Foundation Commemorative Stones Veendam-Wildervank
The Stichting Herdenkingsstenen Veendam-Wildervank (Foundation Commemorative Stones Veendam-Wildervank) was established on Wednesday 4 June 2014. Its main objective is to keep alive the memory of the victims of the Nazi terror by placing memorial stones in Veendam and Wildervank.
Jews in Veendam and Wildervank
Veendam and Wildervank had a relatively large number of Jewish residents until 1942. Common surnames were: Cohen, Van Delft, Valk and West. The synagogue for the Jewish community stood where Bendiksstraat (named after the Bendik family, also spelled Bendiks) is now in Veendam. The first Jewish inhabitants in the Veenkoloniën arrived shortly after the start of peat extraction, around 1700, and the first synagogue was built in 1745. By 1880, about 645 Jews lived in Veendam, Wildervank and nearby villages. When WWII broke out, there were a total of about 215 Jewish residents in Veendam and Wildervank.
In 1942, the first deportations to Westerbork and then to the extermination camps began, mostly from stations in Veendam, Wildervank, Bareveld, and Stadskanaal, Pekelderweg. From Veendam, 95 Jews were deported, 93 of whom were murdered. From what is today's Wildervank, 75 fellow Jews were deported. Of them, 73 were killed. From the part of Wildervank that was annexed to Stadskanaal in 1969, 30 Jews were deported and 29 of them perished in an extermination camp. Only 5 Jews survived the camp.
This effectively ended the Jewish community of Veendam and Wildervank.
Mission statement of de Stichting Herdenkingsstenen Veendam-Wildervank (the Commemorative Plaques Veendam-Wildervank Foundation):
"To keep alive the memory of the Jewish victims of the Nazi terror by placing commemorative plaques in Veendam and Wildervank (The Netherlands)"
This website contains a list of names of those Jewish inhabitants of Veendam and Wildervank who were deported from their homes in both these towns.