16 October 2011


When I came to Amsterdam in 1990 I lived around the corner of the Lekstraatsynagoge in De Rivierenbuurt.

A few years ago I heard a story from a Jewish man called Stan Rubens. In September 1942, when Stan was 11 years old, he and his family were caught during hiding and subsequently imprisoned in the Hollandsche Schouwburg. Stan found a way to escape from the childcare building that was located across the street. He managed to stay alive during the rest of the war by fleeing and hiding in different places around Amsterdam and Utrecht.

After the war, when he was 14 years old, Stan and his family reunited. The years after the war were very difficult for the Rubens family. In that period Stan got gitarlessons and he soon started his own music group. It was a "Hawaiian Ensemble". Around 1947 he got the opportunity to organise some lively music-evenings in the Lekstraatsynagoge. The thought of this fourteen year old boy making exotic-music in this bleak synagoge in the Rivierenbuurt moved me deeply.

At the age of 19 Stan emigrated to Australia and in his later life he became a professional musician in Hawaii.

Go to: Stan's webite