me build his site
One day about 1,5 year ago I sat behind my desk, not really
what to do.
Just like that I started up my browser and googled for the name of my
late uncle Klaas Postma, older brother of my late dad. Klaas is, in my
view a great hero, who gave his live in the nastiest conflict of the
20th century, World
He was the initiator and one of the leaders of a resistance group in
Utrecht, NL. That was about all I knew by then.
To my great astonishment, a whole website was dedicated to this
man. I found out his remains lie in an honorary grave in Utrecht,
together with 17 others from the "Oranjevrijbuiters".
Kerkhof, whose father also was one of the 18 victims, and even related
to me through his mother. A very sympathetic man.
This made me think about
my whole family from fathers side. Why didn't
I know this? Or even more odd: Why did my father not know about this
monument, or did he just not talk about it?
The answer is straightforward: The family exploded due to fundamental
Where one brother was a high-rank official in the Dutch national
the NSB, the other was in the resistance, fighting a just cause against
the German occupator. Yet another suffered terribly in the Dutch
East-Indies in a Japanese concentration camp, as did his wife and
kids. After the war, the only sister and her mum were on unclear
grounds(to me at least) locked up in camp Westerbork but released
shortly afterwards. My dad worked as a civil servant during
nazi-occupation and did a bit of propaganda. For this he was convicted
afterwards. Last but not least, the youngest signed up for the Waffen
SS and fought in the Sowjet-Union. Their dad Sjouke died of bad health and grief in 1943. He was
opposed to nazism.
Me on a bridge
Victims, collaborators and bystanders all in one family. And a huge
pile of skeletons in just as many cupboards.......
I did not know all of this 2 years ago, at least not as much in detail.
Something triggered me to seek contact with cousins, read stuff and
find out their story, of each of my uncles and my aunt. "Google was my
friend", in finding info as well as finding adresses and
telephonenumbers with the scarce info I had. It was a great experience,
starting of with the finding of the son of Klaas, John, with the help
of the civil registration in Utrecht. I found Christa, Hennie's
daughter, talked to and emailed with kids of Jacob, asked my
and two still living sisters and went to visit
uncle Berts remaining son.
Each one of them knew something, mostly of course about their own dad,
fragments about the other 5. It was like a puzzle. With every one of
the bits and pieces I got a bigger picture. Fascinating. Honestly, they
all were kind to me, happy to tell about their lives and, of course
interested in what I could tell them.
What happens next? Who knows. I hope for good contact, but will just
wait and see. I told the story. Neither one of the generations I told
longer amongst us, only in the minds and hearts of their descendants.
instead of a
thousand-year empire, I wish thousand years, and more, of peace for us
generations yet to come.
Wiebe Anjo Postma, Tilburg, July 2008
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