POW letters from Klaas Siersema at Oflag XIII-B to wife Maria Wilhelmina Siersema-van Erp

A POW notice was sent from the Nazis to Maria Wilhelmina Siersema-van Erp on May 15, 1942, saying what she should send to her husband and why he had been taken into custody. Klaas Siersema was imprisoned at Oflag XIII-B, a prisoner of war camp for officers that was at the time in Hammelburg, Germany. I am not sure of his  exact rank at the time, but I’ll add it to this post if I am able to narrow it down. Later, he or someone he knew drew this sketch of the camp. Although I can’t read them, I did want to share them in case anyone else can. Here are photos/scans of the letters he sent back, in order of postmark:

June, 1, 1942

Front of the postcard from Klaas "Niek" Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Front of the postcard from Klaas “Niek” Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Back of the postcard from Klaas "Niek" Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Back of the postcard from Klaas “Niek” Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

June 26, 2014

Front of a letter from Klaas "Niek" Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Front of a letter from Klaas “Niek” Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Letter from Klaas "Niek" Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Letter from Klaas “Niek” Siersema at the Oflag XIII-B prisoner of war camp in 1942.

July 8, 1942

Letter front from Klaas Siersema at Oflag XIII-B in 1942.

Letter front from Klaas Siersema at Oflag XIII-B in 1942.

Notice on POW stationary saying it's only for prisoner of war use and they must write on the line. The words are in German and Polish.

Notice on POW stationary saying it’s only for prisoner of war use and they must write on the line. The words are in German and Polish.

A letter written in pencil from Klaas Siersema to his wife while he was a prisoner at Oflag XIII-B in 1942.

A letter written in pencil from Klaas Siersema to his wife while he was a prisoner at Oflag XIII-B in 1942.

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POW LETTERS: To Gertrude van Lier, from Joseph Terraubella at Stalag VB 19

Front of a letter from Joseph Ferraubella at Stalag VB 19 to Gertrude van Hier in 1942.

Front of a letter from Joseph Ferraubella at Stalag VB 19 to Gertrude van Hier in 1942.

Back of a letter from Joseph Ferraubella at Stalag VB 19 to Gertrude van Hier in 1942.

Back of a letter from Joseph Ferraubella at Stalag VB 19 to Gertrude van Hier in 1942.

This letter was in a box of my great-grandmother’s things and it stood out to me for obvious reasons. Turns out, one beautiful thing did make it out of the war -this painted rose by Joseph Terraubella. I don’t even know how painting materials make it into a prisoner of war camp.

Anyhow, I would really like to know more about Joseph and Gertrude, who I am guessing was a friend or relative of my great-grandmother’s. I’ve scoured the Internet with no luck. My great-grandmother, Helena de Wit, also lived in Utrecht, a fact which lends itself to my theory that they were friends or relatives.

UPDATE: After reading through Anje’s comments below (thank goodness she can read cursive better than I can), I remembered this newspaper clipping I also found in a box that originally belonged to my great-grandmother:

Newspaper clipping about Gertrude "Truus" van Lier.

Newspaper clipping about Gertrude “Truus” van Lier.

As Anje notes, van Lier, a CS-6 Dutch Resistance fighter, was executed Oct. 27, 1943, at a POW camp. She was 22 years old. Please see Anje’s comments below for links to webpages about her.

1942: WWII POW notice for Klaas Siersema

This is a POW notice sent from the Nazis to Klaas “Niek” Siersema’s wife, Maria Wilhelmina Siersema-van Erp, in 1942.

On the front side are instructions of what should be sent to my great-opa, including his uniform, hat, overcoat, shoes, underwear, etc., and the weight limit accepted.

On the back side is a notice saying that the Fuhrer of the German Empire previously approved the released of officers in captivation, but that they were again being taken into custody because of their more recent actions against Nazi efforts.

My great-grandmother, Helena de Wit, received a nearly identical letter (Although, the signature is different, so I am not sure whom it was for). Below, find the envelope, and front and back sides of that letter:

Envelope with Nazi stamp

Front of POW notice

Back of POW notice

UPDATE: This post was originally written as a POW notice for my grandfather Johan Nico Siersema, until cousin Anje pointed out that he would have been quite young and the top letter could have been for his father Klaas Siersema. I confirmed by comparing signatures and updated the post and tags on May 30, 2013.

Playbill from Kamp Schoorl re-education camp “Bunter Abend” performance in 1940

This is the playbill from a “Bunter Abend” performance, a comedic dinner party-like show, at a re-education camp in Schoorl, Netherlands, during WWII. My great-grandmother, Helena de Wit, regularly wrote and sent packages to prisoners of war, including Walter Armitage, who was the general manager of this production [see Page 3].

The first letter I have in my possession from Armitage was sent in October of 1940, according to the date he wrote on the letter [the post stamp is dated three years later]. Since this performance was a couple months before that, Aug. 25 to be precise, I would be curious to know if this was how they met — although, I suspect that they knew each other another way, possibly through someone named Ady, whom Walter wrote about often.

I have several letters from Armitage that I would like to share on this blog, but I haven’t had time yet to research international copy right laws and, regardless, I would like permission from his descendants before publishing them. If you are related to Armitage, who was a British civilian prisoner from 1940-1944, or you know someone who is, I hope you will contact me through the comments.

I am also seeking contact with descendants of the following former POWs/internees, and I will make efforts to track down their descendants and obtain permissions before publishing on this blog:

  • Fred Anderson [Signed “Skylark,” sent from Ilag Tost 4, Oflag VIII D
  • George Hamilton [Signed “Scottie,” sent from Ilag Tost 7]
  • S. Churley [Sent from Ilag Tost VIII]
  • C. Hendre [Sent from Ilag Tost 8, Oflag VIII D]

UPDATE: This post was updated May 30, 2013, after cousin Anje helped cleared up some geographical and translation issues. Originally, I thought the camp was located somewhere else, but this post and tags have been updated to reflect that it was located in the Netherlands. As Anje mentions in the comments below, more information on the camp can be found here.