Edda van Heemstra aka Audrey Hepburn

Audrey

There is one myth about Audrey Hepburn I have to dispel, she was not British-Belgian. In Belgium as in many other European countries you don’t automatically obtain citizenship just because you’re born there. You get the nationality of your parents, usually the nationality of the Father or sometimes the Mother.

Audrey was born on May 4,1929 in Brussels to a British father and Dutch mother.Therefore she was half British and half Dutch.

She was born  Audrey Kathleen Ruston or Edda Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston.Her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston , was a British subject born in Auschitz, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. Her Mother was Baroness Ella van Heemstra, a Dutch noblewoman. Her parents got married in Indonesia which was a Dutch colony at the time.Shortly after they married they moved to Europe, initially London but then later to Brussels.

Audrey’s grandfather Aarnoud van Heemstra, was the governor of the Dutch colony of Suriname.

audrey's gran

She had 2 half siblings from an earlier marriage of her Mother.

The WWII years of Audrey Hepburn do proof that it didn’t matter how well connected you were, survival was not a certainty for anyone.

In the mid-1930s, Hepburn’s parents recruited and collected donations for the British Union of Fascists, and allegedly were great admirers of Adolf Hitler. In 1935 Audrey’s Father abandoned the family. Following that mother moved with Hepburn to her family’s estate in Arnhem. Audrey and her mother did briefly live in Kent in 1937 but moved back to the Netherlands after Britain had declared war to Germany, The Netherlands were a neutral country and had remained neutral during WWI. Audrey’ mother hoped this would be the case again this time.

After the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Audrey changed her name to Edda van Heemstra, because an “English-sounding” name could be potentially dangerous.

invasion

Her mother  had already introduced Audrey to ballet lessons while they were still in England. The German occupation took a hard toll on the young Audrey Hepburn, who used ballet as a form of  escapism from the harsh reality of war. She trained at the Arnhem conservatory with ballet professor Winja Marova and became her star pupil.

The reality of war hit even harder when her uncle, Otto van Limburg Stirum(the husband of her Mother’s sister Miesje) was killed by the Nazis as reprisal for an act of sabotage by the resistance movement;on August 15 1942, while he had not been involved in the act, he was targeted due to his family’s prominence in Dutch society.

otto

Stirum’s murder turned Audrey’s Mother away from Nazi ideology, to become an avid member of the Dutch Resistance.

Audrey once said in an interview after the war.

“We saw young men put against the wall and shot, and they’d close the street and then open it and you could pass by again… Don’t discount anything awful you hear or read about the Nazis. It’s worse than you could ever imagine”

In 1944, Hepburn met with Dr. Hendrik Visser ’t Hooft, a local physician, and Dutch Resistance leader. She became a volunteer for the Dutch Resistance, using her passion for dancing and talents for ballet by having secret shows to fund resistance groups.

She also worked as a courier.Many Dutch children were couriers because they were less likely to raise the suspicions of the Nazis.

Hepburn also witnessed the transportation of Dutch Jews to concentration camps, of which she later said:

“More than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him, and he stepped on the train. I was a child observing a child”

TRANSPORT

The situation turned dire for Audrey Hepburn. Living conditions grew very bad and Arnhem was subsequently heavily damaged during Operation Market Garden. During the Dutch famine that followed in the winter of 1944, the Germans blocked the resupply routes of the Dutch people’s already-limited food and fuel supplies as retaliation for railway strikes that were held to hinder.

Hepburn’s family had to do with flour out of tulip bulbs to bake cakes and biscuit as food. Audrey developed acute anæmia, respiratory problems and œdema due to malnutrition.This would affect her for the remainder of her life.

After the war, she read Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and felt greatly impacted by the book. Luca Dotti, Audrey Hepburn’s son, talked about his memories of her in an interview with People Magazine.

“My mother never accepted the simple fact that she got luckier than Anne, She possibly hated herself for that twist of fate.”

Maybe that’s why she turned down the chance to play the part of Anne Frank.

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Sources

Vintage News

IMDb

http://resources.huygens.knaw.nl/bwn1880-2000/lemmata/bwn5/heemstra

 

 

 

Greta Thunberg compared to Anne Frank

Greta

I just want to make this perfectly clear from the outset I have no issues with Greta Thunberg. I admire what she does and stands for, but I just don’t fully agree with her.

Today I questioned in a Facebook group if we should take her word as gospel.

To my shock I got a reply comparing her to Anne Frank. After Peta’s comparison of the killing of chickens to the Holocaust. I didn’t think anything else could surprise me.

Below are the comments and replies to that post.

John D- This sentence immediately disqualifies this opinion piece. “In sharp contrast to these climate realists, the climate alarmists have long admitted that they cannot defend their theory that humans are causing catastrophic global warming in public debate. ”

· Reply · 1h
Dirk de Klein
Dirk de Klein So we are disqualifying a report published in a reputable media outlet but are taking the words of a 16 year old as gospel?

· Reply · 1h
John D
John D Dirk de Klein First off you didn’t link to a report. So I am uncertain of what you are saying. And would you not believe the writings of Anne Frank? She was only 15

· Reply · 1h
Dirk de Klein
You can hardly compare a Holocaust victim with a privileged teenager. You have lost the argument there. Anne Frank wrote about her daily experience in an awful situation for fear of her life

· Reply · 1h
John D
John D- Dirk de Klein Yet you choose to believe one but not the other.

· Reply · 1h
Dirk de Klein
As I said once you compare a Holocaust victim who died in horrible circumstances to a privileged teenager you lost the argument and in fact it is a bit sick

· Reply · 43m
John D
Dirk de Klein Sorry Dirk but that is intact the argument of someone who lost the argument overall. You keep referring to her as a “Privileged Teenager”. Why? Because she doesn’t hold your same viewpoint? Sounds like you are the privileged one.
To quote the person you are speaking of: “You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before,”
Dirk de Klein
Greta her mother is Swedish opera singer Malena Ernman and her father is actor Svante Thunberg, Her grandfather is actor and director Olof Thunberg. Anne Frank who was basically a refugee died a horrible death in Belsen Bergen, together with her sister. And you are comparing these 2 girls as if they were equals.
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anne frank

Jules Frank- Murdered in Sobibor.

Jules Frank

Like Anne Frank, Jules also kept a diary but his was never published. It is on display in a museum in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

On April 15th,1943  Jules and his wife Flora Frank-van Beek picked up their suitcases and left for Amsterdam at 9.00 AM. Not out of free will but they were forced to go.

The day before they left ,Jules wrote one more entry in his diary it said:

“Will we ever return to our blessed and beloved Fatherland where we received so much love and good, God will give it”

He knew he was Jewish and was proud to be Jewish, but he also felt Dutch and was a great admirer of the Royal family. He collected a lot of things related to the house of Orange.

Jules and his wife never returned. So many of their neighbors had offered help,and shelter. They could have found hiding places and would have been safe, maybe even until after the war. But Jules did want to be a bother to anyone and remained in his own house.

 

A home where he would dink a cup of tea with his neighbors when they came to visit. But on the 14th of April 1943 on their 28th wedding anniversary Jules and Flora were told they had to report to the Authorities in Amsterdam.

Exactly one month later both of them were murdered in Sobibor. A Butcher  and his wife who for some reason had become a threat to society. I say some reason, but there really wasn’t one. They were Jewish and due to  a sick and twisted ideology what deemed them unworthy of life, they died.

A teacup and a saucer is still there as a reminder that Jules Frank and his wife once lived.

Cup of tea

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

En toen nu

Joods Monument

 

 

Heinz Rühmann-Hero or Villain?

Heinz

Heinz Rühmann-Hero or Villain? The honest answer is I don’t know but I expect the answer is somewhere in the middle, he was neither a hero or a villain or he was a bit of both.

For anyone living in an English speaking country or who grew up outside of Europe, the name Heinz Rühmann will mean virtually nothing. But for those who grew up in Europe and especially in Germany,Austria,Switzerland,the Netherlands or other central and eastern European countries the name will be synonymous with German cinema.

He was born on March 7, 1902 in Essen in Germany and  appeared in over a 100 movies between 1926 and 1993.

During the Nazi era he starred in 37 movies and directed 4. Most of the German movies in that era were heavily themed with Nazi propaganda. Although Rühmann was apolitical because of his work he was directly associated to the Nazi regime.

director

The majority of his movies during the Third reich were lighthearted comedies, meant to keep up the morale of the German people.

However he had the ‘honor’ to make a short film on the occasion of Joseph Goebbels’s birthday, in which he portrayed the minister’s children and his wife Magda Goebbels.

Goebbels

In August 1924 he married Maria Bernheim, who was Jewish. In 1938 he divorced. Maria  married the Swedish actor Rolf von Nauckhoff shortly afterwards, as a result she  got by a departure permission to Sweden. She survived World War 2

The divorce caused Rühmann to be accused of w opportunism for wanting to secure his career. However the marriage had already been a bit shaky , and some people say that he wanted to protect his wife by divorcing her.Even after the divorce and despite his ex wife being married again, he still supported Maria financially.

Rühmann remarried on July 1 ,1939, he married the actress Hertha Feiler whose Grandfather was Jewish. Therefore she  considered to be one fourth Jewish  and was only able to work with a special permission, despite that  she and Heinz Rühmann were presented in the press as a model married couple.

Hertha

In 1944, the premiere of “Die Feuerzangenbowle” was banned by the Nazi film censor for “disrespect for authority”. Because of his good relationships with the regime, however, Rühmann was allowed to screen the film in public. He brought the film to the  Wolfsschanze for a private screening for Hermann Göring and others. Göring enjoyed the movie and was able to get the ban on the film lifted by Adolf Hitler.

One of Heinz Rühmann’s  biggest fans was Anne Frank,. She even posted a  picture of him above her bed in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam, where it can still be seen today.

In May 1945 Heinz Rühmann was  forced to witness the rape of his wife Hertha  by Russian soldiers in their Berlin villa.

After the war he had difficulties resuming his work, partially because he was confronted with a working prohibition by the Allies. However  by the mid 50s, the former comedic actor had established himself again as a star, only this time as Germany’s leading character actor. His last movie was Wim Wenders’s “Faraway, So Close!” from 1993.

He died in 1994, aged 92.

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Sources

IMDB

Der Spiegel

ZDF

 

Hermine Santruschitz aka Miep Gies

Miep

The name Hermine Santruschitz will mean very little to most, however the name Miep Gies is a well known name, a name which would forever be linked to a teenage diarist called Anne Frank.

Miep Gies born  Hermine Santruschitz would have celebrated her 110th birthday today, she did not get that old but she still reached the age of 100.

She was born in Vienna on February 15,1909.Her parents Mathias and Genofeva (née Jakuschitz) Santruschitz sent her to Leiden in the Netherlands in 1920. Austria was stil suffering the consequences of World War 1, there were a lot of shortages including food.

The Netherlands had remained neutral during WWI and was reasonably affluent. Hermine was sent to The Nieuwenburg family, consisting of 2 parents and 5 children. The The Nieuwenburg family initially agreed to take Hermine in foster care for 6 months, but due to bad health this was extended to one year. In that time Hermine got very attached to the family and the decision was made for Hermine to remain with the family. They called her by the shortened version of her name Miep.

In 1922 Miep moved with her foster family to Amsterdam.Miep was a bright student and after  graduating high school she got a job as an accountant.

In 1933, Otto Frank had been appointed Managing Director of Opekta, a German company which had expanded into the Netherlands.

Jam

In need of a secretary the Dutch branch, headed by Otto Frank hired Miep in 1933.

In 1933 Miep gad also met Jan Gies but due the fact that Jan had to go into the Dutch Social Services, the couple didn’t meet socially again until 1936.

Jan and Miep became close friends yo the Frank family. Shortly after the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, Miep was urged to  to join a Nazi women’s group. But she refused to do so, because of this threatened with deportation back to Vienna. Jan and Miep decided to get married, this would secure Miep’s residence in the Netherlands. They got married  in Amsterdam on 16 July 1941, The Frank family was in attendance at the wedding.

Frank

Less than a year later the lives of both the Frank and the Gies family would change forever. All of them faced death , the Frank’s simply because they were Jewish, Miep en Jan Gies for helping the Frank , the Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer , hide.

The fate of all those hiding in that little secret annex in an office in Amsterdam is well documented

Miep died on January 11,2010 aged 100.

An unassuming, immigrant foster child who became an icon for heroism.

 

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The last single Journey: Westerbork-Auschwitz

Sign

One of the cruel jokes the Nazis played on their victims was giving them hope. Like a railway sign indicating a return journey that was never to be. Only empty trains returned ready to pick up more victims like lambs led to the slaughter.

Trein

On September 3,1944 the last transport by train from Westerbork Transit Camp to Auschwitz took place.

Westerbork

Between July 15 ,1942 and September 13,1944 a total of 99 trains had left Westerbork for either Auschwitz,Sobibor,Theresienstadt and Bergen Belsen.

On the September 3rd transport 1019 victims were transported to Auschwitz. A journey which would take 3 days. Even before they reached Auschwitz they endured hell, because they were cramped in cattle cars, quite literally like cattle. There were no toilets, barely any food or water, nowhere to sleep. Some would die even before they reached their final destination.

What makes this transport special is because of one family, A Father,mother and 2 daugthers, only the father would eventually survive. This family was the Frank Family.

scheule

Anne and Margot Frank had one more journey to make on 28 October they were selected to be transported to Bergen-Belsen, where both girls died. Otto and Edith Frank remained in Auschwitz but Edith eventually died of starvation in January 1945.

Frank Family

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Anne Frank-Before she was a victim, she was a child.

anne 1

I know that some people will disagree with the description of victim, but unfortunately Anne Frank did die as a result of the Holocaust which does make her a victim. But before that she was also a child.

This blog contains pictures to remind us of the fact that she had been a child, who lived a tragic short life.

anne 2

anne 3

anne 4

anne 5

Source

Pinterest

The lonely journey of Otto Frank on the Monowai steamship.

Monowai

I am a father of 3 children and every time they leave the house a million scenarios go through my head of things that could happen to them, but I am not unique in this for it  is what fathers and mothers do, they worry for their kids.

Otto Frank was a father and a husband to 2 beautiful daughters and a remarkable wife, I just can’t fathom the anxiety he must have felt on the 4th of August 1944, when the Gestapo raided the annex of the building, Otto and his family had been hiding in since July 6 1942.

annex

The uncertainty of the fate of his family must have driven him to the brink of insanity.

On the 22nd of  April 1945, a few weeks before the end of the war in Europe, the Monowai,flying the New Zealand flag,  set sail from England for Odessa on the Black Sea.it was carrying 1600 Soviets who had been captured serving with the Germans in France. The Manowai then embarked Jewish Holocaust survivors from Western Europe, on of them was Otto Frank – who had been liberated from the Auschwitz death camp on January 27th 1945. by the Soviet army. On 21 May the ship traveled with the Jewish survivors   from Odessa to Marseille, where it arrived on the 27th of May.

Marseille

While aboard the Monowai, Otto Frank wrote the following letter:

“The closer we get to home the greater our impatience to hear from our loved ones. Everything that’s happened the past few years! Until our arrest I don’t know exactly what caused it, even now, at least we still had contact with each other. I don’t know what’s happened since then. Kugler and Kleiman and especially Miep and her husband and Bep Voskuil provided us with everything for two whole years, with incomparable devotion and sacrifice and despite all danger.

I can’t even begin to describe it. How will I ever begin to repay everything they did. But what has happened since then? To them, to you to Robert (His brother). Are you in touch with Julius and Walter? (Edith’s brothers) All our possessions are gone. There won’t be a pin left, the Germans stole everything. Not a photo, letter or document remains. Financially we were fine in the past few years, I earned good money and saved it. Now it’s all gone. But I don’t think about any of that. We have lived through too much to worry about that kind of thing. Only the children matter, the children. I hope to get news from you immediately. Maybe you’ve already heard news about the girls”

By this time Otto had discovered that his wife, Edith, had died at Auschwitz

This letter broke my heart. We know so much about Anne through her diary and also but to a lesser extend about Margot, but none of us can ever imagine the pain Otto felt when he heard the news about his daughters.

Frank

The sad thing is that Anne Frank’s diary did not have to be published if the US had not cancelled the Frank’s visa in December 1941, just after Germany had declared war to the US.  I am not accusing the US government but it is sad nonetheless.

The even sadder thing is that Otto Frank was accused of tempering with Anne’s diary. I really don’t understand the mindset of people like that. accusing a man who lost everything. To me he is a hero who despite everything kept his sanity and ensured that the story of his daughter and the rest of his family would be told.

Otto Frank died of lung cancer on 19 August 1980 in Basel.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Source

New Zealand History

Wikipedia

 

The other side of Anne Frank

AFS_A_AFrank_III_027_041

We all know the story of Anne Frank, well at least we think we do. But Anne Frank wasn’t only a girl who wrote a diary, she was also still a child and I think this is often forgotten. It’s probably because of her mature attitude but at the end of the day she was only a  child whose live was cut short and who was never got the opportunity  to fulfill her dreams.

Her last years she had to spend in hiding where he peers could go out for a picnic in’Vondelpark’ on a spring day or to the beach on a sunny day or put on ice skates in the winter when the canals were frozen and buy some goodies at the ‘koek en zopie’ stall- a stall where they sold cookies and hot chocolate milk or soup- for the young skaters.

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She was denied finishing school and going to college. When we just keep in mind that she wasn’t only a teenage diarist but also just a child we’ll realize how deep the drama really was. It was a child who was murdered.

Below are some pictures of the child Anne Frank

Anne Frank on her first day at school in Frankfurt, 1932.

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Anne Frank and 2 of her friends

 

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Anne Frank the writer

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The Brigitte Eicke Diary-A parallel universe

image-498827-860_poster_16x9-qeuq-498827

This blog is not meant as an accusation it is merely meant to illustrate the differences of teenage life between German teenagers and the lives of teenagers who were considered sub human by the Nazi regime. the best way to describe it is a parallel universe.

Brigitte Eicke’s teenager account of life in wartime Germany illustrates  a complete different  perspective on the Nazi years.(shown on the right in the picture below)

BrigitteEicke(RGB)

In  many ways Brigitte was just a typical teenage girl, obsessed with her friends, first kisses with boys and trips to the cinema.

However  as a  resident of Berlin  in the pre-WWII and WWII years , Brigitte was a first-hand witness to one of the most turbulent chapters of modern history and crucially, at the age of 15, she began keeping a diary.

Below are some excerpts of her diary.

‘There were some Jewish girls in my first ever class photograph, taken in 1933, but by the time the next was taken, they were all gone. When I asked my mother about them, she said they had moved to Palestine.’

May 11th , 1944

“Went in BDM (Nazi girl guide) uniform to the Admirals palast to see Madame Butterfly. It was wonderful, my first opera”

February, 27, 1943

‘Waltraud and I went to the opera to see “The Four Ruffians.” I had a ticket for Gitti Seifert too. What a load of nonsense, it was ridiculous.

‘We walked back to Wittenbergplatz and got on the underground train at Alexanderplatz. Three soldiers started talking to us. Gitti is so silly, she went all silent when they spoke to her. The least one can do is answer, even though we weren’t going to go anywhere with them.

‘Jews all over town are being taken away, including the tailor across the road.’

1 February 1944

“The school had been bombed when we arrived this morning. Waltraud, Melitta and I went back to Gisela’s and danced to gramophone records.”

2 March 1945

“Margot and I went to the Admiralspalast cinema to see ‘Meine Herren Söhne.’ It was such a lovely film but there was a power cut in the middle of it. How annoying!”

68F2D56783494B539C856A9CF3095C09_07597

November 1944

She writes that she has just been given a “disastrous” perm by her hairdresser and is worried about going to work “looking a fright”.

A different perspective

July 20th, 1944

Brigitte Eicke: “Sunned myself on the roof. Failed assassination on the Führer. In the night we heard the speeches of the Führer, Dönitz and Göring. Wonderful.”

Anne Frank: “Great news! There was an assassination attempt on Hitler … Sadly, ‘divine providence’ saved the Führer’s life and he survived with a few grazes and scorch wounds.

August 1st, 1944

Brigitte Eicke: “It rained all day. We had a nap in the afternoon and were in bed already by 10. It’s a shame, such a waste of a lost evening.”

Anne Frank: “Dear Kitty! … I’ve often told you that my soul is divided in two. One side contains my boisterous happiness … (and) squeezes out the other, much nicer, side that is more pure and deep. Nobody knows the nice side of Anne…” [Anne’s final diary entry]

2 May 1945

Brigitte Eicke: “At 3am Frau Schöbs came into the cellar and said: the Führer is dead, the war is over. I could only let out a scream… we went on to the street and all the soldiers were withdrawing, it is so sad.”

RtWopah

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

Irish Times

Der Spiegel