Broertje is verdwaald – English
'Little Brother got lost'

Scenario en regie
Bart Hölscher

Art directie animaties
Mandy Geuskens

Supervisie animaties
Willem Thijssen

Scenario animaties
Martijn Daamen

Animatie assistent
Marieke Middelkoop

Originele Muziek
Tim Verstegen

Zang ‘Durme Durme’
Nani Noam Vazana

Alex bakker

Maarten Schellekens
Pieter Verburg

Menno van den Berg

Additioneel geluid
Joost Faas

Tim Klok

Visuele effecten animaties
Patrick Klein Meuleman

Geluidsontwerp en mixage
Ranko Paukovic

Opnamen zang
Pieter Koster
Niels Koster

Frans Suijs

Pénélope Gratacos

Guus Veelen
Leerlingen MAMdt

Coach van de regisseur
Willem Thijssen

Script correcties
Luc Poinet

Ans Saes
Gerrie Janssen

Poster en titelontwerp
Patty Penders

Invision ondertiteling

W&B consultants, Marcel Willemsen

Mark van Seggelen

Ontwikkelaar educatieve content
Onderwijstuin – Wim Bielderman

Pré productie animaties
Nancy Fornoville

Martijn Daamen

Rob Hüskens

Eindredactie omroepen
Cécile Narinx en Rob Ritzen (L1)
Sarah van Langen (Omroep MAX)
Anke Battem (NPO)

Deze film kwam tot stand met steun van:
Provincie Limburg
Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie
VSB Fonds
Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Limburg
Regionale omroep L1
Omroep MAX

“Broertje (little brother) is always there. Every day.”

Broertje is Léon Wesly. A four-year-old Jewish boy who was murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in 1944. His sister Leonie (Leni) and her parents survive the war. After the war, twins Tova (Guusje) and Benoît were born in 1945. The Wesly family has been scarred by the trauma to this day. World War II may have passed almost eighty years, but the after-effects have far from left the Wesly sisters and brother. Indeed, Broertje and what happened to him still define their daily lives.

In ‘Little Brother got Lost’ we tell his story and how this now, eighty years later, still determines everything for his family on a daily basis. It is a film about the scars left by the Second World War, which are still tangible and visible.

In November 1943, Broertje went into hiding in Voerendaal, in the same family as his then 7-year-old sister Leni. A neighbor, who was a member of the NSB, betrayed Broertje in exchange for 25 guilders. Leni is not betrayed. Because of her blond hair and the story that she is an orphan from Rotterdam, no one suspects that she too is Jewish. But her 4-year-old brother is known in the village as a Jewish hider, and his black hair and dark eyes seem to confirm that. Men in black suits appear in their car and take Little Brother away. From the kitchen where she has been hiding, Lenie observes the whole scene. Now, 80 years later, she still regrets that she did nothing at the time. But then again, what could she have done….

After the war, father and mother Wesly want only one thing; to see their children again. But no one knows where they are.  Until one day the chaplain is at the front door. He announces that Broertje is lost and that Leni is waiting for them. Leni returns to her parental home in Maastricht, but there is no trace of her little Brother.

Shortly after the liberation, the Wesly family expands. Benoît and Tova were born, and Wesly told everyone that God had taken a son from him and given him two children in return. But despite the joy of the birth, sadness overpowers the loss of Broertje and the loss of all other family members. No grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt cousin or niece survived the persecution of the Jews. The atmosphere in the house is and remains oppressed. Broertje is nothing more than a picture on the wall with a few dried flowers around it. He, like the other family members, is never spoken about. And what Leni experienced while in hiding is never asked about either.

In the film, Leni tells the story of Broertje and how it affected her childhood and subsequent life. Always and everywhere, every day and still. Benoît is a very successful hotelier and businessman. He owes this to Broertje, his big brother whom he never knew, but misses so terribly throughout his life. His brother who motivated him to the limit because now he had to make it true for two. Tova doesn’t want to and can’t talk about Broertje. It hurts too much. At first, she doesn’t want to participate in the documentary either. Because she feels it’s important that his story be told, she eventually relents. As long as she never has to see the film.

None of the three of them has ever said goodbye to their brother. But they are willing to try. They seek each other out in the autumn of their lives to make a trip through South Limburg (Netherlands) together: past the parental home, the hiding place, and the little monuments and memorials erected for Broertje. It is not often that the three of them are together.  They are very different and have never been able to share their grief over Broertjes loss. It chafes when they are together. According to Benoît, they get along fine as long as they don’t talk to each other. Guilt, anger, powerlessness and sadness still fight for precedence when it comes to Broertje. And against their better judgment, all three still cherish hope; maybe one day Broertje will come back.

In the film ‘Little Brother got lost’ we tell his story and how this now, eighty years later, still determines everything for his family on a daily basis. A story about the scars left by World War II that are still tangible and visible. Broertjes story is told through hand-drawn 2D animations, which were like a dark fairy tale through the film.

Bart Hölscher 07.02.2024 | +31 6 53 21 81 10

Broertje is verdwaald is te zien op:

  • 15 februari 2024 22:15 op NPO2
  • 26-27-28 april 2024 regionale omroep L1

Enkele citaten van mensen die de film in preview hebben gezien

“Zeer indrukwekkende en aangrijpende film.”

 Lisa Linde Nieveld, Eye Film museum /


“Dieser Film erschlägt mich. Danke dafür.“

Klaus Stanjek, professor für Dokumentarregie Universität Postdam – Babelsberg (D)


“Een prachtige en waardevolle film.”

Albert Edelstein, voormalig directeur Joodse Omroep


“Bart heeft een Meesterwerk nagelaten dank daarvoor en een diepe buiging.”

Benoît Wesly, honorair-consul van Israël