ANONYM | Girl with the headscarf … | 20210416

ANONYM | Girl with the headscarf …
(silent film)

Who is she ?

This frightened, dark-eyed girl with a white headscarf – anonymous icon of the holocaust … a few seconds in the unique Westerbork Film. Raw footage shot by Camp Westerbork inmate Rudolf Breslauer during World War II in Holland.

Early 1990s – 50 years later – little is known about this Westerbork film. Dutch journalist Aad Wagenaar starts searching for the girl’s name. Project ‘Esther’ – his working title.
Key finding together with the Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre researchers Gerard Rossing en Koert Broersma analyzing the film footage, is the inscription on the suitcase of that woman brought on a stretcher to that transport. Close inspection of that suitcase – flipping the image – viewing the film frame by frame – to and fro – revealed her name and birthdate : F.KROON

In this video I also inverted the black–white.
Further , a clearer image is possible now in the still presented here – likewise edited – taken from the higher quality , recently recovered ‘camera-original’ film found on other archived reels by Gerard Nijssen for the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision | NIOD – and published Jan 20, 2020.

That special train car with Settela, car #16, with the 74 pers. mark on the vertical shelves, was also part of that train filmed by camp inmate Rudolf Breslauer leaving Westerbork – with the ‘4’ crossed out and a 5 added – so one person had been added before departure.

On that stretcher was Frouwke Kroon – born 26 September 1882 – deported May 19, 1944 – and murdered on arrival in Auschwitz.
That train left Camp Westerbork on May 19, 1944 with ca 700 people – both Jews and 245 Sinti and Roma – the so-called ‘Gypsy transport’ – dutch: ‘Zigeunertransport’.

The girl with the headscarf got her name back Monday 7th February 1994, when Aad Wagenaar met survivor ‘Gypsy mama’ Theresia Crasa Wagner . She told him, she sat on the floor behind the girl , standing near the door. When they heard the doors being closed , her mother yelled :

‘Settela !
Get away from the door, or your head will get stuck !!’

The Dutch Sinti girl Settela (Anna Maria) Steinbach was born – the traditional way , under the family wagon – on 23 December 1934 in Buchten in the Dutch province of Limburg.

Settela’s family had been arrested 3 days before they were deported. Settela’s hair was shaved off in Camp Westerbork – hence the ‘headscarf’ made by her mother.
Mother Toetela (Emilia) Steinbach with ten children and a grandchild were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The 9-year old Settela was gassed and burned early August 1944.
Settela’s father Moeselman (Heinrich) Steinbach died of grief in 1946 in Holland.


Filmed by Rudolf Breslauer 19 May 1944 in Camp Westerbork, Netherlands.
Video from Westerbork film montage reel 1 (RVD 02-1167-01) courtesy of NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (KNAW), and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
Still (edit by Michel van der Burg) from camera-original film published Jan 20, 2020 courtesy of Gerard Nijssen | Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision | NIOD | NOS.

Story based on :
* Settela, het meisje heeft haar naam terug (1995-2007) by Aad Wagenaar ISBN 9789089751898 / English translation by Janna Eliot ‘Settela’ (2005-2016) ISBN 978-0-9933898-2-5 .
* Documentary film Settela, gezicht van het verleden by Cherry Duyns (VPRO, 1994).
* Kamp Westerbork gefilmd by Koert Broersma and Gerard Rossing (editors Dirk Mulder and Ben Prinsen; ISBN 9023232658 .
* Westerbork Film (20190605) Michel van der Burg | (accessed 2021 Apr 16) URL:
* Nieuwe beelden van iconische Westerborkfilm gevonden (by Ronja Hijmans | NIEUWSUUR | NOS (accessed 2020 Jan 20) URL
* Settela en Willy en Het geheim van de Heksenberg (2e druk) by Rob Hendrikx and Marouska Steinbach (Heerlen : Historisch Goud – Rijckheyt, centrum voor regionale geschiedenis en Stichting Historische Kring “Het Land van Herle”, April 2017) ISBN 9789082241686. URL
* ‘Sinti en Roma in Den Haag, voor, tijdens en na de Tweede Wereldoorlog (1900-1970)’ by Peter Jorna (Haags Gemeentearchief, 2021) PDF online (accessed 2021 Apr 15) URL
* The Forgotten Genocide – The fate of the Sinti and Roma. Online exhibition by . Including a clip of the interview by journalist Aad Wagenaar with Crasa Wagner ; from documentary Settela, gezicht van het verleden, directed by Cherry Duyns (VPRO 1994) (accessed 2021 Apr 15) URL

TAGS #girl #Settela #headscarf #anonymous #Sinti #Roma #Jew #1Memo #MiraclesMedia #michelvanderburg #Holland #Westerbork #Porajmos #Holocaust #genocide #identification #Wagenaar #WesterborkFilm

ANONYM | Girl with the headscarf … (20210416) Michel van der Burg | Settela•com | Miracles•Media | CC BY 4.0

Deportation Train

Deportation Train
Deportation train departure 19 May 1944 at the dutch Westerbork transit camp filmed by Rudolf Breslauer. Shortly thereafter 20 km north in the dutch town Assen, train cars are added from the belgian Transport XXV (25) from transit camp Kazerne Dossin (Dossin barracks) in Mechelen, and the combined transport with Jews, Sinti and Roma, including Settela Steinbach, continues to the east …

Filmed by Rudolf Breslauer 19 May 1944 in Camp Westerbork, Netherlands. From Westerbork film montage reel 1 (RVD 02-1167-01) courtesy of Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid | OpenImages.
BUM20200415_31_19440519 .
Deportation Train (20200414 v20200415) Michel van der Burg |

Westerbork Film ~ full version (RVD)

The Westerbork Film – a silent film – is unique…the only authentic documentary footage filmed in a Nazi camp – a waiting room for death in the Netherlands for more than 100,000 Jews, and Roma, Sinti, and resistance workers. A documentary filmed 75 years ago, spring 1944, in the Westerbork transit camp, by the German-Jewish camp prisoner Rudolf Werner Breslauer, who had been working already some 2 years as a photographer in the camp. A ‘Kulturfilm’ commissioned by camp commander, SS-Obersturmbannführer, Albert Konrad Gemmeker, to convince the Gestapo headquarters of Westerbork’s vital production value.

The Westerbork camp had been set up by the Dutch government before the war in Holland, in 1939, as a central refugees camp for Jewish refugees from Nazi-Germany.
In 1942 , when the Nazi’s decided to start ‘Entjüdung’ of the Netherlands, they took over the camp and named it Polizeiliches Judendurchgangslager Westerbork , for use as central transit camp for deportation of mainly Jews, and Roma, Sinti, and resistance people to eastern Europe.

Rudolf Breslauer started filming March 1944 – around the same time the camp status changed to ‘Arbeitslager’.

This film on the daily life of the Westerbork prisoners was added in 2017 to the Memory of the World Register of Unesco.

Iconic is the image of Settela – the girl with the headscarf -between the wagon doors of the deportation train to Auschwitz.
These few seconds are shown in the 1 minute slow-motion film Settela at

Images of the deportation train have been used in many documentaries over the years – such as our 2012 documentary ‘Transport XX to Auschwitz’.

Actually , however, the Westerbork film has as yet not been presented online or elsewhere as a full film – only in parts : as either Acte 1 , Acte 2 , Acte 3 , or Acte 4 for download or for streaming separately , either in low quality, small format (and generally just Acte 1) or with a rough overall edit (color-exposure grading) resulting in loss of details.
I therefore decided to first present the full film , all 4 episodes , unedited except for cropping black bars, as the : Westerbork Film ~ Full version RVD…and later focus on adaptations.

What is known as the Westerbork Film , actually is a simple montage of the available raw film footage – 9 reels of film – handed over by the (Dutch) Filmmuseum in 1986 to the Dutch National Centre for Information (the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst, RVD).
The RVD conservator glued together these available fragments – and this ‘product’ in 4 parts (Acte 1 , Acte 2 , Acte 3 , and Acte 4) has become known as the “Westerbork film”.
Reels number 1 and 2 were glued together in ‘Acte 1’, reels 3 and 4 in Acte 2, reels 5 and 6 in Acte 3, and reels 7, 8 and 9 in Acte 4 (see below).

Conservation of footage

In the early years after the war, the Westerbork film footage travelled via different routes, roughly, in part leaving the camp with ex camp commander Gemmeker, and another part ‘directly’ from the camp … to land partly in the nearby Drents Museum and partly in eg. the Department of Justice and next finally in a collection started in 1946 in the ‘RIOD’ Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (National Institute for War Documentation) – now ‘NIOD’ – Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
The RIOD glued fragments together probably, and fragments were extracted too, and lent for use eg. in the 1948 trial against Rauter, the trial against Gemmeker, and for use in the 60s dutch TV series ‘De bezetting’ (The Occupation) presented by Loe de Jong (journalist, historian, and RIOD director from 1945-1979). For conservation this ‘RIOD film’ went on loan in 1958 to the Filmmuseum (now EYE Film Museum), and in 1986 the footage went to the RVD.

The RVD did not receive all footage from the Filmmuseum – the fragments extracted by the RIOD for use in the trials and TV series were lacking and two reels just remained in the Filmmuseum vault.

Tracing extracted fragments , and the discovery of new images

Reel D1596 – The 1948 Dutch Polygoon cinema news extracts were not all assembled back in the Westerbork film reels – see the recent post 20190520 ~ Westerbork Film in ‘Proces Rauter’ 1948 at .
Also , not all footage given on loan for that ‘Polygoon news’ ended up in that news item. That ‘Polygoon’ footage copied onto 35 mm film – both the used and non-used fragments – were kept in the Dutch Filmmusuem on a so-called reel number D1596.

Research published in the 1997 Dutch book ‘Kamp Westerbork gefilmd’ by Koert Broersma and Gerard Rossing (editors Dirk Mulder and Ben Prinsen; ISBN 9023232658) – Reference 1 – traced the extracted film fragments, and further re-discovered film fragments with comparatively poorer quality on two reels – F1015 and F1014 :

Reel F1015 — F1015 (known till 1958 as reel 9a ; but actually the 10th reel of the Westerbork film) contains 9 scenes including 2 new scenes (not in the RVD Westerbork film): the religious service held March 5, 1944 in the Grote Zaal (Great Hall) and the scene of a woman on a ladder working on a signpost. This reel had remained in the Filmmuseum vault.

Reel F1014 seemed lost in the archives of the Filmmuseum and was denoted then ‘Afvalmateriaal/uitschot’ , that is ‘Trash’.

All footage is now kept at the Netherlands Institute of Image and Sound .

Below list of shots of the Westerbork Film (Ref. 2) :

Westerbork (Reel 1), ( 02-1167-01), 16 mm, mute, 21’05 “

– 1. Inbound transport from Amsterdam, March 1944: 1 min 37 sec.
– 2. Inbound transport from Vught, March 20, 1944: 2 min 09 sec.
– 3. Outbound transport to Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz, 19 May. 1944: 4 min 41 sec.
– 4. In and around the aircraft dismantling workshop, April / May 1944: 11 min 23 sec.

Westerbork (Reel 2), ( 02-1167-02), 16 mm, mute, 21’41 “

– 5. Disassembly of old batteries and manufacture of new batteries, April / May 1944: 1 min 22 sec.
– 6. Separation of different layers of aluminum foil, April / May 1944: 1 min 22 sec.
– 7. Clothing Company, April / May 1944: 2 min 51 sec.
– 8. Toy factory, April / May 1944: 3 min 28 sec.
– 9. Manufacture of furniture, April / May 1944: 2 min 14 sec.
– 10. Metalworker / Forge worker, April / May 1944, 2 min 47 sec.
– 11. Manufacture of brushes, April / May 1944: 43 sec.
– 12. Shoe repair, April / May 1944: 1 min 38 sec.
– 13. Manufacture of handbags, April / May 1944: 1 min 09 sec.
– 14. Manufacture of soles and gloves, April / May 1944: 33 sec.
– 15. Weaving and repairing stockings, April / May 1944: 1 min 25 sec.

Westerbork (Reel 3), ( 02-1167-03), 16 mm, mute, 18’03 “

– 16. Cufflinks Factory, April / May 1944: 1 min 16 sec.
– 17. Clothing, April / May 1944: 32 sec.
– 18. Laundry / ironing, April / May 1944: 1 min 18 sec.
– 19. Medical Laboratory, April / May 1944: 45 sec.
– 20. Dental Clinic, April / May 1944: 25 sec.
– 21. Unloading equipment for the construction of barracks / unloading trucks with bricks, April / May 1944: 1 min 33 sec.
– 22. Construction / installation of greenhouse and watering plants in greenhouse, April / May 1944: 1 min 46 sec.
– 23. By narrow gauge at Oranjekanaal / construction of jetty / unloading cargo ship with bricks / truck loading / return to camp, April / May 1944: 4 min 33 sec.
– 24. Visit to the farm, April / May 1944: 4 min 39 sec

Westerbork (Reel 4), ( 02-1167-04), 16 mm, mute, 21’30 “

– 25.Visit on the farm (continued), April / May 1944: 2 min 30 sec.
– 26. Return / visit agriculture / plowing and planting potatoes, April / May 1944: 4 min 20 sec.
– 27. Return to camp / unloading truck bricks, April / May 1944:
– 28. Construction of the purification plant, April / May 1944:
– 29. Slaughtering and harvesting trees near Assen, April / May 1944: 4 min 50 sec.
– 30. Religious Service in the Great Hall, March 5, 1944: 6 sec.
– 31. Football match at the venue, April / May 1944: 2 min 04 sec.
– 32. Female gymnastics, April / May 1944: 1 min.
– 33. Gala evening and cabaret Bunter Abend in the Great Hall, April / May 1944: 4 min 05 sec.

Rudolf Breslauer and family

Rudolf Breslauer (1904-1944) was in Westerbork for over two and a half years with his wife Bella Weismann, daughter Ursula, and sons Mischa and Stephan.
In Sep 1944 they were transported to Auschwitz via Theresiënstadt, and murdered in the gas chamber, except Ursula who survived the war and went to Israel in 1948, where she and her husband Chaim Moses set up their own company. Her name has since been Chanita Moses – she has children and many grandchildren.


1 ‘Kamp Westerbork gefilmd’ by Koert Broersma and Gerard Rossing (editors Dirk Mulder and Ben Prinsen; ISBN 9023232658
2. Gerard Rossing and Koert Boersma, Kamp Westerbork Gefilmd (1997), pp. 86-88.


‘Westerbork Film’ , montage of the Westerbork reels 1-4 (RVD cat.nrs. 02-1167-01, 02-1167-02, 02-1167-03, 02-1167-04 courtesy of Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid | OpenImages). Footage filmed by Rudolf Breslauer in 1944 , Camp Westerbork, Netherlands. Westerbork Film (20190605) Michel van der Burg | – CC BY 4.0 .


20190605 – Updates including the other footage and more information will follow in both this post and new posts on the site.