Produced in the transit camp during the Second World War by imprisoned Jews, the stuffed toy was returned to Camp Westerbork Memorial Center in early October. However, it is the children’s director of the Memorial Centre who selected the donkey to be transferred from the depot and displayed at the museum’s exhibition, reports De Krant van Midden Drenthe.
11-year-old Sofie Schuring became the children’s director of Camp Westerbork last month. When the director of Camp Westerbork, Gerdien Verschoor, and the mayor came to Sofia’s school to tell pupils about the opportunity, she signed up for the position because she often visited the museum with her parents and already knew it quite well.
‘On May 4, I can speak during the Commemoration of the Dead and I can also read the names. Next year, it will be Liberation Day’s 75th anniversary year, so it is a special year to be a children’s director,’ reflects Sofia on her position. The girl was selected out of six or seven children and was given the right to choose an object from the Memorial Centre’s depot.
‘There are all original things, such as notes from people. Normally nobody is allowed there,’ says Sofie, describing the depot. The children’s director finds it special that Jet Snijders-Polak gave the Second World War donkey to the museum: ‘The lady found it quite difficult and I think she will miss it a bit, but she believes it should be preserved. The donkey will get a nice place and I hope that many children and adults will come to see it. It is not that big and it still looks very nice.’
Jet Snijders-Polak never played with the toy even though it was a birth gift from the Duizend family who worked at Camp Westerbork toy factory in Drenthe. The stuffed donkey was always kept in the cupboard. The Duizend family did not survive the war and was taken to Sobibor concentration camp.