awardsUnknown Children


Introduction at the premiere of the documentary at the IDFA
by mr. dr. D.Dolman, chairman of the Advising Committee spending fourth portion of the Gold Pool of the Tripartite Gold Committee (Adviescollege besteding vierde tranche), member of the State Council (Raad van State) and former chairman of the Second Chamber of the States General (Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal).

Ladies and Gentlemen!

The documentary you are about to see was realised with financial assistance from the Dutch government. I could elaborate on the background of this financial contribution, but I find it more appropriate to focus on the actual subject, the so-called Unknown Children of concentration camp Westerbork, who survived the Second World War. These children belong to a minority.

From a child of the majority I chose the following document, not a documentary but a letter. A letter that speaks for itself.
It is going towards 5 December, the feast of St Nicholas, the best feast of the year in the Netherlands.
The residents of the Westerbork barracks also celebrated it some fifty seven years ago.*)
St Nicholas claimed in barrack 85 that his journey had not been easy. He had found it especially difficult to climb through the chimney and he feared it would be even more difficult to get out.
In barrack 66 eight year old Leo wrote the following letter:

"dear Santa and black Peter I is very very happy with that roll of peppermints and I give you now my last piece of reye bread for you horse my father is ill and I don't like it at all here do you remember when I lived in zwijnderecht and you gave me waggons, rails and an engine and I know that you will come to barrack 66 and I will come to they stopped school cause there is polio my father teaches me now but you see I cannot do sums so often but I do as much as I can did the horse like the reye bread I give the last reyebread to you horse cause I have no more do I get a gift tomorrow morning..."

Nine months later, ten days before the group of Unknown Children, Leo was transported.
Shortly after he was killed, one of the 1.5 million children.

Everyone who is sixty years old today has many to commemorate.

*)Children in camp Westerbork, Westerbork cahier 2, blz. 79 a.f.