The Rawagede Massacre

I love the Netherlands. I was born and raised there and proud to call myself a Dutchman. Like all other countries in this world, it has pages in history that are not so glorious.

I believe that the best way for any country to deal with the darker days of its history is not to deny or run away from it. But rather confront it and deal with it.

The Rawagede massacre is one of those darker days in Dutch history.

On December 9, 1947, Dutch soldiers raided the West Javanese kampong Rawagede, now Balongsari. A large part of the male population of Rawagede, were killed without trial. Until the 1990s, there was hardly any attention to mass murder in the Netherlands. While such acts of violence were for decades, dismissed by the Dutch government as ‘excesses’, we now know that they fit into a pattern of frequent and structural extreme violence by the Dutch armed forces during the war of independence.

In the early morning of December 9, 1947, Dutch soldiers led by former resistance fighter Major Fons Wijnen attacked the West Javanese kampong Rawagede, now Balongsari, in the Krawang region. Until then, the Dutch armed forces had difficulty getting a grip on Krawang. Rawagede was seen as a centre of Indonesian resistance, and the Dutch military was looking for a local rebel leader, Lukas Kustario. He was not found. Yet, during a “cleansing operation,” almost the entire male population of the kampong was summarily executed without trial. According to Dutch military reports, 150 men were killed. However, various Indonesian sources speak of a death toll of 312 to 433 men.

Below are just some witness accounts:

“We had to make two rows, each row with seven men. Then we were shot from behind, from a distance of about two meters. My father, Bapak Locan, stood in line with me. When the soldiers fired, the man behind me was a shield. The bullet went right through him and only grazed my back. The poor man died instantly and fell on top of me. I felt his warm blood run down my face. Before the soldiers left, they shot each of them again to be certain we were dead. They shot me in the hand. I was the only one of the fourteen men who survived. My father was also dead.”
Survivor Bapak Saih

“He was shot from behind. Together, with four girlfriends, I carried his body home on a bamboo bench that served as a stretcher. I washed him, wrapped him in cloths and buried him myself.”
Ibu Wanti Binti Taswi, Eyewitness and she was widowed by the Rawagede massacre

“Yes, that’s how it was,” I think at that moment. “That was us, and those were the victims of our violence. Ordinary, sweet village people.”
Veteran Jan Glissenaar

“We got prisoners of war, and those prisoners of war were shot several times when the cry was: go take a piss, which people then turned around and were shot in the back. […] Those were not incidental cases, that was the normal course of business.”
Joop Hueting, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) veteran

source

Gail Halvorsen-The candy bomber.

Shortly after a war it would be quite unnerving to see a bomber flying over your city.

However in West Berlin in 1948, this was a welcome sight. It probably was the equivalent of Santa delivering presents early. After World War 2, when Soviet Union leader Josef Stalin occupied West Berlin in 1948, Halvorsen participated in the Berlin Airlift, a joint military effort between America and the United Kingdom to deliver food and aid to the German city.

Lieutenant Halvorsen’s role in the Berlin Airlift was to fly one of many C-54 cargo planes used to ferry supplies into the starving city. During his flights he would first fly to Berlin, then deeper into Soviet-controlled areas. Halvorsen had an interest in photography and on his days off often went sightseeing in Berlin and shot film on his personal handheld movie camera. One day in July, he was filming planes taking off and landing at Tempelhof, the main landing site for the airlift. While there, he saw about thirty children lined up behind one of the barbed-wire fences. He went to meet them and noticed that the children had nothing. Halvorsen remembers: “I met about thirty children at the barbed wire fence that protected Tempelhof’s huge area. They were excited and told me that ‘when the weather gets so bad that you can’t land, don’t worry about us. We can get by on a little food, but if we lose our freedom, we may never get it back.'”Touched, Halvorsen reached into his pocket and took out two sticks of gum to give to the children. The kids broke them into little pieces and shared them; the ones who did not get any sniffed the wrappers.

Watching the children, so many of whom had absolutely nothing, Halvorsen regretted not having more to give them. Halvorsen recorded that he wanted to do more for the children, and so told them that the following day he would have enough gum for all of them, and he would drop it out of his plane. According to Halvorsen, one child asked “How will we know it is your plane?” to which Halvorsen responded that he would wiggle his wings, something he had done for his parents when he first got his pilot’s license in 1941.

That night, Halvorsen, his copilot, and his engineer pooled their candy rations for the next day’s drop. The accumulated candy was heavy, so in order to ensure that no children were hurt by the falling package, Halvorsen made three parachutes out of handkerchiefs and tied them to the rations.In the morning when Halvorsen and his crew made regular supply drops, they also dropped three boxes of candy attached to handkerchiefs. They made these drops once a week for three weeks. Each week, the group of children waiting at the Tempelhof airport fence grew significantly.

When word reached the airlift commander, Lieutenant General William H. Tunner, he ordered it expanded into Operation “Little Vittles”, named as a play on the airlift’s name of Operation Vittles. Operation Little Vittles began officially on September 22, 1948. Support for this effort to provide the children of Berlin with chocolate and gum grew quickly, first among Halvorsen’s friends, then to the whole squadron. As news of Operation Little Vittles reached the United States, children and candymakers from all over the US began contributing candy. By November 1948, Halvorsen could no longer keep up with the amount of candy and handkerchiefs being sent from across America. College student Mary C. Connors of Chicopee, Massachusetts offered to take charge of the now national project and worked with the National Confectioner’s Association to prepare the candy and tie the handkerchiefs. With the groundswell of support, Little Vittles pilots, of which Halvorsen was now one of many, were dropping candy every other day. Children all over Berlin had sweets, and more and more artwork was getting sent back with kind letters attached to them.The American candy bombers became known as the Rosinenbomber (Raisin Bombers), while Halvorsen himself became known by many nicknames to the children of Berlin, including his original moniker of “Uncle Wiggly Wings”, as well as “The Chocolate Uncle”, “The Gum Drop Kid” and “The Chocolate Flier”.

Operation “Little Vittles” was in effect from September 22, 1948, to May 13, 1949. Although Lieutenant Halvorsen returned home in January 1949, he passed on leadership of the operation to one of his friends, Captain Lawrence Caskey. Upon his return home, Halvorsen met with several individuals who were key in making Operation “Little Vittles” a success. Halvorsen personally thanked his biggest supporter Dorothy Groeger, a homebound woman who nonetheless enlisted the help of all of her friends and acquaintances to sew handkerchiefs and donate funds. He also met the schoolchildren and “Little Vittles” committee of Chicopee, Massachusetts who were responsible for preparing over 18 tons of candy and gum from across the country and shipping it to Germany. In total, it is estimated that Operation “Little Vittles” was responsible for dropping over 23 tons of candy from over 250,000 parachutes.

Halvorsen tells HistoryNet’s David Lauterborn that an encounter with a group of young German children watching Allied soldiers arrive at the Templehof air base helped put things into perspective. Through a barbed-wire perimeter fence, they spoke to him.

“These kids were giving me a lecture, telling me, “Don’t give up on us. If we lose our freedom, we’ll never get it back,” Halvorsen tells HistoryNet. “I just flipped. Got so interested, I forgot what time it was.”

The pilot then handed the children two sticks of gum and told them to come back the next day, when he planned to airdrop more sweets. He would wiggle the wings of his aircraft so they would know it was him, reports the Boston Globe.

Halvorsen lived up to his promise, asking other pilots to donate their candy rations and having his flight engineer rock the airplane during the drop. Things grew from there, as more and more children showed up to catch his airdrops and letters began to arrive “requesting special airdrops at other points in the city,” writes the Air Force. The peculiar wing maneuver was how Halvorsen earned his other nickname: ‘Uncle Wiggly Wings.’

During the airlift, Allied planes carrying supplies landed every 45 seconds at Templehoff Airport in Berlin. From June 1948, the pilots delivered 2.3 million tons of food, coal, medicine and other necessities on 278,000 flights up until the end of the Soviet blockade in May 1949, according to the AP.

Halvorsen remained in the military after the war, retiring as a colonel in 1974 from the Air Force, reports Richard Goldstein for the New York Times. He moved back to Utah and became assistant dean of student life at Brigham Young University in Provo.

That same year, Halvorsen received the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his efforts as the “Candy Bomber,” per the Boston Globe.

Gail Seymour “The Candy Bomber” Halvorsen was born on October 10, 1920 and lived a very long life, He died aged 101 on February 16, 2022.

Halvorsen died from respiratory failure in Provo on February 16, 2022, at the age of 101.After funeral services conducted for him with full military honors, which included a flyover by a KC-135R of the Utah Air National Guard’s 151st Air Refueling Wing and a 21-gun salute by honor guard members from the Air Force ROTC units from BYU and Utah Valley University, he was buried at the Provo City Cemetery.

Happy Birthday dear Sir.

sources

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/candy-bomber-who-airdropped-sweets-to-german-children-in-1948-dies-at-101-180979610/

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/airlift-chocolate-pilot/

The Kraków pogrom-The pogrom after the Holocaust.

I know this will be disputed by many Polish reading this blog. However this did happen and it happened only a few months after WW2 ended in Europe. In fact it was only 95 days after the end of the Holocaust.

It all started on June 27,1945 a Jewish woman was brought to a local police station falsely accused of attempting to abduct a child. Despite the fact that the investigation revealed that the mother had left her child in the care of the suspect, rumours started to spread that a Jewish woman abducted a child in order to kill it.

On 11 August 1945, a crowd of Polish citizens broke into the Kupa synagogue in Kraków’s Kazimierz district during Shabbat services, destroying the synagogue and setting it on fire, killing at least one person in the process and wounding an unknown number of Jews who had been at prayer. Jews were attacked and robbed in the neighboring streets, and there were also attacks on Jewish apartments.

Earlier that day, an attempt to seize a thirteen-year-old boy who was throwing stones at the synagogue was made, but he escaped and rushed to the nearby marketplace screaming “Help me, the Jews have tried to kill me.”

Instantly the crowd broke into the Kupa Synagogue and started beating Jews, who had been praying at the Saturday morning Shabbat service, and the Torah scrolls were burned. The Jewish hostel was also attacked. Jewish men, women, and children were beaten up on the streets; their homes were broken into and robbed. Some Jews wounded during the pogrom were hospitalized and later were beaten in the hospitals again. One of the pogrom victims witnessed:

“I was carried to the second precinct of the militia where they called for an ambulance. There were five more people over there, including badly wounded Polish woman. In the ambulance I heard the comments of the escorting soldier and the nurse who spoke about us as Jewish crust whom they have to save, and that they shouldn’t be doing this because we murdered children, that all of us should be shot. We were taken to the hospital of St. Lazarus at Kopernika Street. I was first taken to the operating room. After the operation a soldier appeared who said that he will take everybody to jail after the operation. He beat up one of the wounded Jews waiting for an operation. He held us under cocked gun and did not allow us to take a drink of water. A moment later two railroad men appeared and one said, ‘It’s a scandal that a Pole does not have the civil courage to hit a defenceless person’, and he hit a wounded Jew. One of the hospital inmates hit me with a crutch. Women, including nurses, stood behind the doors threatening us that they were only waiting for the operation to be over in order to rip us apart.”

Although the pogrom of the Krakow Jews remains overshadowed by the more widely known bloody Kielce pogrom of 1946, both instances of anti-Jewish aggression are structurally similar. In both Kraków and Kielce, a spark was ignited by a rumor about ritual murders committed by Jews on Polish children. The belief in this superstition dating back to the Middle Ages was then completely real and widespread in Poland. The postwar, modernized version of a blood libel said that “exhausted Jews would infuse themselves with the blood of Christians.”

There is one record of a death relating to Kraków events in the archives of the Forensic Medicine Department in Kraków. The victim was 56-year old Auschwitz survivor Róża Berger, shot while standing behind closed doors.

She escaped Kraków during the war and was deported to Auschwitz in August of 1944 (prisoner identification number 89186) with her daughter and granddaughter. After the liberation of Auschwitz she returned to Kraków where she was shot and killed while standing behind closed doors in her home during the Pogrom on 11 August 1945. She was buried in the New Kraków Jewish Cemetery at 55 Miodowa street.

This is what makes it even sadder, she survived the most horrible place on earth, just to be murdered in the relative safety of her own home.

sources

https://polin.pl/en/krakow-pogrom

https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/Krak%C3%B3w_pogrom

https://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/news/this-week-in-jewish-history–krakow-pogrom-ends-with-synagogue-demolished-at-least-one-dead

Hongerwinter-Hungerwinter.

++++++++ contains graphic images+++++++++

One could be forgiven to think that the pictures in this blog are pictures of a famine in a 3rd world country, as we have seen so often before. However, these pictures are from one of the richest countries in the world, the Netherlands

Towards the end of World War II, food supplies became increasingly scarce in the Netherlands. After the landing of the Allied Forces on D-Day, conditions became increasingly bad in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. The Allies were able to liberate the southern part of the country, but ceased their advance into the Netherlands when Operation Market Garden, the attempt to seize a bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem, failed.

The obvious and literal cause of the famine was a German blockade enacted in retaliation to a Dutch railway strike that aimed to help the Allied invasion of the country. The German army blocked water and road routes into the Netherlands and only lifted the water blockade when temperatures had already fallen too low to allow boats to operate in the icy water.

Most of the south of the country had been liberated by the end of September 1944.

The Allied campaign failed, and the Nazis punished the Netherlands by blocking food supplies, plunging the Northern half of the country, above the great rivers, into famine. By the time all of the Netherlands was liberated in May 1945, more than 20,000 people had died of starvation.

The starvation was particularly intense in cities — after all, in the countryside, most people lived around farms. That didn’t mean that they didn’t experience food shortages, but the survival rates were much higher outside of urban areas. For the Netherlands’ mostly city-living population, times were hard.

Rations decreased in calorie content over the long winter. In big cities like Amsterdam, adults had to contend with only 1000 calories of food by the end of November 1944 — but that dropped to 580 calories a day by February 1945. Even the black market was empty of food.

People walked long distances to farms to trade anything they had for extra calories. As the winter wore on, tens of thousands of children were sent from cities to the countryside so that they, at least, would get some food. When it came to heating, people desperately burned furniture and dismantled whole houses to get fuel for their fire.

The Dutch Hunger Winter has proved unique in unexpected ways. Because it started and ended so abruptly, it has served as an unplanned experiment in human health. Pregnant women, it turns out, were uniquely vulnerable, and the children they gave birth to have been influenced by famine throughout their lives.

The effects of the 1944/45 famine are still felt to this day.

When they became adults, they ended up a few pounds heavier than average. In middle age, they had higher levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. They also experienced higher rates of such conditions as obesity, diabetes and schizophrenia.

By the time they reached old age, those risks had taken a measurable toll, according to the research of L.H. Lumey, an epidemiologist at Columbia University. In 2013, he and his colleagues reviewed death records of hundreds of thousands of Dutch people born in the mid-1940s.

They found that the people who had been in utero during the famine — known as the Dutch Hunger Winter cohort — died at a higher rate than people born before or afterward. “We found a 10 percent increase in mortality after 68 years,” said Dr. Lumey.

sources

https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1012911107

Ama-Diving for pearls

+++contains female nudity+++

The Japanese culture always fascinated me, usually in a scary way, but occasionally in a more pleasant way.

Ama pearl divers represent one of Japan’s less-known and yet fascinating cultures. Ama (海女 in Japanese), literally translates to ‘woman of the sea’ and has been recorded as far back as 750 in the oldest Japanese poetry collection, the Man’yoshu.

These women specialised in freediving some 30 feet down into cold water wearing nothing more than a loincloth. Utilising special techniques to hold their breath for up to 2 minutes at a time, they would work for up to 4 hours a day in order to gather abalone, seaweed and other shellfish, and oysters which sometimes have pearls.

Ama traditionally wear white, as the colour represents purity and also to possibly ward off sharks. Traditionally and even as recently as the 1960s, ama dived nude wearing only a loincloth, Even in modern times, ama dive without scuba gear or air tanks, making them a traditional sort of free-diver.

One of the reasons Ama are largely female is said to be their thicker layer of fat than their male counterparts to help them endure the cold water during long periods of diving. Another reason is the self-supporting nature of the profession, allowing women to live independently and foster strong communities. Perhaps most surprisingly however, is the old age to which these women are able to keep diving. Many Ama are elderly women (some even surpassing 90 years of age) who have practiced the art for many, many years, spending much of their life at sea.

Women began diving as ama as early as 12 and 13 years old, taught by elder ama. Despite their early start, divers are known to be active well into their 70s and are rumored to live longer due to their diving training and discipline.

Pearl diving ama were considered rare in the early years of diving. However, Mikimoto Kōkichi’s discovery and production of the cultured pearl in 1893 produced a great demand for ama. He established the Mikimoto Pearl Island in Toba and used the ama’s findings to grow his business internationally. Nowadays, the pearl-diving ama are viewed as a tourist attraction at Mikimoto Pearl Island.The number of ama continue to dwindle as this ancient technique becomes less and less practiced, due to disinterest in the new generation of women and the dwindling demand for their activity. In the 1940s, 6,000 ama were reported active along the coasts of Japan, while today ama practice at numbers more along the scale of 60 or 70 divers in a generation.

While traditional ama divers wore only a fundoshi (loincloth) to make it easier to move in the water and a tenugui (bandanna) around their head to cover their hair, Mikimoto ama wore a full white diving costume and used a wooden barrel as a buoy. They were connected to this buoy by a rope and would use it to rest and catch their breath between dives.

The most important tool for divers searching for abalone (the most prized and lucrative catch) was the tegane or kaigane, a sharp spatula-like tool used to pry the stubborn abalone from the rocks.

During the diving season, life for the ama revolves around the ama hut, or amagoya. This is the place where the divers gather in the mornings to prepare for the day, eating, chatting, and checking their equipment. After diving, they return to the hut to shower, rest and warm their bodies to recover from their day’s work.

The atmosphere in the hut is one of relaxation and camaraderie, for six months of the year the women are free from the usual familial and social duties they are expected to perform, and they are able to connect with other women who share their love of the ocean and diving.

The most profitable pursuit however was diving for pearls. Traditionally for Ama, finding a pearl inside an oyster was akin to receiving a large bonus while they went about their ancestral practice of collecting shellfish. That changed when Kokichi Mikimoto, founder of Mikimoto Pearl, began his enterprise.

The world of the ama is one marked by duty and superstition. One traditional article of clothing that has stood the test of time is their headscarves. The headscarves are adorned with symbols such as the seiman and the douman,[clarification needed] which have the function of bringing luck to the diver and warding off evil. The ama are also known to create small shrines near their diving location where they will visit after diving in order to thank the gods for their safe return.

The ama were expected to endure harsh conditions while diving, such as freezing temperatures and great pressures from the depths of the sea. Through the practice, many ama were noted to lose weight during the months of diving seasons. Ama practiced a breathing technique in which the divers would release air in a long whistle once they resurfaced from a dive. This whistling became a defining characteristic of the ama, as this technique is unique to them.

Diving naked made it easier to keep warm without wet clothes clinging onto their bodies. In Japan, showing off bodies was a pretty common practice, including communal nude baths in natural hot springs, onsen.

After World War II, Kokichi Mikimoto employed Ama for his famous pearl company but designed a white diving costume for them after noting the surprise of foreigners who observed their work. As a matter of fact, Ama began covering up as western tourists who arrived opposed their nudity. These white suits were also believed to ward off hungry sharks.

Such a shame that our western ‘moral’ values destroyed an ancient tradition. It is not like there is no nudity on western beaches.

During the 1960s, these celebrated white shrouds were phased out in favor of the wetsuit – a significant compromise that allowed the Ama to continue working throughout the year in the temperate waters of the Japanese archipelago.

While ama gather various foods such as seaweed, shellfish, and sea urchin, it is the abalone that is most prized and lucrative. In the heyday of abalone diving in the 1960s, a skillful ama could earn as much as 80,000 US dollars in a six-month diving season. As a result, talented ama were viewed as highly eligible and could take their pick of the local men when choosing a husband.

Unfortunately, with the decline of abalone stocks the earning power of the ama has also been reduced. Despite the efforts of the fisheries cooperatives to preserve precious resources through restricted diving hours, bag limits, and size regulations, outside factors such as pollution and global warming have harmed the environment and affected the growth of abalone.

While in the past it may have been possible to make a good living from abalone diving alone, most ama now dive to supplement their main income of farming or other work.

Although perhaps the scantily-clad, romanticised image of the profession is a thing of the past, there’s still a rich history and culture that needs to be conveyed to younger generations. The tourism industry at Mikimoto Pearl is a great start to help preserve the memory, but the age-old fishing traditions held by small coastal villages are definitely in need of special attention to make sure their heritage isn’t forgotten completely.

I have to admit I did enjoy doing this blog. It was a welcome distraction of my usual heavy WW2 and Holocaust blogs.

If any one is offended by the nudity, get over it it is the 21st century.

sources

https://abysseofficial.com/blogs/journal/18689771-ama-the-pearl-diving-mermaids-of-japan

Ama – The Pearl Diving Mermaids of Japan (Warning: Nudity)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ama_(diving)

The treatment of Dutch Jews after liberation.

I came across this document which made me glad on one hand, but on the other hand it was also disturbing.

But before I go into the details I have to give some background information first. The south of the Netherlands was mostly liberated by October 1944. At that time the Netherlands was made up of 11 provinces(a few decades ago a 12th province was added)

The most southern province is Limburg with the capital Maastricht. In October 1944 the province was governed by the military commissioner.

He received the letter on October 16,1944. It was send to him 3 days earlier.

The letter mentions a bombing which took place on October 5,1942. This was a so called friendly fire bombing by the RAF. It killed 83 in my home town Geleen, and it left thousands homeless. The RAF thought it was Aachen in Germany.

I hadn’t realised that some of the bombs also were dropped on the neighbouring town of Beek.

The letter says that after this bombing, some homeless families in Beek were housed in the homes of Jewish families who had gone in hiding. But now after liberation the Jewish families claimed back their property, understandably so stated the mayor of Beek.

However he said there was one complicated case. A local butcher had his house and shop destroyed by the October 1942 bombing. He was assigned the house and the butcher shop of a Jewish butcher, who had left(turns out he was also in hiding). This arrangement was ordered by the NSB(Dutch Nazi party) mayor of Beek at the time.

But now the Jewish butcher had returned, after liberation, and he wanted his shop and his house back. The mayor asked the military commissioner for advice on what to do in this situation.

What made me glad in this story is that some of these Jewish people had survived the war. What disturbed me was the fact that advise was asked. To me it should have been a clear cut case of just giving back the property to the rightful owner , there should not be a question about it.

This is something what a lot of Dutch Jews experienced after the war, Their property would be occupied by others and more often then not, their houses or apartments would not be returned to them.

source

https://www.rhcl.nl/nl/info/nieuws-map/update-inventarisatieproject-archief-militair-gezag

https://jck.nl/nl/page/beek

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Earth-the final frontier.

Space-tourism is the buzzword nowadays. It seems like some of earth richest men are desperately trying to leave this planet. I have no issues with space travel, far from it, if I would be offered a place on one of those rockets. I would grab that chance with both hands and feet.

But I do think that there is still so much to explore here, on the 3rd rock from the sun.

You could argue that ‘space-tourism’ started this day 75 years ago. The first photos taken from space were taken on October 24, 1946 on the sub-orbital U.S.-launched V-2 rocket (flight #13) at White Sands Missile Range. Photos were taken every second and a half. The highest altitude (65 miles, 105 km) was 5 times higher than any picture taken before.

The V-2 No. 13 was a modified World War 2, V-2 rocket that became the first object to take a photograph of the Earth from outer space.

The famous photograph, as seen above, was taken with an attached DeVry 35 mm black-and-white motion picture camera.

source

After the Holocaust

The one subject I find difficult to address is how the Dutch treated the Jews during the war. It is easy for me to say they didn’t do enough to help their Jewish neighbours, because that would be true. However I did not live in that time. I did not have to face severe punishments, even death, for helping my Jewish fellow man or woman.

In retrospect it is easy to judge. This doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be addressed properly, and it doesn’t mean we can look at it from a critical point of view.

It did take the Dutch government decades to apologize for the inaction of the Dutch government during the war.

On January 26,2020. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologised on behalf of his country’s government for its failure to protect Jews during World War Two.

Mr Rutte made the remarks at a Holocaust remembrance event in Amsterdam, ahead of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

“With the last remaining survivors among us, I apologise on behalf of the government for the actions of the government at the time. I do so, realising that no word can describe something as enormous and awful as the Holocaust.” he said.

On the other hand it is easy for me to be very critical about the Dutch, on how they treated the Jews after the Holocaust. The only word to describe it is ‘disgusting’. Unlike the other Dutch who could start to rebuild their lives after the war. The Dutch Jews often faced bureaucratic stumble blocks. Many of them were not even allowed to move back into their own houses or apartments, because they had been given to others during or shortly after the war. There was no fear of punishments then to help their Jewish neighbours. There were no threats to their lives if they would give their Jewish fellow man or woman, a helping hand.

Of the 104,000 Dutch Jews, 75% were murdered during the Holocaust. The suicides are also included in the 75% but I still refer to them as being murdered, because if it wasn’t for the Nazi regime they would not have taken their own lives.

The picture at the start of the blog is off a service in a synagogue in Amsterdam ,shortly after liberation. Each single person attending that service would have lost family and friends. Just think about that for a minute. There was no exception, each one of them lost at least one person near and dear to them.

In the defense of the Netherlands, compared to other European countries, really all other European countries, and especially the Eastern European countries, the Dutch have been confronting the historical inaccuracies since the 1980. There has been an effort to disperse the myth of some of the Dutch ‘heroics’.

source

What if?…The Rockers That May Have Never Been—A Story of Kiss

I am passionate about music, especially rock. One of my favourite bands is Kiss. When we hear one of their songs on the radio, songs like “I Was Made for Loving You” or “World Without Heroes,” I just sit back and enjoy. I don’t even give it a second thought.

However, these songs and so many of their other classics may have never been written or composed. The two lead men of Kiss, Gene Simmons (aka Gene Klein and originally named Chaim Witz) and Paul Stanley (aka Stanley Bert Eisen) are both lucky they were born.

Paul’s parents are Jewish. He was the second of two children. His mother came from a family that fled Nazi Germany to Amsterdam, Netherlands, and then to New York City. His father’s parents were from Poland.

His mother was born in Berlin, Germany on 16 November 1923, and fled the Nazi uprising. She lived briefly in Amsterdam, the Netherlands with her mother and stepfather before moving to New York City in 1939. If they had stayed in Germany, as so many others did, they definitely would have been subjected to the cruelty of the Nazi regime.

Gene Simmons’s start in life could have been even more uncertain. He was born on 25 August 1949, in Haifa, Israel, to Jewish immigrants from Hungary. His mother, Florence Klein (née Flóra Kovács), was born in Jánd and survived internment in Nazi concentration camps. She and her brother, Larry Klein, were the only members of the family to survive the Holocaust.

Florence/Flora was 19 when she was liberated on the 5th of May 1945 from the Mauthausen concentration camp by American troops.

I have written blogs about the Holocaust, contemplating how many talents were destroyed by this evil ideology and regime. Thankfully some people did survive, and their legacy produced talented people like Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.

For some people, the Holocaust may seem like a distant bit of history, but this is how close the Holocaust still is.

Finishing up with my favourite Kiss song, I have chosen a video with the lyrics because of the song, “A World Without Heroes.” It has a powerful message that is still so poignant today.

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I am passionate about my site and I know 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. Thank you. 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

https://www.thesound.co.nz/home/music/2020/05/kiss-gene-simmons-shown-his-mother-s-nazi-victim-impact-statement.html

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/gene-simmons

https://www.geni.com/people/Eva-Eisen/6000000002765905416

SS and Nazis in the Dutch Coalmines

mijn

The most southern province of the Netherlands, Limburg, in the south east of the country used to be a rural area with mainly farming as employment opportunities, However in the late 19th and early 20th century something nicknamed “black gold” was discovered in the southern part of the province, this ‘black gold’ was coal.

The Dutch government exploited the discovery of coal by building 4 coal mines.

-Staatsmijn Wilhelmina in Terwinselen
-Staatsmijn Emma in Treebeek/Hoensbroek (1911 – 1973)
-Staatsmijn Hendrik in Brunssum (1915 – 1963)
-Staatsmijn Maurits in Lutterade-Geleen (1926 -1967)

Maurits

Although the mines brought jobs and prosperity it didn’t come without costs.The mine workers would receive a relatively high wage , the work was very physical and sometimes emotionally draining .A great number of mine workers  would not retire because of Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis(aka black lung disease)or Silicosis, they would die at a young age.

Lungs

During WWII the mines were exploited by the German occupiers, and the coal would be used for the German war effort.

Some dutch men had signed up to the SS and were also members of the NSB, The Dutch Nazi party. After the war some several hundreds of these men were imprisoned in Prisoner of War camps.

43743591_1034093993434756_2737810057973465088_nThey were sentenced  to work in the coal mines by the Dutch government and the Allied forces , mainly in the Maurits and the Emma.

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After their shifts they were made to walk back to the camp from the mine. Those working in the Maurits had to walk back to prisoner camp ‘Graetheide’ which was a 12-15 km march.

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Some records indicate that some men were sentenced to 25 years labor in the mines, but since the last mine closed in 1969 it is a clear indications that those sentences were reduced. Despite the hard labor in the mines they were let off easy.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know 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. Thank you. 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.

$2.00

Sources

Demijnen.nl

Nostal Gia