Like hunted game
Thea and Wolfgang knew each other from the Jewish youth club in Winterswijk. Wolfgang fled from Germany to the Netherlands when Hitler came to power. Thea was born in Winterswijk and lived with her family above her parents’ clothing store. When Thea and Wolfgang had been dating for a year, Wolfgang made a nice report for her.
Quote from Thea’s diary, March 1942:
Wolfgang brought me some goodies again, such a sweetheart.
On 7 March, we were in a relationship for a year and I hope it will have a happy end, ending up together in Brazil.
In the autumn of 1942, Thea went into hiding in Friesland, she was 21 years old. Wolfgang goes into hiding a few months later, he gets a hiding place somewhere in Rotterdam. Thea is having a hard time in hiding, she is depressed and she misses Wolfgang terribly.
Quote from Thea’s diary, 10 October 1942:
Sometimes one thinks: “Why am I still alive and how is it that I still exist”.
Mommy, daddy and Lies have all been picked up and gone, who knows whereto.
Will I ever see them again and where is my sweetheart right now?
Oh, let everything work out fine.
What a misery, we are all separated, like hunted game, no peace anywhere.
Danger everywhere, threatened.
How can all this ever work out fine.
She regularly changed hiding places. On 7 December, Thea got an opportunity to go to Wolfgang and she grasped it with both hands. The reunion was great. They were only together for a few days.
Quote from Thea’s diary, 6 December 1943:
Finally in Rotterdam in the tram, a short walk and then, oh it’s impossible to express what it’s like when you haven’t seen your sweetheart for a while.
He was greatly surprised.
But I will never forget that first kiss from him.
Oh you can’t imagine how happy I was.
And then that night that he came to me. I don’t know how to write it.
But to know that he is everything for me, to know that he does everything for me, completely protects you, you can completely be yourself with him.
Oh, it is beautiful, indescribable how!
Thea’s diary ends 10 December. Thea and Wolfgang were probably betrayed. She arrived with Wolfgang on 16 December 1943 in Westerbork and was murdered on 25 January 1944 in Auschwitz. Wolfgang was murdered on 21 January 1945, somewhere in central Europe.
Theodora Josephina Windmuller reached the age of 22
Born: 17 May 1921, Winterswijk
Murdered: 28 January 1944, Auschwitz
Wolfgang Maas reached the age of 24
Born: 20 February 1920, Buer, Germany
Murdered: 21 January 1945, central Europe
Thea’s diary runs from 20 March 1939 to 10 December 1943. After the war, the diary was returned to the family, as well as 60 letters from Wolfgang to Thea. Thea’s parents, Jozeph and Rika Windmuller, as well as her oldest sister Lies were all murdered in Auschwitz on 19 October 1942. Two of Thea’s sisters, Martha and Betty, survived the war. Wolfgang’s parents fled to Brazil in the late 1930s and also survived the war.
Source: Testimonial Wolfgang Maas, Mirjam Schwarz, Synagogue Winterswijk