Students


Readers

Sender: Sharne Montgomery
Date: 30/03/02
From: Brisbane, Australia

Dear Hetty,

My name is Sharne Montgomery and I am 13 going on 14 on the 11th of April. I have just finished reading " The Children's House Of Belsen" as I have become quite interested in WWII. I have read many books about the war and yours is the best one yet. I live quite a comfortable life in Brisbane and go to a Catholic School called 'St Ritas'. I could not imagine myself going through what you had to and I congratulate you on your efforts of taking care of the children. I am disgusted at the SS for making you stand on Rollcall for hours on end and not feeding you well.

When I am older I would love to travel to Amsterdam and Germany. I am so determined to achieve this goal, that I have taken up learning German. I was quite saddened by the photos that appear at the back of your book. I was also sad when you recalled the death of Leni, as she seemed such a lovely girl.

I decided to write to you to congratulate you for your awards such as the "Most Successful Migrant" Award and you being appointed to the Australian Ethnic Affairs Council. I think your whole life is one major success.

I really enjoyed reading about your life in the "The Children's House of Belsen". It has made me aware that I am very lucky to have the freedom that I have.

  • The Right To Freedom
  • The Right To Choice
  • The Right To An Opinion

To name just a few. I would like to wish you all the best for the future.

Yours Always,

Sharne Montgomery


Sender: Rachel Ballinger
Date: 16/04/01
From: Victoria, Australia

Dear Ms Verolme,

I have recently just read your book. The Children's House of Belsen, and I think it is one of the best books I've ever read. I didn't want to read it, as at times it was quite depressing, but I just couldn't put it down. War books are usually the same, but this book had a magical way of capturing you into the story and making the war come back from history. It was very well written and made me remember how lucky we are to live in a free country.

You became a hero to me as I read through the events that changed your life. You seemed so brave and strong in the hardest of times, and yet you were only my age. There are wars all over the world and it troubles me to think that politicians and dictators think that bloodshed will end their troubles. I was very relieved to know your family was reunited, although other family and friends had not survived. I was happy to learn that Sister Luba was awarded the Humanitarian Award, as of what I've read she deserved it.

You are someone that is an inspiration to everybody all over the world, I know I will not forget your story. So thank you for sharing your terrifying story, as maybe one day the world will be free of bloodshed and tears.

From,

Rachel Ballinger


Sender: Lilly Zrehen
Date: 18/11/00
From: Sydney, Australia

Dear Friend,

I have just finished reading your book. I am 13 years old and I attend Canberra Girls Grammar School. I have borrowed your book from our school library.

I read this book in just one day as I was so ingrossed in it. I felt like I was with you all the way through your book. I myself am half Jewish and I know in some little way what it is like. For you can not always openly say that you are half jewish in a room full of arabs.

Your book has made me realize how lucky I am to have such an easy childhood. I envy all of your courage that you had during the time in a war looking after all those children the way you did. For I know myself that I would probably not have as much strength as you showed.

It was nice to see the pictures at the back of the book. So I should imagine that you got your little possessions out of the house of Belsen as their is the photograph of Herman there. Can it be true what I have seen? It seems very impossible to imagine thousands of bodies being thrown all together in one big hole and all those people looking the way they did. But then again, that's war.

Do you know what happened to Sister Hermina and Sister Heller? Have you returned to Belsen since you last went with little Robby? Did your brothers or parents ever resort to writing a book about their individual experiences?

I was much relieved when at the end of the book when you and all your family were reunited. What happened to Emile? Did he find his parents in the end or his relatives? Did the beautiful Inge Walheimer find her daughter? Did Maximillian the German who helped you with food get away? Or did he have to face punishment?

How did your marriage come to be? Did you marry someone from Belsen? How old were you? Sorry if I have asked to many questions and you don't have to answer them but I would be obliged if you did.

Please write back to me :)

Yours Sincerely,

Lilly Zrehen


Sender: Angela Annese
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thank you so much for coming to talk to us about your experience in the Holocaust. I admire the courage that you had in being able to tell us what happened. I actually studied History last year so knew a little background information about what occurred during World War II but to actually hear the testimony of someone who survived this horrific ordeal is nothing but amazing. I will never forget you or the great courage you had. It has taught me never to give up no matter how bad things get.

Thank you,

Angela Annese


Sender: Mary Mackin
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

It was lovely to have you, Iona is privileged indeed. We do hope everything in life is going well for you. God Bless.

Love,

Sr Mary Markin


Sender: Brooke
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Just a quick note to thank you very much for giving up your time and coming to speak to us about your terrible experience. You are a very brave and couragous person and you are a great role model for all people who think there's no point anymoreand want to give up. So, thanks again and good luck.

Love,

Brooke


Sender: Rochelle
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thanks so much for coming to Iona to speak to us about your life. I've always had an interest in history and those events and I found your first time account extremely interesting and moving. It was an honour that you had the strength to share some of your experiences with us. I hope you keep doing it so that people never forget & I'll remember you when times get tough. Your strength and bravery is an inspiration to us all.

Love,

Rachelle
xxo


Sender: Amy Hayto
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us, I have never really studied it in great detail. I found it an interesting speech. It is horrible to hear of the things that occurred within the camp. I admire the courage you had to come and share the experience, you are a brave woman. I hope to read your book one day, it sounds great.

Thank you once again.

Amy Hayto


Sender: Christine Novak
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thank you for coming and sharing your experience with us. Your story has helped us realise that we can live through anything and your courage inspired us to live life to the full and remember how lucky we are that we are living in a free society.

Thank you once again.

Christine Novak


Sender: Patricia McBride
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

I would like to thank you for sharing your story with us. I admire you for your strength and courage, if I was in your shoes I probably would have fallen apart by now. I wish you all the best for the future of you and your family and hope you can continue on your journey in the bright and cherry way in which you presented yourself to us.

All the best,

Patricia McBride


Sender: Natalie Cupper
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thank you for coming to our school to share your amazing and difficult life journey. We studied Nazi Germany last year in History and I found your story very interesting. I admire that you were able to forgive I don't think I would have the strength to forgive.

Yours Sincerely,

Natalie Cupper


Sender: Anonymous
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

I would like to thank you for coming and sharing your experiences with us. It was very touching and your braveness was unbelievable. Your strength and courage has inspired me to always believe in my own strength. you will always be remembered as a example of courage.

Year 12 Student


Sender: Clare
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thank you for spending your time to come and talk to our school. It was really interesting hearing about your experience. You must be a very courageous person to be able to tell us about your terrible experiences. It helped us understand what happened to all the Jews and I can't imagine the horror you experienced seeing or knowing about friends or family dying. Your a great role model to look up to when times get tough.

Thank you.

Clare


Sender: Brooke Fuller
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thank You for your wonderful talk to us about your experiences in Belsen. Your courage must be immeasurable. Your talk will give us all hope in many situations. Congratulations on the success of your book and I wish you and your family all the happiness in the world.

Thank You again.

Brooke Fuller


Sender: Donna Gallinagh
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

I'd like to write a quick note just to say thank you so much for taking the time to to talk to us about your experience. I've read so much about the events yet, never will I ever understand what it was like.

Even though I don't know you personally, I would still like to express my admiration towards you, I admire you for your strength, courage and determination and you are certainly an inspiration for me.

So once again, I would just like to thank you very much and hopefully you will return to Iona one day to share your amazing story with other students.

I wish you a healthy and successful year and a long and happy future.

Kinda Regards,

Donna Gallinagh


Sender: Alana Ross
Date: 27/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thank you so much for talking to us about your experiences in the war at Belsen Concentration Camp, it really hit home about how lucky we are in our country and I've realised not to take people and life for granted.

Alana Ross


Sender: Kate Camp
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thank you for coming and sharing your story with us at Iona. Your spirit of forgiveness is a witness to all of us and it was wonderful to hear the stories from such a vibrant person as yourself. May God bless you abundantly.

Kate Camp


Sender: Courtney Draper
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I was genuinely moved by all that you told us and I learnt more in forty minutes than I could in any text book I read. Knowing what you have gone through and seeing you as such acourageous, strong woman makes me assess my life and the things I see as difficult. Nothing I have or ever will have in life will be as hard as you and you have survived being such a wonderful woman. Thank you for being a brillant example to me.

Love,

Courtney Draper


Sender: Rachel
Date: 29/03/00
From: Iona College

Dear Hetty,

Thank you very much for coming in and telling us that must have been a very trying time. To be so young and to go through such an ordeal and for you to come and talk to us as if you have hate towards them, and that you have been able to carry on with your life. My Mum purchased your book and we look forward to reading your story.

Rachel