Sign on a shop in Valeriusstraat: 'We evacuate to...'.
Sign on a shop in Valeriusstraat: 'We evacuate to...'. Photo: J.M.G. Schrama

The long shadow of the Atlantic Wall

The Schellart family had a shop selling office supplies and toys in Valeriusstraat (Duinoord). They rented both the shop and the living quarters above it. In December 1942 they were forced to move out. Even though their part of the street wasn’t being demolished, it was being evacuated. The problems caused by the move continue to rumble on until long after the war.

The family was allocated a shop with living quarters at Weimarstraat 58/58a. The move was expensive because the whole contents of the shop had to be transported, as well as their own domestic belongings. To make matters worse, the closure of the shop meant they missed a month’s income from it. The head of the family, Toon Schellart, was forced to approach relatives for a loan. Eventually, after writing many letters, he also received a little financial assistance from the municipality.

But this was not the end of the family’s problems. The rental property allocated to them had previously been occupied by the Nitzowitsch family, who had run a tailoring business there. It was standing empty because, as Jews, the family had gone into hiding in 1942. When the Schellart family moved into the empty premises, neighbours in the street thought (quite wrongly) that they must be pro-Nazi. They lost many customers for this reason.

 After Liberation, Mr Nitzowitsch was allocated combined business and residential premises elsewhere in Weimarstraat (at number 320). He re-established his business there but in June 1947 he applied to the Council for the Restitution of Legal Rights for the return of his old premises, on the grounds that the new ones were unsuitable for his business. Unfortunately, the Schellart family was unable to return to Valeriusstraat, because their flat there was by now occupied by the owner. In October 1948, the appeal court decided that the Schellart family need not move out, because the premises at numbers 58 and 320 were so similar.

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