December 4th, 2012

Etty Hillesum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the diaries, one can clearly see how the deepening anti-Jewish measures affected Etty Hillesum's life; yet one also sees her determination to continue her spiritual and intellectual development. ... an illness forced her to go home on 5 December 1942. It was not until 5 June 1943 that she had recovered sufficiently to be allowed to return to Westerbork. Unlike what one might expect, she was very keen to get back to the camp and resume her work so as to provide a bit of support for the people as they were preparing themselves for transport. It was for this reason that Etty Hillesum consistently turned down offers to go into hiding. She said that she wished to "share her people's fate."
..... on 5 July 1943 an end was put to the special status granted to personnel at the Westerbork section of the Jewish Council. Half of the personnel had to return to Amsterdam, while the other half became camp internees. Etty joined the latter group: she wished to remain with her father, mother, and brother Mischa, who had meanwhile been brought to Westerbork.  On 7 September 1943, the Hillesum family left Westerbork.  Etty's father and mother either died during transport to Auschwitz or were gassed immediately upon arrival. The date of death given was 10 September 1943. According to the Red Cross, Etty died at Auschwitz on 30 November 1943. Her brother Mischa died on 31 March 1944, also at Auschwitz.
[edit]The diaries

Before her final departure for Westerbork, Etty gave her Amsterdam diaries to Maria Tuinzing, who had meanwhile come to live in the house on the Gabriel Metsustraat as well. Etty asked her to pass them along to the writer Klaas Smelik with the request that they be published if she did not return. In 1946 or 1947, Maria Tuinzig turned over the exercise books and a bundle of letters to Klaas Smelik. His daughter Johanna (Jopie) Smelik then typed out sections of the diaries, but Klaas Smelik's attempts to have the diaries published in the 1950s proved fruitless. Two letters Etty had written, in December 1942 and on 24 August 1943, concerning conditions in Westerbork, did get published. They appeared in the autumn of 1943 in an illegal edition by David Koning at the recommendation of Etty's friend Petra (Pim) Eldering. This edition, with a run of one hundred copies, was printed by B. H. Nooy of Purmerend under the title Drie brieven van den kunstschilder Johannes Baptiste van de camoflage the true contents.
Etty Hillesum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia