The post that was here has been superseded by this one.
This post remains open to preserve back links.
|Resistance newspapers flourished,|
but were strictly banned by the Nazis.
I saw pictures of the [Jewish] immigrants coming in the ships and landing in Haifa, and I said, "This country needs help, so why not?" I arrived in 1961.
|Wedding of Gregory Forest and Eileen Hills Forest, Fort Lauderdale, |
Fla. (1983). L to R: Anna Ormont, Greg's half-sister Madeleine, his
late sister Alexandra, Eileen, Greg, Madeleine's son Andrew, Greg's
late mother Marion Drews and her third husband Paul McDonald.
Photo by kind permission of (thanks!) the Forest family. This is
the latest-dated extant photo of Anna.
|Graves of Gi and Janka Boissevain at the Heroes' Cemetery in Overveen,|
sons of Jan "Canada" and Mies Boissevain. Photo by Mariska Muller,
posted by permission, taken at a Cemetery remembrance ceremony in 2014.
I visited the site in February 2015 with Charles Boissevain.
|Matt Hyland (standing) and Hansje van|
Lennep, January 1995. Photo by JT Marlin.
Mies had been sent to Ravensbrueck, the concentration camp for women in Southern Germany. She was part of a group liberated by Sweden's Count Bernadotte and was sent to Sweden. When she heard that her husband and her two eldest sons had died, she did not want to live any more. But then she looked out of the window of the plane that was bringing them all to Sweden. They broke through the clouds and the sun shone on a quilt of farms and towns below. She decided there was still a lot for her to do on earth.
When she eventually returned to Holland, she started a movement where people would make quilted skirts out of remnants of cloth left over from the war. Friends and family would donate the pieces of cloth. The called the skirt the "feast rok" (festival dress), to celebrate the liberation of Holland.
Because of her heroic behavior in the concentration camp, where she would save her fellow prisoners from despair with talk and deeds, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to come to America as she wanted to thai her and meet her personally. [Diane Haddick Query: Did Mies van Lennep Boissevain ever did come to America at Mrs. Roosevelt's invitation, "and if she did, what happened?" Answer: Yes, she gave a lecture tour.After the war, even though she had endured terrible hardship and her health was still poor, she overwhelmed her surroundings with energy and optimism. Bob Boissevain (her second cousin once removed, close to the family) says:
I remember how she once told us, roaring with laughter, how happy they were, when they got moved to another camp, that they were allowed to sleep on mattresses covered in cockroaches, rather than in barracks full of lice.Mies Boissevain deserves to be on the Yad Vashem List of the Righteous, but during her lifetime she insisted that she only did her duty as a Dutch citizen and she did not want to be recognized officially for that. Her children for that reason did not seek any honors for their mother, nor did her sister Hester van Lennep Baračs.
The Krauts ... first imprisoned ... Jan ["Canada"] Boissevain, then let him free (he was a banker and was accused of lending money to Jews, which was trumped up, as Holland never differentiated among its citizens), then arrested him again and sent him and Mies to two different concentration camps.
Also taken were their two oldest sons: Jan Karel [Janka] and Gideon [Gi], who were part of an underground resistance group, all in their early 20s. In 1943 they and others were killed by a firing squad in the dunes.
Their younger brother, Francois Boissevain and the kid's nanny, Jane, were sent to a concentration camp in Germany. They survived the war. Alas, Jan Canada did not - he died one month before Holland's liberation, in April 1945 in a camp near Berlin.
|Neptune Diploma for the M.S. Boissevain. It was given to|
Dutch troops heading for Indonesia after World War II.
I, NEPTUNE, GOD OF ALL SEAS Patron of all Mermaids, Treasure-chest keeper of all treasures which are thrown over board etc, etc, declare herewith that: Soldier 1st class Maas, J.K. I-2-R.lt.LuA crossed the equator on May 18, 1947 and in my opinion has been found suitable to defy all the dangers in the Far East and, after services done, to be returned home safely over my seas. Therefore it is pointed out to everyone, that the person in possession of this diploma, may he - land-dog that he obviously is -, again sail in my waters, gets the homage he deserves, given to him by me under penalty of my discontent. THUS DRAWN UP ABOARD M.S. Boissevain led by the C.O.T. The Lt.-Col. Der Art. A. Tuytel.On May 4, 1946 the Dutch Government, back in power after Hitler's occupation, returned the ship to the KPM (Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij), the shipping company founded in 1888 by Jan Boissevain (NP 52) and others. Because the ship was fitted out for transporting troops, it was leased by the Dutch government for almost two years for the supply and removal of Dutch soldiers to uphold the authority of Holland in the former Dutch Indies. Like the United States, Holland continued in war status after V-E Day because of the continued fighting in Japan.
My mother [Mrs. Cornelis van Lennep, 10 in the van Lennep family genealogy excerpt that is included referenced in the chapter on Wally van Hall] was rather concerned that her daughter [10c] was going far away in 1946, to work in the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC, and she said this to Hilda's cousin Olga Boissevain van Lennep [1d]. Olga offered to write to Hilda van Stockum to ask her to put me up for a while. Hilda agreed.
I stayed several weeks at Hilda's house on Northampton Street [#3728] near Chevy Chase Circle in Washington, D.C., until Hilda's husband (Spike Marlin) was transferred to Montreal by his employer, the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency. During that time Hilda suggested that we would PLAY being real cousins, since both of our families were back in Holland.
Spike went ahead to try to rent a house in Montreal. Not able to find anything right away (it being summer), he had to settle for a house that was, literally, IN THE WOODS, outside Montreal [in a place called Ste. Marguerite].
So the family moved into this house, with no running water. The smallest of Hilda's six kids was 1 1-1/2 year old Elisabeth. There was no driveable road to the house, so the rented car dropped them off a small distance away. Hilda's widowed mother, Olga ("Aunt Olga" to me) later had to go buy a bathing suit, as did the rest of the family: the "bath" was a lake... As a result, a book was born - Canadian Summer.
Thanks to correspondence with Hilda and Aunt Olga, I knew beforehand of some of the adventures later printed in the book. Years later, I spent Christmas with them at Ste. Adele. They had a house near the church and on several occasions the priest (or minister) had to ask the Marlin family to tone down their noise during the church service! That told you a lot about Hilda and her family!!
Hilda will be 91 on Feb. 9, 1999. She is writing a book about her studies at the State Academy of Arts in Amsterdam and is doing two paintings, RIGHT NOW!"Other Chapters: The above post is a draft of a chapter of a forthcoming book, The Boissevain Family and the Dutch Fight against the Nazis.