The effects of Operation Market Garden are still being felt today.

Garden

Operation Market Garden started on September 17 1944. It was supposed to end the war in the Netherlands.But the operation failed, as a result the war was prolonged for several months,compounded with one of the severest winters on record it resulted in a famine for the northern provinces.

POW

But there was more,as a form of reprisal the Germans started stealing everything valuable they could find. although Market Garden failed the Germans knew the war was coming to an end and they would be on the losing side.

Dr J.H. Smidt van Gelder, the director of the children’s hospital in Arnhem, stored 6 works of art in a bank vault for safekeeping during the Second World War.

Dr

One of the pieces was a painting called The Oyster Meal by Jacob Ochtervelt The paintings were looted in January 1945, when the Nazis plundered the town.Although the instructions were given not to loot the banks a German officer called Temmler paid no attention to those instructions.

Even Himmler had warned about Temmler, he said he would bring disrespect to the Nazi party, killing millions was okay, but stealing art was disrespectful.

The painting then made a bit of a mysterious journey. In 1971 was acquired by the property  Harold Samuel,  it had  painting reappeared on the Swiss art market ,a few decades after the war, where Harold Samuel bought it

Harold Samuel  bequeathed the painting to the City of London Corporation in 1987, on condition that they be shown permanently in Mansion House.

The Commission for Looted Art in Europe uncovered the history of the painting and discovered the rightful owners. Samuel’s daughters agreed to waive the condition so that The Oyster Meal could be returned to Charlotte Bischoff van Heemskerck, the daughter of Dr van Gelder,she is now aged 97.

It was returned to her in November 2017.

The painting will go on auction at Sotheby’s in July 2018, estimated value 2.5 Million Pounds Sterling.

oyster meal

 

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Rembrandt’s tragedies

Nachtwacht

There is this funny riddle, it goes like “What’s Rembrandt’s first name?” Rembrandt of course is his first name, his last name is van Rijn.

But unlike the riddle his life wasn’t funny. He suffered many tragedies in his life.He got married on June 22 1634 to Saskia van Uylenburgh.

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Saskia was the cousin of a friend of Rembrandt,Hendrick van Uylenburgh, Hendrick was also an art dealer. and when Rembrandt first moved to Amsterdam he stayed with  van Uylenburgh.

Rembrandt and Saskia got married in the local church of St. Annaparochie without the any of Rembrandt’s family being present.

Their first born, a son by the name Rumbartus died in 1635, only 2 months after birth.Their first daughter Cornelia died in 1638, she was only 3 weeks old. Their second daughter also called Cornelia died in 1640 who barely lived for a month.

In 1941 their 4th child, a son called Titis was born.Saskia died in 1642 most likely from tuberculosis. Titus survived into adulthood and became a monk for a while.

Monk Titus

Rembrandt never remarried but he did have a long term relationship with Hendrickje Stoffels, who had initially been his maid. They had a daughter together in 1654, and to no surprise she was called Cornelia, who died in 1684 in Batavia, Java, Indonesia.

His son Titus did marry Magdalena van Loo, the daughter of a Silversmith.

Rembrandt outlived both Hendrickje, who died in 1663, and Titus, who died in 1668, leaving a baby daughter,Titia. He died within a year of his son, on 4 October 1669 in Amsterdam. His son’s wife and mother-in-law also died in 1669.

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The first broadsheet newspaper

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On this day 400 years ago the first Dutch newspaper was published. Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt, &c. was the first Dutch newspaper and published weekly. The paper does not reveal the name of the printer or the publisher, but based on similar papers published later, it is thought that Joris Veseler was the printer and Caspar van Hilten its editor and publisher.

It was a regular weekly publication. It can be called the first broadsheet paper, because it was issued in folio-size. Before this, news periodicals had been pamphlets in quarto-size.

The Courante appeared until about 1672 and was then merged with the Ordinarisse Middel-Weeckse Courant and the Ordinaris Dingsdaegse Courant into the Amsterdam Courant, which eventually merged with De Telegraaf in 1903.

telegraaf

Stanley Morison and some other authors regard the Courante as the world’s first proper newspaper. In their view, the earlier news periodicals, such as the German Relation: aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien and the Avisa Relation oder Zeitung, were not newspapers but pamphlets or newsbooks. They argue that the Courante was the first to express the typographic conventions that have been associated with newspapers ever since.
Two years after starting the Courante, Veseler printed the first newspaper in English for the publisher Pieter van den Keere. It followed the format of the Courante.
After the very beginning, English news periodicals reverted to the pamphlet form. However, in 1665 the Oxford Gazette was published following the style of the Dutch Courante and that ended the era of the newsbooks in England.

courante

 

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Willem Jacob van Stockum-Scientist and WWII Hero.

Willem Jacob van Stockum

This is one of those men that makes me proud to be Dutch, and like me he has also a connection with Ireland.

He was born in Hattem, a small town  in the east of the Netherlands. His father was an officer in the Dutch Navy.

Willem studied mathematics at Trinity College, Dublin, where he earned a gold medal.

Trinity College, Dublin

He continued his studies in Edinburgh and Toronto where he received  an M.A. from the University of Toronto and his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. His main academic achievement was to solve Einstein’s field equations for an infinite rotating cylinder. His work is regularly cited by those interested in time travel.

Van Stockum moved to the USA in hope of becoming an understudy to Albert Einstein.albert-einstein

Eventually in the spring of 1939 he gained a temporary position under Professor Oswald Veblen at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

 

The outbreak of World War II happened  while he was teaching at the University of Maryland. Eager to join the fight against Hitler and Fascism, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941, where he eventually earned his pilots wings in July 1942.

willem.

Because of his advanced knowledge of physics, he spent much of the next year as a test pilot in Canada. After the Netherlands was invaded by the Nazis, van Stockum sought to join the war as a pilot.

He moved to Britain in the spring of 1943 and and in 1944 became the only Dutch officer posted to the no. 10 squadron at RAF Melbourne in Yorkshire.

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On 10 June 1944, van Stockum and his crew of six took off on their sixth combat mission, as part of another 400-plane raid. Near their target, the plane was hit by flak, and all seven crew members were lost, along with seven from another bomber on the same mission. The fourteen airmen are buried in Laval, near the place where the planes went down.

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Ending the blog with the last line he wrote in an article about his decision of  becoming a fighter pilot.

“For goodness’ sake let us stop this empty political theorizing according to which a man would have to have a University degree in social science before he could see what he was fighting for. It is all so simple, really, that a child can understand it.”

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The funeral of an Emperor

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A historical fact that is often forgotten is that the last German emperor did not die in Germany but in the Netherlands. In the town of Doorn on 4 June 1941, at the age of 82. The Nazis had already taken control of the Netherlands for more then a year at that stage.

Wilhelm II lived in Exile in Doorn since 1920.

He had grown to distrust Hitler. Hearing of the murder of the wife of former Chancellor Schleicher, he said “We have ceased to live under the rule of law and everyone must be prepared for the possibility that the Nazis will push their way in and put them up against the wall!”

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Der Kaiser  once entertained Hermann Göring in his home in Doorn, and sent Hitler a congratulatory telegram  Germany invaded  France. But the Führer refused to entertain the idea of a return for the monarch who he thought had subjected Germany to a humiliating defeat, and kept Doorn under military guard during the Nazi occupation.

Wilhelm II once claimed to be disgusted to call himself a German, after the Kristallnacht, he also disowned his 4th born son after that. He said the following “I have just made my views clear to Auwi in the presence of his brothers. He had the nerve to say that he agreed with the Jewish pogroms and understood why they had come about. When I told him that any decent man would describe these actions as gangsterisms, he appeared totally indifferent. He is completely lost to our family”.

Even though  Hitler had wanted a state funeral in Berlin with himself in a prominent role, Hitler thought that this would establish him the link of a direct descent of the Third Reich from the old German Empire. However Wilhelm II’s family insisted on respecting instructions he’d given in 1933 that he was to be buried in Doorn if Germany was not a monarchy at the time of his death.

1024px-Mausoleumwhilhelm The funeral took place on June 9th 1941 .A  delegation of Nazi officials led by Arthur Seyss-Inquart was allowed to attend as well as a Wehrmacht guard of honour, and Wilhelm’s wishes that Nazi regalia were not be displayed at his funeral were not adhered to.

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Sgt Rosenkrantz

I started this website and my blogs to find answers. Answers to how exactly my paternal Grandfather died. all I know is that he died during WWII when he was serving with the Dutch military and that he died early om in the war. But the circumstances how he died are somewhat vague,so I have resigned to the fact that I probably will never find out exactly what happened, for all those who could shed some light on it are now also gone. But I will learn how to live with that.

That’s why this brings so much joy in my heart. Last Saturday,my siblings and  I visited the American War Cemetery in Margraten in the Netherlands. It is a place of contrast because it is both a very sad place but also in equal measures a beautiful place. It is surrounded by a beautiful hilly country side, and the cemetery is extremely well maintained.

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8,301 souls are buried here.Stretching along the sides of the court are Tablets of the Missing on which are recorded 1,722 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

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All of these 10,023 men are not just names on a cross or star, or a name carved in a wall, they are all heroes, each with a separate story to tell.

As is the story of Sgt David Rosenkrantz.

On 28 September 1944, Rosenkrantz an his platoon was occupying a farm, near Groesbeek, the Netherlands, when they were attacked by an overwhelming force. The isolated paratroopers hid among sparse trees and buildings. As Rosenkrantz rose from his position, enemy gunfire erupted and killed him. Due to enemy fire and the proximity of enemy troops, his remains could not be recovered.

It took decades before the family could have closure in 2012  Sgt David Rosenkrantz’s dog tags were found and only in February 2018 where his remains finally found.

He now no longer is a name on the wall for those who are missing in action. The final chapter of the book of his life was closed.

https://www.adoptiegraven-margraten.nl/en/

 

 

 

The death of Dirk.

Dirk III

It’s not every day one gets a chance to do a blog about one’s own death, and espcecially not after breakfast, but hey history is history.

But before you start sending flowers and cards etc, the Dirk in the title is not me of course , but Count Dirk III of Holland, or West Friesland to be more precise.

It is thought that Dirk III went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land around 1030, hence his nickname of Hierosolymita (‘or Jerusalemite’ in Latin).

His mother, Luitgard of Luxemburg, was regent in the county while Dirk was still a minor, from 993-1005. She was the sister-in-law of Emperor Henry II and with his help she managed to maintain the county for her son. His father was Arnulf of Holland.
After Dirk assumed the government of the county, she still used her family connections to acquire imperial assistance, in one instance an imperial army helped Dirk suppress a Frisian revolt.

Dirk3

The actual title of Count Dirk III was ‘Count in Friesland’. Western Frisia was very different from the area (North and South Holland) of today. Most of the territory was boggy and subject to constant flooding and hence very sparsely populated. The main areas of habitation were in the dunes at the coast and on heightened areas near the rivers.

He died on May 27 1039

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Holocaust in the Netherlands

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Some people believe that when the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 the life of its Jewish population changed over night.

This however was not the case. Like in other European countries the undermining and eventual eradication of Jewish life was a gradual process.

Until September 1940 very little changed,It was only then when the German occupation of the Netherlands started to have an impact of the 170,000 Jews living there.  A series of anti-Jewish measures started to male life  difficult.

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Throughout 1941, the situation for Jews in the Netherlands got worse.  Jews were banned from public places, subjected to nighttime curfews and travel restrictions. Jewish students were also thrown out of schools and universities. Then, during late 1941, the Joodse Raad(Jewish Council) was tasked with providing lists of workers as the Germans opened a number of forced labour camps.

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In may 1942 Jews were ordered to wear a yellow Star of David containing the word Jood (the Dutch word for Jew). As a sign of protest some Non Jewish Dutch also wore the Yellow star.

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Deportations of Jews from the Netherlands began in the summer of 1942 and lasted until September 1944. Approximately 75% of the Dutch Jews did not survive the war.

A Substantial albeit minority part of the Dutch population being sympathetic to the Nazis ideology(or idiocy) .The NSB were the dutch equivalent of the NSDAP in Germany, they subscribed to the same Fascist  ideas.

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However there were many Dutch who risked their own lives and that of their families to save their Jewish neighbours. he NV-Groep (Nameless Company). The group was set up by by the brothers Jaap en Gerard Musch.(picture is of Jaap}Jaap.JPG

They were a resistance group dedicated to helping Jewish children find hiding places. Many of the children they helped hide, survived the war. The picture below is a picture of some of the children being a bit brave but cheeky by forming the letters NV in a field, this picture was taken in 1943 while the war was at its height.NV

Unfortunately not everyone was as lucky as these children were.The geography of the Netherlands made escape difficult. The ruthless efficiency of the German administration and the willing cooperation of Dutch administrators and policemen doomed the Jews of the Netherlands.

I have come across many pictures of Dutch Jews being killed in death camps or pictures of their remains, and initially my thought was to end this blog with some of those pictures. However I changed my mind, although I do think it is important ti show the horrors of the Holocaust in the graphic ways, we do sometimes forget that the victims weren’t always victims., they were also people like you and me. Therefore below pictures of my  some of my fellow human beings as they were before they were butchered.

Etty Hillesum

Julius Spier and  Evaristos Glassner

julius

Jaap Hillesum brother of Etty on his 21st birthday.

jaap hill

Bram Beem

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Eva and  Bram Beem

Eva en Bram

Students of a Jewish secondary school during summer recess in 1940. I don’t know how may ,if any, survived the war.

MULO

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Joods Monument

Yad Vashem

Holocaust Wedding

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Elisabeth Appelboom and Philip Flesschedrager did what so many young people of their age did, they fell in love, got married and promised to stay together until death did them part.

For most married couples it is a journey they enjoy for many years to come. But not for Elisabeth and Philip. because death did do them part sooner then they had envisaged.

Philip Flesschedrager was a shop assistant age 21  when he married Elisabeth Appelboom  on April 8 1942 a seamstress age also age 21,

They got married in the Synagogue on the Rapenburgerstreet in Amsterdam.

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Up until spring time 1942 daily life had been reasonably ‘normal’ for Jews in Amsterdam. It was only on May 3rd it was obligatory for the Jewish population to wear the yellow Star of David.

Little did the newlyweds know that just over 1.5 year later their marriage would come to an end.

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On December 26 1943 Philip was killed in Auschwitz age. Elisabeth was killed on January 18 1945, they were both 23.

Elisabeth Appelboom and Philip Flesschedrager had a child that survived the war.

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Joods Monument

 

December 6 1944, a date that means little to most but a lot to me.

geleen-limburg

This is one of my most personal blogs, having that said there still will be people saying it is ‘fake news’.

As the title says the 6th of December 1944 will mean little to most but it means a lot to me. It is the day that one of my uncles died. What makes this special to me is that my mother always told me I reminded her of him. We had the same mannerisms and even way of talking, although I was born long after he died.

His name was Johannes Jager, he moved with my grand parents and his siblings  from Friesland in the North of the Netherlands to Limburg in the south east of the country. They settled in the town where I was born,Geleen. In the suburb Lindenheivel.

geleen

There are no pictures of him for my family were basically immigrants, even though it was in the same small country. In the 1920/1930s it was the equivalent of moving across the globe now/ They had to leave everything behind.

All that I heard about him is that he was a kind and generous man. He had poor health though, I am not clear om what his ailments were but suffice to say his parents worried about him.

When war broke out he wasn’t able to serve in the army, it would have done not much good anyway. But he did his bit as much as he good.

He did not join any organized resistance group but he would do his own individual actions, by sneaking on to farms of well to do farmers, some  actually did well under German occupation, and he would steel a chicken here or there,eggs or grain and flour to make bread. He would give it to his parents but also to others who were in need.

He knew that id he would ever get caught he would face dire consequences, potentially death. One day he nearly got caught, he and a friend were out stealing things when they came across a German patrol.

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They literally had to run for their lives, they encountered a few empty barrels and jumped in them.

The Germans shot the barrel that held my uncle’s friend, he got killed immediately, but some stroke of luck they left Johannes’s barrel alone. When the coast was clear he got out and went home.

He never stole from the farmers again.

On September 18 1944, Geleen was liberated

Vrij Geleen

Johannes did see the liberation but the strain of the war and his ill health proved too much, he died on December 6 1944, the day when the Dutch celebrate St Nicholas.

I would have loved to have met him but although I never did I feel a part of him lives in me and he will forever be one of my heroes.

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