Over the past few months, work has been carried out on many different fronts. Discussions have taken place with the Veendam municipal council, which recently resulted in a letter from B&W of Veendam in which the Board of Mayor and Aldermen wrote, among other things:
"We wholeheartedly support your initiative and would like to cooperate on this".
The covenant submitted by SHVW will soon be signed by alderman Hammenga and the chairman of SHVW.
Further work has been done to correct the database of names of deported Jewish inhabitants of Veendam and Wildervank, an activity that will take several more weeks. Most of the results can already be viewed on the Foundation's website (www.shvw.nl), and in not too long an updated version will be available on the internet. The reason that a lot of time and energy is (and must be!) spent on checking all names and corresponding further data, such as date of birth, commas, occupation, etc., is that at all costs, of course, we must avoid putting incorrect data on the stones.
The next step will be to locate the houses where the deported fellow citizens lived, or stayed, at the time, and here too we will receive support from the municipality.
The board aims to lay the first stones in Wildervank and Veendam in early May 2015.
Many advances have also been made in the other important area SHVW is involved in, namely education. More on that later in this Newsletter.
It goes without saying that to carry out the project, not only do activities and work as mentioned above have to be carried out, but also the necessary funds have to be raised. In this area, SHVW has also made good progress by now, but there is still a long way to go. Nevertheless, the Board expects that the final required amount of €50,000 will be met. Discussions are currently ongoing with a number of possible sponsors and subsidisers.
On 1 December, the Board invited the local and regional press to a press conference. During that meeting, the Board explained its plans regarding the memorial stones (placement and the education project). Of course, it was also told that the Foundation has a website on which it is possible to find out how people can support SHVW's work with donations (and also "adoptions").
In the coming board meetings, as many details of the first official brick laying will be discussed, and in the following weeks the programme for early May will be finalised. In short, a huge amount of work ahead of us!
As mentioned above, setting up educational projects is an important aspect of the Foundation's work with the aim of making young people, both in primary schools (children's group 8) and in secondary schools, aware of the horrors of the years 1940-1945 that were the direct result of intolerance and disrespect towards each other.
These are themes that are unfortunately topical again in full force today.
There is now contact with all primary schools in the municipality of Veendam/Wildervank and both secondary schools about setting up an educational project.
In close consultation with the various schools, the Foundation is trying to establish cooperation between Primary (children in 8th grade) and Secondary Education. In this cooperation, the Foundation will also make use of guest lecturers. We would also like to make use of the knowledge about World War II that is highly available at Camp Westerbork.
After the various discussions that have already taken place between the Foundation and schools, a picture is gradually emerging of what we can do together in terms of keeping the memory of the victims of the Nazi terror alive and placing memorial stones.
The plans are along the following lines: In the month of April next year, all schools will work (thematically/project-wise) on World War II. At regular intervals, guest teachers will be present at the primary schools to tell their stories; during these moments, (small groups of) pupils from both secondary schools will also be present at the respective primary schools to tell stories about what they have researched, i.e. results of research assignments given to them by their history teacher.
Following the history lesson at the primary school, in which children from the primary school, a guest teacher and secondary school pupils work together interactively, the Foundation aims to have a stone laid in the neighbourhood of the school in question. As far as it appears now, several schools are willing to adopt a stone to be laid near the school. A number of children will read poems during the stone-laying ceremony; an attempt will also be made to have Jewish music played.
The official laying of the first stone will most likely take place in early May 2015. Again, a delegation of children from all schools will be present.
The exact programme for the educational event will be announced in December.