oorlog (in Dutch). L.J. Veen. p. 54.  

Further Reading

  • Brouwer, Erik (2010). "De Moord op een Gouden Turnploeg". In van Liempt, Ad; Luitzen, Jan. Sport in de Oorlog (in Dutch). L.J. Veen. pp. 29–58.  
  • Corrrespondence of the Kleerekoper family, NIOD Toegang 247, Inventaris 135-137 (in Dutch).

See Also

Gerrit Kleerekoper and his family in Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands.

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