In 1941, when the nomads were ordered to settle down, the Mirosch family found a place to live at Passchier Bollemanweg in Drachten (at the western edge of the city). In 1944, Albert Mirosch’s parents and five sisters were taken to Westerbork and then to Auschwitz. He and his three brothers survived the war because they managed to avoid deportation.
In the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, Albert Mirosch proposed to the authorities of Drachten that a monument commemorating the local Gypsies / Sinti be erected in the city. The memorial was designed by Albert Mirosh, created by the Dutch sculptor Roelie Woudwijk and unveiled in 2007. Albert Mirosch died in September 2016 at the age of 90.
Description of commemoration
The memorial is located in the western part of Haersma Park in Drachten, close to Stationsweg street (on the other side of the street from number 55).
It consists of two steles with reliefs, placed on a low pedestal. Observed from a distance, resembles two gypsy wagons parked side by side as part of a travelling party. The author’s intention was that after approaching the memorial we realise that it is a single wagon with a crack in the middle. This gap symbolises the destruction of the nation and the breakthrough that took place in the lives of those who managed to survive. In addition, Woudwijk placed two steles on a round pedestal which symbolises the globe along with all traveling peoples who inhabit it and face repression.
The front and top of both stone steles have a surface similar to the bark of a tree (one side and the roof of the Gypsy “wagon”). Below the “roof” on both steles, there are protruding symbols of a wheel with eight spokes.
On the inner side of the left stele, the one close to the ”crack”, there are names of the murdered Sinti of Drachten and their dates of birth and death. The list of names was carved in stone and coloured in black.
When observed from afar, the surfaces of the inner part of the memorial, along with the “bottom side of the roof” look even, however, they are not perfectly polished but feature dotted texture look as if they were made by a mason who used a punch tool.
On the outer side (the one from the left) of the left stele, where the roof protrudes beyond the front / rear of the wagon, there is a carved symbol of an open book, symbolising the fate of every man. Just like the fate of the Gypsies was an open book until the German occupier destroyed their individual stories. The fate of the Gypsies who managed to survive as well as their descendants is also an open book. The symbol of a book also refers to the Book of Life, in which all our names – including those who were murdered, those who are dead and those still alive – were recorded.
HERE ARE ALBERT’S PHOTOS – TU FOTKI ALBERTA: http://www.drachtstercourant.nl/nieuws/76836/bekende-drachtster-zigeuner-albert-mirosch-overleden/
Pierre Stangus, born on March 1, 1891, deceased on April 16, 1944
Catharina Caja Mirosch, born on March 5, 1902, deceased on August 3, 1944
Engelina Margaretha Catharina Mirosch, born on February 7, 1931, deceased on August 3, 1944
Maria Mirosch, born on September 22, 1935, deceased on August 3, 1944
Beatrix Emma Wijpkjen Mirosch, born on February 5, 1938, deceased on August 3, 1944
Sophie Mirosch, born on April 2, 1923, deceased on August 3, 1944
Maria Catharina Caja Mirosch, born on July 3, 1943, deceased on August 3, 1944
Date of the unveiling
January 18, 2007
Albert Mirosch (the design and miniature model of the memorial), Roelie Woudwijk (creator)
Van Haersma Parkje, Van Haersmasingel 1, 9201 KN Drachten, the Netherlands
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Photos with the public domain status, by Gerardus: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Gerardus