University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
chgs@umn.edu
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CHGS

Netty Vanderpol

Netty Vanderpol is a survivor from Holland and was a classmate of Anne Frank in Amsterdm. Vanderpol uses needlepoint as a way of coping with her past. The broken mirror refers to her mother's broken life. The piece with the Star also refers to an event in her life. Netty was on the only transport of Jews, in February, 1945, who were traded for German POW's from Switzerland.

Artist's Statement

I was thirteen when the Germans invaded Holland in 1940 and initiated the persecution and deportation of the Dutch Jews. I was forced to attend a school for Jewish children. One of my classmates was Anne Frank. In 1943 my father was imprisoned by the Nazis for having assisted Allied pilots who parachuted out of burning planes. He, my mother, my grandmother, my brother and I were sent to Westerbork, the last stop in Holland from which Jews were deported to various concentration camps. I spent over a year in Terezin in an increasingly desperate situation. When a rumor circulated that the Germans were looking for volunteers to be sent to Switzerland in an exchange for German POWs, we volunteered against the advice of most of the other inmates, who saw it as another trick. After a three-day train ride in February 1945, we crossed the border into Switzerland. This turned out to be the only exchange of Jews for German POWs. I have done needlepoint for many years. It was not until 1934 that I started my first piece that had the Holocaust as a focus. In this work, the number signifies the 257th person on the fifth transport from Holland; my number was my name.

Artworks: Witness and Legacy

The Last Journey

Terezin, 1986 Needlepoint
15 x 22

This piece with the Star also refers to an event in her life. Netty was on the only transport of Jews, in February, 1945, who were traded for German POW's from Switzerland. The number in the right corner is the number of the transport.

Vilna Ghetto

Tracks, 1986 Needlepoint
15 x 22

Tracks is an abstract work of color field, broken abruptly by the tracks, which, with the bent ends, suggest the manipulation of a means of transportation by the Germans to become an artery of death.

Crematories

Death is... Opa Mo, Oom Siegfried, Jeannot... Three Out of Millions, 1986 Needlepoint
15 x 22

Childhood Revisted the Journey II

"...And All the King's Horses and All the King's Men..." 1987 Needlepoint
15 x 22

Broken glass and mirrors can become easily decipherable symbols in Holocaust-related art. This work, in particular, is dedicated to the artist's mother, who later developed Alzheimer's disease, but could still remember the trauma of the deportations.

Page updated 2012.