Nanne Zwiep- Died for speaking his mind.

It is very easy to judge in retrospect. It is true that the Dutch could have and should have done more for their Jewish neighbours. However when even speaking out about the Nazi regime could get you arrested and even killed, it is understandable that people were reluctant to act, To be honest I would have second thoughts .

Nanne Zwiep was a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in the town of Enschede. On Sunday 19 April 1942, during a sermon in church he spoke out against the Nazi regime and the persecution of Jews.

The following day he was arrested and after 5 months of interrogation in prison in Arnhem and Amersfoort he was transported to Dachau. On 24 November 1942, two months after his arrival at the camp, he died of exhaustion and malnutrition.

It had not been the 1st time he had spoke out against the Nazis . After an act of sabotage, the cutting of cables, the Nazis raided the town of Enschede on the night of 13/14 September 1941 where about 100 Jews were arrested as a retribution and were deported to Mauthausen, within a few weeks 64 of them were murdered.

Immediately after the raid the clergy of the churches in Enschede got together to voice their protest and demanded the release of the Jewish prisoners. Pastor Zwiep was sent as a representative of the clergy men to deliver the letter of protest in the Hague, to General Friedrich Christiansen. the supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht in the Netherlands. The protest was ignored.

After the death of Jewish Surgeon Julius van Dam in December 1941, Pastor Zwiep did not hold back his criticism about the Nazi regime in the Netherlands, he was convinced that the death of Surgeon Julius van Dam was caused by the terror committed to the Jews in the Netherlands.

His sermon on April 19,1942 must have been the last straw for the Nazi regime.

He died in Dachau on November 24,1942 because he voiced his opinion, not because he suggested to take up arms or endorses violent protests, no he only voiced his opinion and that was enough reason to be killed.

On May 1, 1945 the biggest scout group was named after Pastor Zwiep in his honour and to this day still carries his name.

Ending this blog with a quote by Pastor Zwiep.

“One conquers small things with humour and big things with faith”



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Never Again, 2 simple words often spoken. But are they ever thought about. There is a contradiction in the words.

Never as in not ever. Indicating that something will not happen anymore.

Again, as in a re-occurring act. Going for a walk again, or having something to eat again.

I am only mentioning these 2 words and I am breaking then down into  separate words just so we are focused a bit more when we utter them.

They are so often said without given a second thought that they really have become a slogan, and I am just as guilty in this as anyone else.

Never Again’ will mean nothing to Irene Rosita Cohen or indeed to her Brother,Levie Paul Cohen, her Mother Henderika Boena Cohen-de Beer. All 3 of them died on October 12,1942.They were murdered in Auschwitz that day. Irene was only aged 2,Levie Paul was aged 7 and Henderika was aged 31

Never Again’ will mean nothing to Irene’s Father Herbert Cohen either, he was murdered in Auschwitz on January 31,1943. He was aged 33.


A family who will never enjoy a holiday again.

A family who will never enjoy a birthday cake again.

A family who will never enjoy going to the cinema as a family again.

The Cohen family were from Enschede in the Netherlands, but this  was the fate for so many families all over Europe. Murdered because they were Jewish, that was it ,no other reason, no justification just because they were Jewish.

Let us all replace the slogan NEVER AGAIN, with actual action. Let us all make sure that this will never happen again or at least try to stop it. Rather then saying Never Again lets say. “It is my personal responsibility as a human being to make sure, hate does not win and this will not happen again.”

Lets call it out when we see it and lets not care if this calling out might seem ‘not political correct’ We are all human beings, that is all that matters.

I will NOT be silenced


I will not be silenced, no matter how often people try to silence me.

I will not be silenced despite the threats.

I will not be silenced although a small voice in my head sometimes says, “just give up”, but there is a louder voice screaming “No you fool, you have to keep going. You have a purpose so serve it. God gave you a talent so use it”

I will not be silenced because there are 1.5 million voices of Children pleading with me to tell their untold stories, To implant their names in people’s minds.

Children like Alex Weijel were born on 24 November 1939 in Enschede, the Netherlands. Killed a few weeks before his 3rd birthday on 12 October 1942 in Auschwitz.

Alex’s eyes look at me and in my head, I hear him say, “Do not forget me.”

How could I forget him if I had been born at that time it could have been me who was killed.

I will not be silent because of the screams of those who never even saw the light of day, because they were carried in a womb of a mother who was seen as an inconvenience and was shot, stabbed, gassed or worked to death.

I will not be silenced; I will NOT be silenced.

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