WWII: Photo of Klaas Siersema and fellow Royal Netherlands officers in 1940

Klaas Siersema and fellow Royal Netherlands military members on the 15th of July, 1940.

This is a slightly retouched photo of Klaas Siersema, second from the bottom right, and his fellow Royal Netherlands military officers on July 15, 1940. At this time, judging by the stars on Klaas’ collar, he had achieved the rank of captain.

On the back, it says that these are the officers of the battalion that Niek commanded, according to a translation my cousin Anje Belmon graciously did. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing who Niek was. Update: About a week following this post, I listened to a 1980s audio interview my mother, Joy Siersema, did with my grandfather and Klaas’ son, Johan Siersema. From the interview, I learned that Klaas went by Niek, so these would have been the soldiers under his command.

As for who the other officers are, the writing on the back of the photo has some clues. The wording, as best as I can make out, reads: “n.d. Sluis – Roos – Tiele – ‘t Mannetje – van der Beek – unreadable – unreadable – van Dok – Boekholt – Schul – van Boal – unreadable – van den Tut.”

The writing on the back also notes that four men are missing from the photo. Their last names were — again as best as I can make out — Ter Hal, Nahuiser, Schiere and Meyer.

Trust me, though, the names are not easy to read! So if you see something different from what I’ve written here, please leave a note in the comments and I can update the tags so if any descendants of these gentlemen are searching for them, they may have a better chance of finding this post. [Hint: If you click on the thumbnail, it will take you to a larger image.]

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.