Yad Vashem’s Gathering the Fragments campaign aims to collect Holocaust-era artefacts in order to preserve and share them in various ways with the world in order that the Holocaust is never forgotten.
Recently, Arie Reinhold donated baby clothes made for and worn by him during the Holocaust. Included in this mini-collection are a series of letters written by the Dutch women who hid and cared for him during the Holocaust — to Yad Vashem.
Arie was born in 1942 to Mosche and Fanny Reinhold, German Jews who fled to the Netherlands in 1939 following the Kristallnacht Pogrom. There they joined a Zionist training program of the Chalutz (Pioneer) movement. In 1942, as Fanny was about to give birth, she was transferred to a hospital in the city of Deventer near the Zionist training camp. In April 1943, Mosche and Fanny went into hiding assisted by a Dutchman named Piet Wildschut.
Their eight-month-old son Arie was transferred with the help of members of the Westerweil underground to the care of Thea Klein-Stopper who raised him until the end of the war. On occasion, Thea brought the baby to the Wildschut house where his parents could see him.
As the risk of raids and deportations increased, Mosche and Fanny Reinhold hid with the assistance of Wildschut in the area of an abandoned brick factory. During the day the couple hid on the cover of the air system in the chimney and at night they left the hiding place. During this time Mosche and Fanny would spin wool for the underground. Whenever possible, they would send some wool to Thea so she could knit clothes for their baby. Yad Vashem recognised Piet Wildschut as Righteous Among the Nations in 1964.
Dr. Haim Gertner, Director of Yad Vashem’s Archives Division and Fred Hillman Chair for Holocaust Documentation, spoke about the importance of the Gathering the Fragments rescue campaign which aims to collect Holocaust-era artefacts for posterity.
“Yad Vashem is in a race against time because many of these priceless artefacts are still kept in private homes and are under threat of disintegration,” said Dr. Gertner. “Our goal is to conserve and catalogue all the artefacts we receive and make them accessible to enable the wider public to learn, through them, what happened to the Jews before, during and after the Holocaust.
To date the ‘Gathering the Fragments’ project has seen over 250 000 items entrusted into Yad Vashem’s hands. All the information is archived and uploaded online so the public can access the stories and share them with others. All the objects donated by Arie Reinhold are stored in Yad Vashem’s Artefacts Collection.
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