Israël Chaim (Ischa) Meijer
, February 14
–Amsterdam, February 14
) was a Dutch Jewish
journalist, author, actor and television presenter. He survived the Nazi concentration camp Bergen Belsen
along with his parents.
Ischa Meijer was born as the oldest child of historian Jaap Meijer and Liesbeth Voet. He was deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as a baby along with his parents. They managed to survive, and returned to Amsterdam after the war
, where Ischa's siblings Mirjam and Job were born. The family emigrated to Paramaribo
in the 1950s, fearing a communist
take-over. After a few years the Meijer family returned to Amsterdam after having difficulties adjusting to the environment. Ischa grew up in a family traumatised by the experiences of the Holocaust
which led to emotional as well as alleged physical abuse by his parents. He was thrown out of the house at age eighteen. His parents also ended contact with Ischa's siblings.
Ischa started working as a journalist for De Nieuwe Linie
; later on he also started working for the Haagse Post
, Nieuw Revu
(national weekly magazine) and Vrij Nederland
(national weekly magazine). He became well-known for his extensive and disclosing interviews. In 1984 he published a controversial interview with politician (and at that time mayor of Rotterdam
) Bram Peper
, which caused a lot of commotion throughout the country. The interview eventually was one of the reasons for Peper to divorce his wife, and started a period of heavy alcoholism
Radio and Television
For a considerable time Meijer was the host of the radioshow Een Uur Ischa
(One Hour Ischa), later transformed into Een Dik Uur Ischa
(lit. One Fat Hour Ischa). He also hosted a late-evening show on the television network RTL 5
Meijer had several relationships throughout his life, and also visited prostitutes
at a regular basis, giving him the inspiration to write the book Hoeren
(Hookers) (1980). In the late 1980s Meijer had a relationship with comedian and actress Jenny Arean
. In the years preceding his death he had a solid relationship with writer Connie Palmen
, who wrote a book about her relationship with Ischa, called I.M.
Death and Acknowledgement
Ischa continued throughout his life searching for the love his parents never gave to him. When Ischa's mother became seriously ill in 1993, Ischa and his siblings were not allowed to say goodbye. Several after her death Ischa's father Jaap died as well.
On February 14th 1995, on his 52th birthday, Ischa Meijer died of a heart attack while on his way to a coffee shop to celebrate his birthday. He left behind a son, Jeroen, and a daughter, Jessica. Dutch news media gave much attention to his death.
That same year he was given posthumous recognition for his work by receiving the Zilveren Reissmicrofoon, an important price in the world of Dutch radio. Besides the book I.M. another book was launched concerning the life of Meijer, this time by his sister Mirjam who wrote the book Mijn broer Ischa (My brother Ischa) (1997). Meijer also played a background role in another book by Connie Palmen, Geheel de Uwe (Entirely Yours).
A documentary on Meijer's life was broadcast on Dutch television on February 14th 2005 called Ik hou van mij (I love myself), made by documentary maker Kees de Groot Embden.