Today is the morning after Remembrance Day, the end of the week of disasters and of crying my eyes out–a Saturday. Even the heavens are soaking us with an intense downpour in this early hour, the light diffuse and the sound of water on metal roof trying to wash all sadness out of our system.
I cried for all those hit hard by the choice of half of the electorate for leading our neighbouring nation, the elected man who loudly announces his Hitleresque thoughts on anyone different from him. The future looks bleak for them and us. Will we face a repeat of history that I barely escaped then? The echo of war, not so long ago, reverberates.
The memories are still there, laid down in documents and drawings of resistance during 1940-1945.
At The Source Of Resistance, The struggle of the town of Ommen against the German occupation 1940-1945. Drawings by Jef Last, editor.
I cried for my father, for my ignorance all those years of who he was, for his life and his troubles from five imminently important years, none of which his children knew. Only when children wish to know–after our fathers are long gone–can we face up to the truth. I wished I had known then, but our parents didn’t speak about their fear, hurt and failure. He is the one with the pipe.
Seventy years passed and truth looks different now, anger and hurt has shifted; survivors pain and guilt died with the dead. All suffered under Hitler, some more so than others, each survivor finding a way for dealing with their realities in an infinite number of ways, from bad to good and everything in between.
Below a sheet of food vouchers from the distribution services, necessary to ensure that every family got at least some food, as long as stocks lasted. Aardappelen-potatoes, Algemeen–general, Boter–butter, Melk–milk.
I cried for my lost generation, turning from dreamy and ignorant love children to desperately holding on to what they amassed. I cried for our poet with the heartbreaking voice singing goodbye so eloquently for the last years, warning us it will all come to this. I cried for my youth that has unavoidably died with his death.
Grieving, the pain of necessary healing, something we would like to avoid. Nevertheless, we need to feel it, just to become and stay human–complete.
My wish for the coming year is not to escape, but to use all emotions involved in that process, identify them, and then to hold on to strength, to become stronger, so we can stay human and truthful.
This statue in Amsterdam of the Dock worker was erected in remembrance of the wildcat strike of the workers in February 1941 against the treatment of our Jewish Dutch by the German occupational authority. The strike started in the docks of Amsterdam and was instigated by local communist leaders. The Dutch government had already prohibited the Communist Party before the German invasion, because of the party’s criticism on the government that was interpreted as anti-Dutch and a threat to the stability of the country!
The real danger was not the Dutch communist party, but the neighbouring nation and its Nazi leader who already loudly announced his plans then to have an army and fight for its right, making the nation great again, planning to overrun the continent.
Lest we forget…..