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Hetty Recognised by B’nai B’rith in Jerusalem

In recognition of Hetty’s bravery during the war in helping 42 young children survive in Bergen Belsen, B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem in Israel, have given her a citation this month. The decision was made in June 2020 however Hetty only just received her framed Citation and her Medal this week by post. Unable to fly to Israel for the ceremony this was the only way she could accept her award.

It says

This is to certify that a Jewish Rescuers Citation has been conferred in recognition of the devotion, courage and heroism exhibited but Hetty Esther Verolme Werkendam in rescuing fellow Jews during the Holocaust.


Hetty visited Hale School yesterday and was so well received she was surrounded by a group of lovely students, who couldn’t thank her enough for coming to their class to talk about her life as a Migrant in Australia.

Hetty who came to Australia in 1956 as a Migrant talked about her journey right to this day which was eagerly received by the young lads. Hetty spoke about the time she was awarded “The most Successful Migrant Award” in Australia in 1972.

The discussion then naturally lead to her success as a writer and that two of her books are read widely by many students in WA and the all over the country and indeed around the world.

Nice one Hetty!


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’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.