The Event That Changed My Life, Even Before I Was Born

The 12th of May 1942 is the date that changed my life. I know that some of you will find that an odd statement because it is 26 years before I was born.
Yet it is a true statement.

May 12, 1942, was the date that my paternal Grandfather died at the hand of the German occupiers, either by execution or suicide. I don’t know how he died, most of my life I presumed he was executed because that is the story I was told. However I have changed my view on that, I now believe that he committed suicide.

On May 12, 1942, there was a notification in the newspaper, Het Nieuwsblad van het Zuiden, het dagblad — the daily newspaper of the South of the Netherlands, saying that all men who served in the Dutch army on May 10, 1940 (this was the day the Germans invaded the Netherlands) and who were up to the age of 55, had to report to the occupying authorities by May 15th, 1942. They had to bring a whole raft of identifications with them.

My Grandfather had a severely mentally and physically disabled son, who was 22 at the time. So I believe he panicked when he saw the notification because he knew that his son could potentially be in danger and to divert the attention away, he took his own life so he did not have to report to the Nazis.

This is only a theory I have, but it is one I can live with, either way of it hadn’t been for the Nazis my Grandfather would not have died.
My father was the youngest son. He was only 5 at the time.
He grew up without a father, therefore he never experienced this father-son bond. Which affected him in later life when he became a father himself.
He left our family when I was 9, he thought it was the right thing to do at the time, but it wasn’t.

It was only 18 years later when I connected again with my father.
I was at a crossroads at that time in my life. I had just married, and my mother had also just passed away, only 2 weeks after my dad’s mother died. I had the choice to continue leading my life without him or I would pick up our relationship from there. I decided on the latter. My dad asked me for forgiveness, which I thought was a brave thing to do.

And now looking back in hindsight my father was just a product of circumstances, circumstances he never asked for. He died in June 2015. I know that I would have become a bitter man if he had died before I had a chance to look for answers.

You see sometimes events that happen even before you are born can have a direct impact on you.