Virry de Vries Robles

Virry as a young woman

The ring with the initials of the Canadian soldier

Virry de Vries Robles (1932) is a survivor of Transit Camp Westerbork. Virry, a Jewish girl, was imprisoned at Camp Westerbork starting late November 1943. Because of a coincidence she avoided being transported to Germany and stayed in the camp until it was liberated on April 12, 1945.

Virry particularly remembers one Canadian soldier, who visited her family regularly and taught her some English words. Virry was 12 years at the time and she remembers how much he liked her mom’s apple pies. She considered him a friend and made two rings out of “airplane glass” (plexiglass from fighter planes). One had a metal plate carrying her friend’s initials: S.R. The other ring, which she gave to the Canadian soldier, had her own initials: V.R.

Virry estimates S.R. was about 20 years old at the time and that he was in the Westerbork area for about two weeks.

Virry now is a volunteer at Remembrance Centre Camp Westerbork (a museum), where she tells visitors about her experiences in the camp. Earlier this year Virry donated the remaining ring to the museum.

When Virry mentioned how often she still thinks of him and how much she would like to know what became of him, museum staff decided to help her locate this man (or his family). Unfortunately, very little is known about him.

Since S.R. was in Westerbork for two weeks, it seems unlikely that he was with 8th Reconnaissance Regiment or the South Saskatchewan Regiment. The first moved on within an hour of liberating the Camp. The SSR had moved on by April 14.

Next, Capt Connolly 230 Det. C.A. took command (230 Detachment Civil Affairs). This makes it likely that S.R. was part of this unit.

If you have any information that can lead us to Virry’s Canadian friend, please contact me at


Geralde Reesor-Grooters