Hetty’s Books at the Dutch Shop in Guilford

How annoying it is when you walk into a book store in Perth only to find Hetty’s books and they have not restocked their shelves. Very!

We are going to tell you of a little secret. If you are down Guildford way – you will find both books – “Hetty” and “The Children’s House of Belsen” – available in The Dutch Shop.

Don’t be surprised if you walk out with some yummy Dutch licorice. We’ve all been there and done that!

The Dutch Shop – Shop 5 – 121 James Street Guildford WA

N.B the featured picture above of the Delf Blue Crockery is just a generic image taken on Hetty’s latest trip to Amsterdam

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:





The Children of Belsen

This is not a sad story. Is the opening line to this radio programme.


Here is the full version of the BBC World Service, radio programme, produced for the Children of Belsen documentary filmed in April 2018, including the voice of Patrick Gordon Walker, from the BBC radio archives from 1945. Walker, a British journalist was one of the first to enter Bergen Belsen and he recorded the voices of three of the children of the camp. One of them of course was Hetty.

This is a very personal look at the story of Hetty and her brothers Jacky and Maxy but also discusses some of the history of the inmates of Bergen Belsen. Hetty has been sharing her account with as many others as possible over the years, however, interviewer Mike Lanchin retraces the story of Hetty’s journey over a few days of intimate discussions. It includes singing of the children of Belsen at liberation and interviews of other children, now elderly people, who give their own insight to their experiences. Lastly it also includes interviews of Hetty’s daughter and grandson who talk out for the first time about being part of family, with a holocaust survivor.

A beautifully produced programme that will be a wonderful legacy for Hetty’s family and the world. Hetty begins by saying  “This in not a sad story ” and actually believe it or not – she is quite right!


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