Kleerekoper was one of two gymnastics coaches for the Netherlands' women's team at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, the first time women's gymnastics was included in the Olympic program. A popular coach, Kleepekoper helped lead the Dutch team to the gold medal as they scored 316.75 total points.
At the 1928 Olympics, five member of the Dutch women's gymnastics team were Jewish, but only one member (Elka de Levie) survived the Holocaust. Kleerekoper was killed at Sobibor in 1943 with his wife, Kaatje, and their 14-year old daughter, Elisabeth. His son, Leendert was killed at Auschwitz the following year. Kleerekoper was killed on July 2, the same day that one of his gymnasts, Lea Kloot-Nordheim, was killed, also at Sobibor.
The Jewish members of the Netherlands Olympic gymnastics team have been inducted as a group into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame; they include Kleerekoper, de Levie, Anna Dresden-Polak, Lea Kloot-Nordheim, Judikje Themans-Simons, and coach Stella Blits-Agsteribbe.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Feb. 15, 1897 - d. July 2, 1943
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)