The Belinfante family in The Hague
Based on the original article in Dutch "Belifante in Den Haag"
by I.B. van Creveld (1924-2004),
published in Misjpoge, the publication of the Netherlands Society for Jewish Genealogy (NKvJG)
The original article was the last publication of Ies van Creveld z.l.,who died in December 2004 and it was published by the NKvJG in his homage, though it was not entirely complete because of Ies van Creveld's sudden death.
Akevoth follows this tribute to this unique historian and genealogist of the Jewish population of The Hague, by publishing the English version of this article.
Besides his contribution as the main historiographer of Jewish The Hague,
Ies van Creveld wrote many articles and book reviews on Dutch Jewish
Genealogy in general for Misjpoge, and he was for many years member of the
Board of the NKvJG and the editorial staff of Misjpoge.
This English version is published with consent of the NKvJG.
Copyright of the original article and this translation remains with the NKvJG.
It is published on their website
In the middle of the 18th century the Sephardic Belinfante family settled in The Hague, one century after the first settlement of Sephardiem in that town.
In this article we shall explain the important role played by this family in the Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities and in the general society.
The history of the Belinfante family started in Spain.
The Moorish empire, from 711 till the middle of the 14th century, was the "golden age" of Spanish Jewry. The Muslims allowed the Jews and Christians religious freedom, and a great measure of autonomy regarding laws and taxes.
During that period Jews held important positions in the kingdom.
The Moorish empire however was slowly conquered by Christian powers and in the course of the 14th century the Roman Catholic Church had become dominant in Spain.
In Sevilla, instigated by the confessing father of the queen-mother at the end of the 14th century, 4,000 Jews were murdered and 23 synagogues were destroyed. The remaining Jews were forcefully baptized. The same fate befell many other Jewish communities in Spain.
Many baptized Jews, called Neo-Christians, stayed faithful Jews in secret. The Christians called these Jews "marranos," – pigs. As marranos the former Jews were again able to occupy their important positions and to continue their business. Their expertise had of course not suffered from their baptism.
Their success caused however hate and jealousy and intensified persecution of the Neo-Christians. In 1480 the first court of inquisition was established in Sevilla judging those marranos who did not truly follow the Christian creed.
But the Inquisition could judge only Christians and therefore King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella could not use this institution to expel the Jews from their country.
On 31 March 1492 they signed therefore a general edict expelling all Jews from Castile and Aragon. The edict influenced about 200,000 Jews. About 100,000 Jews emigrated to Portugal and about 50,000 to Jewish centers in North Africa and countries around the Mediterranean.
The disappearance of the Jews from Spain caused an economic downturn and the blossoming economy of Spain did not return.
In Portugal the refugees were received with open arms, but the situation changed, when in 1497 King Emanuel II decided to marry a Spanish princess, who agreed to the marriage on condition that all Jews from Portugal would be expelled.
King Emanuel ordered that all children between 4 and 14 years should be separated from their parents to be baptized and housed in a monastery. Many parents agreed to be baptized in order to keep their children, others choose to die.
Twenty thousand Jews wanted to leave the country. They were however ordered to come to Lisbon. Upon their arrival they were forcefully baptized, which greatly augmented the number of Neo-Christians.
In 1548 the Inquisition was also established in Portugal, which was even more strict that in Spain. A mass exodus of marranos started from Portugal. Many went to Brazil, where they established Recife.
The family Belinfante
Jozef Cohen Belinfante, a Neo-Christian, did not wait for the Inquisition, and in 1526 he embarked from Lisbon with his family, for Dalmatia in the Balkan. He certainly must have changed his name after baptism, but he returned to "Jozef Cohen." There is no information regarding his Portuguese name.
The name "Cohen," indicates that he was a descendant of the high priest Aaron, who blessed the congregation in the synagogue with the priest's blessing.
Having safely reached their destination, the Belinfante family returned to Judaism. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, descendants of Jozef Cohen Belinfante achieved high positions in the Jewish community. His great grandson Meir Cohen Belinfante became a "sofer" in Split, where the Jews were free from the inquisition. The Jewish traders of Split were even free of payment of settlement taxes.
Meir's son, Jozef, moved from Split to Belgrade, where he became the "chazzan," the cantor. The Jews lived in the Jewish quarter. In 1688 the Austrians overran the Jewish quarter and plundered it. Most Jews were deported and sold as slaves. A few inhabitants were able to escape, including Meïr Chaim the son of the chazzan, born in Belgrade in 1653. In 1674 Meïr Chaim married Reina Abendanon. They had two sons, Sadic born in 1675 and Joseph born in 1678.
Meïr Chaim escaped with his family from Belgrade to Amsterdam, where the boys grew up. The youngest, Joseph, married Paloma de Mingana. They had four sons, Meïr, Ishak, Salomon and Jacob Raphaël.
In 1724 Meïr married Debora Texeira Tartas. Ishak married Esther Levy and Salomon married Ribca da Silva Solis in The Hague, in 1735. Their oldest daughter, born in 1738, was called Paloma Salomon. In 1748 they had a second daughter, Sara Salomon.
Sadic (1675-1750), the oldest son of Meïr Chaim Cohen Belinfante and Reina Abendanon received a good Jewish education and became Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam. He married Esther Lea Persiano; they had six children: Elijah Hezkia born in 1699, Meïr born in 1702, Moses born in 1704, Raphaël, Hanna born in 1708 and Salomon born in 1708.
In 1724 Elijah Hezkia married Rachel da Costa from Brussels. They had two sons, Sadic and Isaac. Sadic moved with his parents to London, where he died in 1804. Not only Elijah Hezkia left Holland. One of his relatives became a chazzan in Barbados.
Others went to Jamaica and Curacao and some followed Menasseh ben Israel to England. The Belinfantes had become a large family spread over the whole world.
Elijah Hezkia's son, Isaac Cohen Belinfante, born 1725, stayed in Amsterdam and married Esther Sarucco in 1743. From time to time he was allowed to preach in the "Snoge."
He loved Hebrew poetry and was a fruitful author of prose and poetry. He wrote much in Hebrew and Portuguese, also praising creations of others and evaluating their work. Isaac Cohen Belinfante was well versed in Hebrew bibliography and owned a large library. He moreover published and corrected other works, and published a biographical lexicon with all Hebrew works known to him in alphabetical order. His lexicon also included an extensive mention of books owned by others.
Meïr, a brother of Elijah Hezkia, also became his brother in law, when he married Hanna da Costa, the sister of Elijah Hezkia's wife Rachel. Salomon the brother of Elijah and Meïr married Esther Dias Pereira in 1732. In 1748 their son Aron was born. Another brother, Moses, born 1704, married Sara Guerman in Amsterdam in 1727. They had two daughters, Esther and Ribca, who died at a young age. In 1732 their son Sadic was born, followed by Hanna, Abraham and Salomon.
The family settles in The Hague
Moses Cohen Belinfante and his wife Sara Guerman settled in The Hague, and became members of its Portuguese community, which at the time had 250 members. The Ashkenazi sister community then consisted of 300 members. Their eldest son, Sadic (or Tsadik) lived with his uncle Elijah Hezkia in London. In 1760 he came to The Hague, at the time when his parents settled there. He had pedagogical qualities and later on he became the director of the Jewish religion school, situated in the municipal school for the poor, founded in 1728 by the municipality.
On 15 June 1760 Tsadik married in The Hague his cousin Paloma Salomon Cohen Belinfante, who was six years younger. It was a fertile marriage with nine children, seven of them survived: Moses, Salomon, Abraham, Sara, Rebecca, Esther and Jacob. In 1783, after the death of Rabbi Salomon Saruco, the chief rabbi ("chacham") of the Sephardic community in The Hague, Tsadik Cohen Belinfante became chief rabbi till his death on 31 October 1786. He was buried in the Portuguese part of the cemetery at the Scheveningse weg.
After his death the association "Talmidei Tsadik" was founded in his memory. Its members translated the Pentateuch and the prayer books into Dutch, in imitation of what was done in Germany during the "Aufklärung" (enlightenment) instigated by Moses Mendelsohn. Members of this group were amongst others: Moses Cohen Belinfante, the two brothers Lopes Suasso and David of Izak Leon, who later became chief rabbi of the Sephardic community.
Aron (1748), the son of Salomon Cohen Belinfante and Sara Guerman, married his cousin Sara Salomon C. Belinfante, also born in 1748. She was ten years younger than her sister Paloma, the wife of Aron's cousin Tsadik. The two young Cohen Belinfante married two sisters Belinfante, which happened quite often in the Belinfante family.
Aron and Sara Cohen Belinfante had five children: Bathsheba (1773), Rachel (1776), Salomon (1779), Abraham (1783) and Sadic (1785).
Their youngest daughter, Rachel, married Jacob, the youngest son of Tsadiek and Paloma, in 1809 in Amsterdam. Afterwards the couple moved to The Hague.
In 1841 also Salomon, the son of Aron Belinfante, moved with his wife Esther Montanhas and their five children, all born in Amsterdam, to The Hague. Salomon was registered as a bookseller. In The Hague three more children were born. One of their children, Jozef Cohen Belinfante (1830), was trained as a journalist and later on as a printer. He worked for the Amsterdamse Handels- and Effectenblad and later on for the Haagse Courant. From 1873 till 1883 he was chief editor of the Weekblad voor Israëlieten and then editor for Reuter. From 1871 he was associated with the Paleis of Justitie.
He published "Kijkjes in de Rechtzaal," stories on jurisprudence abroad, translated French novels and published articles in several literary magazines.
Sadic, the youngest son of Aron and Sara, also moved from Amsterdam to The Hague. He and his wife Esther del Valhe were both buried in the Portuguese cemetery at the Scheveningseweg. Their son, Abraham Aron, married his cousin Rebecca Belinfante, who was much older than him.
Moses Cohen Belinfante, the patriot
Moses, the oldest son of the Sephardic chief rabbi Tsadiek Cohen Belinfante was born in The Hague in 1736. When he became 14 years, he went to Copenhagen, for a medical study, but after a short period his liberal opinions forced him to return home, where he gave French lessons for his living.
After his father's death he succeeded his father at the municipal school for the poor. He established "The institute for higher education" for both communities, the Sephardi and Ashkenazi.In 1793 he married Sara Monteiro from Amsterdam.
Moses Cohen Belinfante, sometimes called MCB, believed that the use of Jiddisch or Portuguese would separate the Jews from the general population and proposed therefore that all Jews should use only the Dutch language.
In 1793 MCB published his first book: "Geschenk voor de Israëlitische jeugd," in which he suggested an improved form of Jewish education, in the spirit of the French period.
After emancipation of the Jews on 2 September 1796, he was one of the Jews from The Hague who sent a letter of thanks to the National Assembly.
A few years later he founded the association "Vlijt en Eensgezindheid" - In bliss of the Batavian nation in general, in order to arouse patriotic feelings, to give lectures and to loan books.
M. Cohen Belinfante and I. Belinfante were members of the association, together with a great number of Ashkenazim. The minutes were signed by Is. Jos Polak, president, and by J. Belinfante, secretary, who established a special committee to encourage Jewish youngsters to learn a trade, according to the ideals of "Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood"
M. Cohen Belinfante also became a member of the Jewish patriotic association "Felix Libertate" – happiness by freedom, founded in Amsterdam. This association was founded in Amsterdam, because there Jews were not allowed to join a patriotic association. In other towns Jews could freely become members of similar associations.
In The Hague M. Cohen Belinfante was allowed to join the local patriotic association and to become a member of the civil guard. One Friday evening however he was not dismissed in time, and was still on guard after the entry of the Shabbat.
The parnassiem regarded this incident as a desecration of the Sabbath and dismissed Belinfante on the spot as director of the school for the poor.
In 1809 Belinfante published his "Aanmoediging aan de Hollandse Israëlieten tot het betreden van de voor hen geopende Loopbaan van de Krijgsdienst," encouraging Dutch Jewry to enlist in the army.
In 1810 he published another booklet, printed by Belifante & Comp. the 28th Bloeimaand 1810.
In 1816 came "Gronden des geloofs en Zedelijke Pligten voor de Israëlieten," written in the form of question and reply.
The booklet deals with the Ten Commandments, several books of the Bible, the resurrection of the dead, the prayers and the free will.
He also wrote books for teaching. He died in 1827 and was buried in Scheveningen.
Jacob, the youngest brother of Moses Cohen Belinfante, was married to his cousin Rachel Aron. The couple stayed in Amsterdam and had five children: Hanna (1811), Jozef Justus (1813), the twins Isaac and Rachel (1815) and Clara (1817).
According to the census of 1830 Jacob and Rachel Belinfante lived in The Hague, at the Denneweg, which was situated in the ancient Portuguese quarter.
Jacob Cohen Belinfante was reporter of the National Assembly and redactor of the Nederlandse Staatscourant. The family was obviously well-to-do, and had a maid-servant living with them.
Jacob's elder sister Sara (1767), born 17 years before Jacob, also lived with them. She was unmarried and died on 10 January 1839.
In 1804, during the reign of King Lodewijk Napoleon, the brothers Moses and Jacob Cohen Belinfante established a publishing house, "Belinfante & Co." Their first publication was the "Almanac de la Republique Francaise."
At the king's order they printed "Lois constitutionelles du Royaume de la Hollande" and other official publications. During the same period, when Holland was conquered by Napoleon, the firm printed government publications. They also printed French books. Once a year they travelled to Paris. They also issued several publications in the field of law: The weekly "van het Recht," the paper "Themis," and "Leon's Rechtspraak van de Hooge Raad."
Moses passed away in 1827 and Jacob in 1845. The family tradition passed to Isaac Belinfante the son of Jacob and Rachel Cohen Belinfante.
Isaac dropped the "Cohen" from the family name, which in Jewish circles had given the family a certain standing, but this obviously was not important to him anymore.
This Isaac Belinfante married Rebecca d'Ancona born in Amsterdam in 1834.
One of the witnesses was Aron Belinfante, a cousin of the groom. He was the son of their uncle, the oldest son of Sadic C. Belinfante, (who was married to Esther Del Valhe), brother of his mother Rachel C. Belinfante.
In 1828 Isaac Belinfante became reporter of Parliament sessions. From 1832 till 1856 he wrote the main articles of the Handelsblad and edited the Handelingen over de Grondwetsherziening. Till 1886 he also functioned as manager of the Correspondence Center for daily papers.
Together with his journalistic activities he was a very active member of the Portuguese Jewish Community, and from 1836 till 1846 he functioned as assessor.
From 1852 till 1860 he was president of the PIG (Portuguese Israelitische Gemeente), and also during 1864-1868 and 1874-1878. In between he functioned as assessor.
Functions of honor always started with the Sukoth holidays.
In 1837 Isaac Belinfante was one of the founders of the "Soup-scheme" in the Bierstreet, giving food to the poor. In 1846 he was one of the founders of the Association of Promotion of Crafts. Two years later he was one of the founders of the Maatschappij tot Nut van Israëlieten in Nederland.
In 1849 he also was one of the people who took the initiative to establish a Jewish orphanage in The Hague for Ashkenazi and Sephardi orphans. He was a regent of this home till a short time before his death.
In 1853 he founded together with S.H. Hertzveld the Herhalingsschool voor Minvermogende en Mingeoefende Israëlieten.
One year after Isaac's marriage his cousin Aron became also his brother in law, since on 27 May 1835 Aron married Hanna, the oldest sister of Isaac Belinfante, in The Hague. They had three children: Justus (1837), Jacques Maurice (1838) and Emilie (1839).
Aron Belinfante, was born in Amsterdam on 29 August 1811. From 1833 till 1863 he was editor of the Dagblad van s'Gravenhage. From 1844 till 1858 he managed the Brothers Belinfante, publishers in The Hague.
Aron lived in the Wagenstraat 100, where from 1840 the Booksellers Belinfante were housed. He also was one of the Belinfante printers.
From 1873 till 1877 Aron managed het Bestelhuis voor de Boekhandel. He died in The Hague on 10 July 1881.
Jozef Justus Belinfante (1812), Isaac and Hanna's brother, was also occupied with books and writing. In 1835 he tried without success to establish a Jewish newspaper, with A.B. Wolff, the later secretary and treasurer of the N.I.G. (Nederlandse Israelitische Gemeente) in The Hague.
Together they edited the Jaarboeken voor Israëlieten in Nederland. This publication was no great success and they managed to publish four annual volumes only.
In 1840 he wrote a book about Michiel Adriaanszoon de Ruyter, the famous Dutch hero of maritime warfare in the 17th century.
In 1843 he started the publication Nederlandsche Israëliet, which did not complete its first year. He also took part in the composition of the Jaarboekjes van de Maatschappij tot Nut van de Israëlieten in Nederland, the Weekblad van het Recht, Themis and The Gids. For many years he published articles on foreign policy in the Handelsblad and the Haagsche Dagblad and during 40 years he also edited the Residentie-almanach.
He also served as "parnas" of the PIG.
Jozef Justus Belinfante knew France very well and some of his articles were written in French.
In 1838 he married Bilha Lobatto, born in Amsterdam in 1809. Bilha became the sister in law of her own sister, when Isaac Belinfante married Hanna Lobatto, after the death of his first wife Rebecca d'Ancona in 1880.
Aron was not the only child of Sadic Cohen Belinfante and Esther Del Valhe. They had 13 children. Sara the oldest one was born in 1809. She passed away, unmarried, at the age of 27. Aron was the second child and after him there came eleven more. Two children died at birth and another three died very young. Their daughters, Rachel, Batseba and Rebecca, reached the age of 56, 65 and 67 years respectively. All three remained unmarried.
Their son Isaac, born 1820, became a clerk. In 1840 he married Milka Ephraty from The Hague. They lived in the Heerenstraat. They were divorced in 1871. Afterwards he married the Dutch Protestant Ernestine Anderegg. We don't know how his family looked upon this marriage. They had three children: Jozef Gabriël Jacques, born 1874, died 1883, Raphaël born 10 February 1877, who died after three days and their third son, Carel Jacob, born 13 January 1879, who died after six months.
Ernestine passed away in 1887. In 1888, when he was 68 years old, Isaac married for the third time. In defience of his belonging to an ancient Portuguese family again he went for a "mixed" marriage; this time with the Ashkenazi Theodora van Praag, who was 21 years younger than Isaac.
Ten years later, on 19 September 1898, Isaac Belinfante died in The Hague.
Abraham, the brother of Isaac and Aron, born 25 September 1817 in Amsterdam, married Rachel Ricardo, born on 5 May 1814 in Amsterdam. She was the sister of Rebecca Ricardo, the wife of his cousin Isaac. They had seven children. In Amsterdam: Esther in 1839, Sadic in 1840 and Daniel in 1842.
In Rotterdam: August in 1844. In 1845 the family moved to The Hague, where were born: David in 1846, Benvenida in 1850 and Samuel Karel in 1856.
The bookseller Isaac Belinfante and his wife Rebecca d'Ancona lived in the Nieuwe Molstraat 14. They had eight children, all born in The Hague: Jacob in 1835, George in 1837, Rosetta Sophia in 1839, August in 1841, Frederik Joseph in 1843, Elisabeth in 1845, Maurits Ernst in 1849 and Clara Anetta in 1852. Their eldest son, Jacob, passed away in 1854, when he was 19 years old.
George studied in Leiden and became an attorney. Frederik Jozef became an industrialist. Maurits Ernst followed in the footsteps of his uncle Jozef Justus, andbecame a journalist.
In 1866 George married Maria Frederica Jeanette Hertzveld, also born in The Hague. Frederik Joseph married her sister Rosalie Elizabeth, born in 1843 and Maurits Ernst married in 1875 the youngest sister Hermine Justina, born in 1847.
These ladies were three of the six children of Salomon Hartog Hertzveld, who was active in the Ashkenazi sister community.
Hertzveld was a clerk with the Ministry of Finance.
The famous poetess Estella Hijmans-Hertzveld was a sister of the three brides. Their father, together with the father of the three grooms, founded the "Herhalingsschool" in The Hague in the year 1853.
Their father was a son of the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Zwolle, and was married to Debra Halberstam, a descendant of an important family of hassidic rabbis.
The fact that the three Belinfante brothers concluded "mixed marriages" with the three Hertzveld sisters, was certainly not appreciated by the Sephardi community.
Their brother August married on 14 February 1864 in The Hague Emilie Belinfante, a daughter of Aron and Hana. Their fathers were cousins. August followed his father and father-in-law in the book shop in the Wagenstraat 100; the same address where the couple also lived. In 1854 he initiated the 's-Gravenhaagse Boekhandelaars-vereniging, of which he became its first chairman.
August and Emilie had six children: Jacques Emile (1865), Elisabeth Rosette (1867), Anna Bertha (1868), George Willlem (1870), Maria Clara Esthella (Mies) (1871) and Emilie Josephine (Emmy) (1875). Both brothers, Jacques Emile and George Willlem became partners in the bookstore. George Willem followed his father and became a publisher.
In 1894 he was appointed manager of the Haagsche Boekhandel en Uitgevers-maatschappij at the Spuistraat 58, which moved later on to the Pavilioensgracht.
In 1895 he married the Ashkenazi Arabella van Oven, with whom he had three children: Hanna Juliette in 1896, Arabella in 1898 and August in 1901.
George Willem, together with his function at the Haagsche Boekhandel en Uitgevers-maatschappij, remained a partner of Belinfante Bros. in the Wagenstraat 100.
In 1907 the bookshop moved to the Kneuterdijk. George Willlem died in 1950. His brother Jacques Emile became one of the sub-managers of the N.V. Gebr. Belinfante, established in 1902.
He edited and corrected his own legal periodicals: "Leon's Rechtspraak van de Hoge Raad," the periodical "Themis" published since 1840 and "Weekblad van het Recht," first published since 1839.
For not less than 54 years, Jacques Emile was a member of the 's-Gravenhaagse Boekhandelaarsvereniging, founded by his father. He held several managerial positions and was appointed as honorable chairman. For many years he was also secretary of the Nederlandse Uitgeversbond, which made him a member of honor in 1934.
He divorced Anna Lopes Suasso and married the Protestant Catharine Veltkamp Helbach. At this opportunity he requested to replace the letters "P.I" (Portuguese Israëliet) on his family card with "none."
He died in 1941.
Their sister, Emilie Josephine, called Emmy, born 1875, finished high school, the Haagse HBS voor Meisjes, pressured by her mother. Afterwards she wanted to become a teacher, but in this profession she failed.
Then she tried journalism, like her grandfather, uncles and brothers, and here she became famous. In 1901 she became editor of Het Familieblad published by her uncle. She wrote a rubric of her own, signed with the pseudonym May, where she discussed problems of women looking for paid positions.
In 1905 she tried without success to become a journalist with Het Vaderland, but the paper Land en Volk offered her a position, where she wrote a column for women.
Due to reorganization of the paper in 1907 she became unemployed again. Her fame however, earned her a permanent position with the liberal Nieuwe Courant, where she published a column Vrouwenbeweging and another one Spiegel der IJdelheid, with a more personal character.
People respected her talent, but in 1928 she had to leave the Nieuwe Courant, due to reorganization. In 1928 she wrote A Woman as Journalist and was appointed as chief editor of the Maandblad van de Nederlandse Verenigingen van Huisvrouwen.
From 1921 till 1940 Emmy Belinfante was the secretary of the Haagse Journalisten Vereniging. After the German invasion she was forced to leave this function, but she could continue her activity in the woman movement.
In 1941 she still wrote De Vrouw en haar Huis, supported by the Soroptimists, an international organization improving the lives of women.
Together with her sisters Anne and Mies, she tried to avoid deportation posing as Portuguese, in which they failed. On 1 February 1944 the three sisters were sent to Westerbork and then to Theresienstadt, where Anna died on 3 March. On 16 May 1944 Emmy and Marie were transported to Auschwitz where both were murdered on 7 July.
The family Belinfante family and the law
George Belinfante, the second son of Isaac Belinfante and Rebecca d'Ancona, born in The Hague on 29 May 1837, was already editor – when still a high school pupil – of the quarterly Tot Nut en Oefening for youngsters. The Belinfantes were obviously born writers. He studied in Leiden, promoted on 25 June 1859 and dedicated himself to politics, jurisprudence and literature.
He settled at the Amsterdamse Veerkade 29, as attorney-at-law. He also wrote parliamentary summaries for the N.R.C. (Nieuwe Rotterdamse Courant) and in 1866 he published a book: "De Regering tegenover de Grondwet, door een lid van de balie".
On 5 September of the same year he married Maria Frederica Jeanette Hertzveld. They had two daughters and one son: Rebecca Wilhelmina born in 1869, Jacob Willem born in 1873 and Rosa Rebecca born in 1883.
Under the pen name Sagittarius he published Parliamentary Portraits (1869). He also wrote for Themis and in 1878 he became chief editor of Het Weekblad voor het Recht, as successor of A. de Pinto.
He lended his cooperation to the second edition of the Burgerlijke Rechtsvordering van Leon's Rechtspraak, the Jaarboekjes voor de Israëlieten and he also wrote for the Vredesbond.
In 1881 he published in the Nederlandse Spectator, an article on his sister-in-law, the poetess Estella Hijmans-Hertzveld.
His wife, Maria Belinfante-Hertzveld was one of the founders of the Vereniging tot ondersteuning van behoeftige Israelitische Kraamvrouwen, Sa'dath Joldoth.
George Belinfante passed away in The Hague on 5 September 1888. He was the first of the Belinfante lawyers.
George's brother, Frederik Joseph Belinfante, born in The Hague on 27 October 1843, was an industrialist. He married Rosalie Hertzveld. They had three children: Johan Jacob in 1874, Hendrik Joseph in 1879 and Dora Regina Estella in 1886. Johan Jacob and Dora Regina Estella studied law in Leiden. Hendrik became an engineer.
The third brother, Maurits Ernst, the husband of Hermine Hertzveld, became a journalist. He and his wife Hermine lived in the Wagenstraat 30.
They had five children: Jacoba Henriette, born 1877, Leonard Victor born 1878, Estella Dorothea born 1882, Rosa Rebecca born 1883 and Theodor Henri George born 1890.
Jacob Willem Belinfante, son of George and Maria, born 1873, studied law in Leiden like his father. After his promotion he became an official with the Provenciale Griffie van Zuid Holland. He married Clothilde Oppenheimer. They lived at the Statenplein 12.
They had three children: Willem George (1904), Dora Nellie (1907) and Ada Juliette (1911).
Willem George studied in Leiden. Like his father; he was a leading member of the "Vereniging of Joodse Letterkunde en Geschiedenis."
In 1912 chief rabbi van Loen asked him to form a committee to oppose the Protestant mission activities under the younger members of the community.
This initiative resulted in the foundation of the Jewish Home, situated at the Pavilioens-gracht nr. 27. Later on the building became a service center and in 1941 the building served as the Hollandse Schouwburg of The Hague, were Jews were concentrated before transportation.
Johan Jacob Belinfante, Jacob Willem's cousin, studied at the Gymnasium in The Hague, followed by the studying of law and philosophy in Leiden, where he promoted in July 1898. He settled in The Hague as attorney-at-law.
On 30 October he married Louise Ahn. They had four children.
He declared having no religion.
The eldest, Johan Frederik Ernst, was born in 1902. He studied law like his father. Emma Ernestine was born in 1906. Frederik Jozef was born on 6 January 1913. On
4 December of the same year Ernst Valentijn Frans was born, who also studied law.
Johan Jacob Belinfante was a parliamentary journalist. From 1900 till 1931 he was a member of the Correspondentiebureau Belinfante and Vaz Dias, the precursor of ANP (Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau).
He was a good chess player and published articles on the subject.
His sister, Dora also finished her studies in Leiden. From 1917 till 1930 she was secretary of the Vereniging tot Verschaffen van Woningen aan Mindervermogenden, the so called van Ostadewoningen.
This project was started in 1886 by J. Simons, in order to provide cheap housing for the poor Jewish population of the Jewish quarter. In 1918 she married the attorney Michael Oppenheimer.
Their brother Hendrik J. studied in Delft. In 1909 he married Eva Oppenheimer in London, with whom he had four children. After the death of his cousin, Jaques Emil Belinfante, on 9 February 1941, he became the owner of the book shop, which was confiscated by the Germans later in the same year.
Their son, Fred Erik, was murdered in Auschwitz on 21 August 1942, and their daughter Eliza Violet Alexandra died in Birkenau on 31 December 1944.
Willem George Belinfante, the son of Jacob Willem, was appointed as a jurist with the Ministry of Justice, in the department preparing new laws. He also played an active part in the life of both Jewish communities, the Ashkenazi as well as the Sephardi. In 1929 he joined the management of the Vereniging tot Verschaffen van Woningen aan Mindervermogenden, the secretary of which was his aunt Dora. In 1930 he became secretary in her place, which function he fulfilled till 1940, when he escaped to England with his sister Ada.
From then on Wertheim fulfilled this function, but for a short time only. On 16 April 1941 the Vereniging was taken over by non-Jewish friends, who saved the capital from German hands.
After the war the pre-war board members returned, including Willem George Belinfante, who survived the war in Great Britain. In May 1945 the Dutch government sent him back to Holland as juridical advisor, in which function he had to find a solution to the problem of the Oorlogspleegkinderen – Jewish hidden children, orphaned by the war. After some years he became chairman of the mentioned Vereniging tot Verschaffen van Woningen aan Mindervermogenden, which function he fulfilled till 1977. As chairman he had to fight municipal policy to demolish these houses, in which he succeeded.
He also became the secretary of the study commission of the Maatschappij tot Nut van Israëlieten in Nederland and fulfilled an important position in the Jewish parent's home in the Weede van Dijkveldstraat, where for many years he was vice- chairman of the board and chairman of the Reception Committee.
From 1970 till 1972 he served as chairman of the B'nai B'rith - Loge Hollandia.
In this capacity he sent a detailed letter to van Agt, the minister of justice, protesting the decision to release "the Three of Breda," – notorious Nazi criminals incarcerated there.
It goes without saying that Willem Belifante was also active within the very small post-war Portuguese Jewish community in The Hague. During the war Dora and their mother were arrested. Via Barneveld and Westerbork they were transported to Theresienstadt, where they survived.
Willem George Belinfante and his sisters, who survived the war, were not married and lived in the stately parental home at the Statenplein. He was buried in the Portuguese cemetery at the Scheveningseweg.
August Belinfante, the son of Abraham Belinfante and Rachel Ricardo, also started a family of jurists.
In 1873 he married Rebecca Santcroos. They had two children: Eduard, born on 22 March 1875 and Anna Celina, born on 6 September 1878.
From 1888 till 1895 Eduard followed the gymnasium in The Hague.
Just like the children of Frederik Joseph he continued his studies in Leiden. Their grandparents were cousins.
After promotion Eduard settled in The Hague as an attorney at law. On 18 August 1908 he married Judith Mendes da Costa, born in Amsterdam on 22 January 1881. They lived in the Emmastraat 166.
They had two children: August David, born on 10 September 1911 and Estella Erica, born on 25 March 1913.
About 1912 Eduard Belinfante became chairman of the Soepinrichting – providing food for the poor. In 1933 he became secretary of the Haagse Committee voor Bijzondere Joodse Belangen, which cared for Jewish refugees from Germany.
Chief Rabbi Maarsen was honorary chairman of the committee, A. Simons, chairman and I. Hartog treasurer.
It almost goes without saying that Eduard Belinfante also functioned for some years as president of the P.I.G.
He furthermore was regent-treasurer of the Jewish Orphanage in The Hague, when the new home was being erected in the Pletterijstraat. A. Simons was chairman and B. Spier secretary.
In 1923 the B'nai B'rith - Loge Hollandia was founded in The Hague and after a short time Eduard Belinfante became a member, as mentioned before. In 1940 he became chairman of the loge. In view of the development in Germany, he gave orders to destroy the complete archives of the loge.
He also was a member of the "Joodse Raad" (the "Jewish Council") in The Hague.
Via Westerbork and Theresienstadt he was transported to Auschwitz, where he was murdered on 30 October 1944.
His son, August David (Guus) Belinfante, finished the Gymnasium, studied law in Leiden and settled in The Hague as attorney-at-law. He married Hester Goudeket. They had two children: Joost and Judith. He became assistant secretary of The Hague branch of the Joodse Coordinatie Commissie chaired by L.E. Visser, which was continued by the Joodse Raad for Amsterdam.
The family survived the war. August David Belinfante became chairman of the Jewish Orphanage in The Hague as successor to Van Emden, who resigned because he opposed the investment of part of the capital of the orphanage in the newly founded State of Israel.
Belinfante's opinion was very different and during the period of his chairmanship large amounts were transferred.
He remained chairman till 1955, when he became professor at the University of Amsterdam. From 1968 till 1971 he served as rector magnificus.
From 1964 till 1981 he was the chairman of several organizations: the World Broadcasting Organization, the Stichting Democratie and Media, and the Commissie tot Harmonisatie van de Verkeersregels in Europese Landen.
He published a book, Beginselen van het Nederlandse Staatsrecht.
August David Belinfante died in 1999, at the age of 88 years.
In 1932 his sister, Estella Erica, started her studies with the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague. In 1937 she married Otto Abas. The young couple wanted to take a part in the rebuilding of Palestine. They succeeded to enter the country illegally and started life in a kibbuz. There they survived World War II and participated in all Israeli wars since 1948.
The Belinfante Family Tree
Translated from Dutch:Michael Jamenfeld
Reworking from the original:Yael Benlev & Ben Noach
Final review:Hanneke Noach