Left to right: Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin and Holocaust survivor Mirjam Bolle with the Yad Vashem Publication Letters Never Sent
06 January 2016
Today, 98-year-old Holocaust survivor Mirjam Bolle presented Israel's President Reuven Rivlin with her book Letters Never Sent, recently published by Yad Vashem, in the presence of Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. The book comprises a series of unique and moving letters written by Mirjam in Amsterdam, Westerbork and Bergen Belsen, under Nazi occupation. The letters, which remained undispatched to their destination, were written by Mirjam to her beloved fiance and future husband Leo who was living in Eretz Israel, and they present a unique, personal source that sheds light on the workings of the Joodsche Raad(Jewish Council) in Amsterdam, an institution that was, and remains, controversial. Mirjam was able to hide the letters, bringing them with her when she finally immigrated to Israel.
Mirjam, a resident of Jerusalem, was delighted by her visit to the President's Residence this morning:
"When I wrote the letters, I could never have imagined that 70 years later I would be invited by the President of Israel to present them to him as a book published by Yad Vashem."
"The descriptions in the book are both astonishing and heartrending," remarked President Rivlin. "They take us back to that period in history and give us the most human of proportions. I am delighted to receive the book - Holocaust commemoration and works like these are extremely important to us all." Turning to Mirjam, the President said: "The President's Residence is intended first and foremost for encounters with people like you - that is its mission. My respect and estimation for you is enormous, and I am extremely proud to welcome you here."
Letters Never Sent is one of dozens of publications released by Yad Vashem each year. Yad Vashem Publications, part of the Yad Vashem Institute for Holocaust Research, represents a meeting place for researchers and authors and their unique and ground-breaking contributions, through the publication of authentic documentation from the Holocaust, research and symposia papers, encyclopedias, memoirs, catalogs and albums. Its activities shed light on Yad Vashem's determination to encourage and expand Holocaust research, commemoration and remembrance, and allows for Holocaust survivors to express their experiences and struggles as individuals. Each year, dozens of books, in a range of languages, are added to the collection of Yad Vashem publications, some of which are published in cooperation with academic and commercial publishing houses in Israel and around the world.