Personal identification tags bearing the names of four Jewish children who were deported to the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland have recently been retrieved in an archaeological excavation at the site.

The metal tags, worn around the neck, carry the names of young Dutch Jews Lea Judith De La Penha, Deddie Zak, Annie Kapper and David Juda Van der Velde—all from Amsterdam—who ranged in age from 5 years old to 11.

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Yoram Haimi, who ran the dig in conjunction with colleagues from Poland and the Netherlands, said that as far as he knows, ID tags bearing the names of children had been found only at Sobibor.

Haimi said that it is likely that the tags, which also note the children’s birthdates and hometown, were prepared by their parents.

“They probably wanted to make sure they could find their loved ones. The metal tags allow us to attach faces and stories to the names [of the murdered Jews],” he explained.

To find out more about the children who wore the tags, researchers reached out to the memorial center at the Westerbork transit camp.

“I’ve been digging at Sobibor for 10 years. This was the most difficult day,” said Haimi. “We called the center and gave them the names. They sent pictures of young, smiling kids to our phones. The hardest thing is to hear that one of the kids whose tag you’re holding in your hand arrived at Sobibor on a train full of children ages four to eight, who were sent here to die alone.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


Jewish News Syndicate

With geographic, political and social divides growing wider, high-quality reporting and informed analysis are more important than ever to keep people connected.

Our ability to cover the most important issues in Israel and throughout the Jewish world—without the standard media bias—depends on the support of committed readers.

If you appreciate the value of our news service and recognize how JNS stands out among the competition, please click on the link and make a one-time or monthly contribution.

We appreciate your support.