With deep sadness, we regret to inform the public that Wim Aloserij passed away last night. He arrived in Hamburg on Monday from the Netherlands in order to participate in the events of the Liberation Day ceremony.
Wim arrived in the Neuengamme concentration camp from the Amersfoort camp in 1944. He was detailed to perform forced labor in the Industriehof of the Neuengamme concentration camp and later in the satellite camp of Husum-Schwesing for the project of the so-called Friesenwall, which was coordinated by the Hamburg Gauleiter Karl Kaufmann. Towards the war’s end, the SS kept some prisoners, including Wim, behind in Neuengamme in order to cover up all traces of war crimes. The idea of the SS in these last days of April was to clear the camp and burn all SS documents and other pieces of evidence. Later he was brought to ships anchored off of Lübeck. And then, 73 years ago, Wim was one of the few prisoners who survived the clearing of the camp and the bombing of the ships. Just the day before yesterday, Wim sat with us for a biographical video interview.
His memoir De laatste Getuige (The Last Witness), presented in Amersfoort on April 4th, has received widespread media attention in the Netherlands in recent weeks. Despite his age of almost 95, Wim Aloserij was filled with vitality and presence. And then yesterday evening arrived: he laid down to sleep and did not wake up again. As a religious Jehovas Witness, he would have seen God’s providence in his death, as he was always thanking his “second birth” that occurred 73 years ago today.
We lost a great friend. Our thoughts are with Wim and his family at this time.