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William and Jean Helmar papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 1996.30

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    The papers consist of four postcards and letters with envelopes written and sent by William Helmar from Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps to his parents in the Netherlands. Also included is a note with instructions to concentration camp inmates' friends and families about sending packages to prisoners.
    inclusive:  1940-1945
    Collection Creator
    William Helmar
    William Helmar was born Wilhelmus van Hummel on June 30, 1920, in Arnhem, Netherlands. In Jan. 1940 he was drafted into the Dutch Army. In 1942, after stealing travel passes from his place of assignment, a Nazi supply office, he attempted to escape to Lisbon, Portugal, by train. He was caught, taken by the Nazis to the Gestapo headquarters in St. Jean du Luz, France, and imprisoned as a political prisoner for three months in Bordeaux, France. Then he was transferred to Compiègne concentration camp, Buchenwald concentration camp, Nordhausen concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and Neuengamme concentration camp. He was forced on a ship, the "Cape Arcona," which was bombed by the Canadian Air Force. He survived on a lifeboat and reached land at Kiel, Germany, where he was met by the Canadian Army. He spent two weeks recovering in Hamburg, Germany, and then was sent by the British Army to Brussels, Belgium. After World War II, William Helmar returned to his hometown of Arnhem where a cousin told him that his parents were alive and living in Ede, Netherlands.

    Physical Details

    1 folder

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Helmar, William.

    Administrative Notes

    The papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by William and Jean Helmar in 1996.
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-01 11:42:13
    This page:

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