September, 2009

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Sunday, Sept 27 A’dam to D’dam

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

It’ s still waiting for the head gasket to fix the engine. My sister Karolien and my brother in law, Herman, came to visit and take me back to Amsterdam. I was starting to run low on supplies and needed to do a load of laundry. Even though Durgerdam is very close to the big city it is difficult to get to a store. The burghers here do not allow any developments, fortunately, and the nearest store is a long bike ride away. Evelyn brought me back, this afternoon.

The below picture was taken on my bike ride through the Amsterdamsche Bos, on my way to church, this morning. This is a 900 acres man made forest/park, created during the depression years. When I was a child the trees were tiny spindly things and look at it now! Where I am moored, at the “Schinkel”, is located on the Nieuwe Meer a man made lake on the edge of the Amsterdamsche Bos. It continues to amaze me that I can ride my bike through parks and forest like these through vast parts of the newer sections of the city to get to shopping areas or even quite close to the center of Amsterdam. The mixed choir sang at the St. Augustinus church. This is the one Sunday per month where they sing all the liturgical songs in Latin. A magnificent choir of roughly 35 women and 15 men. The quality would be the envy of the likes of a New York St. Patrick’s choir director, but here they sing to a half empty house…. I did not mention that last Sunday at the Reformed Church youth service on the island of Marken we sang canon, divided into a port and starboard section, the Dutch version of  “Ask and it shall be given unto you”   and then the “Alleluia”… and every single parishioner sang it well. It was another treat. 

It’s going to be a busy week. Tuesday I go to the eastern part of Holland, with Dick Dienske, to visit the sister in law of Nel Hillers, who was with my mom in the three concentration camps. Nel and Dick’s Dad, Jaap Dienske, were in the same resistance group as my mother and Tiny Boosman. Saturday and Sunday are the festivities of the 90 th anniversary of the YC “de Schinkel” . Monday the 5th I’ll be in Spakenburg to meet another “Groote Beer” (Big Bear) devotee who as a cub spent time on the “G.B.” in the mid fifties, in Connecticut.

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Wednesday 23 Sept Volendam

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

I had a break from engine work. A head gasket has to come from England. Evelyn stopped by and we drove to Volendam. We dropped off the 140% Genova sail for repairs at Schokker in Volendam. Had lunch at the Hotel Spaander. This is a landmark and an oasis hidden in all the tourist traps on the harbor front. The intent of the owner, when the hotel was built in the early 19th century, was to attract painters. He built a  painter’s atelier and then sent letters to the art institutes all over the world inviting artists to the hotel. This attracted painters like Renoir but also the rich and famous, Liz Taylor, Clark Gable, etc. The walls are covered with originals of mainly Volendammmers in their traditional costumes. The “Groote Beer”  is moored right in the main harbor of Volendam. I took the below picture of this botter yacht that was part of the Seattle yachting scene between 1973 and 1982 and in the USA from 1953 till 2001. It was known as the “Goering” yacht. I discovered in the eighties that my uncle had built the spars and supplied the blocks for the “Groote Beer” , in 1944, and I became very involved in searching the origins and history of it. You can read all about it at  http://www.cometosea.us/albums/GrooteBeer.htm 

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Tuesday Sept 22. Still in Durgerdam

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Hopefully the first day of the fourth season will bring me better luck in trying to budge the second injector outof the 30 year old Renault engine. I spent hours and lots of energy most of yesterday and just before quitting I had resorted to a sledge hammer.

Back to Sunday morning; there was no sevice in the old church, a dispappointment because it has a collection of old ship models hanging from the rafters. But the 10 o’clock service at the New Church was a very worthwhile experience. I was raised in the Christian Reformed church but the service did not resemble my recollections. It was a youth service and it reminded me of the Four Square services at “Emmaeus”, the McDonnell’s church, in Virginia. The service started with a young lady singing American hymns accompanied by a synthesizer. Texts and songs projected on a large screen. The German born minister, or more an evangelist, made wide use of his laptop in inserting even a segment of Saving Private Ryan. This is also about the only opportunity to see the older Marker women in their traditional elaborate costumes, other than in the souvenir shops. But the setting in this ultra modern building and electronic gadgetry formed an enormous contrast to the very conservative ways these old Zuiderzee communities are known for. 

When I got back to the boat the harbor had emptied out but one boat “Cala Bona” had stuck around for me to make sure I made it out. Heino de Jong stayed close by while I chucked slowly outof the harbor then set sail for Durgerdam and made sure I got to a berth. He has repaired two injectors. Hopefuly I have better news on the progress/damage in the next edition.

Last night I was the guest at Jet and Leo Jongsma, for dinner. Eduard and Sitske Jongsma are visitin, till Wednesday, from Cape Town. I saw them last in 2007 at the Royal Cape YC, where Eduard is a member, and as a guest at their home. Hans Jongsma, the oldest of the three Jongsma brothers, joined the evening as well. The Jongsma’s shared the very same pew with us in the “Waalkerk”, the church I grew up with. Eduard was one class below me in grade school. All the Jongsmas are ocean sailors. Leo and Jet are also Schinkelers and were part of the weekend fun.

The Photo Album for the Marken Weekend can be found at : www.cometosea.us/albums/albums/Marken.pdf

Eduard,Sitske,Hans,Jet,Leo Jongsma

Eduard,Sitske,Hans,Jet,Leo Jongsma

   

The Photo Album Cover of the last days of summer

Sunday, Sept 20 in Durgerdam

Sunday, September 20th, 2009
Sunday Morning:
I have not had an internet connection since last Thursday. I am not sure I can get through on SailMail.

There is a heavy mist hanging over the harbor on the island of Marken. There were 13 boats of the “de Schinkel” yacht club at the start of this bi-annual event, yesterday. Most of the boats are kept in marinas nearby because they are too big for the Schinkel marina. Several of these members keep a day sailer at the Schinkel, as well.

The other three boast I left with and I,  last Thursday  night arrived here on Marken in the early afternoon on Friday. We had a nice breeze once we were through the Oranje locks into the former Zuiderzee. I made a brief stop in the harbor of Volendam. Just before entering Marken my engine started acting up. I started losing power and could only move at minimal speed. It is either a problem with the injectors, valves or a leak in the head gasket. I will try sail to the Oranje locks and then rely on one of the members to tow me back to my moorage at the club. If it is just a matter of injectors then I might be able to repair this right here.

My crew showed up yesterday morning, Judith from the club, Dirk Jan and Lucas. There was hardly any wind at all at the start and it took the last boat over an hour to get across the starting line. I made good use of the old “Gemini”, my Ranger 29,  drifter. Then the wind picked up and we set the 145% Mylar Genoa. I had not used this sail since 1993, except for a couple of the September 2004 GHYC in the harbor races. The mylar sails are too difficult to fold by myself. We had our moments of glory on one of the legs of the course but with the slow start we ended up 9th place. But we all had a blast. These Schinkelers know how to party. The weather was outstanding, in the seventies. Several power boats of the club joined in on the event and there were gatherings in the cockpits all around in the raft up in the beautiful setting of this historic fishing village. Saturday night we all had dinner together and it was warm enough to all sit as a group on the restaurant’s terrace.

There is no Catholic church on the island, the only Catholics around the Zuiderzee are in Volendam. I’ll be attending service with theDutch  Reformed here.

It is now Sunday evening and I am moored in Durgerdam, very close to Amsterdam, on the Old Zuiderzee. I was able to sail here. Gorgeous sail. A diesel mechanic will come to-morrow to check the engine. It is late. I will have more to share with you to-morrow on the last day of this fabulous weekend. I will make up a slide show of this very special Dutch treat.

 

 

Friday Sept 18

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

I am back in the very same spot I was the night after I arrived in Ijmuiden. We, another 4 boats from the Schinkel Y.C., are on our way to Marken, for the annual race for cabin sail yachts. We left the Y.C. at 11 p.m. to make the nightly “standing mast” route through Amsterdam. It is 2.15 in the morning  now. 13 boats are registered for the race. Many of the members keep their boats in harbors on the old Zuiderzee and do not need to track through Amsterdam.

So far I have just one crew member for the race, Judith. I am waiting to hear from cousins/nephew if they can join me Saturdaymorning on Marken.

Earlier this evening I had a long talk with Dick Dienske the nephew of Henk Dienske who already managed to place some of the missing puzzle pieces in their places, as to what the scope of the resistance group my mother was involved in during the second WW. We will meet again. Dick’s dad was also active in the group and was also caught and imprisoned and survived.

Monday Sept 14 visiting a survivor

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Paul and Ineke Boosman, the parents of Bart, the OSTAR racer, stopped by to take me with them to meet Lies Bueninck in Rotterdam. She is one of the last surviving members of the political prisoners our mother was liberated with in late April 1945 near Dachau. Lies is 100 years old. I had just finished reading the memoirs of Bart’s grandmother Tiny (pronounce Teenee) Boosman, who was a member of the same resitance group our mother worked for and who was arrested in the same period and went through the same prisons and camps and the liberation as our mother. Many questions we have had for the last 25 years are being answered through this unusual meeting Bart and I had on the Atlantic. But there are still pieces missing in the puzzle. More get-togethers are planned with the Boosmans, Bep Boosman, I have been told, is the historian of the family.

Why am I and my brother spending so much energy on this depressing subject? Lies still does not like to look back and my mother and most who went through this did not want to dwell on it any longer. Why did we not have these questions answered in my mother’s living years?

I promise I’ll change the subject and there will be pictures of “Fleetwood” sailing by wind mills and tow headed blond children on wooden shoes.

The last Picture is part of the address book that all the prisoners made for oneanother in the last days in Dachau. They wrote their address and a dedication. This is the one my mother made for Lies Bueninck and an emotional moment for me to find it between the hundreds of names, done 64 years ago. And this and the trinkets, they fabricated from scraps of clothing and parts of the timing devices they made in the forced labor camp, survived the death march outof  Dachau.

Saturday, Sept 12. Getting a guided tour of Amsterdam

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

I thought I knew every nook and cranny of my home town. My primary school class mate, Jeannette van Oostveen, took me on a tour to-day. First we stopped in our old neighborhood, the “Rivierenbuurt”. The below picture was taken in front of the apartment on Alblasstraat 41 II, where I was born and left from for the USA in 1957;  the black and white picture was taken in the same spot in  August 31, 1939 on queen Wilhelmina’s birthday. We drove through all the familiar streets of the neighborhood and past the Dr.deMoorschool. Then Jeannette showed me a very well preserved corner of the old city that I had seldom seen. Her father and grandfather had a printing business, Kampert en Helm Drukkerij,  which had operated from several still existing buildings, first on the Barndesteeg off the Oude Zijdsvoorburgwal, in what is now the red light district, then on the Binnenkant and last  on the Henri Polaklaan, near the Zoo and in the old Jewish quarters. This was a delightful walk while Jeannette pointed out where her aunt had lived on the Oude Waal and what the different old buildings had been used for in the past.

Kees Brandenburg en Nel Brandenburg-Cupido also made a surprise visit to the boat this morning, old neigbors from the Alblasstraat.

Last night I had  a gourmet dinner aboard “Jasana”, with Matthias and Regina from Hamburg who moor their boat here. The weather has been cooler but no rain to spoil my trim epoxy repairs and I expect to be sanding and varnishing to-morrow.

Thursday Sep 10

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Yesterday my nephew Dirk Jan stopped by on his lunch hour. This morning my cousin, Gido van Ommen, came by again on his way for his bi weekly visit to his step mom. Els van Ommen, who lives nearby. I always thought I had most of my looks from my mother’s side. The below picture shows otherwise.

Gerrit here asked me to crew with him on his “Vrijheid” in the weekly Thursday night race. There was a good breeze and it was good fun. We did two races and got back to the club just before dark. Now I feel even more as part of this great bunch of sailors. I had not sailed dinghies in ages but it’s like riding a bike and the other activities that start with “s”; skating, etc.

Wednesday Sept 9. The odds got even smaller..

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Yesterday I had the odds at 650 women outof a 10  million Dutch population, back in 1944. To-day we are down from 650 to about 10 …. Turns out that Bart’s (the Ostar racer) grandmother,  Tiny Boosman-van Delft, worked in the very same resistance group as our mother. For many years we have tried to find other members of the group and all our efforts led to dead ends. I will meet this coming Monday with one of the survivors of the 650 women who arrived 65 years ago in Ravesnbrueck and in the next weeks I’ll try fit the pieces of this puzzle together.

It remains a miracle to me that this all came about from a short conversation on the short wave radio in the North Atlantic Ocean. I had hesitated to even attempt to talk to Bart. The routine is that the sailors call in their positions in the half hour before Herb Hilgenberg comes on the air. After he is done some boats rendez vous on the same frequency. And it is not really appreciated if boats chat in that half hour prior. But I was afraid Bart would have signed off by the the time Herb was done. You want to stay in Herb’s good graces.  We exchanged e-mail addresses and I met Bart here in Amsterdam and then the mention in the article in PAROOL prompted Bart to inquire. And I hit the “mother” lode.DSC_0006

 

The Spiders are hemming me in my moorage. It’s time to take the old girl out for a sail….

Monday Sept 7 Remembering “Mad Tuesday” Sept 5 1944

Monday, September 7th, 2009

History repeats it self. And conflicts develop when a society grows out of  harmony, out of balance. Who wants to be a prophet of doom? But I cannot help reflect on the many changes that I see in this society after a 52 years absence. Many for the better but the harmony has taken a heavy toll. Enough. That’s not what this blog is for. But attending the 65 year anniversary of the evacuation of the SS concentration camp Vught, yesterday, where our mother was a political prisoner, made me wonder if we have learnt our lessons.

In my Sept 3rd post I promised that I would try have a translation of Kiky Heinsius memoires of the concentration camps. I translated the first part that deals with the evacuation of Vught in the first days of September 1944 and the transport in cattle cars to Ravensbrueck. You can read this at www.cometosea.us/albums/thewar.htm  or go directly to www.cometosea.us/albums/Vught.doc there is also a small photo album of the commemoration at www.cometosea.us/albums/albums/Vught.pdf  I urge all to visit these links. Particularly my grandchildren. I am obviously very proud of the small part that our mother played in the resistance to the Nazi brutality. I urge you to take a look at the picture of these survivors at their 1947 reunion on the first link. These are not super women, students, housewives. For the first 30/40 years we had no clue what had happened in the camps. It just was not talked about. Then the curiosity came and little by little the story enfolds. Very few of the survivors are still alive.

I have written about the frienship I made with Bart Boosman. Bart was returning from Newport R.I., after placing 2nd in his class in the bi-annual OSTAR s/h Trans Atlantic race, last July. I was sailing from the Azores to France. We were both talking to Herb the weather Guru. So, we met on the Atlantic on the Short Wave radio. Now it turns out that his grandmother was on the same journey with my mother from Vught all the way to their liberation after their death march from Dachau. 650 Women out of a 10 million Dutch population? You figure the odds…. A week from to-day his mom and dad are going to take me to visit with one of the last survivors who also was on this journey, she is 100 years old…

Fresh flowers on the Crematorium Ash Pits at camp Vught

Fresh flowers on the Crematorium Ash Pits at camp Vught