Well good day guys,
I have a nice story to tell, first I want to say, iím Dutch, and my English is not that well. I'll do my best.
A long long time ago, about three years, I was a volunteer at the Westerbork memorial centre, for the people who do not know what Westerbork is. Westerbork is one of the three durchgangslager's in Holland. The other two are Vught, and Amersfoort. About 1.5 year ago I quited being a volunteer because I was too busy with my job, and personal things. In the following time I still visited Westerbork to keep in touch with my friends over there. The last time I came there, they built a fence around the old house of the commandant. The house of the commandant is the only left over building from camp Westerbork. I asked why they built the fence and what the plans were. The building is so old, that it needed a lot of maintenance and a renovation. There would also come a big koepel of glass around it and then it would open again for public. The renovation and koepel would cost around 1.6 million euro.
Het huis van kampcommandant Gemmeker - Nieuws - /Geschiedenis
Here you can see the house.
After the war the house always kept an householder, the daughter of colonel Speck O'brien, -who fought in IndiŽ- lived there until she passed away in 2008. For a while it was unknown what would happen to the house. But thank god they choose to renovate it. Then the bells in my head start to rinkle. Whas there ever done a archaeological investigation on the site near the house? After asking the directer, I got the permission to search the area. Under conditions that everything that was found, would turn directly to the memorial centre. No problem for me, and the next week I started to search. The first few days we found nothing special, some (Dutch?) toys, (of what I do not no the English word off) a spoon, and a silver fork. We were a little bit disappointed. But we made a promise and could not stop the search so we went on. But what could we expect of this search? Only SS clothing, weapons, ammunition? No, of course not, the house belonged to the commandant, Gemmeker. Why would he have stuff like this in his own garden I thought? Well, you never no what happened in the war, so we kept our heads up high and we off course hoped to find some nice stuff.
The next day we went there again, and that day we found a dump hole. In the hole I found a piece of paper, and thought it was a piece of a new paper or something like that. And w went on. On the end of the day we started to take a closer look of the findings we found that day, and with sparkling eyes I saw this.
I decided to take it home first, I put it between two books an let it dry for the night. The next day I took a brush and gently started to clean it. It looked like there were more little fractures of paper on top of each other. I tried to make it loose, and that went very easy, in a few moments I had 16 little pieces, with names, addresses, dates and more.
The same day I went back to the memorial centre and showed it. The people were very exited, but asked why I didn't came immediately. Some of the guys checked the names, and every name stood in the register. 4 of them were family, with the name Hoorn. All the names had one similarity, they all went to Auswitsch-1 on December '42. And unfortunately they did not survive the gas chambers.
I asked them what the the papers wore, but nobody knows. Probably this is the German archive that should have bin destroyed when the Canadians came. They started an investigation. And came in contact with an 91 year old former camp guard, who went to Australia after the war. He says that is it is the destroyed German archive.
The people of the Westerbork memorial centre are still busy with the investigation.
With kind regards,