Tangent (22-Jan-2015)

Some weeks ago I met Gert Weinberg’s family members (sister-in-law and nieces) from Brazil. It was a very special and emotional meeting. They were so happy that the Dokin site enabled them to learn more about the years Gert spent in this country, the homes he lived in and more details about his life. Prior to this, they knew very little about his life between January 1939 and July 1943 when he was killed in Sobibor. This sharing of information is the epitome of what I hoped to accomplish with my research and the raison d’ être of the website! I can only hope that more people find the site and discover historical information on their ancestry. But having said that: since the site was launched a year ago, the number of daily visitors hasn’t diminished and is still quite high. In fact, it is much higher than I had expected.

It all makes it so worthwhile!

In the last few months I have taken a bit of a side tangent. After discovering that there were many mistakes in the lists of people who were deported to Theresienstadt, I decided to research this thoroughly. I scanned the transport lists, transferred them into Excel and tried to find out what really happened to this group of almost 5,000 people. Unfortunately my fears were justified: I have discovered more than 100 people who did not come back but whose name never appeared on the transport lists. In some cases it was the other way around. I find it very disturbing that almost 70 years after the end of the Holocaust there are still people who have been swept off this earth, and not only just physically. If a person’s name isn’t even living on, what is left? I have shared the outcome of my research with all the institutions and am waiting for their feedback.

How could this have happened? I do not have a clue. But I am researching this now with the intention of writing an article.

In five days it will be 70 years since Auschwitz was liberated. To commemorate all the people who were deported from Westerbork all the names will be read at the camp. The reading started today and will continue around the clock to finish on the 27th. I will be reading on Monday the 26th at 14:50. The reading of the 102,000 names can be followed via livestream at 102000namenlezen.nl.

Apart from all this I am also working on an article about the survival chances of the refugee children with Peter Tammes, and on the first chapter of my book. I’m finding the first chapter the most difficult, which is why I started with chapter 6 last year.