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Dutch girls often kept ‘posy’ books in which they collected pressed flowers, stickers, poems and messages and drawings from friends and family.

This posy book belonged to Nini Ereira. Most entries date to prior to the outbreak of World War II. A final message was included on the last page, on 15 March 1947, by her cousin Herman Lissing.

‘Dearest Nini, God has your soul and rest in peace always.’

This item is part of a collection of documents, photographs and postcards donated by Betty Lissing. In August 1940, aged 17, Betty met her future husband, Herman Lissing, who joined the Dutch Underground. They were married in a group wedding with 18 other Jewish couples in 1941, after synagogues had closed in the wake of the Netherlands’ surrender to Germany on 15 May 1940.

The Lissing’s initially avoided deportation, having received reprieves issued to essential workers. They talked of escape, but Betty refused to leave her family. In 1942, her parents and both brothers were deported via Westerbork to Auschwitz. In 1943, Betty and Herman escaped the Netherlands via train and bicycle and hid in Brussels. However, Herman was soon captured, followed by Betty, and deported to Malines transit camp and then to Auschwitz. In January 1945, Betty was transferred from Auschwitz on a death march, arriving at Gleiwitz and from there transported to Ravensbrück concentration camp. She was liberated there by the Russians on 30 April 1945, weighing only 37kg. After the war Betty and Herman were reunited.

Neither Nini Ereira nor her friends who wrote in this book survived. The book embodied Herman’s only tangible memory of his young cousin, a zachor (memorial) for one of millions without graves.

Details

  • Title: Posy and a Prayer
  • Date Created: 1934/1944
  • Type: autograph books
  • Rights: Sydney Jewish Museum
  • Medium: paper

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