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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Hetty was seen on Sunday Night channel 7 on a small segment called Hetty’s Secret To Happiness. Filmed in Amsterdam, Perth and Bergen Belsen in Germany, it aired tonight 15th November nationally on Seven. Some remarkable and completely restored black and white footage also was screened, showing Hetty as a 15 year old, on a swing, being playfully pushed by her brother Max. The film was taken after the liberation of Belsen and only just as Hetty was recovering from Typhus.
The footage comes from the archives of the Imperial War Museum London and was beautifully restored for the 70 years commemoration .
We have included the link below of the Sunday Night programme.
On a drizzly grey day in April this year 2015, when Kae and her family visited Bergen Belsen Kae was prepared to experience some gloom, yet after sitting through speeches and ceremonial plaque laying, given in German (which she didn’t understand) she found the entire day more than just a little draining, that is, until Hetty began chatting to her. With Hetty’s bubbly personality, she had added a bit brightness to Kae’s day. Kae later wrote about her meeting with Hetty – in her Pink Coat, on her own little blog.
It almost seems inconceivable that there was ever a time in Australian history, when there was a need to gain an understanding, of different Ethnicities. A vision of how to smoothly integrate the vastly growing New Australian population, into the typical Aussie life style was formulated, by the late great Malcolm Fraser. Michael MacKellar was the Minister for Immigration and it was he, who appointed Hetty to the Ethnic Affairs Council.
On Australia Day 1977, the Australian Ethnic Affairs Council was created which changed the entire social structure of Australia. Their recommendations called The Green Paper was accepted by both sides of Parliament without any alterations in 1978. Even today one can find much evidence of this effect.
The Australian Ethnic Affairs Council was divided into 4 Committees. Hetty was part of the Committee for Public Consultation and Ethnic Media and it was their recommendation to establish SBS.
Hetty Verolme, a Dutch migrant, had become successful and had shown how to easily integrate multiculturalism, into the Australian way of life. She was awarded the Most Successful Migrant award in 1972. Hetty became part of the Inaugural Ethnic Affairs Council in 1977 and held the office for three years, until 1980. Appointed to Ethnic Affairs Council
Photo – Courtesy of the National Archives Victoria. (Museum Victoria)
Hetty seen here unpacking the imported Dutch goods in readiness for the 1st Dutch Festival in Adelaide. Hetty was also the first female President for the Netherlands Society in Adelaide a position she held for nearly a decade.
The German President visited Bergen Belsen this 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp where there are many many mass graves left untouched with but a few headstones.
An acquaintance of Hetty’s a well known historian, and author himself of many books, Hans-Dieter Arntz, has written a book called The Last Elder of Bergen Belsen -Josef Weiss. Hans-Dieter also went to Belsen this year.
It seems The President of Germany Joachim Gauk, sent a letter to Hans-Dieter and added his very special greetings to the Family Verolme and Weiss – dated May 2015.
Speaking to Hetty of Hans- Dieter today , she said “He sent me a copy of the actual letter he received from the President of Germany, where the President sends his personal Greetings to Family Verolme and Weiss”.
Hetty said she was especially honored to have received words from two European Presidents during her tour in May. “I find it unbelievable” she said with excitement “that now a second President in Europe has done this”.
The first recognition came from The Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who opened the book Fair in Turin” she said. Hetty was a guest speaker there when President Mettarella gave Hetty an honorable mention in his opening speech, that day, 14th May 2015.