Greeting card : Paper : Ink; Graphite Pencil? : Beige, grey, black ; Ht: 11,5 cm x W: 25,2 cm
Other Title Information
February 24, 1945
1 page, 2 sided. Paper is folded down the middle to make a card. Front right side has handwritten text framed by a pattern drawn in pencil. Back is mostly empty with a name written on the bottom right. Document is a handmade congratulation card for a Bar mitzvah celebrated in Wurzach internment camp. Narrative: Donor's grandfather was born in Britain in 1895. He moved to Holland when he was six years old. The family therefore qualified for British citizenship. Donor's father applied for British identification papers. Donor Nettie and her brother Joseph went briefly into hiding but their mother wanted the family together so they returned to Amsterdam. The family was rounded up on March 17th 1943, and taken to the Stadsschouwburg (a big cinema with seats removed) in Amsterdam where they stayed for about a week. From there they were sent to the camp of Westerbork, where they stayed for a couple of months. In the summer time they were sent to another camp in Amersfoort for about 4-6 weeks. They were afterwards sent back to Westerbork and at the beginning of 1944, the entire family was sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. In Bergen-Belsen, the men and women were separated; the children from the age of 14 were sent to work. Nettie was considered small in stature, she lied about her age so she didn’t have to go to work. Her sister was three years older and was sent to work in the kitchen. Their father worked in a shoe factory and their mother worked in the kitchen peeling potatoes. Joseph (Nettie's younger brother) stayed in the camp with her. The family stayed in Bergen-Belsen until the end of 1944 (circa October or December) when they were sent to Wurzach with about. While on the train to Wurzach, the family had a separate carriage and they were told to take off the yellow stars because they were now considered internees. Additional research shows that in the winter 1944/1945 the castle of Bad Wurzach (160 km south of Stuttgart) served as a stopover for 72 Jewish prisoners from the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. They were Jews from Holland, who were foreign nationals, meaning they had either the British or U.S. citizenship or at least papers from South and Central American countries, and were regarded as "exchangeable" over German nationals in Allied custody. They had been sent in two shipments in the fall and winter from concentration camps in Germany, in order to be exchanged in Switzerland against German citizens held by the Allies. They were sent to different internment camps of Württemberg: Liebenau, Biberach and Wurzach. According to internees from Jersey already living in Bad Wurzach, the so-called "exchange Jews" were in a terrible state when they arrived; they were starved and scared. Through improved nutrition and the additional Red Cross parcels, they recovered relatively quickly. Only one of them perished in Wurzach .
While in Wurzach, Joseph celebrated his bar mitzvah on February 24th, 1945; many internees including non-Jewish internees were present. Coffee and cakes were served; thanks to a monthly parcel from POWs (milk, sugar, cocoa) which had been saved to be used for the occasion. Joseph received bar mitzvah cards made by attendees. The family stayed in Wurzach until the end of April when the camp was liberated.