Where Will We Be After All That?

Greatness can be defined in many ways, sometimes it is when the right person encounters a critical moment in history.  On the surface, that could be said of Winston Churchill. In the end, I believe that he was always a great man. His personal efforts in the great wars and being able foresee the future and consequences of the Iron Curtain are proof enough.

As the history of the wars fade, and the greatest generation passes silently from this world to the next. The western democracies are losing their way. History, as it is taught in our American school system, has become a background subject, with a majority of teachers believing that the United States and the West were the villains and the plague to all that is evil in the world.

Somehow socialism and communism have become vogue again with people clamoring for huge central governments tasked with supporting – controlling the masses. The thought of a big central government controlling my life makes me physically ill. As Churchill famously said in a speech to his cabinet, “If this long island story of ours is to end, at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground!” I too, would do the same for our constitution, I will die defending it until I was choking upon my own blood upon the ground.

Why should be concerned with Churchill at this moment in time?” Churchill was:

  • Courageous. Churchill said, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others.”
  • Committed to Principles. The moral foundation of life. Principles are the things that one can fall back on when life or situations begin to unravel.
  • He was always learning and growing his knowledge. Never an idle moment with Churchill. Many have said that Churchill was always in a hurry, and he was.
  • He had the incredible ability to learn from his mistakes. Not a trait that we would apply to many leaders.
  • He didn’t blindly follow authority, which drove the conservative party nearly to wit’s end. If he towed the party line, Hitler would have had his way.

America and Britain, the two greatest English-speaking countries in the world need to step back and ask themselves, as Churchill has asked others during the early days of the war, “Where will we be after all that?”

Where will we be after the Chinese-virus? Where will we be when it’s time to rollback shelter in place and social restrictions? Where will be if the left wing with their communist/socialists ideals have their way?  Where will be as individuals bound together with our roots in the Magna-Carta?

I say the United States and Britain take their rightful and earned place together to lead. Be the leaders of freedom, democracy, and liberty.

Still, it will take Courage, a commitment to a moral foundation, to learn and increase our knowledge, to learn from our mistakes, and to continually question authority.

We the people can do this.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Winston Week – #7 The Majority and The Truth

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end, provide nourishment for the soul.

Christopher Kaczor, in Angelusnews.com, wrote an article titled: Lessons from Churchill’s Walk With Destiny. Many of us Churchillians have read and learned many lessons from Winston; I appreciated the brief description of the top lessons Kaczor provides.

One of these lessons stopped me in my tracks: “The majority does not determine the truth.” Those six words are profound. The example Kaczor uses is the appeasement of Hitler before the war.

I spent an hour or so smoking a Romeo y Juliette Churchill contemplating these six words. It could be that in America; the founding fathers used this same principle when developing the electoral college.

Groupthink, appeasement, identity politics are based on the majority determines the truth. In school, we were taught that the majority rules; it’s the basis of democracy. Right? That is what our teachers said. There is a huge difference between majority rules, ad the majority does not determine the truth.

In the new management styles that are taught in the corporate environments today, which I believe were devised to placate the millennium generation are based on consensus, how do you feel about this? But what now rings in my head is the majority does not determine the truth. That does not mean one should lead by dictatorship as all input must be considered. Leadership is a difficult and dirty job sometimes. How many failures have you seen when groupthink is applied, or the truth is rather inconvenient thus ignored. (Not to be confused with Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Which is about as far from the truth as one can travel.)

In government today here in the USA and in Great Britain, we struggle exactly with this concept mainly because facts are ignored, or one operates under an alternate truth. Example: yes, the climate is changing. No, the world will not come to an end in twelve years as the Green New Deal suggests. The wall will keep illegal’s out. No, the wall won’t. The truth is, in this case, immigration reform and politician’s willingness to enforce it. Many will believe that I am wrong on both counts. But there is only one truth, and the majority will not decide what that truth is.

Here are my favorite links of the week.

Churchill’s Lessons for Europe Today

Trust The People

Did Winston’s Words Win The War?

Winston Orator and Wordsmith.!

Winston-Churchill-hp-GQ_23Jan15_rex_b_1083x658.jpg

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Winston Week – #6 – That All My Past Life… – A Lesson In Leadership

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end, provide nourishment for the soul.
In the last paragraph of The Gathering Storm, Winston wrote, after receiving the invitation from the King to form a new government, “…and all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial.” I find this statement extraordinary. It guides future leadership qualities that many corporate leaders lack today.

When Winston speaks about his past life in the manner of great preparation, He is referring to are the cumulation of victories and foibles which have placed him in the seat of destiny.

Winston continues to stand out among all leaders because he had the capability of learning from his mistakes. One valuable lesson Winston learned from the Great War was to heed the advice of his Military Chiefs of Staff. It was a lesson learned from the disastrous Dardanelle’s campaign during the Great War. Winston was surrounded by a war cabinet, who were detached and approved the mission and by military leaders who half hardily committed after raising concerns. After a disastrous start to the campaign, Winston overruled his advisors and drove ahead, compounding disaster and a failed mission. Never during World War II did Winston rule against his Chiefs when they were unanimous in their opinion.

When a new leader arrives, it is understood that new leaders want to leave their mark, many times like a dog who comes into a new home. The changes the new leader implements are typically the same change that two leaders ago tried and failed. Circular failure happens when the new leader has not learned from previous mistakes, theirs and others, and won’t listen to the existing employees who understand why the proposed change will fail. I do believe that some corporate heads, move from one company to another, with ideas they know will fail, stay on until vested, collect their exit packages amounting to millions of dollars. Do that over a fifteen to twenty-year period, and you will be rich beyond belief not caring about the fact that you have destroyed thousands of employees lives in the process. It is the classic “Peter Principle.”

Where all we after all that?

From my experience (in the most horrible place in the world – middle management,) the qualities that are important to lead in a corporate environment or quite frankly in any environment.

There are many more, but here is a good start:

1) A leader must learn from their past mistakes. No learning, no future.

2) A leader coming into a new situation must listen to their subordinates. The subordinates with the longest tenure to understand past mistakes and group culture.

3) A transparent and clear path must be put forth.

4) Space must be created for innovation and celebration for failure.

5) Trust must be gained with employees, so they feel comfortable with bringing issues and failures to your attention.

6) Listen, listen, listen and follow up.

Much has been written about servant leadership and diverse leadership. They rarely work. Honesty, putting value into advice and feedback from your employees, rewarding success and rewarding failure when new things are tried is the formula for success.

Here are a few links and photos from last week:

What We Learned From Gallipoli

Churchill’s Navy – Podcast

Lincoln, Churchill, and Statesmanship

Dunkirk.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Winston Week – #5 – Things I wish he had said

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end, provide nourishment for the soul.

Winston’s contribution to freedom requires that his record always is kept accurate. Not only his deeds and accomplishments but what he said. Churchill publications total about 42, Winston also gave about 2500 documented speeches. His writing included a Nobel prize for his 6-volume memoir of the Second World War.

When the record is not accurate, the meaning and deeds become either infamous or legend. Revisionists begin to pollute accomplishments until they find themselves on the liar’s ash heap of history. That being said, I do wish some of the classic Churchill quotes, that he never said, were quotes he actually did say.

Here are some of my favorites Winston never said:

  •  Smoking cigars are like falling in love; first, you are attracted to its shape; you stay for its flavor; and you must always remember never, never let the flame go out.
  •   Do you have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
  •  If I had a husband like you,’ Nancy Astor said with concentrated scorn, ‘I’d give him poison!’ ‘Mad’m,’ Winston looking her over with a feeble sort of smile, ‘If I had a wife like you I’d take it.’”
  • You don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer. I think I heard Baroness Thatcher say this in a Prime Minister Question Time.

On my office window, I have the following. It is from Darkest Hour:

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.

I’m pretty sure Winston never said that one either. But to me, it encapsulates his life and gives me comfort.

Below are listed my favorite posts for the week

References: RichardLangworth.com

Various internet sites.

IMG_5327.jpg

The Missouri Museum That Churchill Built

Social Media Misquotes Churchill

Soames Archive Opens at Cambridge

I drink.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Winston Week – #4 – Winston, the Jews, and Racism

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end provide nourishment for the soul.

If one were to issue a racial epithet or stereotype, the politically correct, self-important, moral relativist crowd would cry foul and demand the person who uttered such a thing should be defiled, demand they lose their job, and become a villain for the rest of their lives.

Take the same scenario but direct it at the Jews or Israel, and the same group falls silent. This same group will defend their lack of equal outrage as free speech, as an opinion, as (God forbid) the truth. The rise of antisemitism plagues the United States and Europe. For some, it is perfectly natural. Normal for those who continue to drive a stake in the fabric of human decency. These same people make a fine living by keeping us divided by some false notion that to control the masses; they must continue to make the masses feel like victims.

Sir Winston was a friend of the Jewish people. His official biographer Sir Martin Gilbert was Jewish. This antisemitism hits too close to home. In 1943 in Amsterdam David Bos, a Jewish man, married to my great aunt, was taken by the Gestapo, along with his brother and father. All three were murdered at Auschwitz.

In his speech to the Oregon Historical Society last November, Andrew Roberts said (I’m paraphrasing) Having Jews as friends were natural to Winston. His father had many Jewish friends.

I do not believe for a moment that the Jews were friends of the Churchill ’s because they were Jewish; they were friends that happen to be Jewish. Winston strongly supported the creation of the Israel nation, in 1948.

The Israeli nation created the only democracy in the region and the only nation that supports freedom for its citizens. These two reasons alone should be enough for any free nation to stand at Israel’s side.

In 1917 Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary penned a letter to Lord Rothschild on behalf of the British government. This letter because of the Balfour Declaration. Winston supported the declaration and saw it through in 1948.

The Balfour Declaration
Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour

Here are some interesting links from the previous week:

53140435_10158152206009638_3690409834013786112_n.jpg

 

What Winston Learned From the Great War

Leaders Unite to Condem AntiSemitism

What Winston Learned From the Great War

 

Chamberlain-paper.jpg

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Winston Week – #3 – Darkest Hour – Revealing the Man.

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end provide nourishment for the soul.

I rarely pay attention to the Academy Awards, especially in recent years, with all the political nonsense being spewed by today’s modern-day court jesters. I have never understood why we should put so much emphasis on what they say about politics.
We Churchillians had a stake in the 2018 awards ceremony. Our own Sir Winston, played by Gary Oldman was up for honors.

2017 and 2018 were comeback years for our grand hero, savior of the free world. With Andrew Roberts, Churchill – Walking With Destiny, released late in 2018, the comeback is continuing. I believe that this continued comeback is fueled by a world that continues on its off-kilter course. We are looking for statesmanship and leadership that may not exist today. If this combination of statesmanship and leadership does exist today, it is well hidden.

I was angry with the Brian Cox movie Churchill. It was a horrible movie portraying Winston as a buffoon and a leader that no one listened too. Gary Oldman’s Darkest Hour was the real deal.

I do cherish the Churchillian’s who are the keepers of the truth. Those that pointed out several issues with “the truth” as it was portrayed in the Darkest Hour. Biopic’s are rarely one hundred percent accurate. Within a two-hour window, which most movies average, some literary license must be applied to assist in capturing the character.

The two scenes that stand out in this case and never took place in Winston’s life were first when the King paid a late-night visit to number 10. Winston is sitting in the dark full of fear and dreading the idea of suing for peace with Hitler. The King arrived and saved the day by telling Winston he had the King’s full support and to “Beat the buggers.” The second, which was the most controversial, was the train scene. Churchill jumped out of his car, headed for the underground and takes the train to Westminster. I have heard many Churchillians call the scene unnecessary and ridiculous. I disagree. The writer was able to show in that few minutes that the British people were with Winston and ready to fight. More importantly, it brought to light that Winston was excruciatingly human. He was a person who wore his emotions on his sleeve. As has been noted, Winston cried no less than 50 times during the war.

I prefer to see Winston as the tough old bulldog, who exhibited great confidence and knew that his life was just a preparation for May 10, 1940. That was who he was, and amazingly human.

IMG_5260.jpg
Here are my links for the week:

Tell me what you want.. what you really really want.. Winston – Original Spice Girl

The Battle Rages On – The Attack on Churchill

My Final Post on TonyPandy

Sir Martin Gilbert Papers Gifted to Hillsdale College – Link Provided by William Schaub – The Chartwell Society – Portland Oregon

 

Leave a comment

Filed under The Winston Week

The Winston Week – #2 Churchill, Moral Courage and Guilt From The Left.

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end provide nourishment for the soul.

Wednesday of last week I had the opportunity to attend Hillsdale College’s National Leadership Conference in Orange County, California. The main draw for me was the keynote speaker Andrew Roberts who presented his thoughts on the importance of Churchill today. Roberts included strong comments about John McDonnell, whom I referenced last week.

The attack of the left on Churchill is an example of the white guilt that is being pushed upon all of us. This movement, perpetrated by the left, demands that if you were white and powerful in our country’s past, you must somehow be an awful person today and if you are a white male today, you must feel overwhelming guilt about that past. Today witness we the destruction and defacing of statues and monuments that, should be left in place to remind us of our history. Life is a learning and evolutionary exercise. As we live we learn. History is our foundation for a better future.

This brings me to Robert’s speech: “The importance of Churchill for Today.” Roberts spoke of Churchill’s moral courage, ability to see into the future, based on the experiences of his past. Many people see Churchill as an iron-fisted conservative, but he was the father of many British social reforms that are still in place today. Churchill understood Disraeli’s Tory Democracy and applied it where he could. Free trade, free markets, and a safety net for those who truly needed help.

In the United States, a socialist movement is well underway, driven by those who have no understanding or education on how centralized government control of people’s lives has failed in every attempt. Socialism, central government control and the dumbing down of the people are just a few of the reasons why Churchill was so unique; he understood that there needed to be some balance without undercutting one’s values.
Here are my top articles and links for the past week.

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

McDonnell – More Dangerious Than Corbyn – Andrew Roberts

Tributes to Churchill: What They Said Back Then – Posted by Richard Langworth

Did Fleming Twice Save Churchill’s Life posted on ICS website

Audacity Is The Only Ticket – Winston Paints

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Winston Week – #1 The Villain

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end provide nourishment for the soul. 

With the increasing vitriol cast upon the man who saved democracy. There are a new uneducated revisionist millennium generation and a vile press who continue to push the idea that today’s political correctness and foundationless standards should be cast upon those of history and thus judged by them.

There is no doubt that I am a dedicated Churchillian, but I also consider myself a person of keen perception, the holder of some common sense and a person who has made their fair share of mistakes while being battered and bruised by corporate America. I fully believe that understanding the errors and victories of the past, builds the foundation for a better future.

This past week we find Churchill under attack, by John McDonnell, a Briitish Member of Parliament and a Marxist sympathizer, who called Churchill a ‘villain’ over the way he handled the coal miners strike as Home Secretary in 1910. Twenty-five thousand workers went on strike. Major rioting broke out on November 7th and 8th. Sixty-Three shops were looted and nearly destroyed. Although local law enforcement asked for military assistance, Churchill held back the request for the military and sent  Metropolitan police instead. .” In some cases the police held back the rioters with rolled up raincoats.* The Manchester Guardian praised Churchill for keeping the military out of it, stating that the decision “saved many lives.”

Mr. McDonnell continues to propel the Labor party myth that Churchill was personally responsible for brutally suppressing the innocent workers with military force.* The facts do not bear this out.

Churchill has a distinguished record of social reform while in parliament as a liberal and a conservative. Still, he is a villain according to Mr. McDonnell.
The recent surge in the popularity of Sir Winston Churchill makes him an easy target of the left. Heroes are no longer fashionable. The attempt to cover the great deeds of the past only because someone or some group becomes offended by the truth will continue to divide all of us.

One may not agree with all that Churchill did, but he led from his heart and for the love of country and empire. He was the defender of freedom. In an age where some say there are no heroes, I believe that those naysayers don’t know where to look.

Until next week.

Reference:

Andrew Roberts: Churchill – Walking With Destiny – Viking – B367eginning on page 143.
Randolph Churchill : Winston S Churchill, Volume II, Young Statesman, 1901-1914 – Hillsdale College Press – Beginning on page 367

Here are a few links to last week’s social media, personal posts, articles and such.

From The Churchill Bulletin:

Many foolish things are being said about Winston Churchill by contemporary politicians these days. Labour leader Clement Attlee, who served as Deputy Prime Minister under Churchill during the war, wrote this in his memoirs: “I have often paid my tribute to Churchill’s great leadership. Undoubtedly the hour found the man, and the man found his hour.”

Forbes – 5 Best Speech Practices

How Churchill Love of the Jews Helped Him See the Nazi Threat

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under The Winston Week

The Death of a Great Man

Fifty-Four years ago today, January 24, 1965, the greatest man of the 20th century, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill passed away quietly in his home in Hyde Park. Coincidently it was the same date, January 24 that his father died in 1895.

Churchill had been in declining health for several years; the final blow came in the form of a massive stroke on January 10th. Churchill lay in a coma for 14 days. He died peacefully with his son Randolph, daughters, Sarah and Mary, and of course his loving wife of 56 years, his darling Clementine were at his side.

Churchill held nearly every high post in the British government. He survived fighting in 5 wars. Four of which were before he was 26 years old. Churchill had a dozen close brushes with death. He changed political parties twice and found himself on the wrong side of women’s suffrage, Indian independence, the Abdication crisis, the gold standard and many other issues of the day. One of the things that I admire about him is that although Churchill made many mistakes, he learned something from every single one. The lessons he learned made him the only man brave enough to warn of the Nazi menace throughout the 1930s and uniquely qualified to lead the free world to victory.

I am asked time and time again, “Why Churchill? Why do you like him so much?” It is a question that I simply answer by quoting something he quipped to his wife “If it not for failure, I may have never accomplished anything.” Then I follow with, “Churchill went from failure to failure and then he saved the free world!”

Churchill described his politics as being a “Tory Democrat.” He felt he was put on this earth to defend the British empire, but at the same time, he tried to take care of the common man, introducing welfare, health insurance, unemployment insurance, and help for widows. Churchill was liberal in the true sense of the word, and a conservative when it came to the defense of England, the United Kingdom, and the empire.

Andrew Roberts in his brilliant newly released biography writes while quoting Churchill: “Man is spirit,” Churchill told the ministers of His Government before his resignation in April 1955. What he meant was that, given spirit – by which he meant the dash, intelligence, hard work, persistence, immense physical and moral courage and above all iron willpower that he himself had exhibited in his lifetime – it is possible to succeed despite material restraints.”

At a time when Hitler had nearly conquered all of western Europe, Churchill’s greatest success as Andrew Roberts points out was not that Churchill stopped the invasion of the United Kingdom in 1940 but that he “stopped the British Government from making peace.” Churchill saved Liberty.

I am so thankful that Sir Winston Spencer Churchill was there when we needed him most.
We need you again Winston. Where are you?

churchill on stump

References

Churchill Walking with Destiny, Andrew Roberts, Page 981, Viking Press. 2018
Winston S. Churchill Volume VIII Never Despair 1945-1965 – Sir Martin Gilbert, Page 1359, Hilldale College Press. New Edition

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Sir Winston Churchill

The Family and the War – Greet Reyenga Holter, The Nazi’s and Radio Oranje

This is a story that I hope will be the first of many about the Holters, Reyenga’s, Schneiders and the DeJong’s and their struggles during World War Il. This story belongs to Stef van Hage, Frank van Hage. Edo Das and Tineke van der Heide-Das. This was written with the help of Stef van Hage for whom I am forever grateful.

THE BACKGROUND                   

When the Nazi’s began rattling their swastika’s in the early 1930’s and then when Hitler came into power, the Dutch were not too worried, after all World War I bypassed their country completely. There was the thought that if a European conflict did emerge, that the Netherlands would not be affected.

Poland was invaded by the Nazi’s on September 1, 1939. The Dutch began to shore up their defenses, but for the most part, they believed that the Germans would leave them alone.

The Battle of the Netherlands began on May 10, 1940. The main army of the Netherlands surrendered 4 days later, after the devastating bombardment of Rotterdam and the German threat to destroy Amsterdam and other Dutch cities too. The Dutch province of Zeeland continued to fight bravely for three more days. They were defeated on May 17th. Dutch Royalty went into exile to the United Kingdom. The British government crumbled. Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

*         *         *

Amsterdam, 1944. Nazi occupation continues. Holland suffers one of the worst winters on record.

The Jews had all but disappeared either by murder, or were barely surviving in Nazi death camps, or they lived hidden in secret places, like Anne Frank. There was nothing for the Dutch to burn to keep homes warm. They found furniture, wall slats, and garbage to burn. I find it is ironic that the tulip which became so valuable during Holland’s Golden Age (17th century), contributed to the countries great prosperity and is the flower the country is most famous for would be what eventually kept my family alive. They ate tulip bulbs. Everything else was gone. When I look at a tulip, it has much more meaning to me than just another pretty flower. It meant the survival of my family.

Gerrit Holter and Greet Reyenga were my Great Uncle and Great Aunt and the Grandparents of my cousins in the Netherlands, Stef and Frank van Hage and Edo and Tineke Das.

THE STORY

In 1944, Gerrit Holter and Greet (Reyenga) Holter lived in an apartment on the Retiefstraat in the eastern part of Amsterdam. Their son, my cousin Demp, was being held prisoner by the Nazi’s in Berlin. The war had been brutal to the Holter and Reyenga families.

Earlier in 1943, the Nazi’s outlawed and then proceeded to confiscate all radios in the Netherlands. The Nazi’s wanted to stop broadcasts from Radio Oranje. It was the Dutch government radio station broadcasting from London, England. Radio Oranje provided hope to the Dutch people. Possession of a radio by anyone in the Netherlands was considered an act of resistance against Nazi authority. If one was caught in possession of a radio, one would be arrested, held in jail, maybe face a firing squad or they were sent to a Nazi death camp.

Confiscation of the radios was important to the Nazi’ in 1943. The Nazi’s were taking a beating in Russia. Battle after battle was lost by the Nazi’s. News of this being broadcast into occupied Holland would stir the underground resistance into action.

Many Dutch families had a radio despite the ban. They stashed them under the floorboards of their apartment, or in the closet behind a pile of blankets, or in the attic. Radio Oranje was the only thing for many families that gave them hope. I am proud to say that Gerrit and Greet had a radio too!

One gray evening the Holters were startled by a loud banging at their door. Greet opened the door and there stood the Dutch policeman, fanatic Jew hater and Nazi sympathizer Sam Olij. With Sam were several Gestapo officers. Pushing Greet aside, Olij and the Gestapo searched the apartment and found what they were looking for. A radio. Gerrit and Greet had been betrayed. But by who? It remains a mystery to this day.

Gerrit, being the head of the family, was immediately arrested. Greet pleaded with the Gestapo officers to let Gerrit go. Gerrit was recovering from a stroke and was not well. She begged them to arrest her instead of Gerrit. And so they did.

Sam Olij and the Gestapo handcuffed Greet, took her from the apartment, put her in a car and drove her away. Where was she taken? As far as the family knew, Greet had vanished into thin air! Gerrit, who was ill from a stroke and their three young daughters, Ans, Aat and Tineke were now alone. How were the small girls going to be able to take care of their ill father? How would they survive?

Several days passed and there wasn’t a single sign of life from Greet. This was bad, very bad. The children were in shock. Gerrit the consummate soccer fan STILL went to the Ajax stadium to see his favorite soccer club playing that week’s match. Needless to say his daughters were furious with him.

The girls went to the local authorities in Amsterdam but they were dismissed out of hand. Their pleas fell on deaf ears. The girls were desperate. They were at wit’s end. There was only one thing they could do. It was their last ditch effort. The girls went to see their German Aunt Annie.

Aunt Annie was the second wife of Wiebe Johannes Reyenga. He was known as Jan and was Greet’s brother. Aunt Annie was GERMAN. One can only imagine how the girls felt enlisting the help of a German woman to save their mother.

Aunt Annie had special skills. Before she married Jan, she had been a nightclub “dancer”. It’s not certain if Aunt Annie worked in the nightclub after her marriage, but it has been said that she did her best work from the horizontal position.

Aunt Annie did know some of the German officers and found out that Greet was being held at the Sicherheitsdienst, which was the headquarters of the intelligence service of the SS-Nazi’s in Amsterdam. Willy Lages, a German Nazi fanatic was in charge of the prison. Aunt Annie knew Willy too. Aunt Annie was able to win Greet’s freedom!

Greet’s release came just in time. She was physically and mentally in shambles. Greet had shared a cell with many other women, who one by one disappeared. After the war Greet inquired about them. Most didn’t survive the war.

The great mystery of course is how did Aunt Annie obtain the freedom of her sister-in-law Greet? Was it by reasoning with Nazi flunky Willie Lages and the authorities of the Sicherheitsdienst? Or was it by Aunt Annie applying her special skills?

Greet never talked about this time in her life. She may have felt guilty and ashamed because she was saved by her German sister-in-law who most likely gained Greet’s freedom by applying the skills that she, at one time, made a living by.

Greet recovered and outlived many from the war. She brought great joy to her family and friends. Stef van Hage comments that his life would have lacked a lot of fun and laughing. Greet passed away in 1970.

4 Comments

Filed under The Family and the War