Part 6: Sjef Moonen (69) from Margraten

Photo and text Jeroen Hendriks

The former policeman is married to Monique IJzermans. The family has adopted two graves. The third grave was adopted by a foundation of which Sjef is the chairman. The graves were adopted in 2012.

Sjef, “The father of Monique, Jaques IJzerman, was incarcerated in Kamp Amersfoort as a young man. After he was pensioned he began talking about it. He came from Roermond, was forced to work in Germany, but fled from there. He went into hiding but was betrayed and sent to  Kamp Amersfoort. He told us about the bad treatment and the Rose Garden (where much of the abuse took place). He also said that there had been a group of Russians who were even worse off than they.

A visit to Kamp Amersfoort by Jacques, mother-in-law Tiny, Monique and I aroused high emotions. We also visited the Russian Koedriest monument.

From then on we attended the annual commemoration on 19 April, the date of the transfer of the camp to the Red Cross, in Kamp Amersfoort. During one such occasion Remco Reiding was one of the speakers. He talked about the 101 murdered Soviet soldiers and the Russians that were brought over from Margraten and reburied at the Soviet Military Cemetery. After the ceremony we spoke with each other. The start of a warm relationship.”

Sjef and Monique have also adopted a grave at the American Military Cemetery in Margraten. Monique took the photo of Sjef at their adoptive grave in Margraten.

To Sjef and Monique the cemetery in Margraten is the connecting link with Leusden and of course the fact that Jacques IJzermans was imprisoned in Kamp Amersfoort. He died in 2016 and his adopted grave is now cared for by the eldest son of Sjef and Monique.