This afternoon my relatives took me to a former family home in Terborg, in the one-time municipality of Wisch which is now known as Oude IJsselstreek (literally, ‘old IJssel region’). From Eibergen, Terborg is a 35-minute drive to the south-west.
My Dutch cousin’s grandparents lived at Terborg for more than 60 years, and my cousin has fond memories of visiting their home as a child and teenager.
Immediately after the end of WW2, my father sought out surviving relatives and, seemingly not finding any, decided to make a new life by signing up for the Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger, or KNIL (Royal Netherlands East Indies Army). Somehow my father did not realise that one of his father’s brothers had managed to see out WW2 while living at Terborg.
From Terborg we travelled to ‘s-Heerenberg, a Dutch town of about 8,000 people on the Dutch-German border, about 12 km south of Doetinchem.
‘s-Heerenberg is the location of one of the most important castles in all of The Netherlands – the Kasteel Huis Bergh (Bergh House Castle). It was built for the counts of Bergh, starting in the year 1250. Some parts of the Castle date from the 14th, 15th and 17th centuries.
The Castle and all its belongings were acquired in 1912 by Dr Jan Herman van Heek (1873-1957), a textile industrialist from Enschede and a significant collector of artworks and historical artefacts.
There are important early Italian paintings on display including a very special panel – depicting the angel Gabriel – by the world famous Duccio di Buoninsegna circa 1255-1319, who is generally known as Maestà. There are also works from the 15th century Hieronymus Bosch school, including The Marriage Feast at Cana.
The Castle also houses an exceptional collection of medieval manuscripts which Dr van Heek procured when he acquired the entire Friedrich Wilhelm Mengelberg Collection in 1919 after the death of the German-Dutch sculptor, architect of church interiors, and art collector.
The Castle is enclosed by an embankment which gives access to wooded grounds called De Plantage (plantation). These grounds were laid out in the 18th century. The embankment used to have an inner and an outer moat.
I felt a connection here at Kasteel Huis Bergh. The Castle’s modern-day owner, the van Heek family, has for generations owned Het Assinkbos, a 66ha section of forest south of Haaksbergen where 22 members and friends of my family attempted to hide in a secret underground dug-out in 1942. They were betrayed, captured, deported and soon died.
While I was in The Netherlands in October 2017 Mr Bernard Rouffaer, a member of the van Heek family, generously hosted a commemorative event at the place in the Assinkbos where the hide-out was made. For more information, visit https://www.tubantia.nl/achterhoek/nazaten-joodse-onderduiker-bezoeken-plek-verraden-schuilplaats-bij-eibergen~a5e7634b/.
My family was similarly honoured when Mr Rouffaer attended the stolpersteine (‘stumbling stones’) laying ceremony in Eibergen earlier today.
The house in Terborg where my relatives lived for more than 60 years, including during WW2
Another image of my relatives’ house
The entrance gateway to Kasteel Huis Bergh (Bergh House Castle)
The main part of the castle
The keep of the castle
Another perspective of the castle keep
Yet another perspective of the castle keep
Part of the castle keep and its coach-house
Looking north from atop the castle keep over De Plantage (planted woods) – at position 10 o’clock and 2.8km ahead is Hulzenberg (Germany); at position 11 o’clock and 2km ahead is Stokkum (Netherlands); at position 12 o’clock and 5.5km ahead is Hettenheuvel (Netherlands); at position 1 o’clock and 3.5km ahead is Zeddam (Netherlands); and at position 2 o’clock and 2km ahead is Galgenberg (Gallows Hill) in Germany
Looking in another direction from the top of the castle keep
Looking east from atop the castle keep – at position 10:30 o’clock and 4.5km ahead is Azewijn (Netherlands); at position 11:30 o’clock and 8.5km ahead is Ulft (Netherlands); at position 12:30 o’clock and 10km ahead is Huis Landfort (Netherlands); and at position 1:30 o’clock and 11.5km ahead is Schloβ Anholt (Germany)
The façade of the castle’s coach-house, which is adorned with ornate cast iron letters similar to those on the façade of the castle itself – the initials on the coach-house were installed after the death of Count Herman Graf Zu Dem Bergh Maria Markgravin Von Bergen (Op Zoom) and they represent the count’s widow Maria Gräfin Zu Dem Berg Markgravin Zu Bergen Op Zoom
A three-part painted altar panel depicting the birth of Jesus
A close-up of the same work of art
Panel depicting The Kneeling Canon, painted in 1460 in the southern low countries, by the school of the Master of Aix, France
Two panels depicting a double portrait, painted circa 1520, German artist unknown. The portrayed figures have a strong similarity, in attitude as well as in clothing, with Jan van Eyck’s portrait of the Arnolfini’s, now in the London National Gallery. They are both dressed in a fur-lined coat. The woman is wearing a hat in a style that was fashionable around 1500. In her right hand she keeps a collar with heavy beads, that at the time would be seen as an engagement present, given to her by her husband-to-be. The fashion of the time prescribed dresses with wide and deep pleats, thus simulating the effect of a pregnancy.
Another three-part painted altar panel depicting the birth of Jesus
Panel depicting St Gertrude (626-659), the daughter of Pepijn II of Landen, painted between 1450 and 1500, Rhine artist unknown
Panel depicting The Flogging of Christ, painted at the end of the 15th century, German artist unknown
Panel depicting Worship by the Kings, painted circa 1500 and 1530, German artist unknown
Panel depicting Worship by one of the Three Kings, painted circa 1480 and 1500, southern German artist unknown
Panel depicting The Visitation, painted circa 1480 and 1500, artist unknown
Two altar wings, circa 1380 to 1400, artist unknown – the wing on the left depicts The Escape to Egypt, the wing on the right depicts Mary Expecting a Child
Porcelain statue, possibly of Jesus
Panel depicting The Unjust Judgment of Christ, painted in 1562, southern German artist unknown – on the left stands Pontius Pilate washing his hands of guilt; below right is Jesus with the crown of thorns on his head; in the centre are people, including a pope, making accusations against Jesus – their opinions are written on tile panels above their heads. The representation is based on documents from Jesus’ time found in the 16th century in Vienne (France) and Aquila (Italy). The documents later turned out to be false.
A medieval manuscript from the Friedrich Wilhelm Mengelberg Collection – this describes the story of John the Baptist who can be recognised by his special clothing – a cloak like a simple cloth with fur inside, described in the Bible as’ a rough cloak of camel hair with a leather belt’. He is barefoot. He carries the Lamb of God on his arm, which he attributed to Jesus as the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world
Another medieval manuscript from the Friedrich Wilhelm Mengelberg Collection – this describes the story of Paul who had to pay for his passionate preaching of the gospel with death – in Rome he was beheaded with a sword
A wooden carving depicts religious figurines
The office of Dr Jan Herman van Heek who acquired Kasteel Huis Bergh in 1912
Panel depicting St Bernardinus of Siena, painted in 1481 by Vittore Crivelli (circa 1440-1501) of Venice, Italy
Panel depicting St Antonius of Padua, painted in 1481 by Vittore Crivelli (circa 1440-1501) of Venice, Italy
Panel by Neri di Bicci (1419-1491) of Florence, Italy – he was a prolific painter of mainly religious themes using tempera, a permanent fast-drying painting medium consisting of coloured pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder, usually egg yolk – in the 1500s, this medium was supplanted by the discovery of oil painting
Oak statue of Mary with Child, made by a sculptor from Utrecht, from the early 16th century. Statues like this used to hang high in the middle of a church, in front of the choir, and are referred to as Marianum – being a sculpture of Mary consisting of two backs placed against each other, often surrounded by a garland of rays, and sometimes flowers in the form of a rosary. Mary usually stands on a crescent moon and a dragon. This image comes from the Revelation book in the Bible, chapter 12 verse 1-6. The child has a dove in its hand, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. This statue was originally surrounded by golden rays; the holes are still visible on the side of the statue.
Willem I van Oranje (William I of Orange), painted in 1555 by Anthonis Mor, also known as Anton Mor van Dashorst (1519-1577), a Dutch portrait painter much sought after by the courts of Europe
Inside the castle keep is a varied collection of arms. Here is a chest made for cannon balls – it dates from 1700 and is a wrought iron masterpiece. It was an exam piece for its maker to demonstrate he could transition from apprentice to master. It has 16 locks and is beautifully adorned – on both the inside and outside
Halberds, lances, rapiers and two bidehänder swords which are so large they had to be wielded with both hands
There are also three incomplete armours, some shown here, used by knights
Chain mail and other parts from the Persian suit of armour
Cannon balls of varying size
More parts from the armours
Ciborium from the time of the Bergh counts Oswald I (1442-1506), Oswald II (1508-1546) or Oswald III (1646-1712) – a ciborium is a silver or brass cup-shaped vessel designed to hold Eucharistic hosts, and is the counterpart of a chalice used to hold Eucharistic wine
The main part of Kasteel Huis Bergh (Bergh House Castle) – the façade is adorned with ornate cast iron letters from the alphabet – they are the initials of the count of Bergh who resided in the castle at the beginning of the 17th century. They read: H, G, Z, D, B, M, M, V, B (O Z) and they represent Herman Graf Zu Dem Bergh Maria Markgravin Von Bergen (Op Zoom)
A photograph of the van Heek family, dated 1930 – in the centre row are Anna van Heek-van Wulfften Palthe (1892-1977) and her husband Jan van Heek (1873-1957), third son of dynasty founder Gerrit Jan van Heek. Anna and Jan had three sons and three daughters – Maria Aurelia Christine (1914-1999) at back left; Christine Frederike Louise known as Loekie (1915-2000) at centre back; Anna (1917-2001) at back right; Jan Herman Alexander (1920-2004) at front left; Goderd (1923-) at front right; and Arnold Albert Willem (1927-) in Anna’s lap
Our walking route at the castle