Refugee Homes in NL

As far as I know this is the first comprehensive list of all the facilities where refugee children were housed. The list is complete to the best of my knowledge, even over-complete, as I have chosen to include some facilities that were not especially for refugee children. If you have more information about any of these places, please contact me, I would welcome any additions to this overview.

Steenwijk, Fredeshiem

by Miriam Keesing

Address: Eiderberg 2, Steenwijk

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Only Protestant children were placed here. It was in use between March 1939 and late June 1939.

Today there is a vacation center here, called “Buitengoed Fredeshiem”.

Vera Pick from Vienna was transferred here on March 22, 1939, with her younger siblings, six-year old twins Herbert and Dolly. Vera is 14 years old.

She wrote about her arrival in Steenwijk:

“We discovered a wonderful one storey hunting chalet [Jagdhaus], now we were happy, we entered the room half of which is glass?!! The big room is made of glass with posts between the big windows. The room is made of dark brown wood and equipped just like the WOK (a popular Viennese restaurant chain). We got tea with milk, bread and butter and were shown to the bedrooms. I share a room with Emmi K.: they had a factory in the Siebensterngasse. Dolly and Herbert also have their own room. The boys are located in another part of the house. The last five girls are sleeping together in one room.

The bed! I could shout with joy! I cannot comprehend that all this is true, it is all a beautiful, a very beautiful dream and I am afraid to wake up. The beds, mattresses, three thick blankets, two bed sheets, feather pillows, feather duvet. We have running water and three big windows. When I am sitting up in bed, I am sleeping on the 1st floor, I can look far into the forest. The children have the same. We are overjoyed.” (64)

A while later she writes:

“Here in Fredesheim the personnel is all Dutch, they understand German but they speak Dutch, since this is easier for them. We have in the short time, it is two months, learned Dutch as well as English. Our time-table is: 6:45 am get up, for the morning kitchen duty we prepare table cloth, one plate, one fork, one knife and one cup, two and two spread bread with butter, Simons bread and real Dutch cheese, to that is added white and brown bread, so that every child big or small gets 1 slice of white bread with cheese and Simons bread, further white bread and then brown bread with marmalade, that does not exist in Vienna, it is called “Appelstroop”. When one had finished with that there is tea with milk, and after the meal we have to wash the dishes. After that we have to clean up the dining room until 9:30, while the other girls are making the beds. At 9.30 we have to be in school. The large group is in a small adjacent building, while we are in school the mailman comes, for whom we are waiting every day. After school is coffee and after the coffee big and small go to school except seven girls who do housework, and I am among these. At 12:30 is lunch and after lunch is a rest period until 3:00 pm. After that we all go to school again til 4-5 pm. Then we go for a walk. Then at 6:30 is dinner and after that the little ones have to go to bed at 8:30 to 9:00.” (65)


64 Vera Pick in a letter to her parents, 21 March 1939
65 Vera Pick in a letter to her brother Joseph, May 1939