Today, I read this headline on an article in the online newspaper, The Jewish Daily Forward: Dutch City Unveils Memorial to Helga Deen, Jewish Holocaust Victim Teen Diarist Was 18 When She Died at Sobibor
The first photo above accompanied the article in The Jewish Daily Forward. The second photo was taken at the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt. The “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign was on an interior gate at Theresienstadt. The full picture below shows that this sign was over an interior gate into a prison, where the prisoners had a chance to be released.
The slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” has become an icon of the Holocaust, although this sign was only used at places where prisoners had a chance to be released, never on the gate into a death camp. Now that we have established that the photo, which accompanied the story, has nothing whatsoever to do with Sobibor, the death camp where Helga Deen was allegedly gassed.
Here is the story that was published by The Jewish Daily Forward:
The Jewish community of Tilburg in the Netherlands unveiled a statue commemorating Helga Deen, a teenage Jewish diarist who died in a concentration camp 70 years ago. The Liberal Jewish Community of Tilburg unveiled the monument in memory of Deen on Monday in partnership with a neighborhood association, the Dutch daily Brabants Dagblad reported Monday. The city of Tilburg also has named the square where the statue was erected for Deen, who was killed at 18 in a gas chamber at the Sobibor death camp in 1943. Her German mother, Dutch father and 15-year-old brother, Klaus, also were killed there. Unlike the teen Dutch-Jewish diarist Anne Frank, who wrote about her life in hiding in Amsterdam, Deen’s diary was about her monthlong stay as a prisoner in the Vught camp. From there she was shipped to Westerbork, another Dutch concentration camp, and then to Sobibor in Poland. Frank also was incarcerated at Westerbork; she died at 15 in Auschwitz-Birkenau. [Wrong: Anne Frank died at Bergen-Belsen. Anne Frank was a German Jew.] Approximately 75 percent of Holland’s Jewish population of 140,000 died in the Holocaust, according to the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem. During her stay in Vught, Deen also wrote to her fiance, Kees van den Berg. Her letters to him were found after van den Berg’s death by his son, who gave them to a local archive along with the diary that Deen sent to van den Berg from the camp. Deen’s writings appeared in a book published in 2007.
Note that Helga Deen sent her diary to her fiance “from the camp.” Which camp? From Westerbork?
I can’t imagine the Germans saying to the victims at Sobibor: “If any of you have a diary that you want to send back to Holland, please hand it to one of the Sonderkommando Jews, so that we can wrap it up and put the proper postage on it.” Why would Helga Deen have been sent all the way from Holland to Sobibor, which was a death camp in what is now Poland?
Helga, as well as everyone else in her family, was capable of working. Why wasn’t Helga put to work digging anti-tank ditches for the German army?
Why did she have to be sent miles away to be killed, when she could have just been shot at the Westerbork camp?
The 34,000 Dutch Jews, who were sent to Sobibor, arrived in 19 passenger trains, according to Toivi Blatt, a survivor of Sobibor.
Meanwhile, German citizens were riding around in cattle cars, because there were not enough passenger trains available during the war.
As we can see, the Final Solution, which was the genocide of the Jews, was handled in a way that was the height of inefficiency — so unlike the German people, who are obsessed with doing everything the RIGHT WAY.
I am going to send a package to the Jews in Siberia this year at Hanukkah, in case Helga Deen is still alive.