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.
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.
The 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
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.
A true favourite of the many WA Senior schools, Hetty visits during the year, is Carmel School, where last year she shed a tear at the genuine out-pour of appreciation from the students, who attended her talk there. This year was no different, not a peep from the students whilst Hetty spoke of her experiences, so beautifully written in her books and many hugs and always great thanks for this Perth grandmother who shows how much she loves all children.
Hetty tries to make each session she has with her students, who attend her talks, an experience, they will never ever! forget. Although each time the reaction to her story is similar and the respect Hetty gains from each individual child becomes obvious, Hetty likes to entertain and keep the students attention, by varying her talks about her many experiences, yet each ending is virtually the same. She reminds the children, yes, life goes on but to please never forget the day she met them and to pass it on to their parents and then later to their own children.
It is up to the current generation to pass on their knowledge to the next and that includes the history of the Holocaust.
Hetty had a captured audience at Perth Modern on October 19th. The students were very attentive as Hetty spoke of the her harrowing experiences during her time in Bergen Belsen concentration camp. She also discussed the brutality of Auscwitz the notorious death camp were her Uncle, Grandparents and many of her close family were gassed. Although a unpleasant subject the students were enthralled by Hetty’s story as it unfolded.
Later the screening of the small segment about Hetty seen on 7’s Saturday Night programme a few months back, was watched keenly by the entire room of students. A good representation of the variety of nationalities and cultures attending the school, came forward to thank Hetty for sharing her remarkable story. There’s no doubt Perth Modern will be inviting Hetty back once more for an encore before too long.
A remarkable video has just been unearthed today of a very special Doco with the well respected TV Journalist Jane Pauly, interviewing The Angel of Belsen. This introduces the incredible Sister Luba, a brave woman who, speaks here about her times in Bergen Belsen, discovering over 40 children in a barrack, in the middle of night. She tells her story of taking those children under her wing. The rest is history as we say.
Also we see Hetty and her brother Max Werkendam speak openly of their experiences as two, of those children, of The Children’s House of Belsen.
There’s been such a wonderful response to the story called Hetty’s Happiness seen on Seven on the Sunday Night Programme ending with Hetty’s inspiring words, as she finishes her talk at a Perth school to many spell bound students.
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