Memorial sculpture at Neuengamme concentration camp (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Mark Chamber) - Credit: Memorial sculpture at Neuengamme concentration camp (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Mark Chamber)
Friday, 23 October 2015 - 13:33
Resistance fighter's son gets letter from WWII prison camp sent 71 years ago
Thursday was an emotional day for 92 year old Bert Will. For the first time he read the farewell letter his father, Nijmegen resistance fighter Peter Will, wrote to his family in WWII prison camp Amersfoort 71 years ago. "It's very emotional. For me it's an experience that I need to take time to process. For now I'll keep reading and rereading the letter", Bert Will said to broadcaster NOS. The letter and some photos were in Peter Will's wallet when he arrived in the Neuengamme concentration camp from Amersfoort in October 1944. There they were taken from him. Since then they have been kept in the archives of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany. Recently the ITS began placing the prisoners' documents and photos of possessions online in the hopes that they could be given back to the families. Some survivors have already been able to find and retrieve possessions of their deceased relatives. Peter Will, born in 1896, lived on Bredestraat in Nijmegen with his wife and six sons. Oldest son Bert describes his father as a man with a great sense of justice. During the occupation he helped allied pilots and those in hiding and spread the illegal newspaper Trouw. The resistance fighter was arrested early in December 1943. In May 1944 he was transferred to Camp Amersfoort, and from there to Neueungamme. He was then transferred to Bergen-Belsen, just before the liberation. Peter Will was sick and exhausted and died on the way sometime between April 13th and 18th. He is buried in the Field of Honour Loenen. Peter Will wrote the letter, which is published on the ITS website, on the night before his departure from Amersfoort. "When you receive this letter, we will be on our way, probably to Germany, but we do not know. It's a setback, because we had hoped to soon come home and the longing for home is very bad", the letter reads according to NOS. Peter Will tells his wife and children to always keep their faith in God. "Believe only in His salvation, it wills ave you a lot of misery" The man knew that he would likely never see his wife and kids again. He gives his wife advice on how the boys should be educated and tells that he keeps their photo in his wallet. "All in memory firmly embraced and much love to all. To God's guard entrusted. Until soon. Your husband and father Peter."