holocaust, jewish, extermination, concentration camp, shoah, auschwitz, belzec, treblinka, monowitz, birkenau, night of the long knives,
deportations, judenrat, majdanek, westerbork, chelmno, vught, wannsee, theresienstadt, roma, sinti, night of the broken glass, extermination camps, nazi´s,
hitler, jews, diaspora, jewish council, judenrat, transportation, birkenau, ghetto, hans vanderwerff, sion soeters, aktion reinhard, terezin, himmler, david irving
holocaust denial, holocaust lest we forget, jews, synagogue, oswald pohl, odilo globocnik, deportations, judenrat, majdanek, westerbork, chelmno, vught,
wannsee, theresienstadt, roma, sinti, night of the broken glass, extermination camps, nazi´s, hitler, jews, diaspora, jewish council, judenrat, transportation,
birkenau, ghetto, hans vanderwerff, sion soeters, aktion reinhard, terezin, himmler, david irving, holocaust denial, holocaust lest we forget, jews, synagogue,
oswald pohl, siegfried seidl, protectorate, bohemia, moravia, murmelstein, karl rahm, anton burger, karl hermann frank,
On the first of March 2004, I received an email from Dr. Edward (Ted) J. Sheppard of Victoria, B.C. informing me that he was the Troop commander in charge of the Reconnaissance Regiment that was present on the day of the liberation of camp Westerbork. He wrote: "I was the Lieutenant and Troop Commander of the 8th Canadian Recce Regiment (# 7 troop). We were the first troops to approach the camp. It was in the morning of 12 April 1945 that we crossed het Oranjekanaal - the Orange canal near Westerbork. Our five Daimler Armored Cars plus seven Brengun carriers continued along a narrow-gauge rail toward a gate that led into camp of Westerbork toward the roll-call area. Approaching the camp I noticed little movement. There was no obvious guard activity at the gate entrance. I recall how quiet and eerily desolate the camp appeared to be, even minutes after we arrived. Then, suddenly it looked as if hundreds of people poured out of the buildings toward us. One aged man climbed onto my lead Daimler Armored Car and gave me his yellow "Jood" - Jew star, which I still affectionately keep with my other war trophies. The inmates were eager to share the few candies, which they themselves had taken from the camp store after the departure of the German guards the previous day. I advised Lt. Colonel Alway at Squadron Division Headquarters of our position and discovery. An hour or so later my commander Major Wood instructed me and my Recce Regiment (# 7 Troop) to move further north to the village of Amen where we camped for the night."
Whereas the official version of the liberation of camp Westerbork is recorded in a number books, I would be amiss if I failed to make mention of Dr. Sheppard's version of the liberation as he remembers it and as it is recorded in his personal diary. In part his experience is also mentioned in Capt. Cecil Law's book, "Kamp Westerbork, Transit Camp to Eternity: The Liberation Story." Most of the records Law and Sheppard share of the events surrounding the liberation of camp Westerbork are in agreement with the official version mentioned earlier.
I am aware of at least six other people who were in the vicinity of Westerbork at the time of liberation. Some of their stories do not really effect the actual rendition but should be told as well. Situations and events often connect, but in comparison to the official version there are deviations, sometimes serious ones. Among these other are the stories of the highly decorated Dutch paratrooper Capt. Arie (Harry) Bestebreurtje, Capt. Carel J.L. Ruijsch van Duchteren, Special Agent Sgt. Willem van der Veer of No 2 Dutch Troop, the interpretation of Samuel Schrijver, a Dutch Jew who escaped from Westerbork a few days before the camp was liberated, Abraham Mol, a former inmate and male nurse in camp Westerbork who questions Schrijver's story, and last but not least the Hans Colpa story which supports the Ted Sheppard rendition. I also received part of the war diary of Capt. Ruijsch van Dugteren, the teammate of Capt. Bestebreurtje in Team Dicing. His diary, as does a diary written by Gildas Calvez, will shed additional light on what happened to Team Dicing and other members of the sticks that were dropped around Westerbork.