This week the painting with the name “Haystacks” by Claude Monet was sold for $110 Million.But that value pales compared to the value of the scrappy bits of paper which contained the last words of those who were killed in the Holocaust.
Those bits of paper are invaluable and no amount of money on earth, could ever reflect their value.
The letter at the start of the blog was written by Martijn Konijn on January 11,1943 It was mots probably smuggled out of Westerbork, It is not clear to who it was addressed to but it must have been either a Brother or Sister in Law. The letter is in Dutch but below is the translation.
“Westerbork 11/1 ‘43
I write you because than I am sure it will arrive.
Today on transport to the east I salute you all family and friends.
I hope you won’t forget me en hope to see all of you again.
Don’t send anything to Westerbork because I won’t be there.
Show all people who know me, this card. It is a pity but cannot do anything about it.
Bye. Your brother in law Martijn.
MARTIJN KONIJN Westerbork B66.
The latter below was the last sign of life of Leendert Arbeid. he died in 26 February 1943.
It can’t make out the address at the to of the letter but it was written on February 23,1942. This letter is also in Dutch .
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Today we went on transport.Think as long as possible about Jeff and Stella who are in Vught(another camp).Warn the family, also Abram and Gina, Hoping to see each other again some day. Leendert en Jet.
Many kisses and greetings to everyone also (can’t make out the first name) Bandy and Sophie.
Leendert had been married to Henriette Achtsteribbe(I believe he calls her Jet in the letter). They got married on March 24,1920. They both died on February 26, 1943 in Auschwitz.
The story of Louis van Leeuwen is probably the saddest of the three. His famly don’t even know the exact date or place where he died.
The Dutch Red Cross declared on the 27th of November 1951 that Louis died not earlier than 15-01-1945 and latest 02-02-1945, somewhere in the Middle of Europe,either Auschwitz or Gross Rosen.
Below is the last letter Louis wrote, he addressed it to his wife but I could not trace the name of his wife, the letter is in Dutch with the English translation below.
In relation to my health, I am well, Via this way I want to let you know that Riba and many other seamstresses have received a letter to come to the “Centralstelle” with proof of identification to receive a stamp.Inform yourself once more how it is with(after that there is a line I couldn’t read because it was in a crease of the paper)
I got dressed again but I will stay at home, therefore my value won’t decrease because I remain at home the whole day.
Strength in your knees and much power/
Your loving husband and reliance.
Louis van Leeuwen”
Louis’s sister was Roza van Leeuwen. She married Salomon Arbeid in July 1948. Salomon was the son of Leendert and Henriette Arbeid.
Although those last few words of those three men were written on scrappy bits of pieces. Those bits of papers have become invaluable for their loved ones who survived.
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Holocaust History Archive