"During WWII many postcards were pushed through the cracks in the wooden wall of the deportation (cattle)trains on the railtrack between Westerbork and Groningen. The postcards are kept in kamp/museum Westerbork. The man who found these cards, Mr. R. Straat from Tynaarlo would like to contact with survivors who can remember this." (Notice the the magazine 'Benjamin', October 2005, number 61)
"Re. you publication Nr.61 of October 2005, I thanked you per email for the notice regarding the 'postcards'.
I have waited for a,long time to meet these brave people who, whilst risking their own lives, collected the postcards, put a stamp on them and mailed them to the survivors. Postcards, final farewell messages, that were thrown un-stamped from the cattle-trains, in the hope that familie and friends would receive them.
I am so happy that Mr. Rien Straat from Tynaarlo made himself known. Also Mr. Winnig from Doetichem who lived in Assen during WWII has done this wonderful work. Then they were young people, but with hearts of gold. I think that beside me there were many, who thanks to them, received the notice that their loved ones had been put on transport. Bravo to these 'rocks of men' (See the diary of Willem Willing in which the card from my family is depicted." Mrs. Willy Willing (Notice from 'Benjamin Magazine', December 2005, Nr. 62)
That small article in the Benjamin Magazine brought me great emotions. For years I had wondered who that the courage to put a stamp on the farwell postcard of my family. For me and my two sisters this card was the end of our hope that our family members where still alive in Concentrationcamp Westerbork.
But the there was this the burning question, who was this person and did he or she survive the war?
And then after so many years, in 2005 came the answer.
We had much contact by internet, and when Mr. Straat saw the postcard in the diary of Willem Willing, he wrote the following sentences:
Monday 3 October 2005: Dear Mrs. Willing. I liked it so much that I immediately sat down in my 'lazy' chair and started reading the book.
WHEN I SAW THE POSTCARD I FELT AS IF THE GROUND OPENED, THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PRESENT I HAVE HAD IN MANY YEARS. THOUSAND THANKS!
Still today we exchange information about the war. Many thanks to all those like Mr. Straat who sent those cards despite the threat of being caught.
But we arrived too late and the family had already returned home.
What to do? We phoned them, and yes, they were already home. So we continued north to the village of Tynaarloo. We had never heard of Tynaarloo but we found the adress without any problems thanks to my faithful Tom Tom.
After avery happy greeting, we drove to a beautiful park nearby where we had a lovely lunch in a restaurant which was located next to the lake. We were like old friends who had not seen each other in a long time, althougwe had never met.
Because of that brave act, which that tough young boy had done for me and my sister so many years ago, we sat there as old folks chatting about those terrible bad old days.
Once again: “Thank you very much Mr. Rien Straat from Tynaarlo !!!"
Click on the pictures to enlarge.