Asscher-Pinkhof, Clara

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Asscher-Pinkhof, Clara Gender: F
Clara Pinkhof
born on 25 October 1896 at 06:00 (= 06:00 AM )
Place Amsterdam, Netherlands, 52n22, 4e54
Timezone LST m4e53 (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Astrodienst
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 02°20' s_mo.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 11°23 Asc.s_libcol.18.gif 23°44'

Clara Asscher-Pinkhof


Dutch-Jewish writer and educator.

Clara was the fourth of eighth children of Hermanus Pinkhof (10 May 1863, Rotterdam - 16 July 1943, Westerbork), a physician and Adèle de Beer (3 June 1867, Utrecht - 1967, Israel), a piano teacher. The children got an orthodox education, learnt Hebrew and were stimulated in their creativity.

Clara studied for school teacher at the Jewish seminary, but left school when her mother had a nervous breakdown. Via private lessons she finished her education in 1915 and worked as a volunteer in Amsterdam and as a teacher in Deil. Later in Amsterdam, she met her fiancée rabbi Abraham Asscher, when erecting a local Zionist Youth association. Her activities for Jewish children were stimulated by the teacher Jan Ligthart and the Jewish tradition, to learn by heart, not only with the head. She wrote her first children books "Joodsche kinderliedjes" (Jewish children's songs) and "Van twee Joodsche vragertjes"(About two Jewish question children or Too Small to Ask) in 1918.

On 3 April 1919 Clara married Abraham Asscher (16 June 1884, Amsterdam - 10 May 1926, Lugano) in Amsterdam, the son of Eliëzer Asscher (1845-1926), teacher of religion and Rosalie van Hes (1845-1931). Abraham had been a teacher of classical languages and Hebrew in Utrecht and Sneek (1917), a rabbi in Amsterdam (1 Sept 1918-19) and chief rabbi of Groningen (March 1919).

They got six chidren: The twins Elie(zer) (18 February 1920, Groningen - 23 June 2010, Israel‎) and Menachem, a pianist (18 February 1920, Groningen- 23 July 1942, Auschwitz), the sons Jitschak (‎5 May 1921, Groningen - 28 February 1945, Poland) and Meier (31 July 1922, Groningen) and two daughters Roza Adéle(6 September 1923, Groningen) and Fieke (1926-2002. Roza became a nurse and migrated in 1939 to Israel.

After the birth of Fieke, the rabbi became gravely ill and tried to find a cure in Lugano, where he died on the 10th of May 1926, most likely of tbc. Clara was invited to return to her family in Amsterdam, but she stayed in Groningen, publishing children's books and stories and giving lectures, besides living of a small pension. She was no longer the wife of the chief rabbi, felt as she had lost her legs, but still was able to dance, as she explained in her autobiography "Danseres zonder benen" (Dancer without Legs). In the spirit of the educator Jan Lightart (John Lightheart), she tried to reform Jewish religious education that was dull and boring in her eyes: "My school women's heart was heavily involved in what was being sanctioned in the religious schools against the child's soul. (...) It was possible to clean a stable that had accumulated at least a century of dust and cobwebs." Clara found that parents should not be authoritarian. Parents always needed to explain to their children why they should do something. Just like in the Jewish prophetic tradition, human creatures could question the will of G'd.

After the German occupation of May 1940, she returned in the autumn with her daughter Fieke to Amsterdam. She became a teacher at Jewish girls school, that soon would be situated in a ghetto, as the Nazi's step by step tried to isolate the Jewish population from other civilians. But Clara still could publish her children's stories in "Het Joodse Weekblad" (The Jewish Weekly), a journal set up by the Jewish Council, until the German censorship became worse. The German occupants, while in secret preparing and executing the Holocaust for the Dutch Jews, were eager to prevent uprisings and thus permitted "normal" Jewish life as long at it was not too political. And Clara's (clear) writings seemed apolitical, as they were just dealing with children, innocent children that asked simple questions and just wanted to make the best of their life.

In the Jewish Women's Archive Selma Leydesdorff wrote: "Her motivation for writing was not simply a question of material need. She also wanted to share with a larger audience her feelings about what had happened to those she had worked with and loved. Sterrekinderen (Dutch 1946; German 1961; English 1987), her most moving book, which was translated into a number of languages, expressed her love for the children playing in the sun on the eve of the disaster. She portrays their poverty by describing their ragged clothes, the dirt on their bodies, their ignorance and their joy at playing together in the street; they don’t yet know what is going to happen to them."

During a raid on 26 May 1943 Clara was picked up and transported to the Westerbork transit camp. January 11, 1943 she was deported to part of concentration camp Bergen Belsen, that contained Jews with a solitary Palestinian certificate (Austauschjuden). Clara was eligible because her daughter Roza lived in Palestine. From Bergen Belsen she travelled in 1944, along with 200 sometimes old and sick fellow-men, to Palestine in exchange for German citizens held on British territory.

There she wrote her best-known book: Star children (1946). In 1947, she returned to Holland to thank the people who had helped to hide her family. She also held lectures. In 1958 she remarried Asher Czaczes (1967). In 1966 she published her autobiography The dancer without legs. After her husbands death the moved to the elderly house Beth Joles in Haifa. When she died on 25 November 1984, she left a suitcase with a pile of German reviews of her book Sternkinder.

In 1961 the German writer Erich Kästner wrote the foreword of the German translation of her book Sterrekinderen, calling it as important, deeply moving and terrible as the Diary of Anne Frank: "Sternkinder, der Titel klingt nach Märchenbuch. Doch die Sternkinder, von denen in diesem Buch berichtet wird, sind keine Märchenfiguren, sondern kleine holländische Mädchen und Jungen mit Hitlers Judenstern auf dem Schulkleid und der Spielschürze. Diese Sternkinder sind so wichtig wie das Tagebuch der Anne Frank. Die Erwachsenen und die Halbwüchsigen müssen es lesen. Da hilft keine Ausrede."

Fieke Asscher, later Sophie Langer-Asscher (4 January 1926, Groningen - 2002, Israel) became a teacher and illustrator. Fieke was four months old , when her father died. From November 1941 till January 1943, Fieke was illustrating her mother's comic story De Rare Belevenissen van Professor Stap-door-den-Tijd (The strange adventures of Professor Step-through-time)), that was published in Het Joodsche Weekblad. Fieke went into hiding in Friesland and wasn't reunited with her family until 1946, in Jerusalem. Fieke's daughter Efrat Hadany (1955, Ma'ayan Zvi) made a theatre play about her mother called Sofia's Drawings in 2012.

Link to German Wikipedia


  • (has as) teacher relationship with Ligthart, Jan (born 11 January 1859). Notes: learn and teach by the heart (compassion, chesed)


  • Other Family 11 May 1900 in Amsterdam (Sister Sophie Pinkhof‏ born (survived the war, emigrated in 1936 to Palestine))
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  • Other Family 26 May 1902 in Amsterdam (Sister Marianne Pinkhof‏‎ born)
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  • Death of Sibling 5 February 1903 in Amsterdam (Marianne Pinkhof‏‎)
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  • Other Family 12 December 1903 in Amsterdam (Sister Marianne Pinkhof‏‎ II born)
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  • Relationship : Marriage 3 April 1919 in Amsterdam (Avraham Asscher‏‎)
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  • Relationship : Marriage 8 April 1919 in Amsterdam (Jewish marriage)
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  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 18 February 1920 in Groningen (Twins Eliezer and Menachem born)
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  • Death of Significant person 18 February 1926 in Apeldoorn (Father-in-law Eliaser Asscher‏‎ died)
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  • Death of Significant person 5 February 1931 in Muiderberg (Mother-in-law Rosalie van Hes‏‎ buried)
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  • Other Family 16 April 1942 in Amsterdam (Eliezer Asscher married Flora Tal‏‎)
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  • Other Family 16 April 1942 in Amsterdam (Marriage of Menachem Asscher with the nurse Keetje Cohen (26 May 1921, Amsterdam – 30 September 1942, Auschwitz))
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  • Death of Significant person 17 September 1942 in Amstenrade (Siter-in-law Branca Asscher, born 14 July 1901, commited suicide together with her husband Jacob and her four children via coal gas (CO) intoxication.)
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  • Death of Sibling 19 September 1942 in Amsterdam (Jacob Pinkhof‏‎, born 5 Feb 1895 Amsterdam, PhD. pharmacist and eye physician, writer of Berieth Kodesj, committed suicide)
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  • Family trauma 20 September 1942 in Muiderberg (Funeral of Jacob Pinkhof‏‎ and his family)
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  • Death of Father 16 July 1943 in Westerbork (Hermanus Pinkhof)
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  • Death of Sibling 23 July 1943 in Sobibór extermination camp (Meijer Pinkhof, born 26 jan 1892, Amsterdam)
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  • Death of Sibling 23 July 1943 in Sobibór extermination camp (Leonard Pinkhof, born 19 June 1898, Amsterdam, a drawing teacher)
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  • Other Death 23 July 1943 in Sobibór extermination camp (Sister-in-law Betsy Koekoek‏‎, born 14 aug 1905, Den Haag, married Leonard in 1927 and got 4 children in Den Helder, all killed 20 Tamuz 5703) in Sobibor, Poland)
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  • Social : Joined group September 1943 in Bergen-Belsen camp (The SS established the "star camp" (Sternlager) with "Austauschjuden".)
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  • Social : Deinstitutionalized - prison, hospital 29 June 1944 in Bergen-Belsen camp (222 "star camp" prisoners, who had ties to Palestine, were allowed to leave for Palestine in exchange for German citizens held on British territory.)
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  • Death of Sibling 7 January 1945 in Bergen-Belsen camp (Jozef Pinkhof, accountant, born 26 apr 1906, Amsterdam)
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  • Death of Sibling 31 January 1945 in Sachsenhausen concentration ca (Sallie Pinkhof‏‎, born 15 June 1893, Amsterdam)
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  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1946 (Sterrekinderen (Star Children))
  • Work : Prize 1962 (German youth book price for Sternkinder)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1966 (Autobiography: Danseres zonder benen (Dancer without Legs))

Source Notes

Svi retrieved BC's from online municipal archive of Amsterdam: 25 October 1896 at 6 AM.

Pinkhof, Clara (1896-1984)

Asscher-Pinkhof, Clara [WorldCat Identities]

Bergen-Belsen In Depth: The Camp Complex


  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Alzheimer's/ Senility
  • Vocation : Education : Teacher
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ social (Feminist , educator, religious reformer)
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer (Dancer without Legs)
  • Notable : Famous : Other Famous