Love letters:Impassioned Holocaust missivesfrom Dutch camp discovered

amsterdam (ap) | A Holocaust-era diary containing love letters written by a Jewish teen to her Dutch boyfriend while she was imprisoned in an internment camp in 1943 has turned up in the Netherlands.

Archivists in the Dutch city of Tilburg on Tuesday, Oct. 19, announced the rare discovery with parallels to the famed diary by Anne Frank. The journal was kept by 18-year-old Helga Deen during the final month of her detainment in a Dutch internment camp in April-July 1943.

“She kept the secret diary for her boyfriend in order to help him understand what she was experiencing,” said Yvonne Weling of the Tilburg Regional Archive.

Deen, her brother, father and mother were shipped off to a Nazi concentration camp in Sobibor, Poland, that July. All four died at the camp.

Weling said the family of Deen’s late boyfriend, Kees van den Berg, donated the diary to the archive earlier this year. Van den Berg had written back to Deen on some of the blank pages of the diary, concealed within a school notebook marked “Physics” and apparently transferred back and forth between the pair.

He kept the diary after Deen was deported and saved it along with a lock of his girlfriend’s hair.

In the diary, Deen recorded some of her day-to-day experiences for Van den Berg, but even more of her emotions, Weling said.

“Maybe this diary will be a disappointment to you because it doesn’t contain facts,” Deen wrote to Van den Berg. “But maybe you’ll be glad that you find me in it: conflict, doubt, desperation, shyness, emptiness.”

Among other entries, Deen’s diary recorded the relief she felt after her family was once not selected for deportation— and the fear they might be chosen next time.

“We are homeless, countryless and we have to adjust ourselves to that way of life. What we have seen in these last months is indescribable, and for someone who hasn’t been there, unimaginable,” she wrote.

Her final entry was written on July 2, 1943. It contained a partially illegible phrase ending “… between the packages, because we’re leaving soon,” apparently referring to an attempt to smuggle the diary out of the internment camp in Vught for the last time.

Parts of the diary will be on display for one day October 30 in Tilburg, and the archive is negotiating with museums to show it elsewhere.

Anne Frank wrote her famous diary while she and her German-Jewish family hid in an Amsterdam attic for 25 months. They eventually were betrayed to the Nazis, and Anne died at age 15 of typhus at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in 1945, just weeks before the British army liberated the concentration camp.