Miriam's Blog

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

by Miriam Keesing

After another article by Paul Arnoldussen in the (Amsterdam-based) Dutch newspaper Het Parool, I received a generous response to the new site. Amongst others, from a woman whose two cousins came to this country by Kindertransport. She was happy with the documents I had found on them, and I am happy with the letters and pictures she had - and was willing to share with me. This exchange is one of the things I had hoped the site would accomplish, so I am very happy!

My friend, Tracy Brown Hamilton, interviewed me and was able to sell the story to a US based wire service. News websites in Florida, Texas, Mississippi and even Alaska have already posted it. You can read the article on http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/01/30/216238/photo-prompted-dutch-woman-to.html.

Tomorrow I meet with someone who is writing a book on a different subject: suicides in May 1940. Another subject that is close to my heart, not only because four of my own family members chose to end their lives in May 1940, but also because I'm hoping that he will write about the Wieselthiers from Vienna: their (only) child Wilhelm was on the first Kindertransport from Vienna, but died shortly after arrival. The parents got special permission to come to the country, but arrived too late. They stayed and set up some kind of mini-refugee home, where they housed five children who were all quite happy there. But on May 15th, when the Dutch government capitulated, they decided to end their own lives in Huize ten Vijver in The Hague/Scheveningen. When I started my research I could not find any information on these unfortunate people, which pains me.

On Monday I will travel to Zwolle (middle of The Netherlands) for another interview preluding the "unveiling" of Stolpersteinen there in April, amongst others for Emilie Strauss.

And ... in between all this I am still working on the book. All the letters Hajo Meyer wrote to his parents in Bielefeld have now been transcribed and/or translated, so I can read them all, finally. It is fascinating to witness a 14 year old boy, who arrived here in January 1939, quickly transform into a mature adult, and worry about finishing his school while working for the Jewish Council (in 1943).