Jacob with his wifeThis is Jacob on a houseboat with his wife. That's where they lived in after WW II.

In fact, Jacob passed a lot of his life on ships. As a young man he worked in catering on a shipping line to the Dutch Indies.

The situation they lived in on this picture had all to do with the circumstances and personal choices made before.

They did not have much that time, but at least had eachother and the children again, after having been imprisoned.

Jacob was the oldest. Named after the father of his father, who was named after his father etc etc. In these generations they were not very original in giving names,Jacob as a boy men just gave the sons the same names as themselves. Still, it's a nice, old, Jewish name, a name of one of the Arch fathers.
His own father Sjouke had his name from the father of his mother, Sjouke Beers Polstra.

It is said, firstborn have, according to statistics, more leadership qualities than later born. This certainly goes for Jacob. He was a manager in hotelbusiness most of his working life and did so rather well. What jeopardized his career was the choice for the Dutch National Socialist movement.

He was born on may the 6th 1901, in the town of Meppel. But grew up, like all his brothers and his sister in Emmen. He had enough restlessness to wander off on a very young age. First he went to the Hotelschool in The Hague. After that he went sailing, which he did for several years, working in the restaurant on board ship.He developed a good career, starting as as waiter, doing management later on.
On one of his trips he met his future wife Frieda, in Amsterdam in the harbour. They later met again in the Dutch Indies, and decided to get engaged and later married.

Jacob had it all planned out: first engage, then sail a few journeys more, then take over the hotel business in Emmen from his eldering parents. This was 1932/33. A new house for the parents designed by brother Klaas and built next to the hotel. See: the Kolhoop. The hotel itself was modernized.

It was in these days, that Jacob got sympathy for the ideas of a certain mr. Mussert, leader of the Dutch national socialist movement NSB. There had been a  worldwide economic crisis and great poverty in the East , Germany. Democracy had no answer to that, could not solve poverty.
Instead, in Germany, a man was elected, who solved a lot of problems like unemployment overthere. Well yes, he was kind of an antisemite, and killed and terrorised al that opposed him. Hitler was his name.

The NSB not so much wanted to get the Germans into the Netherlands, as well as develop a 'Dutch version' of this succes. After the nazis had bombarded Rotterdam, killing many people, imposed their power and later on deported all the jews, this same NSB of course was used as an instrument by the occupators.
But, as our queen Beatrix stated in public while in Israel,  the sad conclusion must be drawn that an awful lot of Dutch people collaborated with the nazis during this time.
Real heroes, like my uncle Klaas, in fact were scarce.

So, Jacob became an important member of this movement. A man of principals he was too. When food was rationed, he did not want to use his position to obtain more rations than he was formally entitled to. He simple believed in the ideas of the movement he commited himself to. And never turned.
How he reacted when his own brother was arrested and shot, we will never no. My guess is, he found it sad, but was also convinced his brother had done daft things.
I thought about it, whether Jacob could have saved his brother. I came to the conclusion: in the dictatorship of these days: no.

War ended on may 5th 1945, a day before Jacob had his 44th birhtday. It will not have been a nice birthday.
Quickly after that he and his wife were arrested and detained. Nobody bothered about their children. The shame of these days. Kids of arrested collaborators were simply left alone.
They found a place to live at first at their grandmother Janna and aunt Frouwkje. Till these were arrested too. Then the little girl Coby sat on the doormat of her grandmothers house with her little babybrother of 1,5 years old with no place to go. She did not know where her parents were, did not know where to go, did not understand the situation, only understood she was punished for something she had no part in.
Heartbraking, to me it is. "That's war", others might say, or "shit happens". Well, I think it sucks, bigtime.

Jacob and his wife were kept imprisoned for quite a while. The treatment was harsh, and not always what might be expected in a constitutional state, to say the least. Later on, the situation stabilized and it came more in line.
There is a book by A.D.Belinfante, "In plaats van bijltjesdag"(freely translated: "instead of  payback time"), in which the process is well described.

Jacob and familyJacob however, felt unjustly treated all his life. The few times I met him, he always began complaints about "see things from an other point of view" and unjust things done. Well, to me it felt bad then as he said it, and it still does.
He and his family picked up the pieces later. They reunited and lived on a houseboat for quite a long time. Jacob worked in the restaurant business mainly, sometimes haunted by his past in his career. He worked in "Avifauna", quite a unique birdpark, combined with a restaurant. In later days he owned a hotel in the Hague, hotel Hage.

Jacob and Frieda had one handicapped daughter, born with a braindefect, which affected her physical as well as her mental abilities. He was a very dedicated loving father for her, and took care for her as long as he was able to. She was a very enthousiastic knitter. She knitted me a scarf once, which I wore for a long time. It was a sweet girl, called Hanneke.

The family on the houseboat.

When retirement came, Jacob wanted to settle down with his wife in Friesland, in Warns. His brother Joop had helped created a home for elderly people there andJacob with Joop in front of the Janke Tromp Hoeve they went to live there.  It's called the Janke Tromp hoeve. Alas, Frieda died before the house was ready.
He lived there alone. As he resembled his younger brother, people often mistook him for Joop, who had been a public figure for over 15 years in Warns.
He even married again with a women and lived happy with her for several years.

                                                                                                                                                                            Jacob(left) with his brother Joop in front of the                                                                                                                                                                                 newly built home for elderly in Warns.

gravejacobJacob died in 1991, in Warns, a few hundred meters from the place I was born in 1959.
He is buried on the cemetary of Mirns, a tiny hamlet at the border of the IJsselmeer,
next to his first wife. Their handicapped daughter, who died in 1995 is buried there too,as is his second wife.

all fourMirns

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