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Barmes Family in Amsterdam

The earliest known Barmes ancestor is Barend Yissachar -Berman who died in 1770 in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland.

His son and first child, David Barend Berman Dimant was born in 1722  and when he was 25 married Rachel Jacob.

David died  in September  1784 in Amsterdam and  was buried in 1784 in Muiderberg Cemetery.

Pinas David Barmes was born in 1764 in Amsterdam, the first child of David and Rachel and when he was 28 married Beletje Phillips the daughter of Philip Hartog and Clara Joseph. They lived in St.Anthoniebreestraat, Amsterdam.



Within a couple of years Napoleon led the French invasion of Holland and introduced a form of  civil registration primarily designed to enable the state to  know which boys to draft for the military conscription. However before the civil registration could start, everyone had to have a fixed family name. Most people in the Netherlands already had a surname but in some regions people still called themselves after their father (patronymics) or farm (farm names). So on 31st Dec 1811 Pinas adopted the family name “Barmes” and registered it .

He died on 19 Sep 1842 in Amsterdam. He was buried on 21 Sep 1842 at Muiderberg Cemetery.


His son Nathan David Barmes was born on 18th May 1830 in Amsterdam, as the fifth child of David Pinas Barmes and Kaatje Nathan Sodig. He married Sarah Boekman, daughter of Moses Eliazer Boekman and Femmetje Meijer Kuyt, on 8th Nov 1854 in Amsterdam. They lived at 318 Jodenbreestraat shortly before they set sail to London.  For more about life in Jodenbreestraat click here 


The Barmes left behind 

So what happened to the family that remained in Amsterdam after Nathan left for England? Sadly many perhaps most were murdered by the Nazis. This article in the Website provides us with an  eye witness view of what happened  to Jews in Amsterdam on the day of the first "round up". 

Go to Less We Forget section for a list of the Barmes family that perished


On the 22nd and 23rd February 1941 the Nazis launched the first mass round-up of Jews in Holland. This was in response to a brief period of organised resistance, when the residents in the Jodenhoek or Jewish Corner of Amsterdam fought back against harassment by the military wing of the Dutch Nazi Party, the ‘Weer Afdeling’ or WA.

A massive round up, the first of its kind in Holland, was held at the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein and the surrounding streets. 600 men of the Orpo [the German Order Police], armed with machine guns, humiliated Jews and beat them up.


Eventually 389 men were arrested, transported to the police camp (Internierungslager) in Schoorl, 50 km north of Amsterdam, and a few days later were sent from there to KZ Buchenwald, where many of them died. After 4 months the survivors were deported from Buchenwald to KZ Mauthausen. There all but one of them died from torture and exhaustion


The Ashkenazi Dutch which concentrated in Amsterdam lived in slum conditions and to some extent seemed to resist integration. Prejudice against them, although not amounting to religious persecution, continued through the mid-19th Century.

Uniquely the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities coexisted in close proximity in the Netherlands. They had different cultural traditions and the communities generally kept separate but their geographical closeness meant cross-cultural influences existed not found elsewhere. In their formative days they had little choice but to use the services of rabbis and officials from either culture, depending on who was available.

Also it seemed that there was more intermarriage than experienced elsewhere and nowadays many Jews of Dutch descent have family names that seem to belie their religious affiliation. For instance all Dutch Jews have for centuries named their children after their grandparents, which is otherwise considered a Sephardi tradition. (Ashkenazim traditionally avoided naming a child after a living relative.)


There was no overt religious persecution but nevertheless life was not comfortable for the Dutch Jews. Even though they formed an autonomous community under a Chief Rabbi, the Dutch government took active and successful measures to encourage Jews to consider themselves as Dutch nationals first.

Jews were barred from entry into the guilds and were not permitted to be shopkeepers (with few exceptions, e.g. kosher butchers) for fear of the competition they would present to other Dutch. They were also denied entry into the state school system.


During  Napoleons rule in 1809 a law was passed making Dutch Jewish schools teach in Dutch and Hebrew with the effect that other languages, particularly Yiddish, the language of Ashkenazim, and Portuguese, the previous language of the Sephardim, practically ceased to be spoken.

By the early 19th century these factors together with an ongoing decline of the Dutch economy prompted a flow of Jewish emigrants from Amsterdam. By the time the Barmes along with other emigrants left for England Yiddish was no longer spoken in the Netherlands.

The area of Europe now known as Holland was once part of the Spanish Empire but in 1581, the northern province declared independence. A major reason was that they wanted to practice Protestant Christianity which at the time was forbidden under Spanish rule. This newly independent state where, religious tolerance was vital attracted the attention of Sephardic Jews suffering as they were escaping from oppression in many parts of the world. Here they could enjoy their religion openly whilst at the same time bringing with them their trading knowledge and experience. They majority moved into Amsterdam


They worked hard and using their relations with foreign lands were partly responsible for making Amsterdam a thriving centre of trade. This led to the Jews having an excellent relationship with the ruling House of Orange to whom they gave their full support.


At the end of the 17th century the prosperity and religious freedom of these independent Dutch provinces attracted the Ashkenazim (so-called "German Jews"). They started to arrive in considerable numbers and threatened the economic status of Amsterdam in particular, and with few exceptions they were turned away. Generally, they settled in rural areas where they subsisted typically as pedlars and hawkers.

However over time, some of these German Jews attained prosperity through retail trading and by diamond-cutting, in which latter industry they retained the monopoly until about 1870.

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By the mid 18th century Amsterdam had lost its leading trading position to London and the country suffered from a series of wars with the English and the French. A pro-French Batavian Republic was established (1795–1806), and with the consolidation of French power under Napoleon gradually turned the Nederlands into a French satellite state, culminating in the Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810).


History Of the Jews in Amsterdam

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After the Battle of Leipzig and subsequent collapse of the French Empire in 1813, the Netherlands was restored as a "sovereign principality" with the House of Orange providing a monarch. The Vienna Conference in 1815 confirmed this authority by creating the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. After an initially conservative period, strong liberal sentiments arose, so that in the 1848 constitution the country was made a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch.

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