Sunday, February 8, 2009

Notes for family history

Mother told me some things about their life during the war in Holland. It started with her reminiscing about the time Lamber Heuvel arrived unexpectedly at our farm in Eganville. We were out in the garden weeding the potatoes when an unfamiliar car came in the driveway and a man got out and came walking across the yard toward us. Mother knew right away it was Lamber even though she hadn't seen him in thirty years. She said it was very stressful as she didn't have anything prepared for supper and wasn't expecting visitors. Dad was in the bush and she sent me out to tell him that he had to come home and go into town for pork chops and cookies. The visit was too short, Mother said she was trying to cook and look at the photo albums he had brought and she said it was one of the great disappointments of her life in Canada. She lived with that family for five years in Veghel looking after their two kids Ilse and Bertie whose pictures stood on the living room china cabinet for years in Canada. Their mother was an invalid and mother looked after the household. Lamber was a builder and they were a well-to-do family with a big house and she lived with them in town and had a better life than if she stayed in Erp on the farm or worked in a factory. That started them talking about all the prominent townspeople that lived on that same street in Veghel and how Lamber did their renovations and such and that many of those townspeople who were Jews were all rounded up and put on the trains and many of them never came back.
Others who must have suspected what was coming, were able to flee to England.

Ma (at one point we watched too many Ma and Pa Kettle movies) said they had to all have a pass with their picture and thumbprint on it for identification. She was about fifteen when all this was happening. She was living in Eindhoven at the hospital when the bombardment started. The hospital was hit and it destroyed the staff sleeping quarters. So all the girls had to go home. Mother was at home for about a month and then she returned to Eindhoven even though Oma didn't want her to. She was there until the Normandy landings and then Ome Tien showed up the next morning and said that she had to come home...that Oma insisted that it was too dangerous and that there could be more bombings or such in Eindhoven. So Ma went back home. She lived for awhile at Ome Johan's and that is where she was when the actual hand to hand fighting came through their part of Holland. The family with all ten children were hiding underground in the rain cistern while the Germans and the Allied fought their way through the area. After it was over, they found dead soldiers in the ditches and she said you could hear the screaming and moaning of wounded soldiers. When the area was freed it was on Sept 17, a beautiful day and Ma said she could look out and see all the parachutes floating to the ground. It was the Americans...she said they were all little soldiers...and everyone was cheering and singing and the girls decided to go into Veghel for the celebration. They bycyled into Veghel where the Americans were handing out cigarettes and everyone was ready to party but the authorities told them they should go back home to Erp as it was no way certain that the Germans were all gone. So they bycled back home and when they got back, Ome Tien was digging a big hole in the ground and Oma had filled a trunk with all the good clothes and family valuables so they could bury it because they were sure the Germans would come back and take everything with them as was their custom. Dad said he remembers graves dug in the sides of the roads with dead soldiers...both English and German. Some dutch people shot any German soldiers they came across.

1 comment:

Wilno Station Inn said...

Trying to see if posting comments works.