09/09/2015 Commemorative ceremony, Report

A New Monument Commemorates Four Young Men from Pieterzijl

On Saturday, 5 September 2015, a new monument was erected in the Neuengamme memorial grove in commemoration of Sjoerd Kok, Arnold Stuut, and the brothers Jan and Klaas Wiersma from the village of Pieterzijl in the Netherlands.

The young men, all of whom lived on the same street, went underground after refusing to do forced labour service (Arbeitseinsatz) in Germany. They were betrayed and arrested in the summer of 1944, after which they were sent to Neuengamme concentration camp on 8 September 1944, where they died only a few months later.

The monument takes the form of a closed book with their first names written on the cover. It refers to a similar monument in Pieterzijl of an open book with their names written inside.

Thirty-seven people from Pieterzijl, including Dirk Stuut, the brother of Arnold Stuut, came to Hamburg for the inauguration, during which several speeches were held to commemorate the young men and remember their fates. Eddy Kingma, the artist who created the monument, said: “There are many commemorative places in Neuengamme. Our boys also deserved a monument. I am happy that I succeeded. It is something I am proud of. The monument represents a closed book and symbolises that the lives of Sjoerd, Arnold, Klaas and Jan ended here under horrible conditions.”

Link to a televised report by the Dutch broadcaster RTV Noord

The inscription on the monument translates as:

In memory of
Sjoerd Kok
Arnold Stuut
Jan Wiersma
Klaas Wiersma

On 8 September 1944, four young men from the Dutch village of Pieterzijl were transported to Neuengamme.
They never returned.
This monument honours these young men and keeps their memory alive.
The monument symbolises that
life is vulnerable like wood,
life is hard like iron,
life is fragile like glass,
life is over for them now.
Their story ended here.