The family Oestreicher
The family Oestreicher


The Drillingsberichte are a collection of letters in which the Jewish doctor Felix Oestreicher writes to his family from 1937 to 1943 about the ups and downs of his three daughters' lives. He writes about the development of his young 'triplets': the twins Helli and Maria (1936) and their sister Beate (1934). Felix calls the letters 'Drillingsberichte', because they are about his 'triplets' and about the upbringing (the 'drilling') of his children. The letters are intended to keep his large family, who are scattered across Europe, informed about the well-being of his wife Gerda, the children and 'omi', the grandmother of the three Felix sisters who lives with them.

The collection of letters gives an insight into how the Jewish family is faring in these troubled times, before and during the Second World War. The family moves from Karlsbad to the Netherlands and also within the Netherlands the family has to move several times. When the children were not allowed to go to school by the occupying forces' decree, Felix taught them at home. It is striking that the war is mentioned infrequently. The letters describe daily life in difficult times, but little is said about these uncertain times themselves. The parents seem to try to lead as normal a life as possible and prepare their children for the future. 

Teaching material

The teaching material of Drillingsberichte is only available in Dutch. It can be found here:

Read the teaching material


So far, hardly any research has been done on the 'Drillingsberichte'. This research project wants to bring the collection of letters to the attention of scholars. The letters contain a wealth of information and offer the possibility of studying them from different angles, especially historical, but also didactic or linguistic.

Digital collection

The Drillingsberichte can be found on the platform 'Special Collections' of the University Library Nijmegen. It concerns both scans of the original letters and the transcriptions. Also added to the collection are family pictures, drawings of the children and scientific publications by Felix Oestreicher. The material is an open source, searchable and downloadable.

Go to the digital collection


The Oestreicher family in Katwijk, the Netherlands (1940)
The Oestreicher family in Katwijk, the Netherlands (1940). From left to right: Lisbeth, Beate, Helli, Gerda, Maria and Felix.


Contact information