Title and statement of responsibility area
Louise Stein Sorensen fonds
General material designation
- Textual record
- Graphic material
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- Source of title proper: Source of supplied title proper is based on the provenance of the fonds.
Level of description
CA VHEC RA024
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Dates of creation area
[ca. 1921]-2019 (Creation)
- Louise Stein Sorensen
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Louise Stein Sorensen was born in Rotterdam on February 12, 1929 to Isidor Stein and Marianne (Jeanne) van Dam. Her sister, Eleonore, was born in 1923. Sorensen’s immediate family moved from Rotterdam to Amsterdam in 1936.
Sorensen’s father ran a fur coat factory; the business was appropriated in 1941. In June 1942, Sorensen’s family home and all its contents were confiscated by the Nazis. After their home was expropriated, the family was moved to Amsterdam and placed in what would become the Jewish ghetto. They were temporarily protected by an exemption list, which was cancelled in January 1943. After their exemption was cancelled the family went into hiding, with help from a non-Jewish relative in Hilversum who was able to help them attain forged identity cards and their first hiding addresses. At her first address, Sorensen used the false name Loes van Boven. She was separated from her parents and sister and moved from home to home around the Netherlands. Sorensen had help from members of the resistance.
Sorensen and her parents were reunited in the fall of 1943 and hidden by a farmworker and his wife in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. They stayed inside in an attic every day until mid-April 1945 when Canadian soldiers liberated the area. While Sorensen’s parents and sister survived, they later found out through the Red Cross that nearly all of their extended family had been murdered in Sobibor, Auschwitz and in Minsk and Transylvania.
Louise Stein Sorensen graduated from the University of Amsterdam with a degree in Social Psychology in 1956. She married Eigil (Ike) Kaergaard Sorensen in her home town in January 1959. Shortly thereafter, she moved to British Columbia with her husband, a Danish immigrant who already resided there. They had two sons and three grandsons. Sorensen has been an outreach speaker for the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre since 1985 and was a VHEC board member for ten years. Additionally, she was a member of the Gesher Project, a group of survivors and children of survivors who met regularly to create painting, writing and discussion about the Holocaust. Sorensen is a founding member of the VHEC’s child survivor group and a member of the board of the World Federation of Child Survivors of the Holocaust.
Records were in the custody of Louise Sorensen prior to their donation to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of textual records, graphic materials, and artefacts relating to Louise Sorensen’s life in the Netherlands, some of which was spent in hiding. Many of the items are wartime records, including photographs and negatives, correspondence, paper currency, drawings, notice of registration, official and forged identity cards, and ration cards. Additionally, the fonds contains copies of Sorensen’s great-uncle’s daughter’s, Ans’, testimonies; several English translations of items provided by Sorensen; and a 1947 second edition of Anne Frank’s Het Achterhuis, or The Diary of a Young Girl, also known as the Diary of Anne Frank. The fonds has been arranged by the archivist into the following six series: Personal records, Family records, Photographs, Correspondence, Currency and Publications and writings.
Numerous items in the fonds exhibit signs of aging, storage, and handling. This is evident through the visible effects of airborne, transferred, and intrinsic pollutants.
Immediate source of acquisition
Records were donated by Sorensen in 1999, 2004, 2014, and 2019.
Arrangement of the items into series provided by the archivist. Items within each series have been arranged chronologically by the archivist according to the date of creation of the original item. Fonds has been described to the item level. Fonds arranged and described in July 2019 by Ally Bebbling.
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Item list is available. https://collections.vhec.org/Detail/collections/634
Further accruals are expected.
Includes 1 photocopy of an original document sent from Sorensen’s Montessori school, 1 original report card from Sorensen’s 1942/1943 year at Montessori school, 3 freehand drawings done in pencil, 1 photocopy of a copy of an original document announcing the death of Sorensen’s great-grandfather, 1 notice of registration from the American Consulate in the Netherlands, 3 identification cards, 2 ration cards, 10 b&w negatives, 25 b&w photographs, 2 col. photographs, 3 postcards, 1 envelope, 5 letters, 10 emails, 1 photocopy of a hand drawn map and key identifying individuals in a photo of Sorensen’s Jewish Montessori Lyceum in Amsterdam, 3 pieces of paper currency, a machine printed copy of Carla Benninga’s memoir Adolescence Lost, recent personal writings by Sorensen on the subject of her family members, several translations provided by Sorensen, a couple copies of testimonies from Sorensen’s great-uncle’s daughter, and a second edition copy of Anne Frank’s Het Achterhuis.
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Dates of creation, revision and deletion
Fonds arranged and described in July 2019 by Ally Bebbling. Revised in August 2019 to incorporate feedback from Louise Stein Sorensen.
Language of description
Script of description
http://www.louisesteinsorensen.com/ http://www.louisesteinsorensen.com/2017/01/16/my-long-bio/ https://www.holocaustcenter.org/sorensen-louise-stein https://globalnews.ca/news/1111273/international-holocaust-remembrance-day-story-of-a-survivor-living-in-b-c/
Gesher project exhibition
Out of the Archives exhibit
Louise Sorensen testimony http://www.vhec.org/images/pdfs/Zachor_Winter2014.pdf