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The Children's House of Belsen

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  292 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Hetty Werkendam, oldest of three children of a Jewish family in Amsterdam, was sent to Belsen, where she was separated from her parents to live in the Children's House. Her account of life there provides a painfully poignant, ultimately uplifting and highly unusual Holocaust story.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Politico's Publishing (first published July 1st 2000)
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Petra Eggs
The children's house at Belsen was not like the other blocks. If the children didn't die of disease or malnutrition then they didn't die at all. They weren't there to be executed, experimented on or used as slaves and worked to death. They were just there.

The quality of their care depended on who was in charge of the house. When Hetty was there it was a veritable angel sent from heaven if you believe in that sort of thing (it's hard to believe in that sort of thing and the Holocaust at the same
Aug 08, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Today I had the amazing opportunity to meet Hetty at school today. She is the most lovely old lady you could know, and despite all she had been through she still has such a positive out look on life. Being able to listen to her tell her story was an experience I will never forget. I am now totally determined to read the book and discover the rest if her story.
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Children’s House of Belsen is by Hetty Verolme. It is the story of thirteen-year-old Hetty Verolme and her brothers and parents who were taken from Amsterdam to Westerbork and on to Bergen-Belsen. They had certificates to exempt them from deportation so they were among the last to leave. Even then, they were in the Star Camp which was much better than being in the camp itself. Here they were with their parents and could see each other each day. Then their Father was taken away due to an argu ...more
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book!
But what a shame it had to be written.
A part of history that is deeply shocking, even today.
A part of history that sadly is still being repeated today.
Why has the world not learnt? Why has human nature not changed?
Anyway - this book was billed as quite an uplifting story of the Holocaust. I did not believe that there could ever be such a thing. But to be sure, it is.
The horrors are there, but they are not too described, they are not quite gloss over, but it's almost like the author
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievably moving true story of a young Jewish girl at Belsen concentration camp. The story haunted my thoughts for so many days, so painful to read of the suffering, but the stoicism of the children the book describes and the kindness of Sister Luba - the Angel of Belsen are true examples of heroism amidst unbelievably difficult circumstances.
Naomi Sarah
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my word... this book was achingly terrible but I'd recommend it anyway. Excellent auto-biography. (I cried when the war was over, right there together with Hetty and the rest of them.)
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was not at all a fun read. By which I don't mean it was a bad book. Far from it it. It's the memoir of a woman who, as a young teen, was send to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and ended up being in charge of the children's barack in the final six months of the camp. She was 'lucky' in that the children's barack seems to have been mostly on the sidelines, a little off from the illness and general horror of the rest of the camp. On the other hand, they were still in a Nazi concentration ca ...more
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a book! So much respect for all the people in it, but those kids, especially for them, sister Luba etc! Made me cry at several points, it was so well written!
Magpie Baker
I have read many books of the Holocaust in my lifetime, but never an autobiography. This is a book in which despair and sorrow, hate and unmitigated evil took many innocent lives. It is meticulously documented at a 'day in the life' level. However, for the survivors, this is a tale of unexpected and unselfish human kindness, determination, and a will to survive, which makes this book so uplifting. To think that anyone, let alone a family, could survive such unspeakable cruelty, and then go on to ...more
David Vernon
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-europe
This is a fascinating account of a child surviving in Belsen. The story is told in a simple yet direct manner which adds to its power. I would have liked to have seen Hetty's story put into a wider context (via a foreword or an epilogue) that explains how a group of children were allowed to survive when as a rule the Nazis sent every child straight to the gas chambers as they were not capable of working. What was different about Hetty's group of children? For another perspective on Belsen this i ...more
Serena Cloos
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Iedere keer weer als ik een boek lees dat zich in de Tweede Wereldoorlog heeft afgespeeld sta ik versteld van de overlevingsdrift van de mensen die in concentratiekampen hebben gezeten. Zo ook dit boek…
Dit waargebeurde verhaal gaat over de kinderbarak in Bergen-Belsen en wordt verteld vanuit Hetty Werkendam die samen met haar broers in deze barak terechtkomt.
Ik blijf ontsteld over de gruwelijke daden die de Duitsers hebben gepleegd, ongelofelijk dat mensen tot zoiets in staat zijn. Laten we hop
Helen O'Toole
Someone gave me her copy of this and said that she wanted me to read it not perhaps knowing that I have spent a good part of the past three years reading books about the Holocaust. Obviously incredibly horrific details of abuses beyond imagination are a major part of this book yet so many noble acts of bravery, compassion and heroism are also described. After surviving Belsen,the author made her home in Australia. It is written in a very simple yet powerful way and it is not surprising that it w ...more
Gabby Naus
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Indrukwekkend ooggetuigenverslag over de verschrikkingen van Kamp Bergen - Belsen, waar Hetty Verolme, zelf nog een kind van 14/15 jaar, samen met enkele zusters zorgt voor de Joodse kinderen in de kinderbarak.
De altijd aanwezige honger, de ziektes en vele doden, het vreselijke en mensonterende regime van de SS maar ook de liefde voor elkaar en de ongelooflijke kracht van deze kinderen hebben een heel diepe indruk op me achtergelaten.

Niet een "leuk" boek om te lezen, wel een absolute aanrader!
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Een heel goed boek dat niet alleen de gruwel uit Bergen-Belsen beschrijft maar ook de bevrijding en de nazorg tot aan de repatriëring van de kinderen. Voor mij is het een heel mooi en compleet werk en een aanrader voor iedereen die niet wil/kan vergeten wat er toen is gebeurd.
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ik kon niet stoppen met lezen en wat een mixed feelings tijdens het lezen van dit boek. Ontroerend. Beschamend dat mensen dit hebben kunnen doen en wat geweldig dat er toch mensen waren die geholpen hebben. De veerkracht die de kinderen hadden....ik word er stil van.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book fascinating and horrifying at the same time. The descriptions of people starving to death were matter of fact and told from the perspective of a child who became used to seeing it.
This book has inspired me to read more books in the same vein.
Kirsty Noah-whitlock
A sad and moving memoir from Hetty. a survivor of Belsen camp. Such a tragedy that memoirs like this had to be written because of such cruelty but their stories should all be told and never forgotten xx
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Truly fascinating. I hadn't even heard of Bergen-Belsen before I stumbled across this book. What a horrifying discovery. We didn't study WWII in school, apart from the Australian involvement, so a lot of my knowledge has come from fictional stories and autobiographies such as this one.
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wauw. Meer heb ik er niet over te zeggen.
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hopelijk gaan we dit nooit meer meemaken.
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Recommended!!!!!!
Oct 08, 2009 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in the Holocost
Recommended to Samantha by: Auther ( Hetty Verolme)
This is the true story of a Jewish child in the Bergen Belson concentration came. I didn't rate it as it is a very serious book.
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
+ Indrukwekkend
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heel indrukwekkend. Deze mevrouw heeft echt een fotografisch geheugen
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet oddly uplifting at times!
A piece of history that should never be forgotten - it should never be repeated but alas we don't seem to have learnt!
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read book.
Anneke van dijken
Lees mijn recensie van dit boek op mijn blog,
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read about the horrors of the concentration camps. Was very moved to have met Hetty in person but have even more respect having read her story of survival.
Leonie Koerhuis-Gritter
Heel indrukwekkend boek. Vreselijk verhaal natuurlijk, maar wel ontzettend goed geschreven. Ik las het boek in 2 dagen uit en het bleef me echt bezig houden.
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Hetty Esther Verolme was born in Belgium in 1930. In 1931 her family moved to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. In 1943 she and her family were sent to the Nazi concentration camps.

After surviving the war and working for a time in the fashion industry, she emigrated to Australia in 1954. She worked in many jobs, from waitress to bus conductress, from door-to-door retailing to selling real estate. She
More about Hetty E. Verolme...

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