The Spectator UK a Politics and Culture Online Magazine, rated the radio programme in which Hetty recounts her life in Bergen Belsen, as the most inspiring radio this week.
Hetty’s programme aired around the world on BBC World Service, just this week. They mention it, as “a week of extraordinarily direct and honest radio on the world service”.
The most inspiring voice on radio this week belongs to Hetty Werkendam, or rather to her 15-year-old self as she talked to the BBC correspondent Patrick Gordon Walker in April 1945. He was with the British soldiers who entered the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and witnessed the horrors of that scene:
This link shows the interview recorded for the BBC in April at Bergen Belsen. With now over 1,200,00 shares we think people may like to revisit it.
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.
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: https://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/twppp-2018/exhibition/
We wish all the organizers and the entrants the very best of luck.
Listening to a 73 year old BBC recording of Hetty, being interviewed by Patrick Gordon in 1945, we see Hetty’s favourite interview, with Jeremy Cooke.
Jeremy Cooke presented Hetty with some disks from the BBC to Hetty after her wonderful interview for the BBC radio and TV segments. Here’s how it went
Hetty 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.
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 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.