Auschwitz Challenge

STAGE 4 - AMSTERDAM II - Friends, brothers that life gives to you

Dear pilgrim:

We wake up in Amsterdam and will continue to enjoy Etty Hillesum. Today Etty will introduce us to her friends. She was very sociable and knew how to attract attention in social encounters. There was no shortage of guys who yearned for her and she liked this and spent her time thinking about the dresses to wear or how to treat this person or the other. Etty was just a normal young woman with whom any of us could identify, feeling what she felt, experiencing what she experienced; eventhough more than 100 years have passed.

Friendship was, without a doubt, something essential for her. Finding somebody who feels like you feel, experiences what you experience, and have the doubts you have. One day, she asked her friend Henny Tideman if she ever knelt to pray. Etty was very struck by the fact that Catholics used this body posture so unknown to the Jewish tradition. Her friend Klaas encourages her to flee or hide. Her friend Mechanicus in the Westerbork field was a continuous support, her friend Maria, Jopie…

 Teresa of Jesus spoke of the need for “strong friends of God” to be able to walk the path of life with Jesus. Anne Frank, co-star of this period and famous for her diaries written during the time she was in hiding with her family in this city of Amsterdam, also had her "best friend", Jacqueline. This friend was until recently unknown to us. But after many years she published a book in which she confesses: “It was not always easy to be Ana's best friend. She was demanding and often jealous… We had totally opposite characters. However, we were like kindred souls, there were no secrets between us and we tried to imitate each other (…) We went back from school together... We did our homework together. Anne was more studious, but I helped her with mathematics, a subject she was not very good at” Together they played table tennis. And they read the same books, especially the childhood adventures of the Dutch writer Cissy van Marxveldt. "We could identify with those girls who lived in a world of freedom and carefree (…) We had a good time. We were aware that we were living difficult times and could not imagine what would happen”.

Etty and Ana. Two girls who were not perfect but who left in their diaries a valuable testimony for the following generations: if the life of each and every human being is not valued in its deep dignity, Auschwitz will repeat itself over and over again time in every moment of history.

Let's live this journey with deep gratitude for the friendships we have had and have today, being aware that part of our identity is the result of these very special relationships. Let's walk through the streets of Amsterdam hand in hand with Etty, Ana and our friends.




We continue to enjoy this city in which Etty enjoyed very diverse friendships, among which her Catholic friend Henny Tideman stands out, with whom she shared her concerns and a notebook that they exchanged weekly and in which they wrote famous phrases from the authors they read.



Two youngsters from the diocese’s Youth Ministry delegation help us to understand a bit better the war conflict that defines Etty’s and her contemporaries’ writings.



Mamen tells us today how friendship was a decisive factor in Etty's spiritual journey. Diverse friends at different times of her life with whom she learned to share the truth she found within and lived by it.



The friend as the face of God.



Elena, a member of the Etty Hillesum Foundation and a Physical Education teacher among other occupations and passions, offers us a very suggestive approach to the person of Anne Frank.

06. Your concentration camp

Dedicate these thoughts from Anne Frank to "your concentration camp" today:

  • «How wonderful it is that no one has to wait a moment before starting to improve the world!».


  • « We are not allowed to have our own opinion. People want us to keep our mouths shut, but that doesn't stop you from having your own opinion. Everybody should be able to speak their mind ».


  • « Every person has something good within him. The thing is that you don't know how big it can be. When you can love, how much you can achieve!».


  • «It's hard in times like these to think of ideals, dreams, and hopes, only to be crushed by stark reality. It is a miracle that I do not abandon all my ideals. However, I hold on to them because I still believe, despite everything, that people are really good in their hearts.».


  • « What is done cannot be undone, but it can be prevented from happening again ».


  • « I don't think about misery but about beauty that still remains ».


  • « Who is happy will make others happy too ».

 07. Great enigma of Auschwitz Challenge

In each of the journeys we will offer you some clues so that at the end of the itinerary you can solve who is the mysterious character of this Auschwitz Challenge.

Today's clue is: The main character of the film from the previous journey’s clue, is a man whose remains lie in Israel


To move on to the next journey, your personal driver wants to know if you have made good use of what you have experienced today. Therefore, here is a short questionnaire to be able to buy your ticket to the following place.





  •  300 grs. cooked beef

  •  60 grs. of butter

  •  60 grs. Of flour

  •  Meat broth

  •  Salt

  •  Pepper

  •  Parsley

  •  Curry powder

  •  breadcrumbs

  •  Egg

  •  Olive oil


Since the meat is already cooked, we add it to a bowl along with a beaten egg and stir until a dough forms. Next, we add the flour slowly, sprinkling it while we continue to stir all the dough.

When we have the three ingredients mixed, heat the butter in a saucepan and add the curry powder, the parsley, the salt, the pepper (one teaspoon of each) and two thirds of a cup of meat broth. We bring it to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes. During cooking you will notice the smell it gives off, all that smell will give our bitterballen a very special and spicy flavor.

After two minutes, remove from the heat, wait for it to cool down a bit and add to the dough, stirring and mixing everything as best we can.

Once all the ingredients are perfectly mixed, we cover the bowl with plastic wrap and reserve it in the fridge for at least 8-12 hours, so that the ingredients come together.

When the dough is ready, we take the bowl out of the fridge and remove the film. Then we take portions of the dough and make round balls of about 4 or 5 centimeters, we dip them in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and reserve. When we have all of them made we heat a pan with plenty of oil and fry them a few at a time, of course this will depend on the pan we use, but try not to add many at the same time.

To serve the bitterballen they are usually placed on a plate together with a bowl with mustard.



READING: the pages that Anne Frank's father removed from her diary