Melis Twillert

I was born 7-7-1922 Spakenburg. After about 7 years of primary education, I had my 12th year out of school because my father had an accident with fatal, and then I had to earn as good and evil as it was the cost. To 1940 that was pretty much, but when the work effort began, they had me soon at my throat;. The first time I was allowed to choose, Germany or to help build the Atlantic Wall on the island of Walcheren. After 4 weeks than to have my morning work card bringing otherwise made, and evenings as late as possible get to get a lot of hours, I could edit it so that I came into the accident legislation 6 weeks. After the 6 weeks, I had to go back, I had little sense in. After 14 days in Domburg been to have the dams were bombed in Dortmund. Almost all firms had to pack up and then things went with equipment and crew in Vlissingen on the train and under strict surveillance Todt went on to Germany.


The firm where I was registered on Saturday would leave. And because the bridge that connects the mainland with Walcheren under strict German control was, it was not easy to Walcheren without (ürlabschein) pass to leave. The only what remained was to ford the river Schelde at low tide. What we Thursdays with 30 man tried. By the time we arrived at the river Scheldt, I went with another 4 man at that 30 man came not to far to walk into the holes. As I heard later that 25 man unhindered come to the other side. When we arrived at the river Scheldt everything was quiet, The only hurdle was that we are about 15 meters had to wade to around the neck by the water. We all went into the water and had approximately 2/3 passed when suddenly a boat emerged and a couple waiting on the side. There were a few times that fired the bullets next to us got into the water. We were all soon with hands in the neck. The drill came to us, and we were in raised with success. When we came ashore, went on a car back to Middelburg, where we are with 5 man naked bet thrown in a cell. Friday afternoon we got our clothes dry back and were answered, and were immediately 5 caning to get used. Saturdays back to our firm, and afternoon on the train. With 30 man in a boxcar we afternoon went to 3 hours away from Flushing. The road led through the middle of Brabant and many boys had telegraphed home that they came. At the stations we passed over was also a lot of people. Between Goes and Bergen op Zoom, the train had just stopped and different ones went off the wagon supposedly what to do and then try to dive into the corn that grew along the railway road. But by the train moving again put, a few volleys were fired by the corn. And everyone made legs to get back in the wagon.


Now the only chance was to get to jump off while driving and at stations where it was crowded with people. We were in each car 2 man of the Todt as monitoring, and had to note that the doors were left open, there was only a straw bale rolled. When we were passing Bergen op Zoom, I sat on the straw bales sit and stand later. When Breda came into view from afar one could see it was very busy on the platforms. I thought: "It's my only chance not to come in Germany, and stood ready to jump. The train then had a speed of about 70 km, but I consoled myself with the thought, "if I jump in the middle of the crowd, I'll be there anyway, or at most a couple of broken legs. "But it turned out well, only a guard jumped after me. I then drive leaked. Just outside stood a pile of empty boxes and I crawled under there, I waited an hour and then I bought a ticket to Amersfoort and was Sunday morning at home instead of Germany.
From then on in was under diver, and had almost not notice that I was, traveled everywhere and papers were asked if they always expressed in an old holiday card under the eyes of Walcheren. But I am in Hilversum chased several times by land guards, but whether it was to do me now or smoked eel that I had with me that I do not know, and that's always been the question. On 1 October. Did you Putten drama, I was free and could not imagine that I would have to do to get there. On Monday I went to Nijkerk to potatoes for winter stock, and there did the ugliest stories.

Again caught

On 4 October, I went in the evening with my uncle to the Orange channel listening quarter past eight and nine o'clock had Feldgendarmerie address me. The front block of the housing block 'Pol' was called around deposited. Everyone had that time to 8 home by being so there were few people along the road to warn. I thought that my Matey stood on the street, and, there were also, but with their nose at Korlaar against the fence. I walked nicely into their hands and was also very good with my nose against the fence. M. Heinen came out for some fresh air and could even get a look at the street and met the same fate as me. When she persisted there a few moments later to count took a leg. There was even shot at him, but to no avail. In Korlaar the whole lot was followed up in arms, there they were to come as the indwelling P. Vermeer was suspected. When they stop searching, we were led one by one to the commander. Who had good papers, come go home. Then I just shot over, I did not have a valid license and went back to the same evening Ortskommandatur in Amersfoort, I neatly in the basement, the ingericht what cel, was housed. That was one night free accommodation. The next morning I was awakened in a way that I will remember for a long time, and had come upstairs. After a while being interrogated, I was left alone. I was brought jester the dining room and there were a few guys that night were arrested under Oosterbeek, which were French and Dennis Plantinga from Ede, two brothers. The three of us were at Avenue 1914 brought. Very soon I will see how the camp commander or as the scepter carried. We arrived at Kotella on the desk and when we left the door open, he went to his Polish times which I understood nothing, but soon would notice. We were scolded for verdammte Englanders and (unreadable) and more. From the office we went through to the well-known rose garden where we nearly all day have remained. In the evening I arrived at the Wells residents in the barracks, and I stayed with them until the end.


Life in Amersfoort was soon over and 11 October. I went with Wells Spikes on stage to Germany. I had first been yet assigned to 60 Dort Egyptians who had to go to the airport Deelen but was there again taken away from it later. The trip to Germany pleased me bad. Three days is nothing to eat a few sugar, that is not easy. I was half and half glad that we arrived at Neuengamme, but then had never imagined that I would remember with horror later that camp. I was soon to realize that here there was no escape, and many who had big mouths, now marched like lambs to the slaughter of Neugengamme.
We were all herded into a big fool basement. From there we went every time in groups of 50 man to the bathroom, where we were stripped of clothing, Jewelry, rings and money. It was in one room undressing, then you went to another room. Then there was the door a Kapo who had yet to see if you had not hidden under your tongue jewelry. The bathroom was all over the body bare trimmed and shaved and showered. In autumn and then a thin pants, a thin T-shirt and a jacket, all too small, maar ja, you knew where you were landed and you started you have to comply with the state.

A gallows

It was Sunday morning when we woke up the first time in Neuengamme, a day to remember. When we got the first slices of bread spread with a little margarine and a cup of hot coffee substitute, I said to myself: "If we keep it so we can not complain." But I forgot, you eat too little and had to work on the same hard. Since we arrived until we did not have to work. That was at Sunday only half a day and then you had done in the afternoon big apple and often a football. I also watched my eyes out when an afternoon international game was played. After playing football there was a large scaffolding in the square. Later it turned out that it was a gallows. No one was allowed to leave the square and we all had to watch the Russian who was hanged because he had stolen at night a bread from the kitchen. It was very hard to see that, but eventually get used. Soon we heard that we would be healthy to an outside command. And there was also done nothing but get everything in order for the next trip. During the day we were left to our fate, and at night we were tumbled out of bed to sew numbers on our clothes. If there were air raid evening, that was something terrible. Then you were with dogs and batons smashed to shelter behind you. There also were often killed by. Tuesday night we were transported back to Husum. Then we came 18-19 October to. There appeared all Dutchmen sit and some of our guys would do notice the other day. Tank Wallen graves We were situated in a former camp of the Labour Department. Much too small for so many men. We slept huddled o the floor and complained bitterly and did not realize that it'll be even worse. Eating, because we could not complain about. In the beginning, or not enough,, but better than in Neuengamme. The work was hard: tank walls of 3 meter deep excavation, it was not easy for most of the meager cost. And the blows that were distributed, that was horrible. There was an Amsterdam as worker, who hit it on loose or that you like a dog was even less. The second day I was at work, I got acquainted with a kapo who taught me quite by me 7 hits a kick to stick with begging and 2 teeth stumps out of my jaw. After a week, you were again used to it and in the morning when you get up counting on 10 fold. Got you had more than luck, you got less than you had luck. After more bijkwamen the food was even worse and cabbage stalks were not overcooked more. Many could not endure the dreaded disease and dysentery made his entry, Also in our barracks. Of son the landlord of "The Great Gobble ' , who, like his father was in the room with me, got it the first time and was included in a so-called infirmary. But 31 October, we had to leave again because the work was nearly finished and we went to Ladelund in Flensburg. Father and son were separated to make his last trip to Ladelund.


On 1 November, we went there to work. And our ranks are thinning by the day due to the increasing dysentery. In the beginning it was so that no food. It was 5 hours standing, then you got a slice of bread, to 6 hours on the apple, then you had to remain until the light was, usually to an hour or 8 and then a few hours walk or trucks to work, back tank walls excavated, of 9 to 5 hours they worked through a lot without rest intervals. And then back to hell: camp life. To 6 hours it was supposedly hot food: a cup of tea and soup 4 pelkartoffeln as large as a goose egg. We had a week of rain and we walked for a week all with wet gear. The barracks leaked as a decisive. You could sometimes sleep better outside in the rain than in the barracks. Morning sick report, there you were just hunted apart like a pack of dogs. Wounds were linked to paper, medication there were no, the only medication was a cup of hot coffee substitute and then they made themselves wise but it helped. I learned that a certain Geurt Klaphek from small Diermen know. By little shoes he had received, he was raw spots on his heels. The papers relating rotten it away and after a few days they were pitted areas as large as half an egg, but equally well. Then it was too late, He was admitted to a hospital barracks and a few days later was this young life extinguished. Life among themselves was hopeless. It was: first 10 I turn and then a different. You share that you came was never. To remedy dysentery was the best means of Norit – tablets and one week was the camp doctor a few boxes, which were then quickly disappeared. If a piece of bread showed was the first. Most pulled charred wood from the fire and remove fine in a dish and then it was eaten. The water was incredibly bad, who got drunk dysentery. In late November, the half of the barracks was appointed as infirmary. The priest of the village Ladelund had complained about the abuses in the camp. He came almost every day in the cemetery, it was he noticed that there were more Dutch in the same village.


The states were slightly milder that the situation in the camp was. At work went on in the same. By little clothing often cement bags were used for shirt., but woe if you were caught with paper to your body. A severe beating was waiting for you, sometimes stood with all day to the knees to work in the water and if you dare to take a stand to lean then come you brace for the kapo your shovel. The barracks were sick 4 December evacuated because would go back to the mother camp Neuengamme sick. Thirds left, I myself was also at. There we were in a car with too many men, and all were sick, , there were several deaths when we 6 December arrived at Neuengamme. We underwent the same treatment as when we just arrived from Holland. We were pleased that we once again received a clean pack, because we had no other since the time we had left. Only now we had that privilege we were given a paper underpants consisting of model 2 downspouts. There we got it easy. The first day we were supposed to quarantine, but the misery uitgestane asserted itself as. There were also Putten Egyptians went to Meppen who had to do the same work as we. Some of them we met yet. A twin of a farmer of great light was placed in the infirmary. One was deaf beaten in Ladelund and now they both had injuries and dysentery, with the result that I've never seen them back. The old Schuiteman underwent the same. Never anything flawed despite the heavy work and now in a week's time it happened.

Horse Fair

The first time we were left alone, but later came every Wednesday SS - doctors to hold in a way that one encounters in many markets a horse inspection. Everyone was naked passing, and saw your legs are then properly without wounds, then you had to walk a few times back and forth, and then it was often on a new transport. Then went to meet the new misery. I am able to express myself with more of Aalt Arendse, sometimes not count fell. Later, all the bad ones were removed, who would go to a sanatorium, but there is not one of the boys came back. Drees Lubbertsen was still rejected. There, that was my buddy and together we had to share the bed, did us both good as we arrived back at our bed and we could sleep for a week without hindrance again. It was so beautiful, to early March 1945. Each week the group Wells Aren smaller. At one day there came great Danish Red Cross buses in the camp, who had brought packages for the Danes who were with us. The whole barracks was again inspected and all who were sick were not provided with other clothes and went into the bus and away. We all thought we were under the care of the Danish Red Cross, but it was bitterly opposed. The greatest poverty only began. After a journey of 10 hours we arrived in Watenstedt at Brunswick on. The best of us were able to work on the Hermann Goering Werke, who was already as good as gone were bombed. The location was bad, the food was sometimes forgotten once to create the . And some times when it was, have made the Jews that it was discarded or was not distributed. There we sat around 3 weeks and had to leave again because the Americans and Russians were moving rapidly.


Everything was charged Saturday in the train and each got a half German cough, some margarine and a piece of sausage. We did not know what happened to us, We had not seen such a large piece of bread in a long time. No one knew he had to do until the next Thursday with very. We were 3300 man in wagons loaded, 80 man in a wagon, and that was a little forward and back again. In coal wagons without a roof over our heads. Life was hopeless, and most come also do not care if they were broken today or tomorrow. In the car I learned G. v.d. Poll know. Drees Lubbertsen was left in Neuengamme and G. van Beek, later my friend was, was in another car. The man is hopeless condition. Food he did not. His only question was water and we got neither. There were their own urine and opdronken CENTERS egg. There were those who in desperation jumped out of the wagon as they sometimes saw a ditch with water, but before they reached the water, the SS - ers have shot them, then there was a little more place to lie. Thursday morning we got a half a cough which we flew to like wolves. Friday we were at Oraniënburg and went straight to Henkel aircraft factories, because they could not use it and at night it went back further. Every time we came to trains that were as the scurrying like us.
On Sunday we arrived at Ravensbrück, where we were unloaded. In our car we were still 45 man on the 80. In most of the wagons was that the case. With that the transport of 8 days there was a Putte To killed: J. Boat had lost their lives. When I envied him and thought: "Had I only been, than that misery was at least over '.


It was a hopeless mess emaciated that the gates of Ravensbrück stumbled inside. How long would it be before the liberation,? The food was hopeless, supply was no longer, because the mighty German army had to retreat to the Heimat. Than once every 2 and then once every 3 days we got hot food, twice there was a Red Cross package distributed, where the SS itself cigarettes and chocolate shuffled. They sometimes had the kindness to throw a packet between a thousand men, and if the fights were well underway, the combatants were beaten apart with pieces of iron and rifle butts. It was terrible how or was there fighting against prisoner to prisoner of their own lives and the major disease, hunger. The Jews were the worst people I've experienced in Ravensbrück. If one was a cut bread to eat, and a few Jews arrived, then it will look, because they jumped a few men on your body and then often shot is not much left and went most lost in the sand. With soup handing it happened that the ton soup was overturned because the distribution was not fast enough, and then it was still fighting to get just a little warm fluid in your stomach. If your evening was in bed then rumbled intestines and stomach as, it was as if they could not agree on the.

Human flesh

We had about 10 days spent. We had just returned the previous day had half a Red Cross package, only the pound of butter I had left of, want de rest was in 5 swept minutes, there will be a Russian to me and asks if I butter. I showed him my butter, and he asks if I want meat. Of course I luste meat, I knew not how or it looked like, but only the sound 'fresh meat' did again a little revive me. There fire was made, the pan was about and before it was mostly cooked plokje, it was also gone through our throat. Butter and meat were quickly eaten. Then early the Rest: "Do you know what you ate meat?'New, I did not know it and suspected nothing, because he had eaten just as hard as I myself. He then said that we had eaten a comrade. I made him mad out, where he was hurt and took me to the kitchen. He had dragged a corpse, and where there was meat on afgevild. I stood just weird looking, but comforted me with: it has given us tastier and that man hearkened nothing. Nobody thought long about it somewhere. Everything was your silent, even your memory did not. You were more animal than human. V.d. Pol was in an infirmary and became worse by the day. The dead were not even buried or burned in the crematorium and layers as fagots stink about each other or were used with a blanket over them as a bench. But trouble came to an end again. 24 April left there 800 women had to walk to Lubeck. There were many Dutch women. Whether they are arrived, we've never heard of. 30 April, we were once again evacuated on trucks, we were loaded and taken to a camp near Stetten. Malchow heette dat. First, who still walked around the camp were taken away, and later the severe ill would be taken away, but so far not led to. The Russian bombed at night the city and the camp. The other morning the Russians themselves arrived and again Wells Egyptians were in a hopeless situation remained that might never see Holland more. In Machow we were still with 6 Dutchmen in another. Later it turned out that there were more in other barracks.


1 May we were liberated by the Russian, which was high time. The famine plague was not enough. The lice roamed in great numbers throughout the body, She bites holes in your skin and began to settle in it. If we mornings afveegden us with heibezem, we sat the other morning a lot fuller. There was a sigh of relief when 2 May, the white flag was hoisted up in the camp. The first attack was on the kitchen, because the SS - ers had cooked for the soldiers who were in the front line all night eating. But luckily for us they could not take the boilers content. Of 2 Kapos who still talk and made their truncheon wanted to draw, were beaten with tablespoons of the boilers. Their rule was from. I drank 7 l pea soup and ate half a pig's head and did not yet excrete. The other day I got the brunt. Extremely bad and the pea soup was thinner back when I had eaten it. But after a few days eating dry bread that was again resolved. I of the 6 still it was pretty bad, went in the afternoon to the city to dress for all of them and then also came back in the evening for the man with pants and shirt. A few days after we were liberated, we went looking for a landlady, we soon found that we had and went with no we organized, leaving behind G. in. Brook. There it was ensured that he was included in the Russian hospital. With 5 man we came to the widow and we were all glad that we were able to make our members on a good bed again. Four weeks we've been there and there came an order from the Russian that every running kond oath Russian zone had to leave.


Aalt Arendse and I had organized a bike and we went one week after Pentecost in step. After 25 km. Cycled to have a Russian soldier stood along the street, that gave us the sign to stop. We thought that could drive me, but the glider was not. The bikes were taken and we were able to walk further. That same day we arrived in Luts, where we at a Dutch family lived there, ate and spent the night. The next day it went on to Parchim, where we were picked up the other day by the Americans. We went for some food and drink had been well with the Russian giant, but the way they coped with the German population, especially women and girls 12 to 80 years that was horrible, simply beastly. I had six weeks of 46 kg op 66 come. The worst thing was that there are so many died of the hardships that they ate themselves to death after liberation. The other boys went a few days later, leaving behind Jaap Tijdsma, Frisian so bad was the dysentery, he is included in the civilian hospital and is deceased. When the Americans arrived, we the worse some food and location were concerned. Dry bread and porridge from the water, that was at the Russian else. But after a few days it went back to Holland to continue. Finally after a lot of traveling and trekking with cars and then again a little with a train, we came in to Lunneburg, where we were sieved. SS - ers were selected and ex - political prisoners were under the care of the Unra. From there it went from one hospital to the further and we were always well received. After having first a night spent in Kleve, the morning we went early on the Dutch border near Nijmegen and were then taken to a brother founded. We were well received on food and drinks and cigarettes and were immediately deloused. After they had slept there at night, we are at Wednesday morning transported to all parts of the country.

Back home

Before I entered the church, we had a little accident. The driver week with his car too much for a farm wagon, with the result that, with car and all ended up in the ditch. We all came up with a fright and half wet suit. I was glad I was home again, but still can not get over it, that so many pastors and priests were in concentration camps, and you do nothing noticed. It was not the effort to a dying comforting words to speak. In part, I can forgive that, because everyone had plenty to do with himself and everyone wanted to distract it as well as possible, Yet I had expected something different from a pastor or priest. Morale in December 1944 most wonky because 90 percentage is calculated on the war for Weihnachten would have ended. When that did not happen, showed the most courage in shoe bags and thought: "How long will it still take now?"And she sat down mourning over woman, children or farm, with the result: with no jack they were to get out more ........