Dutch death camp survivor knighted

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Today is the 65th anniversary of the liberation by Canadian troops of Westerbork, the Nazi transit camp in the east of the Netherlands.

As part of the commemorations, Selma Engel-Wijnberg was made a Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau. Presenting the royal award, Dutch Health Minister Ab Klink praised her continuing determination to tell her story for the benefit of future generations. He also offered  a formal apology on behalf of the Dutch government for the way she was treated after the war.

Now 87, Selma Engel-Wijnberg was one of the few Dutch survivors of Sobibor extermination camp in Poland and the only one still alive. On her return to the Netherlands, she had problems with the Dutch authorities. Because she had married a Polish man, Chaim Engel, they no longer regarded her as a Dutch citizen and attempted to deport her. The couple later emigrated to Israel and then to the United States.

A biography by journalist Ad van Liempt, entitled Selma, de vrouw die Sobibor overleefde (Selma, the Woman who Survived Sobibor), was also presented today.

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