Newsletter 3

After the official first unveilings took place on 4 May 2015 (see Newsletter #2), stones were unveiled again in June and August this year, with Mr and Mrs Tof as relatives of the Tof family from Adderstraat in Veendam also present on 6 June. Furthermore, pupils and teachers of Winkler Prins comprehensive school were involved in the unveiling of the commemorative stones adopted by the school (in Verlengde Kerkstraat in Veendam).

On 13 October, on the occasion of the unveiling of the last 32 of the 164 memorial stones laid in Veendam and Wildervank, an official ceremony was held, analogous to what happened on 4 May 2015.

This ceremony took place in Veendam in the building, which houses the Culture and Congress Centre vanBeresteyn and the Veenkoloniaal Museum. In addition to the speech by the SHVW president, the mayor of Veendam, Chief Rabbi Jakobs and Ms Dye-Bendik, who was the next of kin of Philippus Bendik and Meereltje Levie, spoke.

An impressive moment was the screening of a short film, recorded before the Second World War on the occasion of the appointment of Izak N. Polak -in the synagogue in Veendam- as honorary chairman of the Jewish community in Veendam and which further painted a picture of Jewish life in Wildervank in particular.
Subsequently, two students from Winkler Prins Scholengemeenschap and two from Ubbo Emmius read out the names of all deported and murdered Jewish residents, listened to by those present standing up.

The ceremony was musically enriched by the Klezmer Ensemble "Sidaro" and three members of this orchestra also provided the music during the unveiling of the stones.

musical accompaniment by the Klezmer Ensemble Sidaro

After lunch, the relatives -from England and the Netherlands- and other attendees were transported by bus to the seven locations where the stones were unveiled.
many attendees at the MHC

With this, the Stichting Herdenkingsstenen Veendam-Wildervank has completed the laying and unveiling of the stones, in the space of more than six months. This was possible thanks to the excellent support from the municipality of Veendam, but also thanks to the efforts of the paving company that actually placed the stones. Thanks also to Jaap Drok, Jan Kalk, Harm Venema, Rob Vleesblok, all sponsors, and the Veendam police and city guards.
Stolpersteine Jonas Vleesblok and Rosette Vleesblok - de Levie

Does this complete the work of SHVW? Certainly not, as the focus in the coming years will be on education.

  • The design and implementation of the education project has already been described in detail in Newsletter 1 and 2.
  • Some nine primary schools and two secondary schools have worked extensively on the World War II/Heritage 2.0 theme. At the primary schools, guest lessons were given by Mr Bert van Vondel in addition to regular history lessons. The project at primary schools ended with a visit to the Westerbork Memorial Centre.
  • Secondary schools also paid ample attention to the theme. Here, pupils were given an assignment in a number of cases, about which they then had to write a piece of work. Two members of the Foundation gave a number of short guest lectures at the Winkler Prins, during which the origin of the Jews was explained; the Foundation's goal was also discussed.
  • At all participating schools, one or more memorial stones were/were laid in the immediate vicinity of the school. One or a few stones was/are adopted/financed by the school itself.
  • Subsequently, an evaluation took place. The primary schools were asked to complete a questionnaire; a number of secondary school representatives were spoken to in person. Both the primary schools and the representatives of secondary education indicated that they would like to continue with the educational project WWII/Heritage 2.0.
  • Where the stone-laying is concerned, the Foundation will cease to exist. The education project will be continued.
  • In early 2016, contact will be made again with the primary schools and both secondary schools to make plans again for the months of April and May, the periods when work will be done on the education project.