Memories of mother’s World War II experiences as political prisoner in the German concentration camps of Vught, Ravensbrϋck and Dachau.

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Renny van Ommen-de Vries, 1901-1993, was arrested in April 1944 for her part in a resistance group led by Henk Dienske. Dienske died in the Nazi concentration camp Beendorf/Neuengamme, just before the war’s end, from abuse and starvation. Mother survived Dachau and she and her closest friend worked for an American war press contingent in Grϋnwald for a short period after their liberation. They were then repatriated with the war press plane to Holland. In this horror their Faith sustained and comforted them. This is the legacy that we gratefully received from our parents and grandparents.

The below stories are part of the book I published in 2012 “The Mastmakers’ Daughters” www.TheMastmakersDaughters.us en “De Mastmakersdochtershttp://www.DeMastmakersdochters.nl a complete account of the entire 13 months that my mother was imprisoned.

 Concentration Camp Ravensbrϋck Link to website on the conditions and history of this camp where mother was sent from Vught in September 1944.

v  The AGFA Kommando : a web site maintained by my twin brother Jan van Ommen with detailed information about the 150 Dutch women in the Dachau satellite camp

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v  Christmas 1944 in Dachau, a moving account of a reluctant celebration and a daring escape

v  Kerstmis 1944 in Dachau, een ontroerend verhaal van een schoorvoetend begin en een ontsnapping

 

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v  AGFA revolt 1945. Most likely the only strike ever known of prisoners against their NAZI slave drivers

v  Staking AGFA 1945. Waarschijnlijk de enigste geslaagde staking van vrouwelijke gevangen in Dachau

 

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v  “The Bible in Concentration Camp”. An address to the Waalkerk church June ’45 by mother.

 

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v  Father's Diary  A daily longhand diary for the 13 months of mother's imprisonment. A better known diary was written just a few miles away in the same period by Anne Frank. Coincidentally my father received one of the very first published diaries of "Dagboek van Anne Frank" from Otto Frank with his dedication. Otto Frank was a client at the bank where our father worked.

 

 

 

Gruenwald April/May 1945 Photos. First Picture: Nel Niemandsverdriet. Harry Cowe. I met Harry in the nineties in Seattle. He was 27 in 1945, he worked as an A.Pphotographer and for Seattle Times. Next my mother. On the right is Nathan (Nate) Asch. His father was Sholem Asch, Polish Jew, who wrote "The Nazarene".  The second photo shows Charley Greene who was 29 at that time, I found him back in St.Paul, Minn. In the center is Col. Jay Vessels, Rick ?, Claude Farmer. These correspondents traveled through Italy with Ernie Pyle and Bill Mauldin. After the war their main duties were to document the aftermath of the camp atrocities and to accompany Hollywood and government V.P.'s. Other names in their group: Art Everett who became a top A.P. writer after the war. Don Jordan, cook. Paul Zimmer from Oakland, Ca. Colonel Max Boyd, public relations officer for their air force unit.  The middle photos show their return from Munich to Holland. A day permanently etched in my memory when mother and Tante Nel came to pick us up from our second grade class. The bottom picture was taken in 1991. Mother passed away December 23, 1993 and Nel Niemandsverdriet on January 24, 2001

 

The Lindner home in Grϋnwald before end of the war.                            A recent, 2005, picture of the same Lindner home.

These above pictures were given to Jan van Ommen by Hubert Lindner who met in Hamburg the week of July 4th., 2005. Charley Greene, in a January 2005 telephone conversation with Jack van Ommen, remembered the owner's name as Max Lindner. And Jan was able to track the next Lindner generation, who are again living in their family home. Max Lindner passed away in 1955. Hubert(us) Lindner is from 1935 and still remembers the war press contingent taking over their home. He was mayor of Grϋnwald for several years.

1947 Reunion of the surviving women of Ravensbrueck and Dachau. Held at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. Far right with white purse is Renny van Ommen. Nel Niemandsverdriet is in the upper right corner with the wide white collar. Pom Koppert is in the center in front of the table, arms folded. I received this picture yesterday, April 20 '05, from her son Sjoerd Koppert,of Montecito,  who came to see me on the boat in the Santa Barbara marina.

 

 

13-Jul-2005