As a child and grandchild of people who were very active in the resistance in WOII my youth was filled with stories of the ‘good’ more than those of the bad and ugly. I heard more about the heroics of hiding many many people in the house of my grandparents, with hideaway possibilities via their cellar, about ‘adventures’ as my father and aunty (11 and 14 when the war started) would call them much later. Adventures, nearly getting caught by a militairy guard while spreading illegal newspapers, telex messages from England, false ID’s and other messages for the resistance, as well as hunting for food for all those people in their care.
In some strange way it made me from a very young age alert and on the look out for all what would cover the bad and ugly of WOII, wether in documentaries or movies or in my families stories, and always I was cringing and touched deeply, very deeply by the cruelties and the betrayals, until I finally could not bear to watch them anymore,and that for a long long time.
I think Schindlers List was the first movie I saw again, which touched both, the good, the bad and the ugly, and maybe therefore I could bare, but only just.
Only 3 years ago with my Scottish friend P, I dared to go and visit The Anne Frank House for the first time and was deeply touched. and near to an emotional breakdown. I am probably one of the few Dutch people who never read the book she wrote, her diary, as my imagination always has been very vivid, too vivid for my own good. And only a few quotes, how beautiful they may be, made me feel like suffocating because I knew her faith and the faith of so so many others.
Why I write this in English and not in Dutch, is because it is abroad where I first met the denial of the holocaust ever happening, and the for me extremely painful jokes about Jews and soap, and I was gobsmacked. Only to slowly learn that All history is never possible to know and comprehend completely, all history is never to be told or shared, as this is simply not possible. And if you grow up and live in a country which is in hiding for its own past, its own atrocities, it might be pointing fingers to other countries and there wrongdoings or, neglect what happened if it is concerning allies.
And yes in Holland there has been many many collaborators with the then enemy, and traitors in WOII and after,so it is not my intend at all to poin fingers here, much more I am looking for the rabbithole or the mirror which one suits best, to find peace in some way without having to deny what also happened. So if only one person who before was very sure that the Holocaust was made up and never happened, starts scratching his or her forehead after watching this little 15 minutes pearl, and starts thinking, what if…
And if not, I at least know where to find my own bearable shiny gem easily, whenever I feel like and up to it, soothing just a little bit for the coward I feel myself these days not feeling up to watching the news about the current atrocities all over the world, may it be Baltimore, Syria, drowning of refugees, fascist talk of our politicians….Because I have such a vivid imagination and it is breaking my heart already to read the headlines and see the pictures.
So a coward I feel but proud I nevertheless am of what my relatives did during WOII, the incredible courage, and my next step will at least be once more to sit with my aunty, far in her eighties now and once more go over the material she has and listen to her stories and the once of my father, now they are still here to tell them. My heritage whether I like it or not. And yes, tonight I will be silence for 2 minutes at 20.00 pm. Their moments, to remember and honor them. And all the others. The lost ones.