All posts by Hetty


Hetty with Mike Lanchin Senior Producer Witness BBC World Service

The Month of April 2018 was a very busy time for Hetty. There was the opening of the Children’s Exhibition in Bergen Belsen, the flight over, in itself, quite a long journey from Australia and BBC Documentaries to be made about remembering Belsen, (the British liberated Belsen), a Radio piece and a segment for BBC World Service, Witness with Hetty as the subject.

During her stay at Jan Tabak in Bussum, Mike Lanchin a Senior Producer/Presenter at the BBC World Service for Witness came ahead for a few days to interview Hetty to begin the process of discussing a difficult topic. After a few days of getting to know each other the two became friends. There is a lovely image of the BBC Crew but nothing with Mike and so we would like to share a lovely picture of Mike with Hetty, after those few days of the pre amble for the shows ahead.




Hetty’s Portrait Chosen as an Entry in the National Portrait Gallery for a Photographic Prize

We all believe, this is such a wonderful shot of Hetty sitting alone within the stark lines of the new Bergen Belsen Memorial Museum sitting silently at the Glass Wall. We are proud to announce this will be entered into a competition at the National Portrait Gallery in London this year.

Tamsin Barber – Digital Archive Producer for BBC World Service has entered  this image of Hetty taken in April by the BBC crew, saying she had “chosen this particular one of Hetty, as she thought it was thoughtful and serene”.

The image was chosen as her entry in the National Portrait Gallery for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize:

We wish all the organizers and the entrants the very best of luck.


Hetty with Julius at the Children’s Exhibition in Bergen Belsen

belsen-childrens-ex-hetty-6Hetty and Julius discuss the section of the exhibition that relates to Hetty and the Children’s Barrack 211. Right in front of the window of the Children’s House in Bergen Belsen,  were dead bodies piled very high. This is mentioned by many witnesses. Hetty talks further about what she witnessed there. Julius only a very small child, at the time of liberation, thankfully, remembers nothing about these graphic details.



Hetty at the Children’s Exhibition at Bergen Belsen April 2018

Bergen-Belsen concentration camp exhibition focuses on the fate of children

A new exhibition at the Bergen-Belsen memorial site records how children lived in the concentration camp — and in some cases survived. Many important testimonies were collected for the show. Each person who attended  had a before (child shot) and after (current shot) displayed on a wall presented as a slide show. Here are the two slides of Hetty and the section, behind her which is dedicated to her own story and that of some of the other children who were housed in the Children’s barrack 211. Julius one of the youngest children Hetty helped to protect in the Children’s House is seen here by her side


Hetty on BBC World News

Hetty has returned from her long and very emotional trip to Bergen Belsen. The reason this particular trip took place was that Bergen Belsen Memorial created a new Exhibition in Remembrance of the Children of Bergen Belsen. This year many survivors who were young children in the concentration camp, returned to see a very special Exhibition made just for them.

Whilst there a wonderful BBC documentary was made of Hetty who once again listened to her own voice when she was just 15 after the liberation of Belsen by the British. Patrick Gordon Walker a journalist from the BBC was the first to interview Hetty. That recording still exists today and was played back to Hetty during her interview 73 years later.



Hetty at Helena College

Hetty visited Helena College last week and spoke to the Students about her mission to educate and inform as many children as possible about the realities of the Holocaust. As a Survivor of the WWII atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, Hetty recounted her teenage years before being transported to the then exchange camp, Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp near Celle in Germany. She recalled the trauma of being separated from her parents and being held along with her two brothers Maxy and Jacky Werkendam and other quite young children, in what was called the Children’s Barracks, number 211.

hetty-one-student-helena-collegeThe students were most impressed with Hetty’s attitude to life and her energy at 87 years of age. Two newspaper articles were written about the visit to the College, one by Andrew Carter from Echo News and hopefully we will share these with you shortly.

Many thanks to Helena College and particularly Chris Jeffrey for these lovely images



The Angel of Belsen – Documentary with Jane Pauley in 1994

A story about the Angel Of Belsen was beautifully documented and narrated by Jane Pauley in 1994. This is what was recently posted to Facebook. As Sister Luba is interviewed and as Hetty and her brother Max are both interviewed on this programme also, we feel Hetty’s followers will love to see this.

From director Julie Cohen: Sad to learn of the recent passing of one of my colleagues at NBC, Avrom Zaritsky. A mutual friend posted this lovely story he produced years ago about a woman who saved children at Bergen-Belsen. May the memories of Avrom, and all whose stories are told here, be a blessing. And best wishes for a truly Happy New Year.