Helga Deen – A New Ann Frank

A diary kept by Jewish 18 year old Helga Deen for several months in 1943 was recently revealed by Dutch Archivists. The priceless historic record along with several “love letters” written to her dutch boyfriend was donated to the Dutch Archives in Tilburg by family.

“She kept the secret diary for her boyfriend in order to help him understand what she was experiencing,” said Yvonne Weling of the Tilburg Regional Archive.

Deen recorded some of her day-to-day experiences for her boyfriend Kees van den Berg, but even more of her emotions, Weling said.

“Maybe this diary will be a disappointment to you because it doesn’t contain facts,” Deen wrote to Van den Berg. “But maybe you’ll be glad that you find me in it: conflict, doubt, desperation, shyness, emptiness.”

“If my will dies, I’ll die too,” she wrote in another entry.

“We are homeless, countryless and we have to adjust ourselves to that way of life. What we have seen in these last months is indescribable, and for someone who hasn’t been there, unimaginable,” she wrote.

Deen was sent with her family to the Sobibor concentration camp in Poland where she later died.

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