zaterdag 7 oktober 2017

Een poos geleden al werd ik uitgedaagd om mijn mening te geven over onderstaand onderwerp. Met mijn gedegen christelijke opvoeding, door de oorlog als Joods onderduikkind opgenomen in een zeer christelijk tehuis,  lag de  aandacht, behalve op de profeet Jezus,  vooral op het onderstaande onderwerp. En aangezien ik nu oud ben heb ik alle tijd gekregen om mij een beeld en idee te vormen over de  laatste persoon.  Hier is de neerslag daarvan:

 Paulus  in mijn ogen.
Om mee te beginnen… Ik ben maar een leek. Ik heb een degelijke Christelijk-Gereformeerd opvoeding gekregen. Onderduik was zeer christelijk  kindertehuis (dat tussen haakjes zeer slecht uit het onderzoek van de pas genoemde commissie zal komen, de Commisie die onderzoek moet doen naar mishandeling en misbruik van kinderen in kindertehuizen vanaf 1945)
Ik was een door de oorlog  heel erg getraumatiseerd kind.

Mijn Christelijke opvoeding bestond uit bijbelverhalen  uit je hoofd leren, elke week een psalm, elke week een bepaalde tekst….
Ik leerde hoe Saulus als ambtenaar de mantel mòcht vasthouden van het Sanhedrinlid, die met veel plezier Stafanus stenigde. (wat is er veranderd in de wereld sindsdien?)
Ik leerde hoe diezelfde Saulus met vuur de eerste Christenen bestreed, ze aangaf, ze liet martelen en doden. Ik leerde ook hoe hij van een slijmerige, nederige ambtenaar verwerd tot een Jodenjager. Zelf had hij de Romeinse nationaliteit.. gekocht of gekregen .. en hij deed niets liever dan die Joden opjagen en gevangennemen. Met hun rare talen op wat  nu Pinksteren genoemd wordt, waren ze vast geen echte Israëlieten…. Ze verstopten zich, doken onder toen de vervolging in Jeruzalem en omstreken  hen daartoe dwongen en konden rekenen op opvang en verzorging en onderduik bij geloofsgenoten. Iets waarvan Saulus geen idee had… waar ging het over, wat betekende het, hoe gevaarlijk was het… Maar als trouw ambtenaar deed hij (meer) dan er van hem gevraagd werd. En hij leerde haten, wat hij moest haten en meer dan dat.  Dat ging heel ver toen hij mensen moest gaan opzoeken en gevangen nemen die buiten de stad en zelfs buiten de streek onderdak gevonden hadden. Zijn combinatie van persoonlijk minderwaardigheidsgevoelen vanwege zijn uiterlijk, zijn onderdanigheid aan wie hij maar als zijn meerdere beschouwde dreef hem van stad naar stad om zoveel mogelijk mensen op te pakken.
Tot hij op de weg naar Damascus ‘het licht ziet’… Het bijbelboek maakt er een mooi verhaal van over een blikseminslag waardoor hij hulpeloos bij zo’n Jezusvolger terecht zou komen…
Mijn lezing hierover is anders. Als een blikseminslag besefte hij, dat hij die hele Jezus en zijn volgelingen onschadelijk kon maken door hun rollen te minimaliseren en zelf de rol zó over te nemen dat het niet meer schadelijk was voor de Romeinse Keizer. Het zou hem roem geven bij zowel de Romeinen als het Sanhedrin en de ambtenaren van het rijk……. Dus rijdt hij door naar Damascus, naar Ananias. Hij doet zich voor als  een begerige bekeerling, hij wil alles weten, hij wil alles begrijpen en de  taal der oude christenen leren. Als hij denkt zover te zijn gaat hij terug, spreekt in het geheim met ambtenaren van het Sanhedrin en mengt zich dan onder de volgelingen van Jezus, wier vertrouwen hij moet zien te winnen. Want ze zijn niet vergeten dat hij enthousiast bij de steniging van Stefanus aanwezig was. En even enthousiast de volgelingen van Jezus vervolgde en gevangen naar Jeruzalems’ gevangenissen bracht.. Men was ook niet vergeten dat hij, als zoon van een belangrijke Farizeeër, toch, net als de NSB’ers van onze tijd Duitsers werden…. Hij Romeins Staatsburger werd.  Door zijn jeugd, als zoon van een Farizeeër, heeft  hij een zeer Joods-Orthodoxe (als je het zo noemen mag) opvoeding gekregen. Hij kende de geschiedenis, de verwachtingen mbt de wetten…..
Nu kom ik eigenlijk al bij de essence van wat ik wil beweren… Paulus/Saulus heeft een plan om de leer van Jezus, mede door zijn eigen achtergrond,  ongevaarlijk, onschadelijk, te maken. Hij zal zelf met een paar jonge, naïeve maar enthousiaste discipelen gaan bekeren, op reis gaan en stad en land mensen bijeen brengen... in de naam van Jezus…. Voorlopig nog.. maar met een prediking die in niets meer lijkt op de gevaarlijke beweringen van Jezus. De zeven zaligsprekingen,  het losmaken van de Wetten, de persoonlijke liefde en dus de binding aan de persoon Jezus,…. Het wordt allemaal veranderd. Hij gaat reizen met Barnabas naar verre steden en stelt daar aan de mensen een nieuw samenstel van wetten en voorschriften  voor, dat, zij het soms met tranen, wel aanvaard wordt. Hiervoor heeft hij de toestemming van Jeruzalem nodig gehad. Tenslotte was hij een hoge ambtenaar. Hij, en het is niet onbelangrijk dat te vermelden, was een bijzonder onaantrekkelijk man, niet alleen was hij bepaald niet knap, zijn figuur en benen hadden de typische misvormde vormen van wat we nu Engelse ziekte noemen (zoiets vertelde hij zelf ook ergens.
Jezus verkondigde liefde in vrijheid, had het nooit over de gehuwde staat of zoiets. De vrouw bij Samaria was (net als ik trouwens) twee keer getrouwd geweest: hij berispte haar niet eens. Zondaars in Jezus’ omgeving werd zonder meer vergeven of werden genezen. Hij was een leraar, geen leider.
Wat paulus betreft: zijn leven heeft in dienst gestaan van preken, van voorschriften geven, van verbieden en van raad geven hoe mensen zouden moeten leven….. Hoe leidt dat terug naar de vrijheid van Jezus, die niet gekomen was om mensen aan de wetten te binden, maar hen vrij te maken van wetten. En in liefde met elkaar te leven. Paulus geeft daarentegen zelfs voorwaarden aan de manieren waarop men van elkaar mocht houden.
Hij mag dan wel nooit een Jezus zijn geworden, het is hem gelukt de discipelen van Jezus uit elkaar te werken en volkomen onbelangrijk te maken voor de geschiedenis. Op de vier losse verhalen na van de Mattheus, Marcus, Lucas (de dokter) en Johannes.
Het is hem door zijn houding ook niet gelukt het christendom onschadelijk te doen lijken voor de Romeinse heersers. Waarschijnlijk door zijn drammerige houding. Hij is toch vermoord in Rome. En ik kan me levendig voorstellen dat er in de Mediene een zucht van verlichting opging toen het bericht van zijn dood hen bereikte. Ze zullen op goed Joodse manier getreurd hebben en gebeden gezegd… Maar Paulus wist dat hij niet geliefd was…
Een heleboel verhalen uit die tijd zijn sagen geworden. Maar Christenen beschouwen ze nog steeds woord voor woord als heilige waarheid. Zo is het gezegd, zo moeten we doen…. Arme nonnen en paters, voor die de seksualiteit, één van de belangrijkste dingen in het bestaan, liefde, troost, intimiteit, geluk in het gezin en daarbuiten…ontzegd werd, Omdat ze zich zouden moeten wijden aan de dienst van G’d……terwijl Jezus ze juist had vrijgemaakt.
Ach, zo kan ik nog lang doorgaan… Want er valt nog veel over te zeggen. Niet dat ik de inhoud van de boeken van het N.T. nog goed ken… Maar deze man is me altijd bijgebleven. Een vechtscheiding, want de invloed van je jeugd op dat gebied is moeilijk af te schudden.
De mening van Erica van Beek over de zich apostel noemende ambtenaar paulus.
Saulus was zijn Joodse naam. Maar die heeft hij nooit verdiend en hooguit gebruikt als hij in een goed blaadje moest komen bij Joden.
© Erica, juni 2016




dinsdag 19 september 2017


VRIJDAG 31 DECEMBER 2010 IN WEBLOG ERICA’S DAGBOEK.

Een infarct dat een leven lang meegaat.
 ziekenhuisopname oktober-november 1995.


Dit schreef ik nog in het ziekenhuis:
Weet je dat je, in een half bewuste toestand, kunt houden van een infusomat FM, een soort regelding voor infusen. Die van mij maakte het vertrouwde snor- snurkgeluidje van mijn kat, met een zuchtje er achteraan. Het was me dierbaar geworden, dat machientje. Een miniem stukje thuis in de grote machinerie van een afdeling hartbewaking.

Het personeel hier in het Anthoniusziekenhuis in Nieuwegein? Dat verdient de Grote Ericaprijs voor menslievend gedrag en Wonderbare resultaten. Of een soortgelijke prijs of diploma.

Zo de kop is eraf. Morgen vertel ik wat ik hier doe.

“Iiiiiiiiiie” gilt mijn ziel die stukje bij beetje door mijn neusgaten naar buiten geperst wordt. Een enorm gedreun, het heelal dat implodeert en explodeert en alle cellen van mijn lijf tot atomen uiteen doet vallen. Vanwaar die pijn, waar ben IK. Laat me toch gaan láát me toch, smeek ik. Het wordt genegeerd. Steeds weer voel ik stukjes mij verdwijnen. “Daar ga ik weer”, kan ik uitbrengen; één keer? Twee keer? Dan, met een allerlaatste dreun verdwijnt in een letterlijk ondraaglijke pijn mijn lijf en mijn ziel en ik brul het uit voor ik, mijn ziel dus, voor de allerlaatste keer deformeer, volledig desintegreer, atomen die in het heelal, het zwarte niets opgaan. Wat overblijft is een zwakkloppend hart, dat met tedere zorg omgeven wordt en ondanks zijn A-ritmiek in een paar dagen gebracht kan worden tot een zwak, maar meestal regelmatig en ritmisch kloppend hart. Maar waar ben IK? 

Ik weet dat mijn lijf het bed benat, ik heb er geen macht over. Het wordt gekoppeld aan machines die de ademhaling en de hartkloppingen volgen en aan infusen die het leven terug moeten brengen. Ik weet dat het allemaal gebeurt. Maar mijn ziel (?) zwerft nog in stukjes rond en kan zichzelf niet vinden. Een dienstdoende vrouwelijke dokter zegt véél later, dat ze me niet heeft kùnnen laten gaan, omdat ik op dat moment in de hel zat.

Achteraf kan ik zeggen dat ik me al een tijd niet helemaal mezelf voelde. De actieve vrolijke ik werd een beetje een amechtige, veel te gauw moeie vrouw, die weinig zin meer in liefde en leven had.

Die ochtend “valt” het kopje koffie met shaggie niet goed. Pijn op mijn borst, een soort kaasschaaf die er aan de binnenkant over gehaald werd. Pijn in mijn armen, niet te beschrijven. Kan nog nèt de dokter bellen, de deur openzetten en op bed gaan liggen. Heel erg ziek laat ik me onderzoeken, een spray onder de tong geven (ik heb verdorie homeopathie voor dit soort gevallen in huis) en de ambulance bellen. Terwijl de broeders me op de brancard tillen en inriemen voel ik mijn geest vrijkomen. Van de rit naar beneden of met de sirene naar het ziekenhuis weet ik niks. Vloog ik mee naast de wagen? Ik wordt pas weer lichaam + ziel als er mensen over me gebogen staan en direct daarop de eerste inslag van een kernraket in mijn hele wezen. ‘BOEM’ en ‘iiiiiiiie’ gilt mijn ziel.
Tijdens het reanimeren ben ik bij kennis. Blijkbaar is er geen tijd geweest voor anesthesie. Mijn ‘ziel’ is alleen bewustzijn. Een bewustzijn dat tijdens het reanimeren terechtkomt in een letterlijk pikzwarte duisternis, bestaande uit angst! ANGST!  ANGST!!  Die ziel van me expodeert, implodeert, valt uiteen in atomen die in het niets verdwijnen.
Ik zal niet letterlijk gebruld hebben, dat kan  ook haast niet in die toestand. Ik schreef dit 2,5 jaar na het hartinfarcten het duurt nu ook al 2,5 jaar dat ik het gevoel heb niet meer helemaal compleet te zijn.  Mijn lijf is compleet Mijn hart is voor een groot deel genezen, Althans, de verwachting is dat dat ik zo’n 60 – 70% restcapaciteit heb. Vanwaar komt toch dit gevoel iets essentieels kwijtgeraakt te zijn in die reanimatie?
Zeven ”klappen” heb ik gekregen voor ik weer terug was en mijn bewustzijn niets  anders bleek dan het me bewust zijn alleen een zwak kloppend hart te ‘zijn’.  Vier dagen die volgden ben ik slapend gehouden, in een morfineslaap, zeg maar. Dagen die achteraf medebepalend voor de rest van mijn leven  blijken te zijn geweest.
De morfine deed me bijzondere dromen dromen. Af en toe, als de verpleger me  kwam  wakker maken voor een prik of een beker drinken of zo iets.. en me uitvroeg wat ik dan meemaakte, bezwoer hij me die dromen te onthouden. Beetje moeilijk in zo’n toestand, maar een paar heb ik wel onthouden en later opgeschreven. Een van die droompjes heeft mijn leven totaal veranderd.
Dat droompje was zo:
Een zonovergoten Israel-landschap, één heel grote brede olijfboom. In de schaduw daarvan zitten 12 chassidiem, met  bonthoeden op. Twee rijen van zes. Een schilderij waar ik lang naar lag te kijken. En van genoot en alles in mijn hoofd opsloeg. Er gebeurde niets, het was een levend schilderij. Ik zóóg het bijna op in mijn geheugen.

-----Na die ervaringen hoefde ik niets meer, kòn ik ook niets meer. Alleen proberen weer sterker te worden. Al het (vrijwilligers)werk werd noodgedwongen opgegeven. Ik was altijd een politiek en maatschappelijk actieve vrouw. Ik schreef  artikelen en columns voor een paar blaadjes die plaatselijk uitkwamen. Was lid  van een literaire club, want ik had ook een boek geschreven. ”Twee Vrouwen en een jas”.
Het duurde nog  tot 1998, toen ik lichamelijk weer sterk genoeg was, dat ik naar Amsterdam terugverhuisde. Mijn moeder- en vaderstad. De stad waar ik op zoek kon gaan naar mijn verleden als Joods onderduikkind, waarover ik in mijn boek geschreven had. De stad waar ik eindelijk thuisgekomen ben.

Amsterdam… De stad waar ik geboren ben, waar mijn vader en moeder geleefd hadden. Alles heb ik opgegeven, mijn vrijwilligerswerk van 24/7 altijd druk voor anderen… , mijn meubels en meer had ik opgegeven voor mijn  terugkeer naar huis waar ik mijn zoektocht naar mijn verleden verder kon afmaken. Maar het bloed kruipt echt waar het niet gaan kan…. Ik ging voorzichtig weer vrijwilligerswerk op me nemen. Kon niet langer werkloos toezien. Dit keer anders… Koffiegroepen met oudere Joodse mensen leiden, me bemoeien met het huis  en zijn bewoners waar ik terechtgekomen was. Een zusterhuis met een geschiedenis van oorlog en het wegvoeren van alle bewoners. Het ziekenhuis ernaast op de gracht was helemaal leeggehaald door de Duitsers. Zieken, geesteszieken, kraamvrouwen en barende vrouwen en kindertjes, oude mensen vaak ziek en dement, alles was op een ochtend met veel geweld en lawaai  weggehaald. Van het ziekenhuis is niemand levend teruggekomen. Het vroegere zusterhuis waar ik een appartementje had kunnen krijgen, kende wel een paar teruggekeerden die weer in het huis trokken.  Maar vraag niet hoe. Het werd een speculatieobject voor woninginvesteerders en –corporaties voor het besluit viel er kleine appartementjes te bouwen voor oudere (55+) Joodse mensen. Later 50% niet Joodse en 50% wel Joodse mensen. Wel altijd alles met plezier gedaan maar niet meer met de tomeloze energie van vroeger. J
Wie de andere ervaring ook gelezen heeft moet wel tot de conclusie komen dat, wat voor mij een soort B.D.E. is geweest, aanleiding is geworden tot een volkomen omslag in mijn leven Een thuiskomen. Een rustig leven van een oudere vrouw. Ik mag zijn die ik ben, na zoveel jaar te hebben moeten bewijzen dat ik mocht bestaan. – Onderduikkind – Joodse overlevende… Al die jaren dat ik me bewust was dat te zijn, leefde ik toch om te bewijzen dat ik mocht bestaan…
Maar de oude enthousiasmerende, inspirerende en geïnspireerde Erica bestaat echt niet meer. En er zijn nog steeds dagen dat ik me afvraag waar die oude Erica is gebleven. Kan dat deel echt door dat hartinfarct voorgoed verdwenen zijn? Of  misschien hebben de mensen gelijk die zeggen, dat het toch een echte hersenbeschadiging veroorzaakt heeft, die niet zozeer mijn intellect, alswel mijn literaire zeggingskracht verloren heeft doen gaan.
Als ik me lichamelijk redelijk voel  ben ik me dat bewust en kan ik niet zeggen dat ik er ongelukkiger door ben geworden. Alles wat ik zelf bereiken wilde, is bereikt en klaar. Er is een zekere rust en gelatenheid voor in de plaats gekomen die ik niet eerder kende. Mijn geestelijke  Inspirator, die ik Vogeltje noemde, is niet meer echt teruggekomen. Het gevoel dat er iemand op mijn schouder zat die me woorden influisterde…

Toch, ik kan het niet laten om te hopen dat deze weg die ik heb moeten gaan…. Ergens een doel heeft. En dat deze weg niet alléén als doel heeft hem te lopen…. Tot het einde.
Ook  heb ik de moed vaak verloren. Gedacht dat ik beter kon opgeven. Het heeft heel lang geduurd voor er weer een lichamelijk en geestelijk evenwicht gevonden was… Dat kon van kleine dingen afhankelijk zijn. Bij voorbeeld het weer, de luchtdruk, de wind. Een vriendelijk, of een onvriendelijk woord. Het leven bleef lang grijs, zoals de wintermaanden in Nederland vaak zijn.
Soms kon ik nog een gedicht maken. Dan dacht ik:

Winter, binnen en buiten.
Mist en duisternis. Het is zó stil dat ik de
mistdruppeltjes hoor vallen als zilveren kraaltjes
op een ijskristallen watervlak.
Kies ik voor leven in deze dodelijke kilheid die
al bijna zelf de dood is?

Ook in mijn hoofd slaan mist en moedeloosheid,
doodsverlangen en duisternis toe.
En als een derwish draait mijn geest om haar eigen as.
Geen leven, geen leven. Niet zó, niet zó.
Laat me in godsnaam gaan. Laat me gáán.

(GEPLAATST DOOR ERICA OP VRIJDAG, DECEMBER 31, 2010
DONDERDAG 30 DECEMBER 2010
En is grotendeels geschreven november 1996.) 


-------------------------
 De afgelopen jaren hebben een ander mens van me gemaakt, de verwerking van het verleden, met zijn apotheose in Yad Vashem (zie Impressies van Israël) en een zoektocht naar het verleden in Wenen  heeft ervoor gezorgd, dat ik dat verleden voor een groot deel achter me heb kunnen laten en een ander mens ben geworden. De lange maanden van thuiszitten na het hartinfarct hebben de rust gebracht, die ik zo nodig had om me weer met een toekomst bezig te kunnen houden.  Een niet zo lange toekomst maar toch....

Een aantal keren herlezen, herschreven en herplaatst, ik denk er nu mee klaar te zijn.

© Erica van Beek september 2017.

woensdag 30 augustus 2017

Als het verleden herleeft

 
Het is over een half uur alweer de allerlaatste dag van augustus 2017.
 Hier zitten  en pogen  mijn aandacht te houden bij het schrijven van een blogje,  valt momenteel niet mee. Het is een lange dag geweest. En moe is behoorlijk moe, want moe heeft geen middagslaapje kunnen doen. En ja, als je 82 bent, heb je dat wel nodig.
Mijn hulpe was vandaag weer hier en mijn huisje is weer schoon. Dat is fijn. De was hangt en dat is ook fijn.  Op zo’n dag zit ik meestal aan de computer. Maar vandaag zag ik een stapel losse papieren en kaarten liggen en die wilde ik opgeruimd hebben. Dus ging ik ermee aan tafel zitten. De kaarten waren gauw apart gelegd, die spaar ik voor wie ze wil hebben of nodig heeft. Net als allerlei soorten bonnetjes  van alles wat maar bonnetjes heeft. Voor wie het nodig heeft of wil hebben. Lies wilde de bonnetjes wel voor iemand  meenemen. Maar de kaarten…Die moet ik nog even bij elkaar zoeken. Zij weet ook daarvoor wel iemand… die raak ik dan ook netjes kwijt.
 Het volgende dat door mijn handen gleed waren tot mijn grote verrassing oude rapporten en getuigschriften. Die had ik een tijd geleden wel gezien, maar niet zo bewust stuk voor stuk bekeken. Sjonge…
Ik vond een lok haar van mijn dochter in een enveloppe, toen was ze 10 jaar… dat is dus heel wat jaartjes geleden. Net als het stuk peperkoek, dat ik 32 jaar geleden kreeg toen ik Sara werd, 50 jaar dus. Het is keurig bewaard gebleven, alleen de enveloppe waarin het stuk koek bewaard is gebleven, ziet er niét uit. En officiële papieren voor de aanvraag van tegemoetkomingen in de studiekosten 1985/1986 voor mijn dochter…
 Mijn examenlijst van de MULO MET DEN BIJBEL uit Alphen aan de Rijn uit 1953.  Alleen een zesje voor schrijven, alle andere cijfers hoger.
Mijn diploma Stenografie en Machineschrijven met vier tienen en drie negens. Eén zeventje voor cijferwerk… was ik nooit zo goed mee…. Een snelheid van 180 aanslagen per minuut. Op een gewone ouderwetse schrijfmachine dus.
Mijn examenlijst voor Practijkexamens ( ja, met een c, echt waar) Nederlandse Handelscorrespondentie  ook uit 1953 met 7, 9, 7 als eindcijfers.
Brieven van de Detam (die bestaat niet meer) en een dreigement van de toenmalige ziekteverzekering dat als ik niet aan hun onderzoek zou meedoen…. Het was indertijd het Regionaal Ziekenfonds Midden-Nederland. Was ik nog vergeten mee te nemen in mijn stukje over de economische groei van klein  Rooms Katholiek Ziekenfondsje  naar Zilveren Kruis-Achmea…een snel gegroeide Cholem. En een stapeltje mooie getuigschriften, waarvan de laatste  maar 6 weken heeft geduurd. Na  september 1975 werd ik arbeidsongeschikt verklaard. Naweeën van de oorlog zullen we maar zeggen. Begin jaren 80 werd ik, zij het op een andere manier,  weer actief.  But that is another story…
Ik vond ook nog iets leuks. Een deel van de correspondentie, die ik gehad heb met de overleden schrijver Olaf J. de Landell, uit 1973 . J Ik genoot van de lichte toon die hij aan zware onderwerpen wist te geven. En van zijn humor.
 Nu ik dit alles zo bewust weer bekeken heb komen er weer veel herinneringen boven. Niet altijd leuke herinneringen. Het waren zware jaren. Maar  er waren ook mooie en warme tijden, jaren waaraan ik met ontroering terug kan denken.
 
Inmiddels is het 31 augustus 2017, 0.33 uur.
© Erica van Beek

donderdag 3 augustus 2017


Dit verhaal schreef ik al vele jaren geleden, maar ik geloof niet dat het in de blog terecht is gekomen. Het is allemaal letterlijk zo gebeurd, ik heb dus alleen alles opgeschreven wat er die dag gebeurd is. Niet meer en niet minder. 


De Wet van Murphy in de praktijk.

Op 29 maart 1998 werd bij de JOA(Joodse Ouderen Amsterdam) 50 jaar Israel gevierd. En ik was uitgenodigd.  En zou er ook heengaan:

Alles liep, vanaf het begin, al mis. Ik was wel op tijd(!) wakker, maar bleek vergeten te hebben de wekker voor de zomertijd vooruit te zetten. . . . De avond  tevoren had ik al uitgebreid moeten zoeken naar de officiële uitnodiging. Ik moest hem wel met het oud papier hebben weggegooid. Gelukkig (!) vond ik in de NIW een klein persbericht, anders had ik niet eens geweten hoe laat ik wáár moest zijn.

Ik miste de bus die ééns per half uur komt. Dat was het volgende. Lopend door het winkelcentrum op weg naar de sneltram realiseerde ik me dat ik de boekenmarkt die dezelfde dag gehouden zou worden, moest missen. En bij de brvriende bloemenboer, waar ik langs moest lopen,  bleek ingebroken te zijn. Nou hoef je een bloemenman geen troostbloemetje te geven, dus werd ik nog meer opgehouden door het kopen van een zakje mooi verpakte en van gekrulde lintjes voorziene paaseitjes. Voor hem en zijn vrouw. Een ‘troostje’, waar ontroerd op gereageerd werd. Dat wel.

Op het tramstation zag ik de volgende bus, die ik had moeten hebben,  komen aanrijden. Al gebarend kwam ik tot vier meter voor de bus. De chauffeur zag me wel, maar gaf vol gas en reed weg. In de commotie bleek ook de tram voorbijgereden te zijn. Wachten dus.
De trein naar Amsterdam stond halverwege een kwartier stil. Een storing. De metro in Amsterdam (vond ik toen nog doodeng, vanwege sommige figuren) kreeg halverwege ook een storing en we moesten overstappen.

De middag bij JOA sla ik over. Maar ik gaf te veel geld aan leuke dingen uit. Achteraf toch maar goed anders had ik het aan andere dingen (zie verderop) toch moeten uitgeven.

Teruggaande liep ik (natuurlijk ik weer) de verkeerde kant op en kwam daar na zo’n 1,5 km pas achter. Want het was mooi weer en warm. En Buitenveldert is dan een mooie wijk. Helemaal teruglopen dus. Het was een lange wandeling voor ik weer bij de tram was.
De trein naar Heerlen, die ik had moeten hebben, hoorde ik onder aan de roltrap staande, wegrijden. De volgende trein, de trein naar Arnhem, dus maar genomen.

En daar kwam controle.
Nou had ik in Buitenveldert mijn jaszakken leeggemaakt, voor ik mijn jas aan de kapstok hing. En alles in mijn tas gedaan.

In steeds grotere paniek zocht ik voor die controleur alles af naar mijn treinkaartje. Maar nebbish, niks gevonden. Dus tot overmaat van ramp kreeg ik in een volle trein een reprimande (ik had mijn kaartje bij de hand moeten hebben) en een bon uitgeschreven (zie boven over geld uitgeven), die ik over twee dagen moest betalen, anders kwam er f. 60,- boete bij. Dat treinreisje Utrecht-Amsterdam v.v. heeft me alleen al f. 19,90 + f. 37,- (boete) = f. 56,90 gekost dus. Waar is mijn kaartje gebleven??? Ergens uit mijn zak gevallen, maar wáár dan?? Hartbonkend van woede met een brok in de keel, naar de bus, die me thuis moest brengen. - Was drie minuten geleden, ja dus, vertrokken. Dan de sneltram maar, die juist kwam aangereden. De hele reis zat ik schuin tegenover een agressief soort ‘sport’-jongen, die zijn walkman kei- en keihard had aanstaan. Die is doof voor zijn dertigste, maar valt er nu al anderen mee lastig dus.

Enfin, eindelijk thuisgekomen. . . .

Mijn overburen in de laan die parallel loopt met mijn flat (zo’n tweehonderd meter ver) vinden het ook mooi weer. Die zijn daar net komen wonen  en zitten nu in hun blootje met zijn allen bier te drinken op hun balkon. Keiharde housemuziek aan. Je reinste Aso-show. Daar kijkt de politie straks wel naar om, denk ik nog. Maar ondertussen is mijn stemming niet bepaald opgeklaard, als ik eindelijk de sleutel in het stopcontact kan steken.
 En meteen hoor ik een raar geluid uit de ‘natte cel’ komen en ontdek dat ik een grote overstroming vanuit mijn badkamer heb, komend van de bovenburen.
De chinese buren naast me die ik voor eerste hulp  per telefoon tracht te bereiken, zijn niet thuis en hun oppas begint bij het horen van mijn naam als een idioot te giechelen en legt, tot twee keer toe, de telefoon weer op de haak. Zij heeft nog geen woord Nederlands geleerd en ik weet eerlijk gezegd  niet wat mijn naam in het Chinees kan betekenen, dat ze zo reageert.

Uiteindelijk gaat de Irakese buurman van de andere kant, mee om haar van boven duidelijk te maken dat ze de badkamer niet meer mag gebruiken vóór morgen de loodgieter is geweest. Zij van boven had wanhopig en met allerlei middelen geprobeerd een verstopping ongedaan te maken. Waarmee ze dus wel een gat in de afvoer in mijn badkamer veroorzaakt heeft. . .

Een beetje van alles bekomen wil ik een paar uur later iets voor mezelf en mijn kat te eten maken Visje koken voor poes en aardappeltjes bakken voor mezelf.

En ontdek dat mijn dure koelvrieskast  het vandaag, op de eerste mooie warme dag van dit jaar, heeft begeven. Ik kan alle verse waar weggooien. . . .

Hoezo, onzin, die Wet van Murphy?

©Erica van Beek





woensdag 2 augustus 2017

Teruggevonden dromen

Vandaag zaterdag 1 november 2014. Allerheiligen.
Na de brunch ben ik weer omgevallen, geslapen van half drie tot 6 uur. Het is alweer donker. En ik wil mijn droom opschrijven voor hij weg is. Twee kleine blonde jongetjes met warrig onverzorgd te lang haar. De grootste hield de kleinste bij de hand. Beiden huilden om hun moeder en niemand keek naar ze om. Een huis vol hulpverleners die het te druk hadden om aan twee kleine huilende eenzame broertjes aandacht te schenken. Ik sloeg mijn armen om die twee heen en vroeg waarom ze daar stonden. Onze moeder is dood, zeiden ze. Ze is weg en nou hebben we geen moeder meer.. Ik vroeg om hulp en aandacht voor de kinderen maar niemand luisterde. De directeur van het huis kwam aanlopen met een bord vol heerlijke dingetjes. Maar hij ging zitten en ging het allemaal zelf en alleen opeten. Een vrouw volgde en ging met een bord vol heerlijke hapjes naast hem zitten. Ik was kwaad en vroeg of ze die kinderen helemaal niets gaven en honger lieten lijden.  Toen gooiden ze af en toe zo’n lekker hapje naar mij en ik voerde de kinderen één voor één. Waar komen jullie vandaan? Uit (ze noemden een zuid Amerikaans land) Cayenne hoewel het zo te zien kaaskoppetjes waren met een lekker plat accent. Ze kregen die paar hapjes uit irritatie vanwege mijn vragen. Lang niet genoeg. Ik vroeg wie ze meenam en waar ze heen moesten, één kleintje op mijn knie, de andere met mijn arm om hem heen. Niemand reageerde en zelf wisten we ook niet waar ze heen moesten. Zo zaten we daar stilletjes, midden in die grote zaal met hulpverleners die deden of ze doof en blind waren. Toen werd ik langzaam wakker maar de droom bleef nog een hele tijd.


22-11-14
Droomde in mijn middagslaapje dat ik op stap was en herinneringen opnieuw beleefde. Door de foto’s die ik in mijn lange leven had opgespaard. 77 jaar foto’s…. en er waren goede herinneringen die ik in ontmoetingen opnieuw beleefde. Maar toen moest ik met de (volle) bus naar een andere opnieuw te beleven herinnering. Ik had nog een grote tas met foto’s met herinneringen bij me.  En de bus stopte omdat de chauffeur tot die herinneringen behoorde. Hij parkeerde de bus tussen een auto en de waterkant van een groot water (Het IJ). Ik waarschuwde dat het een gevaarlijke plek was en dat de bus zou kunnen omrollen. De chauffeur vond dat het wel kon. Maar zodra hij uit de bus stapte rolde de bus op zijn kant het water in. Iedereen kwam in het water terecht. Ik greep iemand in zijn kraag en trok hem zwemmend naar de kant, waar hij verdween. Mijn tas met herinneringen/ foto’s van 77 jaren was inmiddels gezonken en niet meer te redden. Ik was zielsverdrietig, kon niets meer doen. Maar, zoals iemand opmerkte, ik moest dan maar zonder die herinneringen verder……… en toen werd ik wakker.

Een andere droom was juist het tegengestelde: Een middagslaapje.
Het was een slaapje om nooit meer te vergeten. Ik werd letterlijk omgeven door zóveel liefde, niet-menselijke liefde, die me omarmde en troostte en vasthield en toch weer niet, die me omgaf als een warme deken waarin ik kon wegkruipen… en ik was zo intens gelukkig dat er geen woorden voor te vinden zijn. Dat gevoel is, ook toen ik wakker werd, heel lang blijven hangen. En nu, na drie dagen, kan ik het nog oproepen en zó intens voelen….alsof het in een andere wereld gebeurde.

Of deze: ik droomde dat Maumau bij me kwam jengelen. Ik mocht dit keer niet aan zijn pootjes komen Zijn nageltjes bleken grotendeels verdwenen,zijn voetkussens  open wonden. Ik kon eigenlijk niet weg, Jessica lag te slapen, was een peutertje. Toch besloot ik weg te gaan met de kat, om iemand te vinden die de pootjes kon verzorgen. En Jessica, dacht ik, zou nog wel even doorslapen.
Ik kwam plots in Rotterdam terecht en kon de dierenarts niet vinden. Omdat ik haar al een tijdje heb ken ik ook geen anderen. Mijn eigen dierenarts kon niet gevonden worden. Het werd avond, het werd nacht en het wachten bij de bus- of tramhalte leverde zoveel angst op voor wat er thuis gebeurd kon zijn intussen.Maar ik kòn niet naar huis. De anderen die daar wachtten  bleken allemaal homofiel, relnichten te zijn ;-) .Ik werd achternagezeten door een bende die broodjes wilde…..En ik had er maar ééntje. Die ik toch maar verdeelde.
Er kwam geen trein of bus. De kat was weg en ik zat met die medicijnen voor hem. En ik beefde in sidderende angst voor wat er met Jessica gebeurd kon zijn terwijl ik met die kat zo ver weg was. Ik overweeg nog even naar huis te gaan lopen……. Maar dat was dus ook geen optie. Ik moest, om erger te voorkomen, zelf de zieke en dode stompjes nagels van de kat uittrekken. En dat kon ik niet en liet Kat ook niet toe. Hij kwam op zijn dooie gemak aanlopen alsof er niets aan de hand was... en zei alleen: hallo:.....
Eindelijk kwam ik in een vreemd gebouw met gecapitonneerde vloer en wanden en meer niet. Dat waren de slaapkamers voor het getrouwde stel.
Er hoorde een kippenhok bij en nu klonken die kippen gezond en legden achter elkaar eieren. Kat was nog steeds niet geholpen. Het huis waarin ik  - alleen – terechtkwam was helemaal gecapituleerd,  Ik werd niet opgesloten en kon in en uitlopen. In een lange gecapitonneerde gang, heel lang en er kwam een man die liet een mooie kistje zien.zei hij.  Eerst alle deuren voorbij.  Toen  liep ik alleen, er was nergens iemand in de aangrenzende kamers  en . En kwam Jessica tegen die er erg blij mee was.Maar ze had haar tijd zelf nodig zei ze....zucht...
In een droom kan alles, kan je zelfs een peutertje in Amsterdam achterlaten en diezelfde nacht in Rotterdam als bloeiende jonge vrouw weer tegenkomen.
Maar teruglopend ontdekte ik dat er toch veel meer mannen waren Ik zag weer niets, alleen de gevolgen van hun aanwezigheid. .Poes liep te jammeren, kon  niet meer lopen. Die pootjes rotten steeds verder weg...
Nee, was niet leuk wakker worden hè...

Ik droomde dat er ongenood via voor- en achterdeur bezoekers binnenkwamen, terwijl ikzelf bij anderen op bezoek was. Mijn bezoekers zochten zich een plekje en wachtten de dingen die komen gingen af. Ik ging maar thee en koffie voor ze zetten, zocht in mijn boekenkast naar dingen om ze bezig te houden, maakte een praatje, besloot wat afstandelijk te doen tegen een mij onbekende buurman die zich wel erg thuisvoelde... kortom, voelde me geen baas in eigen huis.
Tot slot kwamen er nog vier zigeuner- of anderszins oost-europese jongeren binnen, in grijze dure maar niet erg smaakvolle pakken. Die keken brutaalweg om zich heen of er iets te halen viel en met heel veel moeite kreeg ik ze door de tuindeuren naar buiten  waar ze met elkaar bleven overleggen...... eng hoor.
Mijn bezoekers waren me onbekend, zouden nieuwe bewoners worden in dit huis.. Maar zover ik wist was hier niemand weggegaan... Mannen, vrouwen, een echtpaar, allemaal vonden ze hier een plek en wachtten af wat ik voor ze zou doen....

3-4 mei. Ik droomde dat ik te maken had met vluchtelingen in dit land. Die zo bang waren dat ze onbereikbaar waren. Ik zat samen met een een arts, een mwer en een psychiater om de tafel en probeerde wanhopig duidelijk te maken dt er hulp nodig was. Dat zij wisten hoe ik kon helpen maar niets deden. Dat die mensen vaak te bang waren om hun oude korsten brood buiten aan de vogels te voeren, laat staan dat ze zonder hulp konden inburgeren. Mijn pleidooi om gecoördineerde hulp werd tamelijk koel ontvangen. maar bij het afscheid gaf die psychiater me een hand en schoof me daarbij wat kleingeld toe. Mijn verontwaardige :'wat doet u nu?!' werd beantwoord met :neem nou maar aan je kunt het nog gebruiken'. Ik keerde terug naar mijn armoedige straat maar durfde het fooitje zelfs niet aan een asielzoeker te geven. Want dat zou hem ook niet helpen.



5 mei. Vannacht ongelooflijk verdrietig en boos gedroomd. Iedereen liep maar in en uit bij me. Sleutels hielpen niet. Vreemde kinderen, verpleegkundigen, dokters, ik moest ze af en toe met geweld buiten de deur zetten, maar het hielp niet. Mijn kind liep in en uit, at en dronk, maar zag me niet. De asperges die ik voor mijzelf kookte werden door andere opgegeten. De zee kwam op. En al mijn boeken en mijn geliefde papieren en spullen kwamen steeds dieper in het water te staan. Twee jongemannen sleepten ze van de ene kant naar de andere kant. Ik kwam meubels tegen die ooit van me geweest waren, een heel oud dressoir o.a. Ik heb wanhopig gehuild, maar er was niets meer te redden van alle mooie boeken en verzamelde papieren en andere dingen en het water steeg maar.....

Ik droomde dat ik een lieve rijke gul gevende Joodse vriend had. De prins op het witte paard dus en we waren heel gelukkig. Ik had veel liefde te geven, hij ook maar  hij gaf me ongevraagd veel mooie geschenken. Niet alles had ik nodig, maar ik was al gelukkig met zijn gulheid zelf. Bijna gulzig bleef hij geven.
Op zeker ogenblik moesten we weg en hij had alles 'even' afgegeven. Dat moest opgehaald worden en bleek in twee vuilniszakken te passen en verpakt te zijn. Mijn mantel konden we niet terugvinden. Hij zou die zakken even naar zijn auto brengen en me dan oppikken. De stad was al donker.... Ik dacht hem tegemoet te gaan, maar verdwaalde..... Ik kon hem nergens terugvinden, kwam in vreemde dorpse wijken terecht en in een soort tehuis, waar een oudere Joodse vrouw zich over me ontfermde. En me vertelde dat het een belangrijke Joodse feestdag was. We moesten dan ook Joodse liederen zingen. Ik miste mijn vriend zo verschrikkelijk maar wist dat ik hem nooit meer terug zou zien als ik niet weer de straat opging. En dwaalde eenzaam verder, mijn hart boordevol verdriet en schuldgevoel omdat ik niet gewacht had tot hij me kwam ophalen. Nu was ik letterlijk alles kwijt.
Waar het op slaat weet ik nog niet.


Ik droomde  dat ik naar Amsterdam Noord, Vogeldorp, ging.  Onderweg was een rotjongetje  midden op de straat bezig zijn spullen uit te stallen en ik droeg hem uit veiligheid op dat weg te halen. Hij haalde naar mij uit met een stok...... nou, dat kon ik ook. ;-) en toen deed hij wat ik hem gevraagd had. De boel op de stoep zetten. Dit stukje vergroot of toont mijn zelfvertrouwen... ik kan het aan.

Maar toen kwam ik in ons oude huisje. En daar zat neef Coenie  aan een tafeltje in een hoekje van de kamer voor het gangetje naar de keuken. Op het tafeltje lagen wat oude tijdschriften. Hij bleef zitten. Ik vroeg of ik na mijn lange reis een kop koffie kon krijgen. Hij ging weg en kwam  wat later terug met een beker koffie die hij zelf leegdronk. Toen ik er naar vroeg zei hij wat geïrriteerd dat hij water bijgeschonken had voor een tweede kop koffie. Ik besefte dat hij niet meer tot de  'gezonde' mensen behoorde. Op tafel vond ik een prentenboekje dat op school gebruikt was. En waarin ik geschreven had over mijzelf in Wenen: 'En plotseling was het feest afgelopen en moesten we vluchten' . En verder plaatjes van Wenen en van een rivier en vluchten. Ik had er een hoog cijfer voor gekregen van de juf of de meester.
Ik was heel blij dat boekje/schriftje terug te hebben en danste een beetje de kamer rond. Waarop een tot dan onzichtbare buurvrouw zei dat ik er blijkbaar ook niet zonder kleerscheuren doorgekomen was, wijzend op neef  Coenie, die weer helemaal in zichzelf teruggetrokken op zijn stoel zat met de beker voor zijn mond.
Eigenlijk was ik daar in huis vanwege een afspraakje met mijn vader. Maar die was er niet. Toen ik er Coenie naar vroeg zei die dat mijn vader later kwam.
Maar mijn vader kwam niet…..
Ik zag ons oude huisje daar en rook het zelfs. Heimwee…..

Het eerste deel van de nacht is onrustig. Ik droom dat er iets is met de diepvries. Ik had iets in e diepvries moeten doen of moet er rekening mee houden dat er iets ' is'  met de diepvries.
Het tweede deel speelt in en om het huis. Door een sociale instantie wordt het huis helemaal opgeknapt. De muren krijgen een verfje, er worden mooie bloemen op geschilderd ook. Een beetje art decoachtig.  Heel mooi en licht. De kinderen zijn nog klein en ontroeren de ambtenaren die bij ons over de vloer komen. Ik heb iets lekkers gemaakt voor de kinderen. En die mensen willen mee-eten. Op zeker ogenblik word ik het huis uitgejaagd, ik moet maar wachten tot alles klaar is. En naast een brug eet ik mijn bord spinaziestamp met draadjesvlees. Dan komen er die ambtenaren en andere mensen bij staan, en ik deel mijn vlees uit. Raar genoeg door ze van mijn vork te laten happen. Dan wil ik terug naar huis, maar ik ben verdwaald en heb geen idee waar ik heen moet. Ik weet maar ongeveer waar het huis ligt. Bij een man in een hokje dat hij fanatiek schoon houdt staat een stoel. Daar leg ik mijn spullen op en ik zoek daartussen, behalve mijn kleren (ik loop in nachtgoed), ook  mijn dagboek. Niet te vinden.
Buiten is sneeuw, maar ook overstroming. Toch moet ik naar huis. Die drang is te groot.
Maar de kat maakt me wakker met haar gedram om naar buiten te kunnen. En het verlangen blijft hangen....
 © Erica van Beek






zaterdag 15 juli 2017


Mensen van tegenwoordig...
Dit is al een eerder geplaatst artikel, maar ik kan het niet terugvinden. Dus nog eens geplaatst.
Pagina 38-39 (Katern Jong) van de Volkskrant van dinsdag 15 juni jl. bevatte een artikel: 'één miljoen heeft gemixte ouders'...... Is het anderen dus ook opgevallen dat mensen van nu   mooier  geworden zijn de laatste generaties? Natuurlijk, zoals er ook bij geschreven wordt, hebben de jonge mensen van tegenwoordig veel meer mogelijkheden, vooral voor wat betreft educatie. Als ik jonge mensen zie moet ik onweerstaanbaar denken aan één van de oude  socialistische strijdliederen, m.n. 'het lied der Strijders': de laatste regels van elk couplet luiden als volgt: 'Van de verre verre kusten stroomt een nieuw en schoon geslacht'.
Jammer dat deze liederen  niet meer van deze tijd zijn  en bijna in de ban zijn gedaan.
Het koor dat deze liederen zong, De Stem Des Volks, is opgeheven. Bij gebrek aan jonge aanwas, maar ook omdat ze hun liederen nog eigenlijk alleen op de eerste mei  in verzorgings- en verpleeghuizen konden zingen.
Wie ze nog eens wil horen kan naar de site
http://home.versatel.nl/vdwiel/ . Deze Van der Wiel schrijft op zijn site: Vandaar de teksten van de VARAgram LP   "de Rooden Roepen"   op deze site gezet. Ter lering ende (ook wel een beetje nostalgisch) vermaeck.
Laten we het dan maar zo beschouwen. Maar wie ook maar een beetje uit een 'rood' nest komt kan ik de site aanbevelen. De melodieën zijn nog steeds even mooi. En wie ze niet kent zal er met heel andere ogen naar kijken. Maar ze misschien ook met ontroering lezen.
In elk geval blijft  de melodie van  'Van de verre verre kusten' in mijn hoofd rondzingen.  Het zijn bijna psalmen en zeker als ze zo langzaam gezongen worden als in de biblebelt gebeurt.

Heel bijzonder ook om te bedenken dat er zoveel mensen van gemengde bloede zijn.  Ik ben, eigenlijk ook van gemengde bloede,   hoewel uiterlijk een gewone witte... Inmiddels is zelfs mijn haar wit. Mijn grootouders van vaders' kant kwamen uit Amsterdam, echte gauwe arme Jordaners. Mijn grootmoeder zou afstammeling van een lage Duitse landadel zijn. Mijn vader was dus ook een Amsterdammer, maar woonde later met mijn grootvader in Vogeldorp in Amsterdam-Noord. Aan de overkant van het IJ.  Dat was een dorp dat amper bij Amsterdam hoorde, alleen in naam. Het (Ing.) Vliegenbos was naast de deur.
Maar mijn grootouders van moeders' kant kwamen uit een streek die soms bij Slowakije, soms bij Polen, maar ten lange leste bij Oostenrijk hoorde. Die familie is later naar Wenen verhuisd. En daar komt dus mijn moeder vandaan. Het was een Joodse familie en op één enkele  tante en één nicht na is iedereen uit die familie vermoord.
Behalve ikzelf heeft hebben de kinderen van mijn tante  de moordmachine overleefd. Wij waren  overlevenden, de eersten van 'een nieuw en schoon geslacht'.... Wil niet zeggen dat we zelf zulke mooie vrouwen zijn, maar schoon heeft hier ook de betekenis van . mooi' van binnen.

En dan kijk ik weer naar de krant. Mooie zwarte mannen met mooie witte vrouwen leveren mooie kinderen. En ook de kinderen van immigranten met Nederlandse vrouwen leveren mooie kinderen op. Die betekenis betreft ook  de buitenkant.
Idealiter zouden de cultuurverschillen de jonge mensen mateloos kunnen ontwikkelen door bewuste  nieuwsgierigheid naar de wederzijdse achtergronden aan te vuren. Zowel op cultureel als godsdienstig gebied. Jammer genoeg gebeurt dat te weinig.
 De meesten zijn normale knappe jonge mensen die het  soms ver geschopt hebben of het nog ver kunnen scheppen. Zij hebben de innerlijke beschaving en de intelligentie van tenminste één van de ouders meegekregen.

Natuurlijk blijft de andere mogelijkheid ook open en die  is even negatief als de andere kant positief is. Dat uit twee volkomen onontwikkelde ouders kinderen voortkomen, die niét  zien waar ze vandaan komen. Die niet uit die benauwde concentrische cirkel  weten te ontsnappen. Maar onbewust wel zien waar ze niet in deze maatschappij passen, maar aanpassing aan de heersende dominante  normen en waarden niet meekrijgen van thuis.
Zij blijven zich, met alle gevolgen vandien, tegen alles en iedereen  afzetten.  Overschrijden bepaalde grenzen, vaak door onmachtige ouders, soms door zelf ontwikkelde groepsculturen die in volkomen tegenstelling staan tot de heersende godsdienstige normen.  Angry young men...  ze zouden, al dan niet gedwongen, genoeg educatie en discipline moeten krijgen, om zichzelf te bevrijden. En te leren zien waar ze wèl heen willen.
Maar goed, dat is mijn persoonlijke mening.

Iets waarmee ik ook worstel is  de eeuwig durende strijd tussen de grote godsdiensten. Joden, Christenen, Moslims, Hindoestanen en nog meer.... allemaal leren ze uit hun Heilige Boeken dat ze G'd lief moeten hebben boven alles. En hun naasten als zichzelf.
Ik zie bij strijdlustige (?) vromen van alle godsdiensten het tegendeel. Uiterlijke vroomheid ja. Alle regels worden nageleefd. De riten en de gebeden heel  nauwkeurig gevolgd.
Maar blijkt die boven alles gestelde liefde voor G'd uit het doden  van zijn schepselen? Blijkt het 'de naasten liefhebben als jezelf' uit het voorgaande? Of uit het uitsluiten van mensen die op een andere manier diezelfde G'd willen dienen? Blijkt die liefde voor G'd en medemensen uit het door vrome ouders leren aan kinderen om andersdenkende vrome mensen in elkaar te slaan, te vernederen, te martelen, te vermoorden?

 Die verschrikkelijke zelfmoordacties, hoe worden die door hun G'd zelf beoordeeld, denken ze? Vindt hun en onze G'd dat ze zichzelf, een  door G'd geschapene, moeten vernietigen, alleen maar om zoveel mogelijk andere mensen mee de dood in te kunnen nemen... Medemensen,  die op een andere manier dezelfde G'd willen dienen. Ook geschapen door diezelfde G'd...
Ik weet het, al eeuwen wordt op deze manier geschreven en gesproken. En ik voeg er alleen een leesteken bij.
Maar liever zou ik zien dat dit moeizaam geschreven blogje een totaal overbodig stuk zou zijn.........

Geloven die mensen echt dat ze daarvoor tot in de eeuwigheid beloond zullen worden? Of zullen ze daar tot in de eeuwigheid voor moeten boeten???
Hoe zeker moet je zijn van eeuwig leven trouwens, zonder enige twijfel aan de mogelijkheid dat het leven ophoudt… als het aardse leven eindigt…

Naschrift uit een ander blogje:
Miljoenen mensen hangen nou eenmaal één religie aan, omdat ze denken dat die ene (deel)religie de WAARHEID is en de ENIGE WAARHEID is en NIETS DAN DE WAARHEID IS...Alle andere religies (honderden, misschien duizenden versplinterd en wel) hebben dus NIET de WAARHEID IN PACHT, zijn dus fout en de g'd van  die gelovigen schijnt te willen dat zijn schepselen en schepping vernietigd worden.. Klaarblijkelijk geen g'd van liefde en erbarmen dus...

© Erica van Beek


zondag 22 januari 2017

TWEE VROUWEN EN EEN JAS (in Engels)

Twee vrouwen en een jas
Dedicated to  the  Jewish social work ,
Dorine de Gruyter,
in memory of
Olga, my mother
And with thanks to Paul Groenendaal and to Elma Verhey,
 without whom this book would not have come about
Foreword
On the 1st September 1992

Erica writes hesitantly in a nice small, silk-bound booklet, "was very cozy ..." and she ponders further on the title of the diary that she wants to track the reporting of the quest which it has decided.
The reason is threefold
An inner need which has become increasingly stronger in recent years.
 All the chaos of her childhood surfaced.
she sits at her kitchen table looking out over the gallery railing over Nieuwegein. In this house she lives satisfied. Now is time to dare.
And she begins to write and muses. The title….
They could not have suspected in the summer of 1994, at the same kitchen table but much happier, with a sigh of relief and glad to work on her book with friends, the manuscript would shut and satisfyingly say, "Right, now we can eat. I have a beetroot salad. Jewish recipe.  Do you like it? "
They would certainly not have suspected two years ago, that her book would be in the shop windows in 1994.
Yet that is so. In August 1994 she was eating beetroot salad with two editors. Twice repeated she had to go through exhausting the entire confrontation with its own past, word for word, to make a diary into  a book. Popular portions, clarify things that diarists always perceived as historic.
I was one of the editors and I can assure you that the whole process from September 1992 until now, two years later was a hellish emotional period for Erica.
Paul Groenendaal
Leiden, 1 september 1994
September
15.
I have made a decision. I will ask Dorine to help me-finally- to go back to the past.
I have told that to my friends Piet S. and Corrie van R. Corrie is an old girlfriend that I know from the anti -racism work and Piet is chairman of the club where I am a secretary. I have told them that if I continue to function that I will need their help. That is why you are my friends? Through difficult times to help each other?
With Corrie I had a good talk, among other things, the power that comes from daring to continue to be vulnerable. She is currently in a difficult period and suffering physically and mentally.
I gave her calcium and magnesium, herbs and vitamins. In her family I am “the herb lady” not completely unjustly.
Piet gave me as an answer a mountain of work that by tomorrow morning had to be done.
for the first time I realized that my teeth bit together when I heard my own keys rattle while I opened the door to the deadbolt. Memories of the Martha foundation.
Later that evening. The memories become clearer.
 The leader, Ilsa Love, had the compassionate habit of using her keys, if she wanted to "admonish" children.
1943 -Nieuwersluis?
We stood in line one behind the other, naked, with a towel and a washcloth. Forty children. Two at a time we were washed in a cold bath. Now again I smell the scent of it. And  in the dorms, there were many bed wetter’s. Beds which were, roughly forty centimeters apart.
16.
 Woe betides you if you have not said or sang well before bed your prayers. God's love also expressed itself as "they" heard children still whispering : then they made you stand before your bed, cold feet on the ground, and wait and see how long they let you stand. Sometimes for hours. And you dared not to go to bed or to say anything. I was always picked out. If I had not knitted well , I had to knit at night sitting on the marble stairs. If she was back on time and not pleased, you got there "seams" in. And sometimes she forgot me. I sat there half naked, until she had to go to the toilet and just saw me sitting there.
Stopping blows. Every time going up and down the line. I  could never do it good and flee enough. When it was my turn , it was time for slaps, until I was half unconscious. What made her even angrier was that I could not respond. From fear, or also pride?

Then you had to eat on the penalty bench, the “biekenbank” and you were not allowed to play.
In was proud of my father , who could get on with her. Who brought so many sweets that all the children, also those that had visitors could eat sweets too. What was left over was taken away by Miss Geert Knoet. She searched me to make sure that I did not hide any. All the children called him Papa and loved him.
Emmie  Veldkamp- as snow white so beautiful. Red cheeks, pitch-black eyes and hair. She sat behind me in school and kept pricking me in my back with a pin. Finally I had enough; I turned around slowly and dropped solemnly my ink pot over her head empty.
That day was I beaten so much with the walking stick of Mr. van de Berg that I had to be taken to the hospital. The children bullied me so much, because I never said or did anything back. After the ink pot scene was that over for good. They saw that I "just" only responded when it suited me. Nevertheless Geert Knoete still saw me as a good victim, was why?
17.
3 september 1992
 The name of Margaret G. Van der H. was Greetje. She studied with me the Bible sitting in Alphen aan den Rhijn and comes from the Martha charity. She made contact with me and we made an appointment. Today at Central station in Den Haag.  Neutral territory. We arranged to meet at the third desk in the hall, at three o'clock and because we did not know each other she would recognize me by a bright pink umbrella that I was carrying.
My train arrived at a quarter to three , right on time. And while I stepped off the platform and walked to the hall, I looked around to see if I could recognize her. She should be wearing a red jacket. I did not see her so I waited
And as time passed, the passengers around me were together at the counter and rushed to their trains and I saw homeless and drug addicts. I became despondent and more despondent .What could have gone wrong?  After waiting an hour I took the train home.
Money thrown away, that journey and now I am skint. I can’t travel until I have money again. Preparations for the municipal platform Global Awareness, where I among others with Piet work, has so far cost nearly 100 euros on shipments, letters and the like. It is voluntary work, therefore I have to see if I will get it back, and if so when.

 So I have just called Margaret: It was my fault that the appointment did not go according to plan. I had Thursday in my diary and she as teacher could only get Wednesday free. Therefore she waited for an hour on Wednesday for nothing. We have now an appointment for next Sunday, 7 September.
Then she comes to me, not on neutral territory!
She told me, via telephone, things about the Martha foundation that I did not Know any more. About farmer Kwakernaak for example whose farm next to the home, whose calves I could take care of. Oh yes , I still  remember  that .

ik doopte de kalfjes zelfs , en voor de stier , die altijd in zijn hok zat en die vreselijk hard kon loeien, was ik erg bang.
I baptized even the calves, and the bull, which was always in his kennel and who could howl terribly hard, I was very scared of. Margaret  told of the shoe maker of the charity , over the subsequent build-up of the group of children. And I told him about the injustice that I, because I was allowed to study, was held responsible for the behavior of the younger children in my group. We talked for a long time , but I can not visualize her.
There are a lot of people of my age searching their  past. Rien G. is one of them. I know him only from the telephone. He too is searching  and has stories  that for an “normal” man come across as unreal. Rien is grown up in a Christian family and no one could explain to him over his (orthodox ) circumcision. He has lived in Alpha aan de Rijn and later in Boskoop. He remembered groups of children that rode bicycles in the Martha foundation. I remember the kilometers long marches that we did in lines of three ,to and through villages around Alphen. Very recognizable as asylum children ,but bicycling ? I don’t remember that . The only bicycle that I remember , I got from my father and that was stolen within two weeks! the leadership will have had  fun  with that.
Family Cote. Father was vice president, mother was a woman that every child wanted. We were children , without parents, without family ,without  backgrounds. They were very loved by us girls that were growing up .I  studied with Mieke their daughter and I still have a photo of her that she is in with other friends from school.
4 September 1992
Memories.  Nieuwersluis. White, Sunday sleeved aprons, black worsted stockings, clogs. White metal crib and  curtains with lots of lace. Was that toys or did babies lie in them? A very large house ,a park around about with a large grass field.
19.
Upstairs was a hall: The toilets flooded  over, stink and filth everywhere. No memories of the layout of the house or the daily affairs .
Later, after 1946, Alphen aan den Rijn. The group where I first sat , was right of the building. That was of the leader  (of day of night) Geert Knoet. Later on I sat above in the group M2… the electric cables hung loose out the wall. I got a shock and was unconscious for a while.  on a bench in a small alcove in the hall I came around. In the hall of M2 I learned other children songs and dances. I made a dance from “ zeg kwezelken wildet gij dansen?”  I still remember that dance  and in bed I told the kids always (horror) stories , where  the others always  huddled together in bed. That could then apparently.
Was it there that I first got my menstruation? I was eleven years old and no longer in the group of Geert Knoet. I must have been in panick when I found blood in my bed in the morning. Scared to get punishment- or that I had a fatal illness.
But the leader ( I don’t know which one) told me that I was now a Big Girl and no longer could I play with the boys. She gave me clean sheets and strange-looking terry "canvases" with a hole on each side and a waist belt. That was that, that was my sexual information sessions and that of the girls of my generation.
The school attic, which stood on the site. What I did there? I was there sometimes for drawing lessons? There were antique busts and heads of plaster and marble and it smelled and was  very dusty.
Mr. Van Dijk from the third class sat with his hand in my pants . If I reacted he told me to “shut up” and pinched me hard.
20.
These are memories that come up. I don’t remember any of the other leaders except the sadistic women Geert Knoet and Ida de Liefde  ( the corpse if compassion , “so as we called her) she got later an eye sickness , literally fire red eyes and according to tradition would go blind. We called that the punishment of God. There were also good leaders , such as the one Margaret called : Leny Zwaal.
Margreet found it  unlikely that I was made responsible for twelve young people from my group ....I was studying and was the only one that had a small room for myself- a former kitchen- where I could do my homework.
“But” said the former leader ( who?) “then you should make sure that the youngsters stay sweet” or words to that effect. That I do not remember names! The result was that I could not do my homework in the afternoon or evenings. I taught myself from the clock tower that I could see out my window , to sleep and wake up , sometimes at four in the morning to do my homework. I had to be a good example .Even now is six hours sleep enough! I had to go to bed at the same time as the  others and was controlled if my light was out.
That ” privilege “lasted less than a year. Then I had to go back to the “dorm “ and my room became a kitchen again. At least in my memory.
Slak van Beek. That was me. That is what they called me. Slow, clumsy, always the last in the line, whatever line. In the line by Geert Knoet , for every run in the black stockings or knitting on Sunday gray hosiery. How often did I have to take my work back and start again? And how often did I get beaten because I was the last in the line?
21.
5 September 1992
Zij van Vlink , a girl in my class, whose brother had a sort of animal magnetism for me. It depended on her if I may walk with her brother over the school grounds. It cost me my best books. Pure blackmail!
Rieke and Liesje Olie and their brother , who suddenly after the war were called Olij. The choir of Jo Toet , partner of Daniel Waayenberg, and the songs that we sang:
The heavens remains gloomy hung down
A dead silence reigns supreme
Creation grieves, she has no songs

And the organ tone of the forest is stupid ....
That has always stayed with me. And now comes a thought to me and a singing game over spring from princess Irene that we learned:
We are the hares out of the woooods
The small hares out of the woooods
and eating a hazelnut….
Today I read the Nieuwe Israelitisch Weekblad (NIW)from 28 August that was sent to me from the telephonist from the Jewish social work . The tears are in my eyes as I read the column from G. Philip Mok: “Am Jisraeel Chai.”
I am a Jew in heart and soul. I realize this especially , because,  even though  my past was  by the Martha charity very Christian and baffling , is very  agitated by the reading of the NIW and this column.
Will anybody ever bring my soul to her right place?
22.
Margreet was here. With a photo album full of photos of children from the buildings of the Martha foundation. Truly also a picture of Geert Knoet! Margreet stayed till five o’clock. I only recognized her when I saw her childhood photos. She is now a grown up lady and a teacher. And I have been stated as being incapable to work.
Although I am particularly strained, there are still no emotions that come up with the looking, talking about and recognizing of pictures from this time. Strange , actually. Names , names of people and places it was not more than that. Or not yet? Just scents come back. And the tinkle of the many chains of Miss Corvase the German teacher
And the face of the pathetic spinster of needlework,-who  was also bullied by me.
We talked about the family Cote, also for Margreet a very loved family. It was a  shame that Mieke had  so little  attention , because her parents were caring for more than four hundred and fifty children. And hospitality and love, that the children received from no one else.
23.
Still 7 September , evening
I have asked  Paul, my dear friend from the past and still,  whether he wants to read my writings.  And if it may ever be a book , would he be my editor?

In the years past  I've never been able  to tell him anything from my childhood. And when I tried it sounded confusing  and incomprehensible to him . And still I  panicked , as he practically forced me to go into the past, how lovingly and patiently he tried. It caused unbearable tension between us.
My strange reactions to his innocent remarks, my off-track anxiety and panic attacks , and I crawled into my shell when he became irritated. His bohemian - like attitude toward my need for security. Love and security, very civil,  are synonymous with safety for me.  For him it means trouble, curtailing his freedom.  Doubly, as a clipped bird in a cage. That can not continue to go well. And therefore did not go well.
After two years of silence I made contact with him. This is also the way to tell him about my youth, all those things, all those fears that surface.   Will I persevere to the end? And will Dorine , my friend from the Jewish social work , and Paul , my old friend , able to provide enough support for it?
Paul also has his stories.  Stories  from his childhood, how he experienced the war. And the years after. His life is a continuous line, with peaks of course, like an ECG., But his Memories are a common thread running through his life. And me? I have the feeling that my life only halfway in my adulthood begins. The way back from there is not even visible, but it must be there. I'm finally not come into the world as an adult, or without background or parents.
24.
The memories keep coming. There is now no stopping them. When I was fourteen , in 1949, I could stay whenever I wanted to at my uncle Bart and aunt Marie and their two daughters ( Marie is the one that arranged for me to be taken from my father and placed in the Martha foundation , But I had not realized that yet). After staying there a few times they told me , that I May leave the Martha foundation and come and live with them, if I promised never more to have contact with my father! I did not realize that she therefore would experience the ultimate triumph, by taking my  father’s   only child away- for good - after years before, my father had me taken away from her. He told me once how he accidentally had witnessed how they mistreated me and how he then took me, but that's another story. Aunt Marie thought she’d  have cheap household help from  me? Until that point I knew no more about housekeeping than drying up . After a short period of reflection I refused to give up my father. I had to return to the Martha charity and I never stayed there again! They cried with anger and disappointment but I never regretted my decision. Even though I was thus in the Martha Foundation, and even though I was not yet aware of the purpose and background.
Yet I was then, just as unconsciously, an arrogant weight. I must have been nineteen years and I just started working in the council office in the town of Woerden. I had left the Martha foundation and was free to visit my father. With him in Amsterdam, also lived  uncle Coen  (his brother) and his wife Aunt Cor. Uncle Coen was a park worker and I worked in an office. I suggested that he was a staff member and I officer. Absurd and ridiculous. We had words, it was not fun anymore. Maybe I wantedto offend them by punishing them for leaving me in the Martha foundation. In my childhood I stayed  with my father and  with them? Then they had to stay together in a house and were busy trying to get my father , who was alone out, because they had a family. Grandpa was already dead….


25.
Grandpa ! That small house that I can still smell. Grandpa , whom I passionately loved, who sat me on his lap , read and played with me, who cut all the cartoons out of the newspaper and pasted them in a big book for me and upstairs there was more big books and cartoons and other things were I was allowed to play . I realized that in later years my grandpa and my father , played a smaller role in my life , among other reasons , because, they both did more for the youngsters of number 88( grandpa lived at number 90 on the Plaatijzerweg) and for their mother, auntie Ella. I felt that I did could not come between or be involved there .But the short time that I lived with my father and grandfather and came to auntie Ella’s and played with the youngsters , Henk and Erich ( it was not longer than a half a year), was the only rally happy time of my youth.
Back to the Martha Foundation.
It's the feeling. No conscious memory. It must have been dark, cold and wet. Rain and wind, when I arrived in Nieuwersluis.
I have the same feeling when I think of how I was brought  from one hiding place to another  to a person's hand, with maybe a briefcase or a bag in the other hand.
Actually I can’t remember real memories out of that period. It is like a thin black veil which is located over the entire past. You see it and know  that there is something behind, but to see through it is so difficult. There is nothing, even for only a moment, illuminated, allowing you to see everything clearly.
I was there, at Serreschans, in Nieuwersluis. It stank and was noisy and humid. In the evening we folded our clothes on our shoes ,  some wore wooden shoes - so that we could flee if necessary.
26.
 I had nightmares, others banged evening and night with their heads rhythmically against the headboard of their bed. I know of at least one time I'm sleepwalking into the dining room to sit and  sat there all night, with  my arms folded. Until the group came for breakfast and woke me up. That is how it was told to me later on. Geert  Knoet had to – with cold water- wash and dress me completely.I seem to have come far away.
During every air raid, all attacks on or near the railway line Amsterdam - Utrecht, we dove at night under the beds. Or during the day, under the tables or in the ditch. And when we gathered wood in the forest across the street, we looked panicked for a tree to stand against.Their was a farm in the forest. If we were there in the area we pushed in and stood against the wall. One child from the group once stole something there. For that , later on all of us got one at a time ,  a beating. Geet Knoet knew how to give a beating. And I never had the impression that she  did so reluctantly.
Two dormitories. Hepatitis broke out, jaundice, diarrhea and vomiting. Then we got punishment. If you had to throw up everything was shoveled back on the board, different food put over it and you had to eat it .
For days you were given the same plate of food . That really happened.
On Friday afternoon we went for a bath. Very soapy water, probably there was no real soap anymore .All forty children went into the same bath water at least that is how I remember it. I definitely remember on a Friday after the bath , leading everybody to their knees  beside the bed . There we were in our our nightdresses or pyjamas  , and I spoke facing where I believed East to be out a prayer. Where did I get that from! Even Geert Knoet  later on knelt and prayed with me.
27.
In that time , I had also knowledge of everything that was eatable, and there was a lot  edible  in the big garden around the grounds of Sterrenschans. I seemed to know what wild rye and wheat were, which fruit was edible, which mushrooms were poisonous. There was a bush with bright red fruits that we definitely had to stay away from .But somehow or another I knew that the fruits were definitely not poisonous. And they were really tasty. Since I had eaten it, they had , probably with fear and trembling, waited a day and then the bushes were looted. What was left over was made into jam. The strange thing is that I lost some of that knowledge after the war and was only returned in my high school years. How could I, a city kid from Amsterdam and Wenen , know all those things and use it too?
Cold , wetness, stink and fear. The feelings prevail over the war violence.
Why, dammit, do I not  remember how and by we I was taken away from my father? Or how I was taken away from my mother ? I feel darkness. Screaming and shouting from every side?
The panic of then is again totally back. Bugger up all! Leave me alone.
12 September 1992
The past won’t leave me alone. Now I have started voluntary work in abundance.   I speak to a lot of people who want to talk about the flash that one has seen in me in early news. That was at the conference ”The hiding child” . That lasted three days , but the first day I could not handle it, and I left in the afternoon.
Now their stories are coming out. …. The stories from people that can’t forget how their friends, and their classmates disappeared. How the rumors about treason and hiding of teachers and teachers who disappeared and aunts and uncles   and so on. Me they had never associated therewith.
28.
18 September 1992
It's hard to get hold of this book.I don’t feel physically fit and the doctor won’t allow me to give blood for the red cross before he has his self-done an examination.
Still I want to go back. Not to the time of hiding, but to the time before that. What do I really remember from the time with my mother? Blank memories come up, real memories!
We lived in the Vrolikstraat in Amsterdam. I am in the living room playing with my dolls house with real lights. My father made that. The curtains are closed, the lights are burning.
In the back room there is singing with guitar and mandolin en…violin? Austrian (mountain) songs, Dutch hiking songs, operetta songs. I feel good about it, even though I'm alone, but with Kareltje- Karlchen will have mentioned him- my big wooden doll out of Wenen, whose legs moved back and forward when you moved his legs. When we went for walks he walked beside me, then Mutti or someone else held his other hand and we waved them back and forth.
Jetje my neighbor .We play in the garden .Jetjes mother is with my mother. We ran on the veranda , into the kitchen. But Jetje stepped in the wooden veranda onto a big nail. I feel sick, because she had so much pain . Typical, such a reaction.
We play at Jetjes in her house. She has a grandpa, who lives in the back room. One day grandpa does something “dirty” . He takes his willy out and hold it against me and Jetje. We were not allowed to talk about it. We found it so interesting, that straight away we tell it to Jetjes mother…..The next day grandpa is gone and Mutti wont talk about it.
Auntie Hilda, Mutti and me walk in the Leidsestraat. Mutti has a yellow dress on with small blue roses. I am playing hopscotch , pavement on , pavement off and sprain my ankle. That hurts so much that I nearly faint. Mutti takes me in her arms . Then I pee on her beautiful new dress and from shock I begin to cry really hard.
I have warts under my foot and was with her at the doctor. He burns them away and I scream  out. When that is done , is Mutti talking with the doctor and I walk around and stand on something that is glass that cuts my foot open. Mutti was upset and apologized extensively with the doctor, but does not look at my foot.
With a lot of kids at the same time we are at a clinic. In the entrance of the door stands a doctor,who will cut out our tonsils. He gives a speech, where the mothers are. He promises the kids (I think he overlooks me) a scooter with square wheels, if they are very sweet.I am furious. I also want a scooter with square wheels, but he has not promised me anything and I don’t want to go with them in. Without mother , all doctors and nurses and strange big stools….And PAIN! With force they opened my mouth, there is pain and blood in my throat. Panic!
 Later on I got a present from Mutti, but not a scooter with square wheels.
The front room is the children’s room. The curtains, the cushions on the home made plywood stools, the tablecloth, the curtain for the home made cupboard- everything is covered in thin light blue material with small yellow and pink flowers. I have a lot of toys, more than other children. My father makes a lot . I think that he also made the furniture and the lamp.
But I am rather at my auntie Jo, who lives behind us and has eight children. There it is always busy and cozyThat is where I would rather eat, not at home, sometimes Mutti eats there too.
Looking back, it seems like I come from far away. Another time,  different atmosphere. The noise outside overwhelms me here. Then the reassuring noise  of the  refrigerator takes over.
Back. Other memories.
Across the street is a sweet shop. Sometimes I get a whole penny to buy sweets.Then I go with Jetje or with a girlfriend to look for what I want.
We always go with a group of children, with a grown up , to the Frobel school. Then we pass by a wasserete . Mutti is so beautiful, I am so proud when she comes with us. Or if we go somewhere else. We go out a lot, also on visits.
Memories of scenery, stage curtains, hollow-sounding voices and ballet practice rooms with piano music.I am in a ballet group with other little ones But Mutti is also  very musical: she can sing and dance and loves the theatre…
( Years later I went with my father on a visit to a family Schubert. They came out Wenen and knew my mother. And me as a small girl. Their home was a revelation, so well-known and familiar to me. But the people, Mr. and Mrs. Schubert, I did not remember.)
Mutti is proud to make me beautiful. I remember a pink and white woolen skirt with very nice buttons. A tartan dress of silk with a white lace apron, white silk socks and black patent leather shoes.I feel the material now as I think about it…..
Images… They keep coming, tumbling over each other in their haste to reveal their self to me. I write key words in order not to forget them, not one can escape now, how they whirl together.
31.
Argument between my parents. The swing hangs from the doors to the veranda in the back. They sit together  around  the table, maybe playing a game- and so I try to swing that I can catch my father out. That poor sweet man.
Another vision. I am in a holiday camp in Petten on the sea. Specially set up for the sickly. I get there a sickness, perhaps nostalgia. It must be winter, a hard winter. My beautiful Mutti is brought in with bloody legs and lies beside me in the hospital ward. She has  walked far  through deep snow and the hard top layer  has broken  her silk stockings and rubbed her legs broken .But she is with me again. She has to stay in bed longer than me. I don’t remember any more, apart from that I don’t want to lose sight of her again. Except when I go to the Frobel school. I made so many nice things  and have  brought them home for her: a doily for the tea chest (with the  coffee set) made by  folding a countless number of times  silk paper; and  beautiful  things made  of wire and colored beads, such as a swing with side posts and a doll ( with a picture) on it. The picture I made again in the Martha Foundation , I now remember.
From the Frobel school , I remember a party. I have to run with a young boy to win a glass of lemonade .There is two glasses: In one of them is real orangeade, the other is colored on the inside. I win! And I pick the good glass too. He is very mad.
A warm spring morning. The sun has just risen. I stand with Mutti by the Bata. My father works there. Airplanes fly overhead. Noise , bomb craters .My mother falls to her knees , throws her hands before her face and begins to scream and cry. War  “Oh no, My God no!” Everywhere people, everywhere panic. My father? I don’t know. My sweet , beautiful Mutti is bleeding and crying. In my memory I am completely rigid and only see the image and hear noise. horrible noise.
32.
Swimming in th e sports fund bathson the Heiligeweg. I heard later that as a baby I could swim. But there is panic, as I a toddler climb to the top of the diving board and was  suddenly discovered on the edge of the shelf.UI was caught by a man. Mutti cried from shock.
We sleep in the alcove ,the room in between . Beside  the back (living) room frosted glass sliding doors, which could make the living room bigger ; beside  the front room with a  wooden door .On both sides was  a bed.
Mutti often wears a brooch from the Stefan Church in Vienna, where we must have lived. I see the colors now before me. I find that the most beautiful thing and I climb up on her lap often , just to see it.
Vienna. From Vienna I remember little or nothing. A large, gray, barrack- like building where all voices sound very hard. A big garden like a park. Or is it a park? There I also  have an Omama, that in my memory is very big and stately, Many and very big stairs and very high. You still see that in old films.
As I dive into the past again without clear memories, at least without images.The feeling of very fine porcelain The scents, the   scent of earl grey tea ,bergamot, roses, the under  scent of certain perfumes, from freesia’s:  That was the scents of Mutti.
I must have been a smart child. Bilingual, with a large vocabulary in both Dutch as East German. And with only a faint notion of the dramas that took place around me and the tension of the impending war. Then it was just very lucky.
33.
And suddenly it was over.
One of the last things I remember from the Vrolikstraat, the bomb crater is nearby, at the corner of Van Woustraat.
19 September 1992
After all these years, is now (of course completely unjustified, I realize that though) great anger towards my niece Ilse, her half brother Kurt and half sister Inge  (my cousins ), not even a little time to share with me .After Vienna- and from there I only have a photograph- I never saw them again. Anyway Ilse has regular contact with Inge .Or is Hilda, her mother and my aunt ( Muttis sister) responsible for that? Ilse has stayed in England at Inge’s and sometimes Inge comes to Amsterdam. Ilse has worked on a kibbutz. Ilse has kept her mother. Ilse is not to balame , no one is to blame. These things just happen like that. But she has kept a whole family. I lost everyone.
34.
 Would   her mother  not  be responsible for the only child of her sister? She survived,  my mother was killed. Maybe I was not really happy at hers , but I had  family. Family in  Amsterdam, in ,England, Austria( Vienna) and Israel . Ilse kept those contacts. I never had them.
Bitterness is not necessary and not good .But I still have to get rid of it.
Tonight I read on teletext about  the first really anti-Semitic demonstration in Eastern Europe. And the decision by the Arab countries to engage in a "holy war" against Serbia (for the Muslims in Bosnia).
Fear strikes, Nostradamus was right? Literally, also was the misery in Iraq predicted by him. In 1994, Europe would be at war with Islam, and warnings would not help.
 Wait and watch as Europe and Israel will perish and America will get involved too late? So then we get World War III.
20 September 1992
Teletext , Page 312. Budapest. Tens of thousands of demonstrators against the president and against the management of the Hungarian television. The Democratic Front had warned against Jewish power.
Teletext, page 313.If this "holy war" would continue - there is Iran an army ready, says teletext- and if only if Saudi Arabia is against, what's going to happen here? All those tens of thousands of young, rudderless Muslims who are aware to be Muslims if they want nothing "to do", they will find a purpose in this so-called holy war? A purpose to live for, an ideal? Ah  heaven, then Europe will indeed be overwhelmed  by Islam, but other than Nostradamus meant . Who predicted that the threat would come from Iran.
35.
There is an enormous depression coming. I have to see . But what is  the usefulness of the past,  if there is nothing good to expect from the future? I wrote that in a poem in 1956, when there was an uprising in Hungary.

Perhaps there is no future to live in
So we almost stand still naturally.
It seems to me, it is  far better to stay
Than to perish in the future.
I'm just here to do something else. Read Paul's letters. He has  everything I write on the computers , and sends me the prints with a letter. Memories and things that happen to him now, that never were related to me. About how he and his friends, shortly after the war, were driven by nerves and panic  to cause a massive blow to the  garden of the Jewish family of Juultje  .How much he regretted it later. How easily he rolled over the war, his memories  are colored by his   awakened wanderers spirit.
In the newspaper Het Parool from 27 August ( why have I not read that before now?) writes Chawwa Wijnberg: “The feeling of sadness, anger and despair, which we (the children) as it were victimized ...)
She forgot to mention the fear and fundamental loneliness.
I dreamed of a shindig in someone’s room. There was a beaten up bed.Nobody danced with me, I desperately did my best to look as happy as the others that were available.I suggested to them that we sit on the bed , but they did not want to do that. On leaving, someone showed me out  and I just walked outside in the darkness. Left the others behind me, and they went the other way.
36.
 And I woke up afraid.
And last night I dreamed of earthquakes and noise and trapped between the people and I could   not go anywhere. I realized in the dream that that was the safest place to be.
I have written to Ilse , and told her what I can remember, or thought I could. I have asked her if she can tell me more. Maybe her mother Hilda has told her things about my mother, my grandparents , about Vienna. Maybe that will help me to remember things again.
21 September 1992
I want to try to continue. I have  yet to discover a wide no man's land between Mutti and the Martha foundation. I find it very scary and it's all very murky. If I cannot find it,  I must use violence. It  wears me out, but also makes me stubborn.
At the beginning of this week I close this book and send it to Dorine to read. Then after we have spoken about it , I take it back.
24 September 1992
Dorine agreed to once again pick up the image of my mother. Like that , that is potentially imposed by my father and my  family.
And try to find an answer to the question to what extent it has affected my self-imposed image. And so  my life.
Where I'm going and where I come from?
37.
Despite sleeping pills I have not slept in two nights. I'm too busy with voluntary work and obligations thereabouts, then again, I also feel the desire to let that go and come to myself. Does  not work. Tired, muscle and bone pain. I  get up again at 05:15 and have put on coffee. Pondered about errors and  heartlessness   present in others, about shortcomings in my work. I talk too much. I've never been this way.
39.
October
41.
1 October 1992
I have fallen  into a massive depression and have layed everything (temporarily) down. And I again feel guilty about that .... I was yesterday during a meeting sitting at home so nervous that it was not fun anymore. It is necessary to prepare an event for 17 and 18 October, but I stuttered, could not get my words out, belittled myself and understood little. I feel spiritually paralyzed me and have pain all over my body. Why? What is happening to me?
Jessica, my daughter has read the memories to Mutti. She was happy ,  she said .It has given her more information over her unknown grandma and more understanding for me.
4 October 1992
I   could not do anything the last few days. There was actually   so much work to do that I was  torn   to continue, between my desire with this book and my "love and devotion to duty" for the work that must end  17 December, when the municipal Platform Global Awareness is installed. All preparations for this swallowed my time, my energy and my money.  I had already given up the trade union work in the past month, as well as my    contacts with council and commission.
Jessica had warned me that my dive in the past would take my energy. She seems to have been right. It is still scary and it is still not known if it is really worth it all:
I, the Jewish middle aged daughter, grew up in a "Christian" environment, have come during this quest at a point where I am searching for my Jewish roots. But precisely because of my past I hear, and I feel, no longer at home in the Jewish community. What the latter may be.
42. 
Anyway, here we go: the image I have of my mother. A real image I have not so clear. A small, muscular woman, slim. And quite striking, very large eyes, well dressed, sometimes chic. Sometimes  happy, sometimes aloof. I don’t remember  hug parties, nor things we did together. However, we were inseparable, which is pretty normal for a single mother with a child.


Yet there must be, outside of the described memory, an image that appeals to reality. Though the knowledge   from the past (not the Memories),  the fleeing and the fears of the rising anti-Semitism before the war, persecutions,  bring back real memories that I'm mentally maimed by them. The image stays the same: My beautiful , sweet Mutti.
My father has told me about  the fleeing to and from Vienna . He told me about Hilda , whom  we went together to visit. And he also told me that, years after the divorce, when he was  long  just   friends with "mother" that he  still loved Olga . Her eyes, he could not forget them. At the same time, he really gave me the picture with a woman, who was immensely irritated by his lack of willpower, Only in 1963 I was, here, facing my past. I received from the Red Cross proof of her death.perseverance and ambition. She herself had, after all, despite social opposition, won gold medals at the Workers' Olympics in Budapest. That were immediately snatched away at the border control in Germany, was another matter. He, my father had on his marriage abandoned his studies in state economy to support his family. He could not find any work in the crisis. For the support he worked in the DUW   (social service’s)., but I don’t know if his marriage was already over or not. That was the picture my father gave.
43.
Although he was a sweet, gentle man, he did not make it with Olga, who must indeed have possessed so much more perseverance and rationality. This is clear from what she has achieved in athletics, her survival instinct, but also from the circles in which she must have been.  Artists, theatre, musicians and the likes of  did not fit at all with the soft, pliant and pure leftist worker boy who was my father.
I actually believe that from Olgas side, that it was a marriage of rational considerations. However, he was lost from the moment he saw her. That he called her “hard” afterwards, I can understand now but it does not change the image I have of her. That has something of defenselessness.
So far as I remember , we never talked about her in our family. She is hushed and I  was “the poor small child” . Literally hushed .When I was at my first hiding place , at the aunt from my father’s side, I must have asked when Mutti was coming back.” Do not complain, we'll see when she comes  back. be quiet, now it should be over. "
No proof of her existence ever after.
A little understandable when one remembers how it was at the  time. At each address it must look as if I belonged. And a child who complains about   when Mutti was returning,  was a danger  for her surroundings. The questions and even the memory was so very quickly suppressed and eliminated by the mental and physical coercion from outside. And the multitude of impressions, all relocations and new environments and the induced fears, the memories indeed disappeared. Nobody, apart from my father , had ever talked with me about my mother. Also after the war. It was- suddenly- aborted.  Only in 1963  was I, suddenly, confronted with my past. I received from the Red Cross proof of her death. .A “Wiedergutmachungsgeld” from Germany, which I can use to benefit my family. Only in that time, when I had received that relatively small amount, I was wondering if there is somewhere maybe someone still alive who my mother was. Despite the obituary.     Because  I had two small children and a million questions. I looked at every Jewish looking woman – Maybe she was the one? I wrote to Israel, when I saw on television a woman that I thought looked like Olga.
44.
 As I got older, my feelings denied this understanding of this.
There is bullying children's game in which the children stand in a circle with a child in the middle. That one child with a hard push is hurled to another. After such a shove you try to regain equilibrium, but before you succeed in it, you get pushed again by another child. When  you  think you are  standing well ,  you  are  pushed before  you can regain balance. That is the image I have from my childhood. Once I was with someone, I could hold someone. That brings a new memory in the light. Me holding  Mutti’s hand, always. In the tram on her lap, me doing  most of the talking. I belonged with her, I held on to her. The image I have of myself from earlier years, after the disappearance of Mutti , is  of that child in the center of the circle.
Here in this falt in Nieuwengein, where I live from 1981, there has been change.
Divorced from my second husband, the children grown up,I left my soul in ” prayer”  in charity work. That is also a way of hiding from myself.
 But I am myself, Erica van Beek. A woman for whom I could respect, despite her bouts of depression, crazy reactions, and panic states.
There Paul and Dorine have played a big part in.
45.
9 October 1992
Yesterday I started with  Dorine the  processing, and we  agreed that  they would inquire about my mother at the State Archives. The next time we will discuss when we will look for Olga in barracks 41/0.
 A picture of me as a toddler with a hat on, has on the back the year 1939 .I was then four years old and back in Amsterdam. A fact that raises no recollection .
46.
Erica in 1939
47.
From Olgas letter from Westerbork to Aunt Hilda, I took it that they had to report to the prison at the Amstelveensweg, because she had not sewn but had pinned her star. From there, they should be sent directly to Westerbork and Auschwitz. When Olgas sister, my aunt Hilda died, I received from her daughter Ilse, out of her legacy, a letter and a telegram written from Westerbrok. It was thus that I finally collapsed and could do nothing  with the feelings that arose.
The telegram from Olga from Westerbrok
The facts as I know them now at a glance:
8 September 1942:
Letter that she is transported to Westerbrok:
10 September 1942:
Telegram from Westerbrok;
14September 1942:
Official date of death in Auschwitz.
48.
The first hiding place:
Bestevaerstraat 19 -high. Before that I was for a time in the Bellamy- straat, anyway on the 11 August 1942.
Mutti must have disappeared around about my seventh birthday.
Since that birthday fell on a Saturday (found on the perpetual calendar) there is to think of a family member , in this case certainly, that took me in because Olga had to report on Monday, 3 August 1942 at the Amstelveenseweg.
 Then, on September 8, she writes that she's " deported" to Westerbrok. That was a  "Wednesday". The telegram of September 10  was in vain. The next following day that the train left to Auschwitz was Tuesday 14 September, the same date as her official date of death! Indeed, the trains always left on Tuesday?
That can mean two things. The first is that she did not survive the journey . The second , that she indeed was “murdered” directly when she arrived. However, it could mean , that she never arrived in Auschwitz dead or alive….or never even left….
Help. I don’t understand!
Then in the  Bellamystraat…. Was I there for a short time by Hilda and did I arrive  on 11 August 1942 in the Bestevaerstraat by Marie and Bart? Or at her parents?
In the Simon Sttevinstraat, in my memory a street behind, I was by Marie and Bart.
Between 11 August 1942 and 15 December 1942, there is a series of addresses. After the Simon Stevinstraat the Keizergracht. By whom? After that the Prinsengracht, I also can’t remember . De Eerste Leliedwarsstraat, in the middle of the Jordaan. A crooked house with sloping floors.It stood under construction for many years. I remember that I must have been at a cousin of my father. That the sloping floor was broken and the furniture too and smelly. Wooden floor and a damp stinking kitchen. The people there could not do anything about it : The houses were not maintained. In a room lay a pile of patches or blankets, that is where I slept. In another room there was a window that looked upon a house, where  Chinese  people lived. Sometimes if I look outside and saw the boys with their beautiful white shirts and their black trousers. I found them soooo beautiful!
49.
After that in Hoorn , Keern number 32 or 24. A sister of my father, aunt Bets, married with Aart den Ouden, three children. That was a real family.I slept with their daughter in one bed. We went after the harvest searching opium poppy. That was in the Kennemerland. The stubble in the country short   mowed grass  caused bleeding legs and feet. How was the  reaction  to that? I don’t know anymore. All that we could find we put  in the pants with elastic in the legs  and was given at “home". Sometimes we kept apples or pears for ourselves and we eat them in bed.
In the town center was a peacock cage and the school was nearby.I went to the school with a neighbor boy, whose parents were informants. This is less of a memory than what I was told later. The Germans marched by our house, singing ”Auf der Heide bluht ein kleines Blumelein und dass heisst  Erika…” And me, with my Austrian background pulled on the trouser leg of the sergeant and said: “Ikch heiss auch Erika.” However, on the shoulders of the Germans I've been several times to school. Then I was soon gone from Hoorn.
Then I again ended up with Marie and Bart. In Amsterdam North, Vijfde Vogelstraat 17.  Marie was hard. Father  said that he had fled from the “Arbeitseinsatz”  and came home. He lived a distance of twenty five meters away and came to visit me, and caught Marie , just as she was giving me a beating. It must have been a hard quarrel before he retrieved me and took me to grandpas. I was not allowed to see Marie again. That was not necessary; I now had grandpa and the two neighbor boys Henk and Erich. And I had the only happy half a year of my youth, since my mother’s disappearance.
Marie took revenge and reported me. Probably at the Council for Child Protection. On the 15 December 1943, a cold, wet, dark day, I was again removed and brought to the Martha Foundation, then in Nieuwersluis.
Well, there is a very clear result. That Rivka (Ella) has informed several times to me. That I have interested! Family, only it never was told me.
What remained was a lie. And denial. In this case, two different things. But that’s another story.
I have immediately written back to Ilse and told her that I have received a letter from Olly. I hesitate to send her a copy of it.
                                                                   6 November 1992
Dear Ilse,
I am writing back straight away. Thank you very much for your letter. Now I can write back to Schachter.  I had already written evidence about mother's death, but now I can explain to him how it is.
In the meantime I have received a letter from aunt Olly. I will send you a copy, but hesitate because she did not- how shall I say this- write so friendly about your mother. Let me know if you wish to receive the letter-and you can.
As for me, I want to find the truth. Olly is not so young anymore and it was a hectic time then. But I must do it with hypotheses. These are often 'ouch'. Would I however, be reconciled with the past, then I will have to continue for the time being to write. A journalist friend wants to make a book of my quest. And the KRO wants to dedicate a radio show to it.  This came about because of ads I've posted in the hope that there are still people alive who knew Olga .
No, nil comma zero reactions.
In the book that I am writing, about the hiding, the Martha Foundation, and the like are  discussed, but mainly my search for Olga.
Meanwhile I have, thanks to you, a past back that is mine. A kind of wholeness, whereas before my life began only in my early adulthood and all that had happened to "another child named Erica '. You understand? Thanks again. Wholeheartedly. We are getting closer, you notice that too?
Very cordial greetings and until the next letter,
                                                                   Erica
77.
Indeed, I am aware that, where this story began as a personal process, it is now  my mother's story. I think it is about the fact that I want to know these things, she could have told me if she not- so young - had been killed. Others, including Jessica, hear the stories of home and about the past. That is the most normal thing in the world!! ouch- in this paradise, that is called  the Netherlands.
It's very selfish and I have never felt so self-centered and prepared. But I consciously try the pain, the anguish, the misery and the flights and keep fleeing from day to day all those millions.
Because I have to live in my life. And so far it has not been.
Tomorrow firstly I will write back to  Schachter and aunt Olly.
11 November 1992
 The anniversary of Jacobs’s death.  I am thinking back to that hopeless, terrible day, six years ago. Looking for the poem that I wrote. And another, that I wrote as I was mourning for Jacob in 1986.
78.
Jacob
I have known you- and not known you my child
- I have a picture of you, that is called Jacob;
And image of rebellion, fury and suffering
That binds you to my past.

 I have built a picture of you, my child,
That put his arms around me and held my hand.
Not the boy who destroyed his life
  But one who finds life fearful and unlivable.

That scared and angry and on the run
 in life never found a shelter
and disbanded from his fear by his death

I loved you, my child that we knew.
And powerless, I watched how you
have wounded yourself so deadly.
                                                                 Nieuwegein, 1986
79.
Who wants to hear
how trumpeter grief
Who will not run away
for my nocturnal crying….

Hear how the land
shakes under my feet thumping
looking crying
Screaming for my children....

their hunters
continue to be injured
And flee
for my boundless grief ...

About him and his name
can turn around
Flights as I approach
come seeking solace…..

I want their names
not know him forget
Never love again no more
do not be complicit….

Do not come closer
I liked you even trust
Again memories
should be to what was….

And who wants to hear….
80.
11 November, later
I still have written the letter to Schachter. With "urgent" on the envelope. Because in the mailbox was a letter from the 'Division for Personal Commemoration,' say 'the department Commemoration of Persons ":
"We propose to inform that one page witness statement to commemorate your loved ones, family and friends, who lost their lives in the Holocaust, are added.
The Pages of Testimony will be included in the computer and stored in the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem. A second notice with the names registered shall be sent to you next month. "
Yes, hasty and erroneous data
12 November 1992
If I have ever had the illusion that humanity has become wiser and better, it is now absolutely over. At the time of Gorbachev, I still had hope. Ethnic and nationalist wars that since robbery and especially in the 'civilized' Europe have broken make me realize that humanity has learned nothing. I have always expressed the opinion that the "masses" consists of individuals, who each have their responsibilities with respect to themselves and their fellow men. I take the view back without extreme bitterness, but with the sad realization that it was an illusion. The "dumb masses indeed. The masses seem to have a need for a negative individual, projecting above ground level, head and shoulders. His pursuit the ideals of the global village? The only thing that still exists thereof is the data of the news distributionA message from the newspaper yesterday, a headline: 'Bosnia Muslims are actually threatened with extinction. ‘
And the world is watching.
Yesterday I passed the pieces from my tray from the town hall. And immediately an alarm bell was  raised. For the new municipal identitieskaart is a counterpart of what the (jew) got on the Ausweiss: an asterisk with a number (eg * 76 468.) For Moluccans!
'Moluccans' indeed have a 'special status' in the Netherlands. But the name and picture together should be sufficient recognition? Along with the smear campaign against so-called illegal immigrants gives me the conviction that the "Ausweiss bitte," mandating us of wearing - and showing- identification at any request is only a matter of time. And then the shift to the right and nationalism also struck here. Because only 'real' Dutch have a municipal identification.
Of course I have taken the necessary steps. Also to get this publicity, but you have to wait and see how it is picked up and whether one sees the danger.
 Below the letter in translation I wrote to Rabbi Schachter enclosing a copy of Olgas note, her telegram and the evidence of her death.
                                                                  11 November1992
Dear Rabbi Schachter,
My heartfelt thanks for your letter of 16-10-'92, but above all for your loving attention.
As you can understand it for me indeed a shock to have read and found out that there is already a Page. I needed a few days to get over the shock and to discover that the story in the Page was wrong with the reality.
This morning I received a note from the 'Division for Personal Commemoration,’ my mother is registered on the basis of your story. Please, undo, it was too fast, too hasty. I do not blame you, you were full of good intentions and truly believed in what you found.
Truth is, I send you:
1 An almost illegible note, which my mother wrote on the way to Westerbrok on Wednesday 8 September 1942, to her sister Hilda. The original can be found in the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam;
2 A copy of a telegram that my mother sent to her sister from Westerbrok on September 10, 1942. The original of this is found in the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam;
3 An excerpt from the municipality of Amsterdam, which shows that  my mother, Olga Bock, was murdered in Oswiecim (Auschwitz) in Poland, and that she was the daughter of Jozefa Karpfen and Armin Bock. Also showing that she had been married to Jacob van Beek, my father;
4 Finally, a letter from the Dutch Red Cross information office.
The last two letters I received, as you can see, already in 1963, when I was married  with my first husband. They were the only evidence, then, that I had, that she had ever lived. Many years later, when my mother's sister died, I received that note and that telegram. And that was that. Make from it your own story...
Now, after receiving your last letter, I tried to get in touch with Ilse, the daughter of my mother's sister. That sister survived and died about ten years ago. I translate for you part of the letter I received:*.
Until there the letter I received from my cousin.
When I received your letter, I thought that I was crazy or had a wrong picture in my mind of the past. It took a while before I realized that that was not the case and that no second Olga Bock existed with the same background. One possibility was then, that the Israeli cousin had her own story about my mother, which I discovered, was true, as you see.
 As for my father is the following. He was not a Jew, but he did not get me after the war to take care of me.
*see page 74.
83.
Hilda would not do that *, as I have discovered. So I had to stay in that very Christian orphanage until I was 19 years old. And I had to forget everything (had forgotten all) of my first childhood.
The truth about my life and that of my mother is really complicated. I have to  rediscover my past and my memories now. That's why I try to write down on that quest, everything about that trip to the past. A good friend, a journalist, is willing to make a real book. Not to get a bestseller, but for my children, my ex-husband and my friends: who are interested in my mental journey.

 I hope you that you will give my mother the ultimate right in the Page, to fill in the new found truth. This letter is the report for The Hall of Names. I will be very grateful if you would change the existing one.
A picture of my mother and me as a little child (I have changed a bit over the past fifty years) is now re-created and if necessary I will send it to you in due course.
The unfamiliar uncle or cousin, I will not write, but maybe would you be so kind as to tell him what I have written?
Finally, I would like to express my greatest gratitude, and I hope you will write me back. You are at this moment the thread that connects me to Yad Vashem, the place where my mother will get a fair and beautiful place, where she is at home.
Yours sincerely,
                                                                              Erica

* Or had they no authorization for that purpose? There is evidence? I could not find any..
84.
13 November 1992


Today the papers are again full of terrible things that are happening in the former Yugoslavia. Murders, mutilations, rapes.... How will the survivors continue to live? Demonic primitiveness still requires an equally primitive response: Bombard the so-called purified areas where Serbs live alone. A little each day until they surrender. Naturally, hundreds of innocent will die, but on the other hand maybe the horror finally ends and the other population group not only feels avenged, but not otherwise is wiped out and can return to their place. That is never going to be good between the people and the neighboring countries. Now if there was only intervention! Before Muslims come to 'help' from the Middle East. Oh, poor Yugoslavia, what should it be?
 In the Netherlands there is still hope left. Saturday, November 14 at the Tropical Museum in Amsterdam a meeting of the Labour Party 'adorned' with a pocket  line of AFKA, Anti Fascism Committee Amsterdam, to show that not all the Netherlands is behind the smear campaign against illegal immigrants.
Good, further with my mental journey.
14 November
Yet to go back to yesterday. The meeting of the Labour Party was due to 'circumstances ‘not in Amsterdam but in The Hague. And according to the, I would say, naturally present ME, there was only fifty autonomists that demonstrated and therefore naturally were beaten away and had to be arrested.

Fortunately it penetrates to the media that the smear campaign against illegal immigrants is wrong. Refugees or not, but everything is lumped together! An embarrassment for politics? Am I not a voice of the people? Such things affect me deeply!
85.
Following is the translation of the letter I wrote today to aunt Olly in London. In itself a partial evaluation, actually only scheduled for late December.
Dear aunt Olly,
Thank you very much for your letter. It answered very many questions that I had all my life. I am sorry that you know so little, but what you do know, brought back so many memories again and made me aware again of many things.
This is a very long letter, prepare yourself then for?
Ilse has also helped me a lot.
I'm going to tell what I remember, or have come to learn or have read.
My father, Jaap, who died on 28 November 1976, has always told me that he continued to love Olga his entire life. In 1938 (of'37), he begged Olga to marry him again, for her own and my safety. She refused, probably left Vienna when he came there and told him according to his own words, to marry Hilda, because she would, with her two children need him a lot more. That would be the reason (can) he married Hilda, according to him, just to help Hilda and her two children. I suppose neither Olga nor Jaap knew anything about the fact that you would take her with her two children to England. As it is told, Jaap went to Amsterdam and Hilda soon followed. They had both before and during the war, often the same address, but never lived together.
Olga and I came back later to Amsterdam. As Hilda told Ilse, still a little surprised:  "She came sailing down the Danube." Ilse had her own image   (by the way  it was talked about) from the book Uncle Tom's Cabin: Eliza, jumping from ice floe to ice floe on the Ohio River, to escape the slave trader and to save herself and her child .
86.



It must have been a very traumatic journey and an escape in the nick of time to Holland. Jews were then no more allowed public transport, train or bus travel. I have no memories of that, even though I was there. Never mind. I will leave it at that. Maybe my fears, panics and bad dreams are the root cause.
When Olga was taken away in August '42, she assumed that I was safe with Hilda, according to the note she wrote just before she reached camp Westerbrok. Shortly after  began my life as a so-called "Hidden Child.” There followed a number of addresses, where I, as a Jewish child was not really welcome. Until I came in the winter of '43 to that very Christian, very cruel orphanage, where I remained until my nineteenth year. When I was 'free' from there ,   I had to my knowledge no other real family other  than my father, who over the years, faithfully visited me each visiting day. Oh yes, I knew Aunt Hilda, Louis and Ilse, I had some relatives on Jaap's side, and to kill some time I had visited them with Jaap (very rarely I had permission to go with him for a few days in my summer holidays).But there was no family ties, not  with Hilda, nor with Jaap's side. I also don’t remember anything about the brief encounter with you and Inge. There must have been from the beginning simply too much sadness, anger and trauma in me.
 Now I have to deal with that past. There is indeed much to forgive, especially Hilda, who during and after the war abandoned me .Her child and she were quite safe because she was married to my father, a non-Jew. Yet Ilse and Hilda sat in Westerbrok for a time, but came out safely, through that marriage, I think. After the war, Jack and Hilda got divorced straight away, so she could marry Louis.

The last eleven years I have been very active for ‘disabled *’ for refugees, gypsies, for society in all its forms.
87.
As a volunteer. I had and have no ordinary pension. It is a pension for victims of persecution, especially Jewish people. Just like my grandmother Joszefa (Ilse wrote to me about her), a militant woman of the labor movement. I have even been, for a number of, a member of the Communist Party of the Netherlands, which no longer exists. I chose the wrong husbands and separated from them. The wrong lovers and discontinued that relationship again. Now I'm grateful that I live alone since my now adult daughter Jessica has left home.
Returning to Hilda: I, but also, Inge and Kurt have her, I think, to forgive, a lot. I will reach that pointof forgiveness in the near future. I am slightly conscious of the fact that I'd never have been the same helpful woman, if things had turned out otherwise. Do you understand what I mean? Life is just the way it is and I've been through it, for whatever reason. We will have to accept and live our lives. While the rest of the world is just about on fire. I agree with you, that it is terrible.
Back to your letter. I  think it was the excuse that Hilda could not get me back because she had been married to my father. * But I want to believe that she was unable to bring me up because of everything that had happened before and maybe Louis did not want me. Ilse has never been able to understand this and despite her loyalty to her mother, she is in her heart still angry, about much bigger things, but also because of me. I can understand .
*however, it may have been true. Only recently was it publicized in publications that the Child Protection used that excuse at the time. Better Christian than Jewish, they found.
88.
Now about Olga. As I  have discovered recently, the following things happened:
-On September 8, 1942 she was released from prison in Amsterdam, where she was detained for the simple fact that her 'star' was pinned instead of sewn. The Germans are still very 'gründlich' as you know.
-On September 10 she sent a telegram to Hilda from  Westerbrok  to send her the  Aryan papers of Jack, but it was too late, because
- On September 11 '42 she died in Auschwitz. The journey lasted three days.
This is true according to all the information that I have, official and informal. So that should be accepted. She fortunately only suffered for a short time. And now I am able to bury her, to give her a grave and a Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem in the Hall of Names in Jerusalem, for the victims of the Holocaust. And now I am able to remember my mother and some of my childhood. That heals me in a way; it makes me whole, so to speak. A woman with a past that I previously could not remember because of the terrible things that had happened. With "Today" writing, thinking and remembering. And with a future, long or short, but worth living.
That is what I mean by ‘whole’. And perhaps cured, healed, through that journey into the past itself. And at my age, 57 years old!
Only that part of Hilda keeps crossing my mind. I'll have to think over and over, until I can forgive her. Can you understand that? Oh yes, I have still something to ask.
From what Jaap has told me about Olga, about you and about Vienna, I always understood that you and Olga were great friends.
89.
Maybe indeed just because of the sports club, as you wrote. But really not above that level? How is it that Jaap admired you so much, almost worshiped you? Only because of your part in this tragedy in Vienna? Or because you were good friends with Olga and her family? Her best friend, whom she trusted, like Hilda trusted in Olga? Maybe Hilda was very much a dependent, very childlike and she could not make decisions for herself or defend herself? You and Olga must have been strong personalities, you were well-qualified sportswomen. Maybe she felt more or less forced into what she did, first by Olga and others, later by Lois. My father had therein little to say. It would explain a lot of things, if that was so.
Today, everywhere with wars and misery in the world and especially in Eastern Europe, with refugees, I am also not able to let  any of them stay in my house, legal or illegal. It would break me. Do you understand what I'm saying? Oh, I want to reach that point of forgiveness!
Would you please write me back? Even if you think you cannot really tell me anything of what happened or cannot help me further.
Until then, I'm still sincerely yours,
                                                                         Erica
15 November 1992
So, that has put everything nicely in a list. Albeit superficial , about my lovers is not quite honest .Only one of them was a jerk and I realized that almost too late. The one that I cannot mention here, still has a big place in my heart. Life itself made and end to our relationship. And Paul, oh well. I loved him very much, but we did not fit spiritually together.
90.
 My frustrated soul could not bear his affection towards his ex-wife and ex-girlfriends. Superficially seen, pure jealousy. But it was not that alone. In a love relationship, I should feel perfectly safe, and that I was not. I always enjoyed what he did, his writing and his poetry; have learned everything I know of graphic art from him. But a relationship, a lasting bond of love was something impossible. Fortunately, we can now be close friends. Now I trust him so much that I have asked him to help make this book.
A little reminder comes up with a few notes during commercials.
Kommt ein Vogel geflogen
Setzt sich nieder auf mein Fuss
Hat ein Breifel in sein Schnabel
Von der Mutti ein Gruss

Leiber Vogel fleig weiter
Nimm ein Kuss mit und ein Gruss
Denn ich kann dich nicht begleiten
Weil ich hier bleiben muss

En dan

Hoppe hoppe reite
Wer da fallt der schreit er
Fallt er in den Graben
Fressen ihn die Raben
Fallt er in den Plumpf Macht der Reiter ‘Humpf’
There will sometime come back more songs. It shows that as a child I had singing and music played to me. About that fact itself I remember nothing.  At the Mulo we learned from our German teacher songs like ‘Das Standchen’ from Schubert and Weihnachtslieder as  ‘Schlaf wohl, du susser kleine du' that I knew how to play at  once and that just came to my mind now. It was already in there! Strange, that it just comes to mind now. Hey Erica, remain rational
91.
I have given myself a bunch of phlox as a gift. It smells overwhelming. It is mid-November; imagine it, an engine will not start from the cold and damp. I sit with my butt almost touching the heater. Behind my back, it is almost winter and my nose smells mid-summer. Crazy huh? That is only in this crazy frog country.
17 November 1992

Today was again a puzzle of  the past. First with Dorine then later with  Elma.
It is impossible to continue to do this rationally. My throat is tight and my head is spinning still. Tonight my girlfriend An was here play  a game of dice. I've kept it inside until now, a quarter past twelve at night.
Dorine and I went back to two key questions:
1.    How did Olga end up in jail? And
2.    Hilda, with some difficulty could she have kept me?
Olga was not the type,  that has now become clear that would report under orders. It is possible that Hilda, Olga and I walked on the street and were arrested by the (Dutch) police officer, if only because of the stars. That Olga was picked from the street because her star was pinned. The note makes it clear that Hilda knew! That makes Elma’s suggestion actually a little off, that Olga was alone on the street. In the circuit to which Olga had gathered around her there were only Jews (the names Schubert, mentioned earlier, and Hirsch came back in my mind). They may have been someone else walking in the street, who could  have escaped it and warned Hilda – at  Olga’s request. But the most likely explanation is still the first. They still had to get their quantum of Jews? And she sat in a Dutch house of detention on the Amstelveenseweg. It was at a time in the beginning of the straatrazzias, before entire streets were taken away. Imagine how that happened. That I myself have no reminder of that event, says nothing. Too traumatic things, at least to me,  are well shielded. But my heart is pounding at this moment again from the fear: the most familiar and unwelcome feeling of my life.
92.
Olga was picked up by a Dutch policeman. They still had to get their quantum Jews? And she sat in a Dutch house of detention on the Amstelveenseweg. It was in the beginning of the street raids, before whole streets were picked up. Imagine  how that happened. That I myself have no reminder of that event, says nothing. Too traumatic things, at least to me, are well shielded. But my heart is pounding at the same time again of fear: the most familiar and unwelcome feeling of my life.
Maybe I'll get to do regression hypnosis before this book is finished. For all these things to really face definitely.
 Hilda again- according to Dorine and Elma it  is not impossible that Hilda was really not assigned me by  the OPK (commission War Foster children) *. Because they thought that I was better off at the Martha foundation than my own familiar family, who were not Christian. And by a 'Pulse' had nothing more and had to start all over again. Hilda’s guilt to Olga and later to me, rightly or wrongly - that I have no judgment on may have meant that she later has not looked back at me. But also her character and Louis could have contributed. I simply could not see into her heart and she did not speak. In the next letter I write I will ask this of Aunt Olly and Ilse. Hilda they barely knew, of course, I'm not sure if she made real trouble for me. But those very "Christian" ladies and gentlemen of the OPK and Child Protection Agency I can well imagine, there you need only to turn to the book of Elma. If Hilda approached the Jewish members of the OPK, also remains a mystery. For eternity. Okay, I want to give her the benefit of the doubt; she has not had it so easy.
* A committee consisting of mainly non-Jewish, very Christian people.
93.
Yet..... Why?
But that's what life is sometimes, Erica. Tomorrow I will call Hedda van Gennep for more background information on those months in '42.
A comforting word for tonight, tomorrow is my daughter here to eat and we go happily to the world shop, to buy groceries.
18 November 1992
My daughter now has read everything and actually without comment laid down the books.
I see how important I think how she experiences it. Well, for her it is the history, the intricate story of her mother's childhood and family. She finds it, like Dorine, that I am changing throughout the process. I myself don’t have that feeling yet, though I hope that it comes. Apart from Dorine I still cannot really talk about it. It is, really complicated and the distance remains.
A result must be, that I learn to trust again. And not to build a facade of self-awareness and self-confidence in my personal contacts. With Dorine I can let go of it, proud and happy with what I do and did and have achieved. With others I can never talk about it, if it concerns me at least. About the work I did and do I myself feel good, but I always feel as a sort of middleman and know exactly who does things better. It has for example resulted in the identification of the appropriate chairman of foundation * Property, which actually does it better than I would ever do it. Or initiating and defending things that I really believed in, but where others had to play the responsible role.  Further I stay humble in   the background, , and allow others the honor that I get sometimes.
*An organization for the sole purpose of obtaining its own global center.
Am I chaotic- still- to a demanding task with responsibility for me to take? Or am I just "shy"?
94.
Put me in a room with eight hundred anonymous, it goes well. But personal contacts, with all the warmth I feel for those people. I often hyper- ventilate. And I notice that only when I am alone again. I realize it's not just a matter of misanthropy, despite all the social skill.
 The underlying cause is distrust in honesty of others towards me. A wrong expression, glance or a curt answer, and I am gone. Feel (again) rejected. Something from earlier time. I distrust such a person for a very long time. Uncertainty. Anxiety. Fear that they see through me. That is why I seek the attack: If you think "That man is crazy," I am at that time also. But it passes by itself.
The knowledge of the past, of all that misery, leading to fear, significant uncertainty, anxiety, that leads to depression does not help. It realized that again today.
Will that also get better? It hinders my real development; it keeps me in second or third place. Not that I'm ambitious. But it's a false modesty, and resulting from fear to really stand out. It's something from the hiding and the Martha Foundation. How do you overcome something like this? and is that really necessary? Am I not so terribly tired of that eternal struggle with myself, that I see ghosts? And am I not ready to take a step back and not take on challenges or cross barriers anymore? That is the easy path. No fear of people, personal contacts with the rest of the "family," which are not going well currently. And no friends? I surely think to have. How uncertain and tense that I am. It's not a solution, to become a nun? A hermit? Just now that I'm complete? But what and how?
95.
 I not called Hedda van Gennep yet. Fear, like with Elma, there again those fears. It was long before I was through that with Elma, too long. How is it that I do not have that with Dorine? I then stay rational? In the time.
I myself think that it might have to do with being prepared. You do not feel robbed, despite your questions.
Today Memorboek has arrived. ‘The plate’s atlas of the life of Jews in the Netherlands from the Middle Ages until 1940’. A book almost as large and as thick as the King James bible. All the pages reveal that this history is also mine. I despite my not – believing but still a real Jew, unlike, yes, then what? That I'm closer to that side than the Dutch side that represents my father. Not so crazy, apart from the biological provability, to be a child of a Jewish mother still being Jewish!
I made it again today. In a regional meeting of the Association of Dutch Municipalities over municipal global policy. I suddenly got the economist Adam Smith (right and pure capitalist) under my nose pushed through by a VVD lady: "The public interest is most profitably encouraged where each individual can freely pursue his own interests."
I fumed with rage, literally. So the world is not like that. The law of the jungle prevails and only the strong will always be at the expense of the weak, which will never be unimpeded or even could aspire. Think about this "Global Village," which is our world. I ask her this, as controlled as possible, 'How big - do you think - is the percentage of people in our ‘Global Village ', that can freely pursue their own interests? And is that – ethically speaking -own interest not only appropriate to the smallest common denominator?'
She did not answer, but came afterwards to me to talk about it. I said- it was in the meeting a municipal global policy, east- west and north-south relations - East and West should never meet here because she was a follower of Adam Smith and I of Marx.
96.
 Again there was silence, and then she said: "But that does not mean that we have to hate each other, right?" No it does not, but friends? At such a moment I feel again at one with the persecuted, the oppressed, that is where I belong. Among the Jews, the Jewish Marx, as well, if I'm honest, all oppressed peoples that come up in revolt who flash through my mind.
 Links dead? No, but left and right do not let the back of their tongue be seen, in order not to arouse resistance? Or are we becoming a- political?
 I should in the future be more wary of the individual motives and self-interest, which should be pursued because in the approach of the right it cannot go differently in practice, than at the expense of the oppressed, in my feeling. The making of a new political awareness?
 Hey discovery?
Sticking to the old values, which I - unconsciously have ingested and have tested the breast milk and found to be correct in my adult life, Jewish huh? This  is ebbing my anger.

Every day a thread is a shirt sleeve in the year.
20 November 1992
I was putting away my cart. An elderly man was looking about in a panic. I had seen him before in the store when I was picking out Sharon fruit and he wanted to know what kind of fruit it was.
 It turned out that he had lost his bag of groceries. Just put down to clear away the trolley.
97.
My presumption that one of the clerks had taken the bag to the office, proved correct. Radiant he appeared moments later with his bag. I had waited for the results. He said that this was the third time and I warned him not to put down his messages unattended anywhere. Anyway, I thought I'd go now, good evening sir. My attitude turned out, in the mall, to make a volcano of misery. He had been in a Japanese POW camp and was badly beaten. He had  never seen his father and mother again. And when he had found his brother, he also appeared to have died. Terrible, but he had also been married for more than forty years and also his wife had died five years ago. He had remarried and his second wife worked very long days so he did the housework and shopping. A whole life just popped out there. I felt so terribly small, to see such a man wipe away his tears. I should have left earlier, but had to do with him. He also had a war pension, and ... Well ... How do you make something like that loose?
21 November 1992
Today a Womans Workshop by Women in Peace in Cunera. A long day over the former Yugoslavia, the war in Bosnia. I had in my workshop a group leader a  former Yugoslav. Can you imagine such a thing.... they can never return. Lived here now for eight years. Family: Bosnians, Serbs and Croats, both Christians (Orthodox and Catholic) as well as Muslims. Everyone fought against everyone. Who is not dead or wounded, has deserted spouse and family. The frenzy of lust, macho men that bring resentment up thirteen centuries to find alibis for their bloodlust. The male scientists that sit at the top, not politicians, along with the military, unscrupulous murderers than anyone else in the world after Hitler. Those men. That anger in me. I must do something with it.
98.
In the plenary session an appeal was made to the existing female MPs to accommodate orphans and children of Serbian raped women in Dutch homes. That made that I, no microphone, shouted: "And what when those children grow up?" At first it did not go down well, but later, at the end, when I went to say goodbye to the chairman jantien Achtseribbe, she revealed that she and Leoni Spikes had understood me very well. They will try to keep the kids there. Jantien told me that she was married to a Jewish man (I had my star on) and understood me. What was somewhere in the back of my mind for a while, I realized when I was in the rain bringing a few letters to the mailbox.
My father told me; long ago that Olga had come for the first time to the Netherlands to find work. I do not know whether she had any qualifications. Maybe she was just very good at sports, who knows. So she came to The Hague, where a couple had 'hired' her, perhaps as a housekeeper like Olly, or a maid. She therefore came as "illegal," for economic reasons here.
That night the "Mr. and Mrs." Said that she must make herself beautiful, because they would receive visitors. One way or another, she realized that she had not come to an ordinary house, but a closed brothel and she managed to escape through a window. She must have already known my father. How? Through a socialist youth group? Or perhaps through international exchange, so then not "illegal"? At least she had fled (already) from The Hague to Amsterdam, to my father or to other members of that group. Shortly thereafter she became naturalized by marrying my father.
That was on 18 October 1933.
On 1 August 1935 I was born and in the beginning of '36, she must have returned from Vienna with me. Until autumn and winter 1938, witnessed the photos, in winter clothing which were taken in Oosterpark or Sarphatipark in Amsterdam.
99.


Between August '35 and Fall '38 they must therefore have been divorced, when Jaap could marry in Vienna Hilda. Olly can now write that they did not know whether my parents were then divorced, but my father certainly was not a bigamist. Besides, the story is in that regard is clear enough. Moreover, I have a lawyer and attorney, Plantage Middenlaan 88, in the center of Amsterdam, with a telephone number. Probably the divorce lawyer from when we were still living in the Czar Peter Street. So close by.
Another couple of links to the chain. Or beads on the cord? We are now waiting for the letter, which has to come from Aunt Olly.
What else do I need to get past some of letting myself be? Not everything has been worked out, nor on paper or in my head.
100.
Erica in Amsterdam
101.
The scrap of paper from Mr. Cooper
102.
The two issues from my earliest childhood are still the flight from Vienna to Amsterdam, and the abrupt divorce of my mother.
From the time, to the end of the hiding I can figure out the facts, which were a predominant feeling of darkness and cold. Except for a few sunny memories from Hoorn. The Martha Foundation, surely in Nieuwersluis has certainly brought memories above which all the children of that time living  in the west of the country must have had. And besides that also  the memories of the house itself, the garden with its, lightning struck cedar, the lawn by the pond, where we caught and made frogs 'tame', where we made from reed, skirts.
The owner and his wife, who returned to their own country seat after the war, I visited sometime around '85, to seek the past in a first attempt. They were old and then accused me (!) that we, the children of the war had made a hole in their hedge and that hedge was never properly mended. That was that. I had no opportunity to see something of the house or the garden, but a weak cup of coffee and a biscuit. Very genteel poverty.
Martha Foundation in Alphen: a lot beatings, punishment and tasks, surviving unconsciously, belittling and never being the best of the class. In the group I was the worst and slowest, especially at stopping socks and knitting worsted stockings. 'Snail' van Beek, apparently no one cared anything about her, according to stories I heard decades later.
Yet also some nice memories: I told ghost stories, later, to my peers, when we were in bed and had to be quiet. I taught them dances and was very creative with beautiful pieces of material and cardboard and paper, for example, I made diadems for the hair. The kindergarten, how is it possible, nevertheless it bore its fruit. In the memories of others I was a very serious, rarely smiling girl.
In my early memory games pink rubies (or what I mistook thereof) encased in a brooch in the shape of a bouquet, played a role.
103.
Last week there was an art and curio market here, striking, especially as art deco porcelain and old dusty materials evoke nostalgic feelings in me. And by one stall there was a brooch that did not belong there. Strasz pink rhinestones, a bouquet with blackened metal and bronze-colored stalks. I loved it; it called a lot of old, good feelings awake. But it was expensive at fifty guilders. I lingered at the booth, ostensibly to look at other things. The salesman then said suddenly, "Good lady, for ten guilders, then." Well, I got it and am still happy with it, though it is perhaps not even worth the tenner. Every time I see that brioche, I think of the pink rubies, which I had found as a child so lovely. I have placed it on the list with my mother’s photo.
Yesterday I was in a curio shop in Utrecht and  for five guilders I bought a very old book. A  probably first published in Dutch version of the  book by  Beecher Stowe: The negerhut. A translation of Uncle Tom's cabin.  With the original engravings "to the twentieth American printing from the English translation." On page 59 the engraving with Eliza, fleeing across the ice! A publication of the  Gebr. E. and M. Cohen, Amsterdam.
24 November 1992
I'm too impatient and thereby make the receipt of the facts more important than their processing. Certainly in terms of my own life. I'm still waiting for three drawn lines:
1. Answer from Jerusalem;
2 Answer from London;
3 KRO radio with Kalien Blondes.
A fourth, entirely in the background hit point, a new appointment with Margreet about the  Martha - Foundation.

Meanwhile, I am again eager to take action. In the Platform Modiale Awareness. With an action for the former Yugoslavia, where  I have plotted the lines. I will convene a meeting to do something on behalf of AFKIN* and the Federal Food Bond attracts harder: Women Committee, work group "International Solidarity."

I'm going to start another book, where I can write about my work now to keep everything in perspective, only for myself.
Why am I still doing all this? Why do I not live a good life with my small pension, like other people? Come on, I know the answer after all. If I was brought up as most people with the same background, in the safe bosom of a loving family, I was maybe barely aware of a different world than my little safe world.
It's just my own traumatic life that has made me aware of and empathetic to the trauma, the fears, and the world of others. And if I can do something with it, for example by writing about it, then surely that is a bonus? Even though I sometimes get the feeling I am found to be  a little crazy, a voice in the wilderness. But if I keep quiet, I feel indeed responsible. As with writers, journalists, protest singers and artists I have my own way to express my dismay about the horrors of our time. And maybe too emotional, but that is the way I happen to be.
26 November
Dorine called. In the form of Yad Vashem was indeed stated in Hebrew "Olga Bock, house wife, two children, shot in the street by a German officer because she did not have her star on. In Amsterdam. Married name and name of parents unknown. "
Tragically, so many inaccuracies!
Well, Olly knew even better than I was saved by nuns! How nameless and unwittingly can a person live and die! Dear Mutti that after fifty years of your life and death I  can give you a name! Is that not a miracle?
* The anti-fascist committee of Nieuwengein
105.
Tonight I find the courage to call Hedda van Gennep. She confirmed Elmas suspicion that Olga was alone when she was arrested. And that the Dutch police or the home front did it. She has seen it happen, that she and her mother were arrested and her mother was beaten in the street because she was wearing a box for her star. By Nederlanders- in uniform!
So.... I have never taken leave or said goodbye. Pfff ... and Mutti was gone.
And then my daughter Jessica came bye, for a quick cup of coffee.
Hedda gave me the telephone number of the National Institute for War Documentation. When Olga was arrested and held prisoner and deported to Westerbork, I can maybe find something about it there.
Today I submitted a proposal for the Platform Global Awareness on support actions for Bosnia. An amount per capita for joint financial operations and public action, for games, work and labor for the Yugoslav displaced centers. Who are bored silly, they do not speak our language, sit together and the only distraction they have is the TV that news from home will bring, in their language. I wonder if mayor Laan will positively pick this up. That was point 2. Point 1 is realized on 10 December, and next week, Ad, a good friend, is here with me and we will work on the content of the magazine Global,  the periodical that  the platform are going to send out around 15 December.
 This weekend to realize point three!
106.
 With the 'reconstruction' of my book case I come again across the white ceramic jar with lid, wherein sits a packed piece of stone from Auschwitz, that a friend of Renco, my ex-husband, specially brought for me. That now can get an honorary place.
Will I be able once again to visit there, as in Vienna, or at Yad Vashem, there to find my mother's name?
First search in Westerbrok barracks 41/0.
Bring telegram.
And fetch the photo of Olga and me at the photographer.
27 November 1992


The photograph is collected. The price was 90% better than expected, the print was disappointing. A bit flat and smooth compared with the yellowed original. Too bad, but she seems to look younger in it though.

Surprise! Paul was suddenly in front of me; he came for the second book. It was fine, again to exchange so many things with him. There remains much old camaraderie. He has grown and now goes (a little) in depth; even with emotions he dares to talk about and show a bit. Something where he used to be closed about and a thunder cloud formed over him, "Life is good, right?" He is a complete man to be. And so I should prefer him throughout.
We also talked about the reason for writing. Identity crisis? Yeah, maybe but I had no feel for my identity. And when we entered into a relationship, he wanted me holding that identity, gave no meetings or work to be with him. That would oppress him. No, now I understand that.

What am I still glad that we can talk and write all about these misunderstandings. Now I also told him that it was apparently still my nature to efface myself away for the man I loved. And that was a huge threat to the adventurer who Paul wants to be.
107.
I thought it was not so much a question of identity, but also and above all that I no longer came out after Elma’s book and the conference ‘The hiding child,’ to finally do and  want to know the unwitting and the unsaid things from the past and from to speak, albeit on paper. This quest for knowledge and words became the mission of my life. More important to me than anything I did earlier in my life for that unconscious burden I had to explain. And previously used to hide behind for intimacy behind a so transparent wall.
Now I can talk, I can tell Paul all. There's a little sadness, because I could not before. Now he could understand why I was how I was. But would he though have coped? I do not think so.
Regarding the OPK where Elma wrote about: there is a note found in an archive box from the Martha foundation, which said that the Germans gave permission to take me in at the Martha foundation. That could, to me it is clear, also have been falsified by the "resistance", to let me be safe hiding there. Finally there were more Jewish children.
 More research necessary.
30 November 1992
The RIOD * called. Annemiek van Boxmeer. She has heard the whole story, but already knows that there is no available data on the way my mother was arrested, the time she has sat and so forth. All details of the houses of detention in Amsterdam from the war are now destroyed. This also means that no Dutch police man has become accountable for his conduct in the war. I will send a letter to   Mrs van Boxmeer with all the relevant information about my mother and she will very carefully look at what data whatsoever.
*National Institute for War Documentation
108.
 In Westerbrok, she said, are found personal things of the people that were there. I do not think however that I will find anything there; she was there only three days.  By RIOD it is maybe also possible to find out how she died: on the train, on arrival or in the gas chamber. On the note that was found at the Free University for my inclusion at the Martha foundation: they consider it quite possible that it was falsified by the resistance. But I have to search that out at the university.
Moreover, I am this weekend truly active for society. I have written participation notes for Wednesday, December 2nd in the ABZ- committee (of Administrative Affairs) and therefore will speak about the municipal identity card. Moluccans will be put separately therein. I do not agree to that and just cannot!  I will try to stop it.
And there is a silent vigil scheduled on December 24 because of the smear campaign against illegal immigrants, where a piece I wrote will appear in the  Molenkruier, our house-to-house newspaper.
I have also already the participate notes in January, the police report will be addressed in the ABZ- Commisssion. Wow ... now nothing more please.
109.
December
110.
111.
1 December 1992
Yesterday I talked to Elma. I  have found at the Nieuwengeinse recycling center New Work, two books that I thought would be something for her. If she, as a journalist, needs for investigations or needs old newspaper photographs, Our Beautiful Life, 100 years newspaper photographs (Dutch) and a visual report with newspaper pictures of the great woman strike on 8 March '81 may be useful. She is, I believe, happy with them. Next week I will bring them.
 Elma said something that has stuck: I would have to look Olly up in London personally. I can still do that, but I feel a threshold. In a letter I can confront her with the past, but can I do that in person? And then, I would see it as climbing a mountain. The night before I dreamed of her and saw her as an old lady suffering with swollen legs. She is no longer so hardy, she needs time. To write back. So I interpreted the dream for myself.
I have gotten  from New Work also a book of Meyer Sluyser that I did  not yet have : There is growing grass in Weesperstraat and Leonard de Vries: Chaverien, is  that a children's book?
I will hear from Dorine if the library of the JMW (Jewish Social Work) has interest in them. No mail from abroad.
3 December 1992
For a few days I'm overly nervous again. Not just because of the participation in the evening yesterday ABZ * - commission over the identity card of the Dutch Municipalities. I was sure of my case and have also been vindicated. That card is not, at least for now, going ahead!
* General Administrative Affairs
112.
 Where from then? Afraid because I go against the established order? Mayor Laan personally assured me about that matter. Why then? The weather, the high moon, the constant low pressure area? Causes that are mentioned more frequently in the past.
When Flik was mayor here, I did open my mouth as needed. He took me quite seriously and I had forgotten that I now have good-will on the city council. But that may not be the only reason for my stress.
Perhaps waiting for an answer from London? If that still will come? One reason to consider sending a postcard about it?
No post from London. No post from Israel.
8 December 1992
Finally! Post from London and from Jerusalem!
The last pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. Tomorrow I will tell you everything. Now just as the overriding emotion when I read the translation of the registration of Yad Vashem. "I ask you to give the survivor a" posthumous citizenship "of the state of Israel, the undetachable sign of solidarity with the Jewish people." She belongs there. I belong there. Never before have I felt so Jewish. At heart and inseparably attached. Even though the fact that the only attachment is to the JMW and Dorine, who let me feel through the years that I belong. With no family, I am more a part than with my children. Still I belong, with the Jewish people for centuries and until the end of time.
It became just too difficult, there were tears.
Mutti, you're nearly  home. Then you may rest in peace and this task is accomplished. "Ein schon Leich '* is made, a beautiful funeral. Who knows, I may be I will bring you. And otherwise I will visit you in Jerusalem at Yad Vashem. It is almost 1993, and since I do not speak Hebrew nor ever observed the Jewish calendar, I raise my glass of herbal tea and say, "See you next year in Jerusalem."
113
9 December 1992

Now it will begin with the letters from Aunt Olly and Rabbi Schachter. I will start with the second. The first is so difficult, so traumatic, that I have read it bit by bit. And yet still I collapsed.... Sick with the shock, first with anger, a lot of grief and rebellion later. I'll be back to the translation, if I can muster up the strength today.
Later that day. Rabbi Schachter writes:
Dear Mrs. Van Beek,
I was on a visit abroad, hence the delayed response.
I was very touched by your thoroughness and your desire to correct the registration of the memoir, while my concern was not to further traumatize and bring you in touch with family.
I enclose some forms for you to register your mother and possibly other family. It will be clear that we cannot destroy completed prior Pages of Testimony, we can add a memo or note there with a reference to the 'added Pages in 1992, for example, which will lead to your corrected Pages.
Fill in the form attached, please; address it to me so that I can add the Red Cross letter and your letter there when I have received them.
Yours sincerely,
                                                                                                      Rabbi J Schachter '
* Yiddish
114
The form is filled in; I just need to wait a few days for a small copy of the photograph of Olga and me to send.
And now, there is no escape: the letter from Aunt Olly.
Dear Erica,
I wish I could answer questions, but maybe at my age of 85 I forget a lot, or I did not know a lot of things when they happened. I'm surprised your father seems to have known me. I've never met him! Olga was really no more than a colleague of the "Arbeiter Turn Verrein. She walked to Holland , I believe, before Hitler's woes began in Vienna? Are you born in Holland? I was so happy to meet here, Miss Palmer, a lady who wanted to guarantee my parents, Hilda and her two children! But Hilda preferred to marry Jaap and go to Holland, Instead of becoming a maid servant like me , and the children arrived with a Kindertransport 'here and lived with an English couple. It took ten months before I was given Inge to stay here with my parents and later with me. I do not know whether Ilse knows these facts, but do not tell her, please.
Another fact is that Olga BORROWED the jacket with the star pinned from Hilda. It was Hilda’s cloak! I hope Ilsa and Inge never hear this. Please, let them never know!
Erica, please try to forget what has happened. Forget and forgive!!
I admire you for.....
Furthermore, I cannot go now.....
So this was the big secret that has remained hidden for fifty years. Olga had worn Hilda’s jacket briefly.... and she was gone.
115

And the guilt and shame later on have assaulted Ilse and me.
Fifty years! Fifty years straight it was hushed, nobody wanted to talk about my mother with me, everyone has told me to leave the past alone. Also to Ilse. She would’ give her mother sorrow ‘by asking questions. No, she would know the secret and maybe tell me. That shame, guilt, we have carried our whole life, we did not know what!
That anger over the fate unknown, but no less felt, has given me and Ilse in our adulthood, crisis dragged into crisis. How do you translate the moaning, the pain that is felt in your head to your toes, the flow of adrenaline, which can destroy your body, into words! Give me those WORDS!!
Hilda had thus lost her cloak, the cloak that killed my mother, and that fifty years long has covered everything, even my life.

Tell me how I translate this literal pain in written sentences and I'll write a book thicker than Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses and heavier than the Torah and the State bible together.
How do I make the story in question to look like something that remains credible for myself? Here it looks like a bad novel, with fictional personalities. But it's true. It really happened! This was my life. And that of my mother.
I have to pick myself back together. And continue to write.
For hours I postponed it. I have tried everything: telephone calls, including Paul, talked to Jessica, lounging before the TV, to come to my senses. With Dorine yesterday I tried to place it in perspective in the context of that time, especially into perspective...
Same day, very late. Now I finish the letter of Olly.
116
I admire you because you have led such a strong, useful life and are still so helpful. That must have been partly because of your Christian education. *
I have nothing to forgive Hilda of. After  my visit with Inge to Holland Hilda wanted  Inge and Kurti  to live with her, and Louis, with whom she was not married at the time. He must have been a good, decent man, that he not only accepted Ilse, but also to take the two children in. To help her, he even married her. I begged Hilda to be allowed to keep Inge with me for two years so she could finish her education . Hilda refused that.
  In any case, it seems that she gave up the struggle for the children, including the conflict with the Jewish refugees commitee that protected the children. And nobody saw or heard anything about it afterwards .....
Yes, Erica, the bitter times that you have gone through in your life have made you what you are now. A brave, compassionate person. Try not to think of the past; enjoy your still  relatively comfortable life now, as I do. I try not to take note of what is happening around me in the world (I know that's very selfish, but in my 85 years I have no more fighting spirit in me). I live with my cat Shelly quite satisfied, waiting for Inge's weekly letter. I hope that the treatment of Allen (Inge's husband) is helping to fight his cancer. He recently had an operation and is doing well and hopefully for quite a long time. Their three daughters live in England, but I only see Sara occasionally. Kate lives in Sheffield, so quite far away. I rarely see her. Helen shows no interest in contact with me. I have not seen her since my eightieth birthday.

Well, dear, you do well. Do not think too much about what has happened and make the best of life. All good wishes,
Aunt Olly
* How did she work that out?
117
Well, all good spirits, help me! What should I answer the old lady? She means it apparently so well; all my questions about my mother, she has indeed answered, as far as she could. The conclusions are indeed my own responsibility.
From the shock, I write my first spontaneous reaction in fluent German. Afterwards I do not send it, it was too hard for her.
I shy off, for the umpteenth time. Go to sleep.
10 September 1992
I put aside everything today to be well prepared for the establishment of the Platform Global Awareness. Two weeks ago, I submitted a proposal to give a 'flying start' to this Platform. Aid to Yugoslavian  displaced persons in the Netherlands and an amount per capita to be voted by the council, for the large joint fundraising (rural) to Somalia and Bosnia.
I can cry now. So I do it. After a little playful opening speech of the mayor, we continued the meeting. And all official events were treated as the drafting of an annual plan, joint events, bylaws etc. Nothing came out of the paint.
Participants walked away. When barely half was over, my proposal was on the agenda. All I wanted was my name swept underneath the platform and then to the City Council. Well, you cannot expect in such a situation that the point is also discussed but equally serious. The next meeting is late January. And then I have to come up with a concrete proposal. As if this was not practical. And others thought again that they first had to talk with their supporters about it, while the Platform is designed precisely to take independent decisions. They have, it is clear, no idea, what it's like to sit in the war.
118
Oh, next month the need is still there?! Yes, and the fact that they are there left in the shelters by us, let down this winter, means nothing. And that belongings and money will only be available next year (maybe) is less important than a rich regulatory conduct of meetings. I was so angry and bewildered that I'm seriously thinking to do the whole action and only in a personal capacity. But I just cannot physically and mentally. I have even taken on working for a torchlight vigil on December 24 against xenophobia and smears against refugees.
So this was the big disappointment today. The leaflet Globally, that this time must be written exclusively on the Ad control, was again nice. I have written for that a very small article and controlled and corrected it. On Saturday the volunteers market and on Tuesday is the AFKIN- meeting.
I know I'm doing it myself, but I would love to continue to do everything, writing, mourning and work. Help!
That participation in the ABZ- committee has been a great success! National newspapers and the Utrecht’s newspaper wrote about it. Elma was not allowed to,  but did have contact with the consultative body of Moluccan Welfare and Lilipali from the parliament. That has raised questions for the minister. The VNG downplayed the case, as uncertainty of Mayor Laan. I was able to bring him the parliamentary question and wait for the answer from The Hague.
That's my life.
But I long to be again, completely busy with the past, with myself, so that I have written this all. Hey ...  it is with a feeling that I, in this way have been able to tell about my mother.
The spirit goes where it will- there for her no time, no distance. She moves in other dimensions, other people, other times and conditions. Provided that it is willing to be empathetic.
Here I sit, I can do nothing else, and who wants to go with me?
119
It could have happened like this.
It's August, 1942. It is a warm day, threatening to storm. Olga and Erica go to Olga’s sister Hilda, who has a baby. That is not easy at the time, raising a baby.
Olga has a star, a Star of David on her dress. She did not have a coat on; it's the height of summer. If small Erica also wears a star? I do not know.
At the end of the afternoon the sky darkens, but nevertheless it's not raining yet. Hilda discovers that she needs something for the baby. Milk? Flour? Or the teat is broken, or the bottle ....
And Olga offers to quickly go and get it. Quickly , because it is nearly curfew. Then there should be no more Jews walking about outside ... because the air is so threatening she calls to Hilda: " I just put on your coat "and leaves.
 And then she comes upon a Dutch policeman or a border guard, who sees a yellow star and from that liberty takes hold of this young and attractive woman. To his pleasure and her terror the star was not sewn, but pinned. That is for him the reason, that he, under threat with his gun-there were stories that she had been shot dead on the street, but that was not true - to arrest her and confine her in prison.
At home waiting, in increasing panic, Hilda and the little Erica. And as it gets later Hilda is more certain that Olga has been arrested. Because she did not have the star sewn on her coat but had fastened it with safety pins.
It takes days before they are assured. It lasts until September 8 before she receives a note from Olga herself, who is currently on route from Amsterdam to camp Westerbrok. Olga tries to encourage her sister even at that time. But on September 10 she sends from Westerbrok a telegram in panic to Hilda, asking her to send the "Aryan" papers from her ex-husband, it does not help. The next day, September 11, she is stowed in the lorry, to Auschwitz, where she is immediately killed upon arrival.
120

And then she comes upon a Dutch policeman or a border guard, who sees a yellow star and from that liberty takes hold of this young and attractive woman. To his pleasure and her terror the star was not sewn, but pinned. That is for him the reason, that he, under threat with his gun-there were stories that she had been shot dead on the street, but that was not true - to arrest her and confine her in prison.


At home waiting in a great panic, Hilda and the little Erica. And it is getting more certain that Olga has been picked up. Because she had not sewn on her coat the star, but had fastened it with safety pins.
It takes days before they get affirmation. But it is not until September 8 before she receives a note from Olga herself , who is under way at that time from Amsterdam to Westerbork. Olga tries to reassure her sister even at that time with courage. But on September 10 she sends from Westerbrok a panicked telegram to Hilda, asking her to send the "Aryan" papers from her ex-husband. It does not help. The next day, September 11, she is stowed in the lorry, to Auschwitz, where she is immediately killed upon arrival.
120
For Hilda the nightmare would now have begun. This is irrevocably the last time that Olga can help her. In fact die for her.
What should she now do with the little Erica? It is as hard as it is with the baby. Fortunately, Erica also has a father, an 'Aryan' father still, who, to complicate the story, at that moment ‘for appearances’ is married to Hilda. Naturally he is divorced from Erica’s mother. His father, Jack, has a brother who is recently married. And they want to look after Erica.
But if Olga does not return- and nobody knows whether she will- it becomes even more difficult. Erica then suddenly becomes a Jewish child, a risk. And then the wanderings of the child starts from hiding - to hiding place, until no one knows anymore and she is back at her aunt and uncle on the sidewalk.
Where is Erica’s father at that time?  It appears that he is sent to work in Germany until he manages to escape in the summer of 1943. He is "married" with Hilda and according to the Registers and Population of the town hall they live at the same address, but actually he lives with his father, Erica’s grandfather.
When he, after his escape, will look for his daughter and arrives at his sister in law , that's just at a moment when they are "beating" Erica (his words, many years later). After a violent argument he takes his child to his home, where she has a few wonderful months. The only good time actually in her childhood, when she became an adult, could fondly look back.
That sister in law has not let it sit. Jaap show no signs of gratitude that she has been part of the child's fate, especially since she was still a Jewish child. Instead, he has quarreled with her, added her reproach and 'just' captured the child. Calling for revenge? She can, so she turns to someone from the Council for Child Protection, "because it's inexcusable that such a small girl grows up by two men, moreover, it is a Jewish child.’’
121
The latter must have been difficult for the Council for Child Protection, but there is someone who has signed a letter that the Germans include Erica van Beek at the Martha Foundation  in Alphen aan de Rijn. The Martha Foundation appears to be ‘started’ in Alphen by the Germans! In Nieuwersluis some of the children were housed.
On a cold, wet, dark day in December 1943 is Erica then "safely drilled ' in the Martha Foundation, where she will remain until she was nineteen.
And Hilda?
Hilda with her two older children can safely get away from Vienna.  She gets the chance to go to England. But she prefers to let her children go - with a girlfriend - she continue to stay in Amsterdam.
After the war she married Louis, after a divorce from Erica’s father. The baby from the beginning of this story thrives on and has a father and a mother. A second baby, born during the war, does not survive. Hilda with her child also sat for a while in Westrbork but knew how to survive.
After 1945 she performs a short struggle with the Jewish Refugee Committee and the OPK, the War Foster Children Committee, to regain her older children. She may have tried to get Erica out of the orphanage. That did not work. And failure is –possibly - based on the fact that she is Erica’s aunt and her stepmother. Well, the OPK did their own standards and Hilda would have not have coped with the possibility of raising four children.
Has Hilda been happy with her memories and her past?
122
Vienna
It must not have been easy living in Vienna between 1920 and 1933. There was the recession, unemployment, poverty. There, as well as here. Grandfather, Armin Bock, refugee from the Czech Republic, had become stateless. Married to the Viennese Joszefa Karpfen (omama, my grandmother), his two children, daughters Olga and Hilda, are also stateless. Although Jewish, there is no indication that they were part of the Jewish community in Vienna. But Grandpapa had, due to the persecution of Jews fled to the Czech Republic. What did he do for a living? Had he (right) support when unemployed? Or did the family in the beginning a little capital?
Grandpapa apparently  died young. The family was a member of the Socialist Workers Party. Especially omama seems to have been militant in it. The youngest daughter, my mother Olga, was also an enthusiastic member of the Arbeiter Turn Verein and even later won gold at the Workers' Olympiad in Budapest.
The single parent family seems to have been very needy. Reasons why Olga took the decision to try to find a job in the Netherlands. She came to the Netherlands and found, except for work and income, a man and later had a child from that marriage.
The eldest daughter had two children in Vienna. From a relationship with a man she could not marry?
The story is complicated.
Hitler's hell is visible in 1933. In that year, in October, Olga married in Netherlands Jaap van Beek, not a jew, but a blonde blue-eyed Dutchman. (A few generations back, one Lady Von Dalmann of German landed gentry, married to a Van Beek, so the "Aryan" could not be doubted.)
Almost two years later, from the marriage of Olga and Jaap, a daughter is born, Erica. The marriage seems to have lasted for a half a year longer. Olga goes back to Vienna with her baby. It is not known whether Hilda is (still) financially maintained, nor is it known whether, as the separation between Olga and Jaap is final, Olga receives alimony. It can be assumed that Olga earns a living for the family. At that time, Erica is so ill that she is hospitalized in the children's hospital in Vienna and has a lot of children’s sicknesses consecutively. Which cannot have been conducive to Olga to keep her job.
After Kristallnacht not only hell breaks loose in Germany, but the panic among Jewish citizens in surrounding countries.
Jaap since August 1938 separated from Olga, goes to Vienna and begs Olga remarry him for her and Erica’s safety. Olga refuses and points out to him that Hilda and her two children are much more vulnerable. How is Jaap committed to marry Hilda and her two children for their safety while he still loves Olga? Olga is a strong personality, an athlete at heart, much stronger than Jaap and Hilda together.
Olga goes with Erica and Omama 'on vacation' and when they come back, Jaap, Hilda and the two children have left Vienna. That must have happened in the summer of 1939.
Aunt Olly Weiss
As said Olga was a member of the Arbeiters Turn Verein. In the same building where she lived with her family, also the Weiss family lived. And the family loved the little children of Hilda, especially the eldest daughter Inge. Olly Weiss was Olga’s team mate.

Olly sought and found work as a housekeeper or maid in London. She also wanted her parents to come and Hilda with her two children. She was lucky to find one Miss Palmer, a wealthy lady who wanted to guarantee both the family Weiss and Hilda. This event took place in the course of 1938. In '39 all was arranged.
But when push came to shove, in other words, when Olly went to Vienna to pick them up, Hilda now turned out to be married to Jaap. Rather than be a maid in England and take care of her children, she went to Amsterdam with Jaap. While her children, with a 'children's transport' travelled to London. After being there for ten months, Inge went  to live with the Weiss family, where, after the death of Olly’s parents was raised by Olly herself. Her brother Kurti was raised up by foster parents. Both children remained in England, becoming adults and received British citizenship.
124
Hilda’s third child, Ilse who was  born in the Netherlands, stayed with her. It was after the war, so she got a (step) father, grew up prosperously , but not without trauma as the second generation child. And was actually an only child.
The war also seems to have been for her parents an indigestible matter and when the daughter was mature they decided to separate. Not long after that Hilda died, she was burned out.
13 December 1992
I am sitting with my feelings back in the war times. For a few days now. Has nothing changed in fifty years? The realization that the Platform, so Nieuwengein then , now refuses to do something about the misery of the displaced-shelters in the form of some distraction, or to advise B & W on a contribution per capita for Bosnia ( where a hunger  winter of '44 is  on the way!) and Somalia .... Here nothing can be done, knowing how it is makes me so desperate that I cannot sleep and can think of nothing else all day. Although yesterday I have been at the stand of Novib at the voluntary market all day with a friendly face.
You know, you can only talk to people who know what you're talking about.
I am glad that the action against xenophobia, against illegal smear campaign, comes in order. Peter has created posters for the twenty-fourth. Women for Peace and Amnesty participate.
125
So I can channel my grief and my anger without damaging myself.
Sadness and anger are not gone, oh no.
I want to go back to December 9, the letters.
I will tell Rabbi Schachter the story briefly, why I am so determined to straighten out the Pages. Does he not see it himself, that it is not a remembrance of my mother, but the desire of my niece to have the name of her family member in this?
N'importe what kind of data? Not one syllable of it was correct, except the name. My first feeling was therefore, that the Rabbi, felt a little passed over , because I did not respond to the discovery of the niece, who also knew nothing. But that is not what I was looking for, I must make it clear. Reparation for Olga, of whose life and death only Hilda knew about and who kept silent from me. That mantle of fifty years that was revealed by Olly, with instructions never to let Ilse and Inge know. I want that also in the Pages. I will have to let Ilse know of that letter. How? I'll have to think, well that's no rush.
Other things remind Olly that she no longer can place. But concerned about that time, she is still, though she says that she does not have any "fight" more with her 85 years.
That means that she had in that in the past, and that shows. The courage not only for herself but also for others to find a safe haven, speaks from her letters. It is a pity, a great pity that Inge and Kurti that I should have known so well in Vienna have disappeared completely from sight. Actually just like Ilse. A family band will I never have with them again, but it's nice that I have heard about them again.
Over the acceptance of ‘that coat ‘I am still not there, even if I put it in perspective. How do you do that as a victim? I can say, Hilda, I forgive you; the fact itself is your underestimation of the danger of your carelessness. That is something that happens.
126
But it did have my mother killed, as you ought to have been wearing that coat. And as you have survived (but how?), so she could  have survived. She would have taken Ilse , combative as she was. Now my life has given Ilse a home, but apparently not a happy childhood. Let me hold on to that. Ilse has also become a war victim, her "home." And my life has consisted of flights from nowhere to nowhere, me closing my past until now. Here only I have found my home. Only after three children and two marriages. My oldest lost through drugs and suicide-no mother who could reach him, he was imprisoned in himself.
Jacob, my child that hid under a coat until he suffocated. From a fear of living.

Leo, who is alone and that maybe will remain that way, grew up with me and two fathers could not be real fathers.
Jessica, who is still fighting for freedom under that coat, which she now knows, exists.
I myself, that I no longer dare to venture into a new relationship, after making wrong choices five times. Thanks for the one who taught me to sublimate my anger and grief into action for people, who like me suffered from oppression and infringements of his human dignity, proclaiming rights for the incapacitated!
Is that the key to my whole life after Olga? Oppression and disregard for my human dignity? Finally, I was Jewish and, as such, was I- treated in the time when I lived. I see now. And I have acted in the past twelve years, but for recognition of my person and to restore my dignity
From my empathy with those, and for those that I I worked with, from what I have experienced myself.
But also of anger and sadness, which could not be captured in words, because I kept the cargo from the past denied until now.
127
15 December 1992
What is -and what is the function of -a prophet?

 Pastor Mook called me, ‘The prophetess of Nieuwegein. ‘ That has  lingered.
Tonight council meeting . In the break I was talking to J.H. He told me enthusiastically about the worries of preparing for Christmas. And I told him that I was not able to celebrate Christmas this year. What happens so close east of our borders. With Bosnia and images of Somalia.
Another councilor said later, "You did not come to make us sad, huh Erica?”

What should I do? Stay talking in the form of politeness? I may not express my feelings, my sorrow and anger and impotence in order not to disrupt the Christmas party? May I not indicate that we cannot celebrate with a clear conscience and cheerful mood while such terrible inhuman things happen this Christmas season?
Did Reverend Mook mean that I am a thistle under foot? Or (calamity) prophet who disturbs the peace of the conscience of Christians and non Christians?
 We, war children and adults know, yet have still all experienced at firsthand? And yet are still scared, angry, helpless and almost powerless? Almost, because only a small area, we cannot get involved to resist the immense indifference, the ‘cocoon’. Pull that screen, that wall you've built around you and just see what happens around us. Let's work together to try there to change that. It is not for us, then for our children and grandchildren. So that the blood on our hands of our indifference does not come upon our descendants. Then we will be certainly guilty. Omama, as weak as you were, you were a militant woman who meant a lot for the labor movement.
Mutti, the strength of your character, your perseverance and sportsmanship, your living will to start a new life here, with all the menace of Hitler Germany. Give me some of your perseverance, despite all resistance. I'm so discouraged now.
128.
Who wants to hear
Those who wish to see
Who suffers too
Not just with me
But with the horror
Where people like them
 Should survive them
or die?
I did not ask for, nor can I shut myself away from it.
My powerlessness over my past blends seamlessly into despair about the horrors of today.
I thought I could get away now, but every time that it takes longer, I am more a part of them. I hear them, right here in my safe little flat I'm not safe there. L’histoire interieure se repete toujours; comme l'exterieur. Et parce que cette histoire d'aujourd'hui est l'exterior. Et parce que cette histoire d'aujourd'hui est l'histoire de moi-meme et de Maman et Omaman et six miliones des autres hommes. Et il passe aujourd'hui, après cinquantes années.
Now back in French, earlier to Olly in German. What comes up as I write this?
Say, write what I know, what I feel. And make people participants of what happens , whether they like it or not.
The coat has to go.
I fight and wrestle with all these feelings, day and night. Sometimes it's sadness so great that I have no spoken words, and if I find them, because of the interests of others, my mouth takes over, without being able to stop it.
Is this the function of a prophet?
 Or do I behave like an intrusive campaigner?
No, that is not me. But maybe they see me like that, if I do not keep my feelings under control and thus contact others in their heart and conscience.
I do this more than ten years-over declared unfit for work (sick and disabled), over racism versus equality. If it would leave me indifferent, I would have no need to write about it or talk about it. Sometimes they give me the feeling that they think I am mad.
So be it. This is me, Erica, made up of a life that was dominated by an invisible and unknown coat of fifty years now. Exponent of "lest we forget."
129.
16 December 1992

I just read Ilse’s letter of 14 November again, where she tries to untangle the knot that has occured upon completion of Rivka’s addition to  The Page. The history of Olga and Hilda were jumbled. This could imply that Hilda has also told Rivka facts - the jacket- and Rivka has therefore  become confused, that is the misunderstanding  . I try now to put it in the time. Everyone was still busy processing, or stopping of the flaring memories of the horrors. We were traumatized, and could not put into words what kept us so busy. Maybe Hilda has told her story confusingly, which was picked up as such. But when she wrote a letter about it, not only Olly knew it, but Rivka knew then - and Ilse also now!
1.How do I tell Ilse?
2.How can I tell that to Aunt Olly?
Oh time, get me in that matter!
Kalien Blonden called. Relief: the radio programme is off. The editors did not think it a good opportunity.
I let on to her surprise that I find  it fine,because the only reason I had agreed, lay in the search for survivors, who would have known her. That is now no longer necessary. Thence.
130.
130.
The last data is now coming in and the next week I hope, if not the real grieving process, yet will I finish this book.
In the last few days, there were quite a few things that ran together, so it was difficult to stay with this case. So emotional, I could not sleep and really collapsed yesterday. (And promptly at half past three in the afternoon I slept until eight o'clock this morning, with some interruptions!)
Why my emotions with me went on the run?
Among other things because I cannot handle that people very carelessly spend  millions and millions on Christmas shopping, chunky tables, feasting, while just over our border and further, into former Yugoslavia, history is being repeated. The same history, which I'm trying to deal with in this book. Shut up, Erica, don’t make us sad, and do not appeal to us and our consciences. Don’t you see that we want to celebrate, you disturber!
Judging by the signals I expected Thursday, December 24th not a big turnout for the torch vigil, we organized as AFKIN.
Yesterday I again brought out in the library, the Jewish Weekly News. Searching for clues that maybe I had previously overlooked. In the Jewish Weekly News, number 20 of August 21, 1942, I found an article on the confirmation of the star.
131.
 Serious warning
The presidents of Amsterdam’s Jewish Council make further emphasis for Amsterdam's attention to the obligation of Jews to:
1st to properly attach the Star of David and wear it visibly;
2nd refrain from entering gardens, parks and all the roads that are forbidden for Jews;
3rd not use traffic ways without a license;
4th not live or stay at other addresses than the above address mentioned on the identity card.
Violation of these provisions has led in several cases to severe punishment, even when it was solely due to carelessness. Hence the repeated serious warning.
 It is conceivable that Hilda has even tried to get help from the Jewish Council, or at least tried to get to the Council for information when Olga was not coming home. Maybe she told them that Olga was wearing her coat. But nothing helped. This remains hypotheses, but I cannot imagine differently.
21 December 1992
Today I received this letter from the RIOD:
Dear Mrs van Beek,
In response to your letter of 2 December 1992, I can tell you the following:
The collections of the RIOD contain unfortunately no more details about your mother Olga Bock then you are already familiar with. For example, there are no documents that have been preserved, which relate to the arrest of your mother.
132

THE JAILS ADMINISTRATION  HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED AFTER THE WAR*
Of the documents relating to the Westerbork transit camp, the proof is that Olga Bock was indeed deported on 11 September 1942.
I would have liked to have done more for you. I'm sorry, that by the limitedness of the material at my disposal, it is not possible.
Sincerely, Ms A van Boxmeer.

Where can I still go with my anger and sadness? Is there a policeman ever punished for the preparation of murdering my innocent mother? A driver for obediently bringing her to her place of execution?
And today happens again the same! Are people because of their origin, their religion, massively persecuted their appearance, killed, expelled, put to flight. And survivors should only see them ready to come out.

Okay, okay, it's all happened fifty years ago and I am only now so far, I can handle it a little, to relive that time for myself.
Yet it is too much for me, as before, the same things are happening. My empathy should not be stretched too far!
All and sundry of the Dutch tribe celebrates rather extensive Christmas. So I don’t  need to .
*Capitals are mine
133
23 December 1992
It brought to mind again the note of Olga. There is no trace of reproach to Hilda . Instead, she tries yet to speak to Hilda with courage, "Kopf hoch, Madel."
History does not change its view. Never has there been a ‘point of return’. Who am I, that I look back with so much anger and resentment at a time, which cannot be compared with this time, in this society, in this same country? And, I have the  examples that today terrible things happen with and through people.
May a man fail? Weak and maybe a coward, if he should suffer such intolerable tension, as at that time? With, still, the examples of Germany and now in Yugoslavia.
130.
The last data is now coming in and the next week I hope, if not the real grieving process, yet will I finish this book.
In the last few days, there were quite a few things that ran together, so it was difficult to stay with this case. So emotional, I could not sleep and really collapsed yesterday. (And promptly at half past three in the afternoon I slept until eight o'clock this morning, with some interruptions!)
Why my emotions with me went on the run?
Among other things because I cannot handle that people very carelessly spend  millions and millions on Christmas shopping, chunky tables, feasting, while just over our border and further, into former Yugoslavia, history is being repeated. The same history, which I'm trying to deal with in this book. Shut up, Erica, don’t make us sad, and do not appeal to us and our consciences. Don’t you see that we want to celebrate, you disturber!
Judging by the signals I expected Thursday, December 24th not a big turnout for the torch vigil, we organized as AFKIN.
Yesterday I again brought out in the library, the Jewish Weekly News. Searching for clues that maybe I had previously overlooked. In the Jewish Weekly News, number 20 of August 21, 1942, I found an article on the confirmation of the star.
131.
 Serious warning
The presidents of Amsterdam’s Jewish Council make further emphasis for Amsterdam's attention to the obligation of Jews to:
1st to properly attach the Star of David and wear it visibly;
2nd refrain from entering gardens, parks and all the roads that are forbidden for Jews;
3rd not use traffic ways without a license;
4th not live or stay at other addresses than the above address mentioned on the identity card.
Violation of these provisions has led in several cases to severe punishment, even when it was solely due to carelessness. Hence the repeated serious warning.
 It is conceivable that Hilda has even tried to get help from the Jewish Council, or at least tried to get to the Council for information when Olga was not coming home. Maybe she told them that Olga was wearing her coat. But nothing helped. This remains hypotheses, but I cannot imagine differently.
21 December 1992
Today I received this letter from the RIOD:
Dear Mrs van Beek,
In response to your letter of 2 December 1992, I can tell you the following:
The collections of the RIOD contain unfortunately no more details about your mother Olga Bock then you are already familiar with. For example, there are no documents that have been preserved, which relate to the arrest of your mother.
132

THE JAILS ADMINISTRATION  HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED AFTER THE WAR*
Of the documents relating to the Westerbork transit camp, the proof is that Olga Bock was indeed deported on 11 September 1942.
I would have liked to have done more for you. I'm sorry, that by the limitedness of the material at my disposal, it is not possible.
Sincerely, Ms A van Boxmeer.

Where can I still go with my anger and sadness? Is there a policeman ever punished for the preparation of murdering my innocent mother? A driver for obediently bringing her to her place of execution?
And today happens again the same! Are people because of their origin, their religion, massively persecuted their appearance, killed, expelled, put to flight. And survivors should only see them ready to come out.

Okay, okay, it's all happened fifty years ago and I am only now so far, I can handle it a little, to relive that time for myself.
Yet it is too much for me, as before, the same things are happening. My empathy should not be stretched too far!
All and sundry of the Dutch tribe celebrates rather extensive Christmas. So I don’t  need to .
*Capitals are mine
133
23 December 1992
It brought to mind again the note of Olga. There is no trace of reproach to Hilda. Instead, she tries to speak to Hilda with courage, "Kopf hoch, Madel."
History does not change itself. Never has there been a point of return. “Who am I that I look back with so much anger and resentment at a time, which cannot be compared with this time, in this society, in this same country? And, I see through examples today that terrible things happen with and through people.
May a man fail? Weak and maybe a coward if he should suffer such intolerable tension, as at that time? With, still, the examples of Yugoslavia and now in Germany?
Hilda,
Whatever have been the consequences of the 'coat', who am I, that I would condemn. If I have to forgive anything, I do hereby wholeheartedly!
It apparently had  .
  And if not, then we have to accept that life is as it is and I am that I am. Do not look back at what might have been if ....
And I want to see in advance what is possible. What good things I can still contribute. So what happened and what is presently happening east of our borders, will perhaps not go repeating itself...
Over that and this way I will have to write back to Olly and Ilse.
And I will.
I have searched for my mother and found her. Even though I did not know how I would find her, I knew that I had never taken leave of her. I did that now. And I may mourn a youth that I and hundreds of thousands, even millions of children that were taken away by the madness of power forces, who use the power they have to create people that are immersed in grief, because they differ in color and origin from what they propose as normal.
134
This is the letter I wrote to Rabbi Schachter:
22 December 1992
Dear Rabbi Schachter,
It took me a few days before I was able to write back.
I would first like to thank you again for your concern of my wellbeing.
Enclosed you will find the new Page of my mother with a picture of her and me as a child. Thank you that you want to take care of her file.
I want to tell you again, so that no misunderstanding exists, I had to research the past of my mother and me. I had no evidence that she ever existed, except this picture and some papers, when in a short time two things happened. The book of Elma Verhey "To the Jewish Child” was released and the conference “The Hiding Child “, became public. I not only survived almost without memories, but also with fear and anger that I did not understand.
I had to make this quest. Not only for me but also for my daughter Jessica, a second-generation child, so she and her mother will understand themselves better and also to give her a past.
I've told you about my two sons, one of them died by suicide, by deliberately taking an overdose of pills and drugs. That has to do with my past. And the second son has his difficulties through that.
And there was another, important reason and that was to give a grave with her own name to my mother. So she was no longer an unknown and unnamed victim.
135
I never sought nor wanted relatives. Anyone who has survived, that knew of my existence, never let that be known. Not even shown of their existence. I say this not with anger or self-pity. But there is no room for them. I have my own life, my (former) family, my friends and my work. With the latter I mean, I (still) want to believe in the 'Global Village' and our shared responsibility there-for. So I see my daily volunteer work. Here I have found my family and friends. Believe me, I have no bitterness.
 I found my mother. And my own past.
At the same time I have lost my fear of my memories. And thus so many remembrances have come back. Not all, the most traumatic still remain hidden.
I have among other things discovered that my mother was arrested and thrown in prison and later via Wester Bork in Auschwitz is murdered, that the coat she was wearing at the time, with the pinned-star, was the coat of her sister. She probably borrowed it to get something quickly for her sister’s baby. .and did not return. And sister survived and has not looked back at me.
That makes this discovery very difficult to process. Do you understand?
The whole story of my quest, now by friend Paul typed and edited. I will keep my promise and send you a copy. That is if the book is finished. If it is published.
A miserable side effect is that this quest is taking place at a time when all that misery in Germany and the former Yugoslavia is now happening. Where the Serbs are doing the same things against non-Serbs, especially against Muslims. It is very frightening to believe that humanity will never change, no matter how big the technical progress and the communication possibilities for humanity nowadays have become. On the contrary, it seems that we just want to use it to destroy ourselves and the world. There was a time, not so long ago; I had the idea that humanity was becoming better and wiser.
Well, I'm wiser ... and sadder.
136

Regarding my Israel I had the hope that the war with the Palestinians would come to an end with election of the Labour Party. But there is still no sign of peace. On the contrary, the PLO and Hamas will work together and I'm terrified for such cooperation.
Judaism and Peace.... will it ever go together?
Last I read in a newspaper a statement by a Serbian word carrier: "War makes sense as long as there is a possibility to make a profit." Is that not cynical? Put the word 'peace' in place of 'war' and we can have the most delicious world. And then of course an  all-out ban and closing of  all weapons factories because they destroy our world and kill our children, our fathers and mothers.
But these are simply philosophical thoughts of mine. I expect no one, to make this a reality.
I'm going to leave you. Thanks for everything you've done for me. Receive my best wishes for yourself. Forever,
Yours sincerely,
Your Erica van Beek.
37
24 December 1992
A while ago I wrote: "In the past is the present, in the moment what is coming." A cliché, but how true!
The hatred is now grown by supra-nationalism and social discontent is the seed where fertile soil is found in the victims of today and future generations. The raped women of Bosnia bring forth children who are already hated for their birth.
The fruits thereof may be new wars again, in about 25, 50 or 100 years.
Tribal strife, religious wars, they are now and always will be. Because we are only human, obstinate and unruly.
And all surviving victims will be able to write books like this ...
Peace on earth is a dream, we have to face the truth.
Maybe that is the lesson I had to learn and if necessary why I had to write this book.
The "Global Village," which I dream of is the dream of a relatively small group of people. With little power. And our world will continue to run maybe a little longer. But will they survive?
To believe in it, I would have to rely on the fundamental goodness of people. The fundamental sense of responsibility for each other as human beings. The I = you feeling.
And I must begin with myself.
Sigh..... I'm not there yet.
39
Jood
141
January 29, 1993
Finally I have written draft letters to Olly and Ilse. Maybe I can finish them Sunday and send them. The text I want in any case to record here.
Dear aunt Olly,
It took me a long time to learn to live with what is written in your last letter. The thought that Olga had the coat on of Hilda was very hard to bear. It is even reflected in the title of the book about my childhood, that will be called Two women and a coat.
Now the time is ripe, now I am able to live with it, as with everything that has happened.
The period from 1939 to May 1945 was on the Continent a time of incomprehensible terrible events. Where the people who survived were injured for the rest of their lives. Hilda  was also briefly in the concentration camp Westerbork, together with Ilse  who was a baby.
I am convinced that Hilda has gone to the Jewish Council in Amsterdam when Olga did not return. And she told them what has happened. I am so confident because I read in the Jewish Weekly from a few weeks later an article warning people extra not to pin the star, but to sew it on: "Several people that are pinning have been severely punished.” What I would have to forgive Hilda of, I have forgiven her.

142
As you said, life has not exactly been kind to me, but Hilda had to live with her grief and her anger, and get on with her life. What's maybe never really happened, to which maybe she was not able to.
I tell you (including myself) once again: life is as it is. I've learned to accept that.
It is possible that Olga on that (rainy!) day in August '42 put on Hilda’s jacket just to get something quickly for the baby, and she was arrested (and taken to jail and later to Westerbork etc.) almost as soon as she  came out on the streets. Her face was so truly Jewish, that I doubt that, even if for her a hiding place was available, that she might have survived.
Therefore, I cannot understand how Ilse, Inge and Kurti could know nothing about it, even after Hilda and Louis died. It was still not intentional Hilda; it was carelessness, with incalculable consequences.
I have decided to send a copy of your letter to Ilse. Maybe that's a consolation to her. She is still with sadness and anger from the past. There were so many, too many things that she could not understand. So much that she was unable to go to the conference Hidden Children.
Can you imagine what war does with small children? Even those events that you cannot understand, that feeling of "I could have better not have been born," which remains always. That entire trauma, your whole life. Until you have learned to find words for and to use those words for yourself. This is done usually not before your fiftieth birthday. And then the past, has long since  used or deformed your character. And your life decides. The fears and anger have become a part of you. How do you deal with that? That is for an outsider very difficult to understand.
Life has also not been easy for you, I suppose. But you, your family and the children were not hunted in England as wild animals such as Jewish people in the Netherlands. You were pretty safe there.
Do you understand, there is no more reproach. To anyone. It all happened. As it is happening in Yugoslavia. We never expected that it could all happen again. But it does!
143

Dear aunt Olly,
I have now also been able to give my mother a funeral. In Jerusalem, at Yad Vashem in the Hall of Names. And my whole childhood became memories to me.
That was the purpose of the quest and no less for my life that now has to continue, more than ever. The whole has to be a book that is worth reading.
I send you my love and greetings and thank you for your help.
Hoping again to receive a letter from you,
Your Erica.
Dear Ilse,
It has taken a long time before I could process what I came to know about the past. Like so many Jewish people, I have processed it- with a friend in this case in a book, which will hopefully be released.
 It is much, very much, that has become clear. Also regarding aunt Olly’s feelings towards your mother. Do you want me to tell you everything or would you rather just read my last letter to Aunt Olly? You can also wait for the book. The title is Two women and a jacket.
  Only now am I able to discuss with you anything you want to know. Your sadness and anger have become clearer to me. As for me, I have now learned to accept life and let go of the past now that I have found words to describe it. That is also thanks to you.
We cannot change the past.
144

I'm now finished with it all. And I hope you find the courage to do so too. Maybe my letter to Olly will help you with that. Otherwise I will let you know when the book comes out.
Do not hesitate to write me, call or visit, if you have questions to ask. I have now a different perspective than 'then'.
I hear from you?
Yours  Erica
These letters I now send as soon as possible.
145
February
146
147
28 February 1993
Letter received from Aunt Olly, which made me very distressed. Of course she's right. But Elma and Paul found it too: Now I turn and I should be able to let it sink  a while.
Here's the letter.
Dear Erica,
This time, I find it hard to answer your letter. But first, I wish you luck with your book. I had no idea you were a writer. But you have abused my trust. When I told you about that incident with Hilda’s jacket I prompted you not to tell Ilse. Finally, it was her mother's fault that may have led to Olga’s death, even if it was indirect. Now it is in your book and Ilse will read it and she could tell Inge. You cannot tell me that it was necessary to make their memory of their mother worse.
I can only hope that Ilse will not be too much affected.
Maybe it can be prevented that Inge will know. She has enough to worry about with her husband's illness. In any case, I do not think Inge suffers from her memories of that time, because she and I only know of the events through other people. Our only concerns were the war cases, we Jewish people, even strangers, were treated the same as the English themselves.
I only hope that now you are able to put the past behind you.
Best wishes,
Aunt Olly
148
Of course her trust is, in terms of the jacket, ashamed. But how do I make it clear that I did not just think that was precisely the point where everything revolved around? For fifty years, my mother is dead in silence out of shame about it. Is it not time that it is written, spoken and processed? Out of concern for them, the now adult children of Hilda, I may panic again, keep my mouth shut, I feel guilty for events in which I have had some part. I became the victim, not her.
Apparently she was so angry (or confused) that she could not place the name on the envelope accurately.
149
March
151
12 March 1993
Visit to Westerbork. Search for Barak 41.0.
At five past eight Jessica and I met at station Batau-north in Nieuwegein. The train to Amersfoort at 8:44 we reached easily and we got there at just after nine. A terrible station. With that in Apeldoorn, I think, one of the worst of the Netherlands. A type of aircraft thoroughfare that comes out in Amersfoort-Never land. It took a while before we could orientate and we even had to ask the way to the Amersfoort station, where we should wait for Dorine to ride together in her car to Westerbork.
The weather gods had the first day of spring and made that the trip became an almost festive experience. Despite the gray tones that marked the destination.
Just before Hooghalen we decided to eat coffee with a treat. But it was only to get a sandwich on stale bread.
The parking lot of the Remembrance Centre in Westerbork lay still in the early afternoon. And when we got out the full gravity of our goal fell like a gray blanket over us.
Inside, in the open lobby with visitor reception, the almost sacred atmosphere was shattered by a whining barking dog. Moments later, the sound of Christmas songs ....nota bene, belong to a video film further on.
The exhibition is almost complete. Only my mother was, also here, not to be found in any picture, in any film. She was here as well? All the daily and weekly horrors. More than sixty thousand people, including Olga my mother lived here for a longer or shorter time before they were transported for slaughter in cattle trucks.
152
It's all displayed there, with matching sounds. Only missing the smell of fear.
At the end of the exhibition, I was surprised by the fragment of a poem by Leo Vroman:
Come this evening with stories
How the war is gone...
And they repeat a thousand times
All the times I will weep
That was too much. Internally I was at that time a lost, screaming and frantic child appearing as usual, I think. Very controlled. Jessica and Dorine were not done yet. But I could no longer see clearly.
Later, outside, the worst point of pressure of the boiler could be taken. Through an emotional spot, tears: "That poem of Vroman that they should have left out...." Nonsense, of course. It hung there not for me. But it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Walking through the forest of the Observatory we tried to reach the Memorial Field , the former camp. I was actually secretly glad that we were a bit lost. The final over tired body did during that seemingly endless walk make my emotions fly away. At one point I heard and saw again and I could hear birds enjoy a day out in the first warm rays of the year.
We reached a crossroads. Where was the Memorial Field? Left? Right?
We decided to go left.Mistake. An endless road without any traffic. Until finally a boy approached with a transport container behind his bike and revealed to us the secret of this traffic-free road.
Dorine had wanted to pick up the car in order to go to the  Memorial Field . But here, on the site of the Observatory , whereby this road also belongs cars may not drive. Because it causes interference in the reception of space signals. Later we would be on the field, and perceive for ourselves the enormous steadily rotating satellite dishes.
153
There was nothing to do but continue to walk back and by the Memorial Centre , step on the bus to the field. A bit of a bad feeling for me, because I was at the first confrontation with the bus chauffeur several hours before quite emotional about the sign on the front of the bus  'Kamp Westerbork' in large letters. Did that now may not be: former Kamp Westerbork? Or Memorial Field Westerbork? He responded quite shocked, he had never thought about it. The driver was a nice guy who even picked us up again.

And the sun kept its profusion spreading above  us.
The Memorial Field  is only recognizable as ‘Camp Westerbrok’ through the eyes of the mind. That means that on this radiant day, close your eyes and try to imagine that every slight rise in the ground was a barracks or a house, the roads were muddy pools, the air was cold and menacing. And where there now is a floor in the area, the locomotive was with cattle cars behind it. Dark, wet, cold. Screaming, crying, fear of death. Animal apathy too. Human survival instinct in all shapes, smells of fear, impoverishment and damp peat.... But also superhuman courage and optimism against their better judgment.
 We searched for Barrack No. 41-0, where my  mother had stayed, but there was not before  every barrack a mushroom with a number. We dwelt at length on the former apple instead. For every Jew an asterisk for each Shinti or Roma (Gypsy is still a nickname) a fire. An English boy picked up a loose star to take it as a souvenir. "You shouldnt do that," I said and he obediently put the star back on a stone. For how long?
 Walking along the ancient monument of the bent rails, along the paths and fences, along the partially intact kept ruins of barracks, my courage sank in shoes. Would I find the place where- about -Olga had been? Along the way I picked up a piece of debris on gray cement with pebbles from the side of the road. Something from the bottom, the base of the former barracks. It has been given a place with just such a piece of debris from Auschwitz, at home in a ceramic pot.
Then, with the exit in sight and already standing bus, Jessica screamed. ‘Forty-one!! ' Dorine and I reacted sluggishly, for we had not expected it. ‘Ma, Dorine, please look: Barak 41.’
From a huge sense of relief that there was yet again a proof of her existence, I looked at Jessica and Dorine to the mushroom which indicated that this was a house in a long line. Did it mean that she ended up with friends or acquaintances? The panic, which she must have known during the three days she was here? Immediately afterwards I realized that I'm here, as her daughter and standing with her granddaughter and my good friend, after fifty years, to bring her a final tribute. As at a funeral. This is where I spent my last salute. That is so Erica That I had to grin in spite of myself. My dead loved ones live in my heart that was never tied to one place. But the relief to have laid the last piece of the puzzle in place, having finished the quest, was great. I kept grinning. Jessica was delighted that it was she who found the place, Dorine was happy for me.
The purpose of the journey was found. And in the van to the center I told elated to the astonishment of the other occupants, ‘I have found again the place of my mother’
The return trip to the West was quick. And the thread to the past snapped when we were tired and hungry and could find no place to recuperate, to get something before we had to take the long journey home. Dorine decided to drive to Amsterdam. She put Jessica and myself out at staion Amersfoort. Her children were too long waiting for her, it was getting late.
My daughter and I decided to first eat in ’The Old Tram 'opposite the station.
155
The waiter was a friendly young flatter . The food was not even reasonable. Then he asked in clearing if it had tasted, I could not help saying that the meat had been too long in the fat, because the steak did  not taste good.
The train was ready. Only in Hilversum, we discovered that we had taken the wrong train.
157
September 2, 1994
To create a book, that was actually not what it was about. When the need was there, Erica wanted to force in herself a breakthrough. Writing was just a tool. Has it done her good?
"I can now talk about myself, not as before , then you had to bring everything out," Erica said. And I think:
Yes
You are now
Different
yet
 the same

Paul







































 Twee vrouwen en een jas
Dedicated to  the  Jewish social work ,
Dorine de Gruyter,
in memory of
Olga, my mother
And with thanks to Paul Groenendaal and to Elma Verhey,
 without whom this book would not have come about
Foreword
On the 1st September 1992

Erica writes hesitantly in a nice small, silk-bound booklet, "was very cozy ..." and she ponders further on the title of the diary that she wants to track the reporting of the quest which it has decided.
The reason is threefold
An inner need which has become increasingly stronger in recent years.
 All the chaos of her childhood surfaced.
she sits at her kitchen table looking out over the gallery railing over Nieuwegein. In this house she lives satisfied. Now is time to dare.
And she begins to write and muses. The title….
They could not have suspected in the summer of 1994, at the same kitchen table but much happier, with a sigh of relief and glad to work on her book with friends, the manuscript would shut and satisfyingly say, "Right, now we can eat. I have a beetroot salad. Jewish recipe.  Do you like it? "
They would certainly not have suspected two years ago, that her book would be in the shop windows in 1994.
Yet that is so. In August 1994 she was eating beetroot salad with two editors. Twice repeated she had to go through exhausting the entire confrontation with its own past, word for word, to make a diary into  a book. Popular portions, clarify things that diarists always perceived as historic.
I was one of the editors and I can assure you that the whole process from September 1992 until now, two years later was a hellish emotional period for Erica.
Paul Groenendaal
Leiden, 1 september 1994
September
15.
I have made a decision. I will ask Dorine to help me-finally- to go back to the past.
I have told that to my friends Piet S. and Corrie van R. Corrie is an old girlfriend that I know from the anti -racism work and Piet is chairman of the club where I am a secretary. I have told them that if I continue to function that I will need their help. That is why you are my friends? Through difficult times to help each other?
With Corrie I had a good talk, among other things, the power that comes from daring to continue to be vulnerable. She is currently in a difficult period and suffering physically and mentally.
I gave her calcium and magnesium, herbs and vitamins. In her family I am “the herb lady” not completely unjustly.
Piet gave me as an answer a mountain of work that by tomorrow morning had to be done.
for the first time I realized that my teeth bit together when I heard my own keys rattle while I opened the door to the deadbolt. Memories of the Martha foundation.
Later that evening. The memories become clearer.
 The leader, Ilsa Love, had the compassionate habit of using her keys, if she wanted to "admonish" children.
1943 -Nieuwersluis?
We stood in line one behind the other, naked, with a towel and a washcloth. Forty children. Two at a time we were washed in a cold bath. Now again I smell the scent of it. And  in the dorms, there were many bed wetter’s. Beds which were, roughly forty centimeters apart.
16.
 Woe betides you if you have not said or sang well before bed your prayers. God's love also expressed itself as "they" heard children still whispering : then they made you stand before your bed, cold feet on the ground, and wait and see how long they let you stand. Sometimes for hours. And you dared not to go to bed or to say anything. I was always picked out. If I had not knitted well , I had to knit at night sitting on the marble stairs. If she was back on time and not pleased, you got there "seams" in. And sometimes she forgot me. I sat there half naked, until she had to go to the toilet and just saw me sitting there.
Stopping blows. Every time going up and down the line. I  could never do it good and flee enough. When it was my turn , it was time for slaps, until I was half unconscious. What made her even angrier was that I could not respond. From fear, or also pride?

Then you had to eat on the penalty bench, the “biekenbank” and you were not allowed to play.
In was proud of my father , who could get on with her. Who brought so many sweets that all the children, also those that had visitors could eat sweets too. What was left over was taken away by Miss Geert Knoet. She searched me to make sure that I did not hide any. All the children called him Papa and loved him.
Emmie  Veldkamp- as snow white so beautiful. Red cheeks, pitch-black eyes and hair. She sat behind me in school and kept pricking me in my back with a pin. Finally I had enough; I turned around slowly and dropped solemnly my ink pot over her head empty.
That day was I beaten so much with the walking stick of Mr. van de Berg that I had to be taken to the hospital. The children bullied me so much, because I never said or did anything back. After the ink pot scene was that over for good. They saw that I "just" only responded when it suited me. Nevertheless Geert Knoete still saw me as a good victim, was why?
17.
3 september 1992
 The name of Margaret G. Van der H. was Greetje. She studied with me the Bible sitting in Alphen aan den Rhijn and comes from the Martha charity. She made contact with me and we made an appointment. Today at Central station in Den Haag.  Neutral territory. We arranged to meet at the third desk in the hall, at three o'clock and because we did not know each other she would recognize me by a bright pink umbrella that I was carrying.
My train arrived at a quarter to three , right on time. And while I stepped off the platform and walked to the hall, I looked around to see if I could recognize her. She should be wearing a red jacket. I did not see her so I waited
And as time passed, the passengers around me were together at the counter and rushed to their trains and I saw homeless and drug addicts. I became despondent and more despondent .What could have gone wrong?  After waiting an hour I took the train home.
Money thrown away, that journey and now I am skint. I can’t travel until I have money again. Preparations for the municipal platform Global Awareness, where I among others with Piet work, has so far cost nearly 100 euros on shipments, letters and the like. It is voluntary work, therefore I have to see if I will get it back, and if so when.

 So I have just called Margaret: It was my fault that the appointment did not go according to plan. I had Thursday in my diary and she as teacher could only get Wednesday free. Therefore she waited for an hour on Wednesday for nothing. We have now an appointment for next Sunday, 7 September.
Then she comes to me, not on neutral territory!
She told me, via telephone, things about the Martha foundation that I did not Know any more. About farmer Kwakernaak for example whose farm next to the home, whose calves I could take care of. Oh yes , I still  remember  that .

ik doopte de kalfjes zelfs , en voor de stier , die altijd in zijn hok zat en die vreselijk hard kon loeien, was ik erg bang.
I baptized even the calves, and the bull, which was always in his kennel and who could howl terribly hard, I was very scared of. Margaret  told of the shoe maker of the charity , over the subsequent build-up of the group of children. And I told him about the injustice that I, because I was allowed to study, was held responsible for the behavior of the younger children in my group. We talked for a long time , but I can not visualize her.
There are a lot of people of my age searching their  past. Rien G. is one of them. I know him only from the telephone. He too is searching  and has stories  that for an “normal” man come across as unreal. Rien is grown up in a Christian family and no one could explain to him over his (orthodox ) circumcision. He has lived in Alpha aan de Rijn and later in Boskoop. He remembered groups of children that rode bicycles in the Martha foundation. I remember the kilometers long marches that we did in lines of three ,to and through villages around Alphen. Very recognizable as asylum children ,but bicycling ? I don’t remember that . The only bicycle that I remember , I got from my father and that was stolen within two weeks! the leadership will have had  fun  with that.
Family Cote. Father was vice president, mother was a woman that every child wanted. We were children , without parents, without family ,without  backgrounds. They were very loved by us girls that were growing up .I  studied with Mieke their daughter and I still have a photo of her that she is in with other friends from school.
4 September 1992
Memories.  Nieuwersluis. White, Sunday sleeved aprons, black worsted stockings, clogs. White metal crib and  curtains with lots of lace. Was that toys or did babies lie in them? A very large house ,a park around about with a large grass field.
19.
Upstairs was a hall: The toilets flooded  over, stink and filth everywhere. No memories of the layout of the house or the daily affairs .
Later, after 1946, Alphen aan den Rijn. The group where I first sat , was right of the building. That was of the leader  (of day of night) Geert Knoet. Later on I sat above in the group M2… the electric cables hung loose out the wall. I got a shock and was unconscious for a while.  on a bench in a small alcove in the hall I came around. In the hall of M2 I learned other children songs and dances. I made a dance from “ zeg kwezelken wildet gij dansen?”  I still remember that dance  and in bed I told the kids always (horror) stories , where  the others always  huddled together in bed. That could then apparently.
Was it there that I first got my menstruation? I was eleven years old and no longer in the group of Geert Knoet. I must have been in panick when I found blood in my bed in the morning. Scared to get punishment- or that I had a fatal illness.
But the leader ( I don’t know which one) told me that I was now a Big Girl and no longer could I play with the boys. She gave me clean sheets and strange-looking terry "canvases" with a hole on each side and a waist belt. That was that, that was my sexual information sessions and that of the girls of my generation.
The school attic, which stood on the site. What I did there? I was there sometimes for drawing lessons? There were antique busts and heads of plaster and marble and it smelled and was  very dusty.
Mr. Van Dijk from the third class sat with his hand in my pants . If I reacted he told me to “shut up” and pinched me hard.
20.
These are memories that come up. I don’t remember any of the other leaders except the sadistic women Geert Knoet and Ida de Liefde  ( the corpse if compassion , “so as we called her) she got later an eye sickness , literally fire red eyes and according to tradition would go blind. We called that the punishment of God. There were also good leaders , such as the one Margaret called : Leny Zwaal.
Margreet found it  unlikely that I was made responsible for twelve young people from my group ....I was studying and was the only one that had a small room for myself- a former kitchen- where I could do my homework.
“But” said the former leader ( who?) “then you should make sure that the youngsters stay sweet” or words to that effect. That I do not remember names! The result was that I could not do my homework in the afternoon or evenings. I taught myself from the clock tower that I could see out my window , to sleep and wake up , sometimes at four in the morning to do my homework. I had to be a good example .Even now is six hours sleep enough! I had to go to bed at the same time as the  others and was controlled if my light was out.
That ” privilege “lasted less than a year. Then I had to go back to the “dorm “ and my room became a kitchen again. At least in my memory.
Slak van Beek. That was me. That is what they called me. Slow, clumsy, always the last in the line, whatever line. In the line by Geert Knoet , for every run in the black stockings or knitting on Sunday gray hosiery. How often did I have to take my work back and start again? And how often did I get beaten because I was the last in the line?
21.
5 September 1992
Zij van Vlink , a girl in my class, whose brother had a sort of animal magnetism for me. It depended on her if I may walk with her brother over the school grounds. It cost me my best books. Pure blackmail!
Rieke and Liesje Olie and their brother , who suddenly after the war were called Olij. The choir of Jo Toet , partner of Daniel Waayenberg, and the songs that we sang:
The heavens remains gloomy hung down
A dead silence reigns supreme
Creation grieves, she has no songs

And the organ tone of the forest is stupid ....
That has always stayed with me. And now comes a thought to me and a singing game over spring from princess Irene that we learned:
We are the hares out of the woooods
The small hares out of the woooods
and eating a hazelnut….
Today I read the Nieuwe Israelitisch Weekblad (NIW)from 28 August that was sent to me from the telephonist from the Jewish social work . The tears are in my eyes as I read the column from G. Philip Mok: “Am Jisraeel Chai.”
I am a Jew in heart and soul. I realize this especially , because,  even though  my past was  by the Martha charity very Christian and baffling , is very  agitated by the reading of the NIW and this column.
Will anybody ever bring my soul to her right place?
22.
Margreet was here. With a photo album full of photos of children from the buildings of the Martha foundation. Truly also a picture of Geert Knoet! Margreet stayed till five o’clock. I only recognized her when I saw her childhood photos. She is now a grown up lady and a teacher. And I have been stated as being incapable to work.
Although I am particularly strained, there are still no emotions that come up with the looking, talking about and recognizing of pictures from this time. Strange , actually. Names , names of people and places it was not more than that. Or not yet? Just scents come back. And the tinkle of the many chains of Miss Corvase the German teacher
And the face of the pathetic spinster of needlework,-who  was also bullied by me.
We talked about the family Cote, also for Margreet a very loved family. It was a  shame that Mieke had  so little  attention , because her parents were caring for more than four hundred and fifty children. And hospitality and love, that the children received from no one else.
23.
Still 7 September , evening
I have asked  Paul, my dear friend from the past and still,  whether he wants to read my writings.  And if it may ever be a book , would he be my editor?

In the years past  I've never been able  to tell him anything from my childhood. And when I tried it sounded confusing  and incomprehensible to him . And still I  panicked , as he practically forced me to go into the past, how lovingly and patiently he tried. It caused unbearable tension between us.
My strange reactions to his innocent remarks, my off-track anxiety and panic attacks , and I crawled into my shell when he became irritated. His bohemian - like attitude toward my need for security. Love and security, very civil,  are synonymous with safety for me.  For him it means trouble, curtailing his freedom.  Doubly, as a clipped bird in a cage. That can not continue to go well. And therefore did not go well.
After two years of silence I made contact with him. This is also the way to tell him about my youth, all those things, all those fears that surface.   Will I persevere to the end? And will Dorine , my friend from the Jewish social work , and Paul , my old friend , able to provide enough support for it?
Paul also has his stories.  Stories  from his childhood, how he experienced the war. And the years after. His life is a continuous line, with peaks of course, like an ECG., But his Memories are a common thread running through his life. And me? I have the feeling that my life only halfway in my adulthood begins. The way back from there is not even visible, but it must be there. I'm finally not come into the world as an adult, or without background or parents.
24.
The memories keep coming. There is now no stopping them. When I was fourteen , in 1949, I could stay whenever I wanted to at my uncle Bart and aunt Marie and their two daughters ( Marie is the one that arranged for me to be taken from my father and placed in the Martha foundation , But I had not realized that yet). After staying there a few times they told me , that I May leave the Martha foundation and come and live with them, if I promised never more to have contact with my father! I did not realize that she therefore would experience the ultimate triumph, by taking my  father’s   only child away- for good - after years before, my father had me taken away from her. He told me once how he accidentally had witnessed how they mistreated me and how he then took me, but that's another story. Aunt Marie thought she’d  have cheap household help from  me? Until that point I knew no more about housekeeping than drying up . After a short period of reflection I refused to give up my father. I had to return to the Martha charity and I never stayed there again! They cried with anger and disappointment but I never regretted my decision. Even though I was thus in the Martha Foundation, and even though I was not yet aware of the purpose and background.
Yet I was then, just as unconsciously, an arrogant weight. I must have been nineteen years and I just started working in the council office in the town of Woerden. I had left the Martha foundation and was free to visit my father. With him in Amsterdam, also lived  uncle Coen  (his brother) and his wife Aunt Cor. Uncle Coen was a park worker and I worked in an office. I suggested that he was a staff member and I officer. Absurd and ridiculous. We had words, it was not fun anymore. Maybe I wantedto offend them by punishing them for leaving me in the Martha foundation. In my childhood I stayed  with my father and  with them? Then they had to stay together in a house and were busy trying to get my father , who was alone out, because they had a family. Grandpa was already dead….


25.
Grandpa ! That small house that I can still smell. Grandpa , whom I passionately loved, who sat me on his lap , read and played with me, who cut all the cartoons out of the newspaper and pasted them in a big book for me and upstairs there was more big books and cartoons and other things were I was allowed to play . I realized that in later years my grandpa and my father , played a smaller role in my life , among other reasons , because, they both did more for the youngsters of number 88( grandpa lived at number 90 on the Plaatijzerweg) and for their mother, auntie Ella. I felt that I did could not come between or be involved there .But the short time that I lived with my father and grandfather and came to auntie Ella’s and played with the youngsters , Henk and Erich ( it was not longer than a half a year), was the only rally happy time of my youth.
Back to the Martha Foundation.
It's the feeling. No conscious memory. It must have been dark, cold and wet. Rain and wind, when I arrived in Nieuwersluis.
I have the same feeling when I think of how I was brought  from one hiding place to another  to a person's hand, with maybe a briefcase or a bag in the other hand.
Actually I can’t remember real memories out of that period. It is like a thin black veil which is located over the entire past. You see it and know  that there is something behind, but to see through it is so difficult. There is nothing, even for only a moment, illuminated, allowing you to see everything clearly.
I was there, at Serreschans, in Nieuwersluis. It stank and was noisy and humid. In the evening we folded our clothes on our shoes ,  some wore wooden shoes - so that we could flee if necessary.
26.
 I had nightmares, others banged evening and night with their heads rhythmically against the headboard of their bed. I know of at least one time I'm sleepwalking into the dining room to sit and  sat there all night, with  my arms folded. Until the group came for breakfast and woke me up. That is how it was told to me later on. Geert  Knoet had to – with cold water- wash and dress me completely.I seem to have come far away.
During every air raid, all attacks on or near the railway line Amsterdam - Utrecht, we dove at night under the beds. Or during the day, under the tables or in the ditch. And when we gathered wood in the forest across the street, we looked panicked for a tree to stand against.Their was a farm in the forest. If we were there in the area we pushed in and stood against the wall. One child from the group once stole something there. For that , later on all of us got one at a time ,  a beating. Geet Knoet knew how to give a beating. And I never had the impression that she  did so reluctantly.
Two dormitories. Hepatitis broke out, jaundice, diarrhea and vomiting. Then we got punishment. If you had to throw up everything was shoveled back on the board, different food put over it and you had to eat it .
For days you were given the same plate of food . That really happened.
On Friday afternoon we went for a bath. Very soapy water, probably there was no real soap anymore .All forty children went into the same bath water at least that is how I remember it. I definitely remember on a Friday after the bath , leading everybody to their knees  beside the bed . There we were in our our nightdresses or pyjamas  , and I spoke facing where I believed East to be out a prayer. Where did I get that from! Even Geert Knoet  later on knelt and prayed with me.
27.
In that time , I had also knowledge of everything that was eatable, and there was a lot  edible  in the big garden around the grounds of Sterrenschans. I seemed to know what wild rye and wheat were, which fruit was edible, which mushrooms were poisonous. There was a bush with bright red fruits that we definitely had to stay away from .But somehow or another I knew that the fruits were definitely not poisonous. And they were really tasty. Since I had eaten it, they had , probably with fear and trembling, waited a day and then the bushes were looted. What was left over was made into jam. The strange thing is that I lost some of that knowledge after the war and was only returned in my high school years. How could I, a city kid from Amsterdam and Wenen , know all those things and use it too?
Cold , wetness, stink and fear. The feelings prevail over the war violence.
Why, dammit, do I not  remember how and by we I was taken away from my father? Or how I was taken away from my mother ? I feel darkness. Screaming and shouting from every side?
The panic of then is again totally back. Bugger up all! Leave me alone.
12 September 1992
The past won’t leave me alone. Now I have started voluntary work in abundance.   I speak to a lot of people who want to talk about the flash that one has seen in me in early news. That was at the conference ”The hiding child” . That lasted three days , but the first day I could not handle it, and I left in the afternoon.
Now their stories are coming out. …. The stories from people that can’t forget how their friends, and their classmates disappeared. How the rumors about treason and hiding of teachers and teachers who disappeared and aunts and uncles   and so on. Me they had never associated therewith.
28.
18 September 1992
It's hard to get hold of this book.I don’t feel physically fit and the doctor won’t allow me to give blood for the red cross before he has his self-done an examination.
Still I want to go back. Not to the time of hiding, but to the time before that. What do I really remember from the time with my mother? Blank memories come up, real memories!
We lived in the Vrolikstraat in Amsterdam. I am in the living room playing with my dolls house with real lights. My father made that. The curtains are closed, the lights are burning.
In the back room there is singing with guitar and mandolin en…violin? Austrian (mountain) songs, Dutch hiking songs, operetta songs. I feel good about it, even though I'm alone, but with Kareltje- Karlchen will have mentioned him- my big wooden doll out of Wenen, whose legs moved back and forward when you moved his legs. When we went for walks he walked beside me, then Mutti or someone else held his other hand and we waved them back and forth.
Jetje my neighbor .We play in the garden .Jetjes mother is with my mother. We ran on the veranda , into the kitchen. But Jetje stepped in the wooden veranda onto a big nail. I feel sick, because she had so much pain . Typical, such a reaction.
We play at Jetjes in her house. She has a grandpa, who lives in the back room. One day grandpa does something “dirty” . He takes his willy out and hold it against me and Jetje. We were not allowed to talk about it. We found it so interesting, that straight away we tell it to Jetjes mother…..The next day grandpa is gone and Mutti wont talk about it.
Auntie Hilda, Mutti and me walk in the Leidsestraat. Mutti has a yellow dress on with small blue roses. I am playing hopscotch , pavement on , pavement off and sprain my ankle. That hurts so much that I nearly faint. Mutti takes me in her arms . Then I pee on her beautiful new dress and from shock I begin to cry really hard.
I have warts under my foot and was with her at the doctor. He burns them away and I scream  out. When that is done , is Mutti talking with the doctor and I walk around and stand on something that is glass that cuts my foot open. Mutti was upset and apologized extensively with the doctor, but does not look at my foot.
With a lot of kids at the same time we are at a clinic. In the entrance of the door stands a doctor,who will cut out our tonsils. He gives a speech, where the mothers are. He promises the kids (I think he overlooks me) a scooter with square wheels, if they are very sweet.I am furious. I also want a scooter with square wheels, but he has not promised me anything and I don’t want to go with them in. Without mother , all doctors and nurses and strange big stools….And PAIN! With force they opened my mouth, there is pain and blood in my throat. Panic!
 Later on I got a present from Mutti, but not a scooter with square wheels.
The front room is the children’s room. The curtains, the cushions on the home made plywood stools, the tablecloth, the curtain for the home made cupboard- everything is covered in thin light blue material with small yellow and pink flowers. I have a lot of toys, more than other children. My father makes a lot . I think that he also made the furniture and the lamp.
But I am rather at my auntie Jo, who lives behind us and has eight children. There it is always busy and cozyThat is where I would rather eat, not at home, sometimes Mutti eats there too.
Looking back, it seems like I come from far away. Another time,  different atmosphere. The noise outside overwhelms me here. Then the reassuring noise  of the  refrigerator takes over.
Back. Other memories.
Across the street is a sweet shop. Sometimes I get a whole penny to buy sweets.Then I go with Jetje or with a girlfriend to look for what I want.
We always go with a group of children, with a grown up , to the Frobel school. Then we pass by a wasserete . Mutti is so beautiful, I am so proud when she comes with us. Or if we go somewhere else. We go out a lot, also on visits.
Memories of scenery, stage curtains, hollow-sounding voices and ballet practice rooms with piano music.I am in a ballet group with other little ones But Mutti is also  very musical: she can sing and dance and loves the theatre…
( Years later I went with my father on a visit to a family Schubert. They came out Wenen and knew my mother. And me as a small girl. Their home was a revelation, so well-known and familiar to me. But the people, Mr. and Mrs. Schubert, I did not remember.)
Mutti is proud to make me beautiful. I remember a pink and white woolen skirt with very nice buttons. A tartan dress of silk with a white lace apron, white silk socks and black patent leather shoes.I feel the material now as I think about it…..
Images… They keep coming, tumbling over each other in their haste to reveal their self to me. I write key words in order not to forget them, not one can escape now, how they whirl together.
31.
Argument between my parents. The swing hangs from the doors to the veranda in the back. They sit together  around  the table, maybe playing a game- and so I try to swing that I can catch my father out. That poor sweet man.
Another vision. I am in a holiday camp in Petten on the sea. Specially set up for the sickly. I get there a sickness, perhaps nostalgia. It must be winter, a hard winter. My beautiful Mutti is brought in with bloody legs and lies beside me in the hospital ward. She has  walked far  through deep snow and the hard top layer  has broken  her silk stockings and rubbed her legs broken .But she is with me again. She has to stay in bed longer than me. I don’t remember any more, apart from that I don’t want to lose sight of her again. Except when I go to the Frobel school. I made so many nice things  and have  brought them home for her: a doily for the tea chest (with the  coffee set) made by  folding a countless number of times  silk paper; and  beautiful  things made  of wire and colored beads, such as a swing with side posts and a doll ( with a picture) on it. The picture I made again in the Martha Foundation , I now remember.
From the Frobel school , I remember a party. I have to run with a young boy to win a glass of lemonade .There is two glasses: In one of them is real orangeade, the other is colored on the inside. I win! And I pick the good glass too. He is very mad.
A warm spring morning. The sun has just risen. I stand with Mutti by the Bata. My father works there. Airplanes fly overhead. Noise , bomb craters .My mother falls to her knees , throws her hands before her face and begins to scream and cry. War  “Oh no, My God no!” Everywhere people, everywhere panic. My father? I don’t know. My sweet , beautiful Mutti is bleeding and crying. In my memory I am completely rigid and only see the image and hear noise. horrible noise.
32.
Swimming in th e sports fund bathson the Heiligeweg. I heard later that as a baby I could swim. But there is panic, as I a toddler climb to the top of the diving board and was  suddenly discovered on the edge of the shelf.UI was caught by a man. Mutti cried from shock.
We sleep in the alcove ,the room in between . Beside  the back (living) room frosted glass sliding doors, which could make the living room bigger ; beside  the front room with a  wooden door .On both sides was  a bed.
Mutti often wears a brooch from the Stefan Church in Vienna, where we must have lived. I see the colors now before me. I find that the most beautiful thing and I climb up on her lap often , just to see it.
Vienna. From Vienna I remember little or nothing. A large, gray, barrack- like building where all voices sound very hard. A big garden like a park. Or is it a park? There I also  have an Omama, that in my memory is very big and stately, Many and very big stairs and very high. You still see that in old films.
As I dive into the past again without clear memories, at least without images.The feeling of very fine porcelain The scents, the   scent of earl grey tea ,bergamot, roses, the under  scent of certain perfumes, from freesia’s:  That was the scents of Mutti.
I must have been a smart child. Bilingual, with a large vocabulary in both Dutch as East German. And with only a faint notion of the dramas that took place around me and the tension of the impending war. Then it was just very lucky.
33.
And suddenly it was over.
One of the last things I remember from the Vrolikstraat, the bomb crater is nearby, at the corner of Van Woustraat.
19 September 1992
After all these years, is now (of course completely unjustified, I realize that though) great anger towards my niece Ilse, her half brother Kurt and half sister Inge  (my cousins ), not even a little time to share with me .After Vienna- and from there I only have a photograph- I never saw them again. Anyway Ilse has regular contact with Inge .Or is Hilda, her mother and my aunt ( Muttis sister) responsible for that? Ilse has stayed in England at Inge’s and sometimes Inge comes to Amsterdam. Ilse has worked on a kibbutz. Ilse has kept her mother. Ilse is not to balame , no one is to blame. These things just happen like that. But she has kept a whole family. I lost everyone.
34.
 Would   her mother  not  be responsible for the only child of her sister? She survived,  my mother was killed. Maybe I was not really happy at hers , but I had  family. Family in  Amsterdam, in ,England, Austria( Vienna) and Israel . Ilse kept those contacts. I never had them.
Bitterness is not necessary and not good .But I still have to get rid of it.
Tonight I read on teletext about  the first really anti-Semitic demonstration in Eastern Europe. And the decision by the Arab countries to engage in a "holy war" against Serbia (for the Muslims in Bosnia).
Fear strikes, Nostradamus was right? Literally, also was the misery in Iraq predicted by him. In 1994, Europe would be at war with Islam, and warnings would not help.
 Wait and watch as Europe and Israel will perish and America will get involved too late? So then we get World War III.
20 September 1992
Teletext , Page 312. Budapest. Tens of thousands of demonstrators against the president and against the management of the Hungarian television. The Democratic Front had warned against Jewish power.
Teletext, page 313.If this "holy war" would continue - there is Iran an army ready, says teletext- and if only if Saudi Arabia is against, what's going to happen here? All those tens of thousands of young, rudderless Muslims who are aware to be Muslims if they want nothing "to do", they will find a purpose in this so-called holy war? A purpose to live for, an ideal? Ah  heaven, then Europe will indeed be overwhelmed  by Islam, but other than Nostradamus meant . Who predicted that the threat would come from Iran.
35.
There is an enormous depression coming. I have to see . But what is  the usefulness of the past,  if there is nothing good to expect from the future? I wrote that in a poem in 1956, when there was an uprising in Hungary.

Perhaps there is no future to live in
So we almost stand still naturally.
It seems to me, it is  far better to stay
Than to perish in the future.
I'm just here to do something else. Read Paul's letters. He has  everything I write on the computers , and sends me the prints with a letter. Memories and things that happen to him now, that never were related to me. About how he and his friends, shortly after the war, were driven by nerves and panic  to cause a massive blow to the  garden of the Jewish family of Juultje  .How much he regretted it later. How easily he rolled over the war, his memories  are colored by his   awakened wanderers spirit.
In the newspaper Het Parool from 27 August ( why have I not read that before now?) writes Chawwa Wijnberg: “The feeling of sadness, anger and despair, which we (the children) as it were victimized ...)
She forgot to mention the fear and fundamental loneliness.
I dreamed of a shindig in someone’s room. There was a beaten up bed.Nobody danced with me, I desperately did my best to look as happy as the others that were available.I suggested to them that we sit on the bed , but they did not want to do that. On leaving, someone showed me out  and I just walked outside in the darkness. Left the others behind me, and they went the other way.
36.
 And I woke up afraid.
And last night I dreamed of earthquakes and noise and trapped between the people and I could   not go anywhere. I realized in the dream that that was the safest place to be.
I have written to Ilse , and told her what I can remember, or thought I could. I have asked her if she can tell me more. Maybe her mother Hilda has told her things about my mother, my grandparents , about Vienna. Maybe that will help me to remember things again.
21 September 1992
I want to try to continue. I have  yet to discover a wide no man's land between Mutti and the Martha foundation. I find it very scary and it's all very murky. If I cannot find it,  I must use violence. It  wears me out, but also makes me stubborn.
At the beginning of this week I close this book and send it to Dorine to read. Then after we have spoken about it , I take it back.
24 September 1992
Dorine agreed to once again pick up the image of my mother. Like that , that is potentially imposed by my father and my  family.
And try to find an answer to the question to what extent it has affected my self-imposed image. And so  my life.
Where I'm going and where I come from?
37.
Despite sleeping pills I have not slept in two nights. I'm too busy with voluntary work and obligations thereabouts, then again, I also feel the desire to let that go and come to myself. Does  not work. Tired, muscle and bone pain. I  get up again at 05:15 and have put on coffee. Pondered about errors and  heartlessness   present in others, about shortcomings in my work. I talk too much. I've never been this way.
39.
October
41.
1 October 1992
I have fallen  into a massive depression and have layed everything (temporarily) down. And I again feel guilty about that .... I was yesterday during a meeting sitting at home so nervous that it was not fun anymore. It is necessary to prepare an event for 17 and 18 October, but I stuttered, could not get my words out, belittled myself and understood little. I feel spiritually paralyzed me and have pain all over my body. Why? What is happening to me?
Jessica, my daughter has read the memories to Mutti. She was happy ,  she said .It has given her more information over her unknown grandma and more understanding for me.
4 October 1992
I   could not do anything the last few days. There was actually   so much work to do that I was  torn   to continue, between my desire with this book and my "love and devotion to duty" for the work that must end  17 December, when the municipal Platform Global Awareness is installed. All preparations for this swallowed my time, my energy and my money.  I had already given up the trade union work in the past month, as well as my    contacts with council and commission.
Jessica had warned me that my dive in the past would take my energy. She seems to have been right. It is still scary and it is still not known if it is really worth it all:
I, the Jewish middle aged daughter, grew up in a "Christian" environment, have come during this quest at a point where I am searching for my Jewish roots. But precisely because of my past I hear, and I feel, no longer at home in the Jewish community. What the latter may be.
42. 
Anyway, here we go: the image I have of my mother. A real image I have not so clear. A small, muscular woman, slim. And quite striking, very large eyes, well dressed, sometimes chic. Sometimes  happy, sometimes aloof. I don’t remember  hug parties, nor things we did together. However, we were inseparable, which is pretty normal for a single mother with a child.


Yet there must be, outside of the described memory, an image that appeals to reality. Though the knowledge   from the past (not the Memories),  the fleeing and the fears of the rising anti-Semitism before the war, persecutions,  bring back real memories that I'm mentally maimed by them. The image stays the same: My beautiful , sweet Mutti.
My father has told me about  the fleeing to and from Vienna . He told me about Hilda , whom  we went together to visit. And he also told me that, years after the divorce, when he was  long  just   friends with "mother" that he  still loved Olga . Her eyes, he could not forget them. At the same time, he really gave me the picture with a woman, who was immensely irritated by his lack of willpower, Only in 1963 I was, here, facing my past. I received from the Red Cross proof of her death.perseverance and ambition. She herself had, after all, despite social opposition, won gold medals at the Workers' Olympics in Budapest. That were immediately snatched away at the border control in Germany, was another matter. He, my father had on his marriage abandoned his studies in state economy to support his family. He could not find any work in the crisis. For the support he worked in the DUW   (social service’s)., but I don’t know if his marriage was already over or not. That was the picture my father gave.
43.
Although he was a sweet, gentle man, he did not make it with Olga, who must indeed have possessed so much more perseverance and rationality. This is clear from what she has achieved in athletics, her survival instinct, but also from the circles in which she must have been.  Artists, theatre, musicians and the likes of  did not fit at all with the soft, pliant and pure leftist worker boy who was my father.
I actually believe that from Olgas side, that it was a marriage of rational considerations. However, he was lost from the moment he saw her. That he called her “hard” afterwards, I can understand now but it does not change the image I have of her. That has something of defenselessness.
So far as I remember , we never talked about her in our family. She is hushed and I  was “the poor small child” . Literally hushed .When I was at my first hiding place , at the aunt from my father’s side, I must have asked when Mutti was coming back.” Do not complain, we'll see when she comes  back. be quiet, now it should be over. "
No proof of her existence ever after.
A little understandable when one remembers how it was at the  time. At each address it must look as if I belonged. And a child who complains about   when Mutti was returning,  was a danger  for her surroundings. The questions and even the memory was so very quickly suppressed and eliminated by the mental and physical coercion from outside. And the multitude of impressions, all relocations and new environments and the induced fears, the memories indeed disappeared. Nobody, apart from my father , had ever talked with me about my mother. Also after the war. It was- suddenly- aborted.  Only in 1963  was I, suddenly, confronted with my past. I received from the Red Cross proof of her death. .A “Wiedergutmachungsgeld” from Germany, which I can use to benefit my family. Only in that time, when I had received that relatively small amount, I was wondering if there is somewhere maybe someone still alive who my mother was. Despite the obituary.     Because  I had two small children and a million questions. I looked at every Jewish looking woman – Maybe she was the one? I wrote to Israel, when I saw on television a woman that I thought looked like Olga.
44.
 As I got older, my feelings denied this understanding of this.
There is bullying children's game in which the children stand in a circle with a child in the middle. That one child with a hard push is hurled to another. After such a shove you try to regain equilibrium, but before you succeed in it, you get pushed again by another child. When  you  think you are  standing well ,  you  are  pushed before  you can regain balance. That is the image I have from my childhood. Once I was with someone, I could hold someone. That brings a new memory in the light. Me holding  Mutti’s hand, always. In the tram on her lap, me doing  most of the talking. I belonged with her, I held on to her. The image I have of myself from earlier years, after the disappearance of Mutti , is  of that child in the center of the circle.
Here in this falt in Nieuwengein, where I live from 1981, there has been change.
Divorced from my second husband, the children grown up,I left my soul in ” prayer”  in charity work. That is also a way of hiding from myself.
 But I am myself, Erica van Beek. A woman for whom I could respect, despite her bouts of depression, crazy reactions, and panic states.
There Paul and Dorine have played a big part in.
45.
9 October 1992
Yesterday I started with  Dorine the  processing, and we  agreed that  they would inquire about my mother at the State Archives. The next time we will discuss when we will look for Olga in barracks 41/0.
 A picture of me as a toddler with a hat on, has on the back the year 1939 .I was then four years old and back in Amsterdam. A fact that raises no recollection .
46.
Erica in 1939
47.
From Olgas letter from Westerbork to Aunt Hilda, I took it that they had to report to the prison at the Amstelveensweg, because she had not sewn but had pinned her star. From there, they should be sent directly to Westerbork and Auschwitz. When Olgas sister, my aunt Hilda died, I received from her daughter Ilse, out of her legacy, a letter and a telegram written from Westerbrok. It was thus that I finally collapsed and could do nothing  with the feelings that arose.
The telegram from Olga from Westerbrok
The facts as I know them now at a glance:
8 September 1942:
Letter that she is transported to Westerbrok:
10 September 1942:
Telegram from Westerbrok;
14September 1942:
Official date of death in Auschwitz.
48.
The first hiding place:
Bestevaerstraat 19 -high. Before that I was for a time in the Bellamy- straat, anyway on the 11 August 1942.
Mutti must have disappeared around about my seventh birthday.
Since that birthday fell on a Saturday (found on the perpetual calendar) there is to think of a family member , in this case certainly, that took me in because Olga had to report on Monday, 3 August 1942 at the Amstelveenseweg.
 Then, on September 8, she writes that she's " deported" to Westerbrok. That was a  "Wednesday". The telegram of September 10  was in vain. The next following day that the train left to Auschwitz was Tuesday 14 September, the same date as her official date of death! Indeed, the trains always left on Tuesday?
That can mean two things. The first is that she did not survive the journey . The second , that she indeed was “murdered” directly when she arrived. However, it could mean , that she never arrived in Auschwitz dead or alive….or never even left….
Help. I don’t understand!
Then in the  Bellamystraat…. Was I there for a short time by Hilda and did I arrive  on 11 August 1942 in the Bestevaerstraat by Marie and Bart? Or at her parents?
In the Simon Sttevinstraat, in my memory a street behind, I was by Marie and Bart.
Between 11 August 1942 and 15 December 1942, there is a series of addresses. After the Simon Stevinstraat the Keizergracht. By whom? After that the Prinsengracht, I also can’t remember . De Eerste Leliedwarsstraat, in the middle of the Jordaan. A crooked house with sloping floors.It stood under construction for many years. I remember that I must have been at a cousin of my father. That the sloping floor was broken and the furniture too and smelly. Wooden floor and a damp stinking kitchen. The people there could not do anything about it : The houses were not maintained. In a room lay a pile of patches or blankets, that is where I slept. In another room there was a window that looked upon a house, where  Chinese  people lived. Sometimes if I look outside and saw the boys with their beautiful white shirts and their black trousers. I found them soooo beautiful!
49.
After that in Hoorn , Keern number 32 or 24. A sister of my father, aunt Bets, married with Aart den Ouden, three children. That was a real family.I slept with their daughter in one bed. We went after the harvest searching opium poppy. That was in the Kennemerland. The stubble in the country short   mowed grass  caused bleeding legs and feet. How was the  reaction  to that? I don’t know anymore. All that we could find we put  in the pants with elastic in the legs  and was given at “home". Sometimes we kept apples or pears for ourselves and we eat them in bed.
In the town center was a peacock cage and the school was nearby.I went to the school with a neighbor boy, whose parents were informants. This is less of a memory than what I was told later. The Germans marched by our house, singing ”Auf der Heide bluht ein kleines Blumelein und dass heisst  Erika…” And me, with my Austrian background pulled on the trouser leg of the sergeant and said: “Ikch heiss auch Erika.” However, on the shoulders of the Germans I've been several times to school. Then I was soon gone from Hoorn.
Then I again ended up with Marie and Bart. In Amsterdam North, Vijfde Vogelstraat 17.  Marie was hard. Father  said that he had fled from the “Arbeitseinsatz”  and came home. He lived a distance of twenty five meters away and came to visit me, and caught Marie , just as she was giving me a beating. It must have been a hard quarrel before he retrieved me and took me to grandpas. I was not allowed to see Marie again. That was not necessary; I now had grandpa and the two neighbor boys Henk and Erich. And I had the only happy half a year of my youth, since my mother’s disappearance.
Marie took revenge and reported me. Probably at the Council for Child Protection. On the 15 December 1943, a cold, wet, dark day, I was again removed and brought to the Martha Foundation, then in Nieuwersluis.
Well, there is a very clear result. That Rivka (Ella) has informed several times to me. That I have interested! Family, only it never was told me.
What remained was a lie. And denial. In this case, two different things. But that’s another story.
I have immediately written back to Ilse and told her that I have received a letter from Olly. I hesitate to send her a copy of it.
                                                                   6 November 1992
Dear Ilse,
I am writing back straight away. Thank you very much for your letter. Now I can write back to Schachter.  I had already written evidence about mother's death, but now I can explain to him how it is.
In the meantime I have received a letter from aunt Olly. I will send you a copy, but hesitate because she did not- how shall I say this- write so friendly about your mother. Let me know if you wish to receive the letter-and you can.
As for me, I want to find the truth. Olly is not so young anymore and it was a hectic time then. But I must do it with hypotheses. These are often 'ouch'. Would I however, be reconciled with the past, then I will have to continue for the time being to write. A journalist friend wants to make a book of my quest. And the KRO wants to dedicate a radio show to it.  This came about because of ads I've posted in the hope that there are still people alive who knew Olga .
No, nil comma zero reactions.
In the book that I am writing, about the hiding, the Martha Foundation, and the like are  discussed, but mainly my search for Olga.
Meanwhile I have, thanks to you, a past back that is mine. A kind of wholeness, whereas before my life began only in my early adulthood and all that had happened to "another child named Erica '. You understand? Thanks again. Wholeheartedly. We are getting closer, you notice that too?
Very cordial greetings and until the next letter,
                                                                   Erica
77.
Indeed, I am aware that, where this story began as a personal process, it is now  my mother's story. I think it is about the fact that I want to know these things, she could have told me if she not- so young - had been killed. Others, including Jessica, hear the stories of home and about the past. That is the most normal thing in the world!! ouch- in this paradise, that is called  the Netherlands.
It's very selfish and I have never felt so self-centered and prepared. But I consciously try the pain, the anguish, the misery and the flights and keep fleeing from day to day all those millions.
Because I have to live in my life. And so far it has not been.
Tomorrow firstly I will write back to  Schachter and aunt Olly.
11 November 1992
 The anniversary of Jacobs’s death.  I am thinking back to that hopeless, terrible day, six years ago. Looking for the poem that I wrote. And another, that I wrote as I was mourning for Jacob in 1986.
78.
Jacob
I have known you- and not known you my child
- I have a picture of you, that is called Jacob;
And image of rebellion, fury and suffering
That binds you to my past.

 I have built a picture of you, my child,
That put his arms around me and held my hand.
Not the boy who destroyed his life
  But one who finds life fearful and unlivable.

That scared and angry and on the run
 in life never found a shelter
and disbanded from his fear by his death

I loved you, my child that we knew.
And powerless, I watched how you
have wounded yourself so deadly.
                                                                 Nieuwegein, 1986
79.
Who wants to hear
how trumpeter grief
Who will not run away
for my nocturnal crying….

Hear how the land
shakes under my feet thumping
looking crying
Screaming for my children....

their hunters
continue to be injured
And flee
for my boundless grief ...

About him and his name
can turn around
Flights as I approach
come seeking solace…..

I want their names
not know him forget
Never love again no more
do not be complicit….

Do not come closer
I liked you even trust
Again memories
should be to what was….

And who wants to hear….
80.
11 November, later
I still have written the letter to Schachter. With "urgent" on the envelope. Because in the mailbox was a letter from the 'Division for Personal Commemoration,' say 'the department Commemoration of Persons ":
"We propose to inform that one page witness statement to commemorate your loved ones, family and friends, who lost their lives in the Holocaust, are added.
The Pages of Testimony will be included in the computer and stored in the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem. A second notice with the names registered shall be sent to you next month. "
Yes, hasty and erroneous data
12 November 1992
If I have ever had the illusion that humanity has become wiser and better, it is now absolutely over. At the time of Gorbachev, I still had hope. Ethnic and nationalist wars that since robbery and especially in the 'civilized' Europe have broken make me realize that humanity has learned nothing. I have always expressed the opinion that the "masses" consists of individuals, who each have their responsibilities with respect to themselves and their fellow men. I take the view back without extreme bitterness, but with the sad realization that it was an illusion. The "dumb masses indeed. The masses seem to have a need for a negative individual, projecting above ground level, head and shoulders. His pursuit the ideals of the global village? The only thing that still exists thereof is the data of the news distributionA message from the newspaper yesterday, a headline: 'Bosnia Muslims are actually threatened with extinction. ‘
And the world is watching.
Yesterday I passed the pieces from my tray from the town hall. And immediately an alarm bell was  raised. For the new municipal identitieskaart is a counterpart of what the (jew) got on the Ausweiss: an asterisk with a number (eg * 76 468.) For Moluccans!
'Moluccans' indeed have a 'special status' in the Netherlands. But the name and picture together should be sufficient recognition? Along with the smear campaign against so-called illegal immigrants gives me the conviction that the "Ausweiss bitte," mandating us of wearing - and showing- identification at any request is only a matter of time. And then the shift to the right and nationalism also struck here. Because only 'real' Dutch have a municipal identification.
Of course I have taken the necessary steps. Also to get this publicity, but you have to wait and see how it is picked up and whether one sees the danger.
 Below the letter in translation I wrote to Rabbi Schachter enclosing a copy of Olgas note, her telegram and the evidence of her death.
                                                                  11 November1992
Dear Rabbi Schachter,
My heartfelt thanks for your letter of 16-10-'92, but above all for your loving attention.
As you can understand it for me indeed a shock to have read and found out that there is already a Page. I needed a few days to get over the shock and to discover that the story in the Page was wrong with the reality.
This morning I received a note from the 'Division for Personal Commemoration,’ my mother is registered on the basis of your story. Please, undo, it was too fast, too hasty. I do not blame you, you were full of good intentions and truly believed in what you found.
Truth is, I send you:
1 An almost illegible note, which my mother wrote on the way to Westerbrok on Wednesday 8 September 1942, to her sister Hilda. The original can be found in the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam;
2 A copy of a telegram that my mother sent to her sister from Westerbrok on September 10, 1942. The original of this is found in the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam;
3 An excerpt from the municipality of Amsterdam, which shows that  my mother, Olga Bock, was murdered in Oswiecim (Auschwitz) in Poland, and that she was the daughter of Jozefa Karpfen and Armin Bock. Also showing that she had been married to Jacob van Beek, my father;
4 Finally, a letter from the Dutch Red Cross information office.
The last two letters I received, as you can see, already in 1963, when I was married  with my first husband. They were the only evidence, then, that I had, that she had ever lived. Many years later, when my mother's sister died, I received that note and that telegram. And that was that. Make from it your own story...
Now, after receiving your last letter, I tried to get in touch with Ilse, the daughter of my mother's sister. That sister survived and died about ten years ago. I translate for you part of the letter I received:*.
Until there the letter I received from my cousin.
When I received your letter, I thought that I was crazy or had a wrong picture in my mind of the past. It took a while before I realized that that was not the case and that no second Olga Bock existed with the same background. One possibility was then, that the Israeli cousin had her own story about my mother, which I discovered, was true, as you see.
 As for my father is the following. He was not a Jew, but he did not get me after the war to take care of me.
*see page 74.
83.
Hilda would not do that *, as I have discovered. So I had to stay in that very Christian orphanage until I was 19 years old. And I had to forget everything (had forgotten all) of my first childhood.
The truth about my life and that of my mother is really complicated. I have to  rediscover my past and my memories now. That's why I try to write down on that quest, everything about that trip to the past. A good friend, a journalist, is willing to make a real book. Not to get a bestseller, but for my children, my ex-husband and my friends: who are interested in my mental journey.

 I hope you that you will give my mother the ultimate right in the Page, to fill in the new found truth. This letter is the report for The Hall of Names. I will be very grateful if you would change the existing one.
A picture of my mother and me as a little child (I have changed a bit over the past fifty years) is now re-created and if necessary I will send it to you in due course.
The unfamiliar uncle or cousin, I will not write, but maybe would you be so kind as to tell him what I have written?
Finally, I would like to express my greatest gratitude, and I hope you will write me back. You are at this moment the thread that connects me to Yad Vashem, the place where my mother will get a fair and beautiful place, where she is at home.
Yours sincerely,
                                                                              Erica

* Or had they no authorization for that purpose? There is evidence? I could not find any..
84.
13 November 1992


Today the papers are again full of terrible things that are happening in the former Yugoslavia. Murders, mutilations, rapes.... How will the survivors continue to live? Demonic primitiveness still requires an equally primitive response: Bombard the so-called purified areas where Serbs live alone. A little each day until they surrender. Naturally, hundreds of innocent will die, but on the other hand maybe the horror finally ends and the other population group not only feels avenged, but not otherwise is wiped out and can return to their place. That is never going to be good between the people and the neighboring countries. Now if there was only intervention! Before Muslims come to 'help' from the Middle East. Oh, poor Yugoslavia, what should it be?
 In the Netherlands there is still hope left. Saturday, November 14 at the Tropical Museum in Amsterdam a meeting of the Labour Party 'adorned' with a pocket  line of AFKA, Anti Fascism Committee Amsterdam, to show that not all the Netherlands is behind the smear campaign against illegal immigrants.
Good, further with my mental journey.
14 November
Yet to go back to yesterday. The meeting of the Labour Party was due to 'circumstances ‘not in Amsterdam but in The Hague. And according to the, I would say, naturally present ME, there was only fifty autonomists that demonstrated and therefore naturally were beaten away and had to be arrested.

Fortunately it penetrates to the media that the smear campaign against illegal immigrants is wrong. Refugees or not, but everything is lumped together! An embarrassment for politics? Am I not a voice of the people? Such things affect me deeply!
85.
Following is the translation of the letter I wrote today to aunt Olly in London. In itself a partial evaluation, actually only scheduled for late December.
Dear aunt Olly,
Thank you very much for your letter. It answered very many questions that I had all my life. I am sorry that you know so little, but what you do know, brought back so many memories again and made me aware again of many things.
This is a very long letter, prepare yourself then for?
Ilse has also helped me a lot.
I'm going to tell what I remember, or have come to learn or have read.
My father, Jaap, who died on 28 November 1976, has always told me that he continued to love Olga his entire life. In 1938 (of'37), he begged Olga to marry him again, for her own and my safety. She refused, probably left Vienna when he came there and told him according to his own words, to marry Hilda, because she would, with her two children need him a lot more. That would be the reason (can) he married Hilda, according to him, just to help Hilda and her two children. I suppose neither Olga nor Jaap knew anything about the fact that you would take her with her two children to England. As it is told, Jaap went to Amsterdam and Hilda soon followed. They had both before and during the war, often the same address, but never lived together.
Olga and I came back later to Amsterdam. As Hilda told Ilse, still a little surprised:  "She came sailing down the Danube." Ilse had her own image   (by the way  it was talked about) from the book Uncle Tom's Cabin: Eliza, jumping from ice floe to ice floe on the Ohio River, to escape the slave trader and to save herself and her child .
86.



It must have been a very traumatic journey and an escape in the nick of time to Holland. Jews were then no more allowed public transport, train or bus travel. I have no memories of that, even though I was there. Never mind. I will leave it at that. Maybe my fears, panics and bad dreams are the root cause.
When Olga was taken away in August '42, she assumed that I was safe with Hilda, according to the note she wrote just before she reached camp Westerbrok. Shortly after  began my life as a so-called "Hidden Child.” There followed a number of addresses, where I, as a Jewish child was not really welcome. Until I came in the winter of '43 to that very Christian, very cruel orphanage, where I remained until my nineteenth year. When I was 'free' from there ,   I had to my knowledge no other real family other  than my father, who over the years, faithfully visited me each visiting day. Oh yes, I knew Aunt Hilda, Louis and Ilse, I had some relatives on Jaap's side, and to kill some time I had visited them with Jaap (very rarely I had permission to go with him for a few days in my summer holidays).But there was no family ties, not  with Hilda, nor with Jaap's side. I also don’t remember anything about the brief encounter with you and Inge. There must have been from the beginning simply too much sadness, anger and trauma in me.
 Now I have to deal with that past. There is indeed much to forgive, especially Hilda, who during and after the war abandoned me .Her child and she were quite safe because she was married to my father, a non-Jew. Yet Ilse and Hilda sat in Westerbrok for a time, but came out safely, through that marriage, I think. After the war, Jack and Hilda got divorced straight away, so she could marry Louis.

The last eleven years I have been very active for ‘disabled *’ for refugees, gypsies, for society in all its forms.
87.
As a volunteer. I had and have no ordinary pension. It is a pension for victims of persecution, especially Jewish people. Just like my grandmother Joszefa (Ilse wrote to me about her), a militant woman of the labor movement. I have even been, for a number of, a member of the Communist Party of the Netherlands, which no longer exists. I chose the wrong husbands and separated from them. The wrong lovers and discontinued that relationship again. Now I'm grateful that I live alone since my now adult daughter Jessica has left home.
Returning to Hilda: I, but also, Inge and Kurt have her, I think, to forgive, a lot. I will reach that pointof forgiveness in the near future. I am slightly conscious of the fact that I'd never have been the same helpful woman, if things had turned out otherwise. Do you understand what I mean? Life is just the way it is and I've been through it, for whatever reason. We will have to accept and live our lives. While the rest of the world is just about on fire. I agree with you, that it is terrible.
Back to your letter. I  think it was the excuse that Hilda could not get me back because she had been married to my father. * But I want to believe that she was unable to bring me up because of everything that had happened before and maybe Louis did not want me. Ilse has never been able to understand this and despite her loyalty to her mother, she is in her heart still angry, about much bigger things, but also because of me. I can understand .
*however, it may have been true. Only recently was it publicized in publications that the Child Protection used that excuse at the time. Better Christian than Jewish, they found.
88.
Now about Olga. As I  have discovered recently, the following things happened:
-On September 8, 1942 she was released from prison in Amsterdam, where she was detained for the simple fact that her 'star' was pinned instead of sewn. The Germans are still very 'gründlich' as you know.
-On September 10 she sent a telegram to Hilda from  Westerbrok  to send her the  Aryan papers of Jack, but it was too late, because
- On September 11 '42 she died in Auschwitz. The journey lasted three days.
This is true according to all the information that I have, official and informal. So that should be accepted. She fortunately only suffered for a short time. And now I am able to bury her, to give her a grave and a Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem in the Hall of Names in Jerusalem, for the victims of the Holocaust. And now I am able to remember my mother and some of my childhood. That heals me in a way; it makes me whole, so to speak. A woman with a past that I previously could not remember because of the terrible things that had happened. With "Today" writing, thinking and remembering. And with a future, long or short, but worth living.
That is what I mean by ‘whole’. And perhaps cured, healed, through that journey into the past itself. And at my age, 57 years old!
Only that part of Hilda keeps crossing my mind. I'll have to think over and over, until I can forgive her. Can you understand that? Oh yes, I have still something to ask.
From what Jaap has told me about Olga, about you and about Vienna, I always understood that you and Olga were great friends.
89.
Maybe indeed just because of the sports club, as you wrote. But really not above that level? How is it that Jaap admired you so much, almost worshiped you? Only because of your part in this tragedy in Vienna? Or because you were good friends with Olga and her family? Her best friend, whom she trusted, like Hilda trusted in Olga? Maybe Hilda was very much a dependent, very childlike and she could not make decisions for herself or defend herself? You and Olga must have been strong personalities, you were well-qualified sportswomen. Maybe she felt more or less forced into what she did, first by Olga and others, later by Lois. My father had therein little to say. It would explain a lot of things, if that was so.
Today, everywhere with wars and misery in the world and especially in Eastern Europe, with refugees, I am also not able to let  any of them stay in my house, legal or illegal. It would break me. Do you understand what I'm saying? Oh, I want to reach that point of forgiveness!
Would you please write me back? Even if you think you cannot really tell me anything of what happened or cannot help me further.
Until then, I'm still sincerely yours,
                                                                         Erica
15 November 1992
So, that has put everything nicely in a list. Albeit superficial , about my lovers is not quite honest .Only one of them was a jerk and I realized that almost too late. The one that I cannot mention here, still has a big place in my heart. Life itself made and end to our relationship. And Paul, oh well. I loved him very much, but we did not fit spiritually together.
90.
 My frustrated soul could not bear his affection towards his ex-wife and ex-girlfriends. Superficially seen, pure jealousy. But it was not that alone. In a love relationship, I should feel perfectly safe, and that I was not. I always enjoyed what he did, his writing and his poetry; have learned everything I know of graphic art from him. But a relationship, a lasting bond of love was something impossible. Fortunately, we can now be close friends. Now I trust him so much that I have asked him to help make this book.
A little reminder comes up with a few notes during commercials.
Kommt ein Vogel geflogen
Setzt sich nieder auf mein Fuss
Hat ein Breifel in sein Schnabel
Von der Mutti ein Gruss

Leiber Vogel fleig weiter
Nimm ein Kuss mit und ein Gruss
Denn ich kann dich nicht begleiten
Weil ich hier bleiben muss

En dan

Hoppe hoppe reite
Wer da fallt der schreit er
Fallt er in den Graben
Fressen ihn die Raben
Fallt er in den Plumpf Macht der Reiter ‘Humpf’
There will sometime come back more songs. It shows that as a child I had singing and music played to me. About that fact itself I remember nothing.  At the Mulo we learned from our German teacher songs like ‘Das Standchen’ from Schubert and Weihnachtslieder as  ‘Schlaf wohl, du susser kleine du' that I knew how to play at  once and that just came to my mind now. It was already in there! Strange, that it just comes to mind now. Hey Erica, remain rational
91.
I have given myself a bunch of phlox as a gift. It smells overwhelming. It is mid-November; imagine it, an engine will not start from the cold and damp. I sit with my butt almost touching the heater. Behind my back, it is almost winter and my nose smells mid-summer. Crazy huh? That is only in this crazy frog country.
17 November 1992

Today was again a puzzle of  the past. First with Dorine then later with  Elma.
It is impossible to continue to do this rationally. My throat is tight and my head is spinning still. Tonight my girlfriend An was here play  a game of dice. I've kept it inside until now, a quarter past twelve at night.
Dorine and I went back to two key questions:
1.    How did Olga end up in jail? And
2.    Hilda, with some difficulty could she have kept me?
Olga was not the type,  that has now become clear that would report under orders. It is possible that Hilda, Olga and I walked on the street and were arrested by the (Dutch) police officer, if only because of the stars. That Olga was picked from the street because her star was pinned. The note makes it clear that Hilda knew! That makes Elma’s suggestion actually a little off, that Olga was alone on the street. In the circuit to which Olga had gathered around her there were only Jews (the names Schubert, mentioned earlier, and Hirsch came back in my mind). They may have been someone else walking in the street, who could  have escaped it and warned Hilda – at  Olga’s request. But the most likely explanation is still the first. They still had to get their quantum of Jews? And she sat in a Dutch house of detention on the Amstelveenseweg. It was at a time in the beginning of the straatrazzias, before entire streets were taken away. Imagine how that happened. That I myself have no reminder of that event, says nothing. Too traumatic things, at least to me,  are well shielded. But my heart is pounding at this moment again from the fear: the most familiar and unwelcome feeling of my life.
92.
Olga was picked up by a Dutch policeman. They still had to get their quantum Jews? And she sat in a Dutch house of detention on the Amstelveenseweg. It was in the beginning of the street raids, before whole streets were picked up. Imagine  how that happened. That I myself have no reminder of that event, says nothing. Too traumatic things, at least to me, are well shielded. But my heart is pounding at the same time again of fear: the most familiar and unwelcome feeling of my life.
Maybe I'll get to do regression hypnosis before this book is finished. For all these things to really face definitely.
 Hilda again- according to Dorine and Elma it  is not impossible that Hilda was really not assigned me by  the OPK (commission War Foster children) *. Because they thought that I was better off at the Martha foundation than my own familiar family, who were not Christian. And by a 'Pulse' had nothing more and had to start all over again. Hilda’s guilt to Olga and later to me, rightly or wrongly - that I have no judgment on may have meant that she later has not looked back at me. But also her character and Louis could have contributed. I simply could not see into her heart and she did not speak. In the next letter I write I will ask this of Aunt Olly and Ilse. Hilda they barely knew, of course, I'm not sure if she made real trouble for me. But those very "Christian" ladies and gentlemen of the OPK and Child Protection Agency I can well imagine, there you need only to turn to the book of Elma. If Hilda approached the Jewish members of the OPK, also remains a mystery. For eternity. Okay, I want to give her the benefit of the doubt; she has not had it so easy.
* A committee consisting of mainly non-Jewish, very Christian people.
93.
Yet..... Why?
But that's what life is sometimes, Erica. Tomorrow I will call Hedda van Gennep for more background information on those months in '42.
A comforting word for tonight, tomorrow is my daughter here to eat and we go happily to the world shop, to buy groceries.
18 November 1992
My daughter now has read everything and actually without comment laid down the books.
I see how important I think how she experiences it. Well, for her it is the history, the intricate story of her mother's childhood and family. She finds it, like Dorine, that I am changing throughout the process. I myself don’t have that feeling yet, though I hope that it comes. Apart from Dorine I still cannot really talk about it. It is, really complicated and the distance remains.
A result must be, that I learn to trust again. And not to build a facade of self-awareness and self-confidence in my personal contacts. With Dorine I can let go of it, proud and happy with what I do and did and have achieved. With others I can never talk about it, if it concerns me at least. About the work I did and do I myself feel good, but I always feel as a sort of middleman and know exactly who does things better. It has for example resulted in the identification of the appropriate chairman of foundation * Property, which actually does it better than I would ever do it. Or initiating and defending things that I really believed in, but where others had to play the responsible role.  Further I stay humble in   the background, , and allow others the honor that I get sometimes.
*An organization for the sole purpose of obtaining its own global center.
Am I chaotic- still- to a demanding task with responsibility for me to take? Or am I just "shy"?
94.
Put me in a room with eight hundred anonymous, it goes well. But personal contacts, with all the warmth I feel for those people. I often hyper- ventilate. And I notice that only when I am alone again. I realize it's not just a matter of misanthropy, despite all the social skill.
 The underlying cause is distrust in honesty of others towards me. A wrong expression, glance or a curt answer, and I am gone. Feel (again) rejected. Something from earlier time. I distrust such a person for a very long time. Uncertainty. Anxiety. Fear that they see through me. That is why I seek the attack: If you think "That man is crazy," I am at that time also. But it passes by itself.
The knowledge of the past, of all that misery, leading to fear, significant uncertainty, anxiety, that leads to depression does not help. It realized that again today.
Will that also get better? It hinders my real development; it keeps me in second or third place. Not that I'm ambitious. But it's a false modesty, and resulting from fear to really stand out. It's something from the hiding and the Martha Foundation. How do you overcome something like this? and is that really necessary? Am I not so terribly tired of that eternal struggle with myself, that I see ghosts? And am I not ready to take a step back and not take on challenges or cross barriers anymore? That is the easy path. No fear of people, personal contacts with the rest of the "family," which are not going well currently. And no friends? I surely think to have. How uncertain and tense that I am. It's not a solution, to become a nun? A hermit? Just now that I'm complete? But what and how?
95.
 I not called Hedda van Gennep yet. Fear, like with Elma, there again those fears. It was long before I was through that with Elma, too long. How is it that I do not have that with Dorine? I then stay rational? In the time.
I myself think that it might have to do with being prepared. You do not feel robbed, despite your questions.
Today Memorboek has arrived. ‘The plate’s atlas of the life of Jews in the Netherlands from the Middle Ages until 1940’. A book almost as large and as thick as the King James bible. All the pages reveal that this history is also mine. I despite my not – believing but still a real Jew, unlike, yes, then what? That I'm closer to that side than the Dutch side that represents my father. Not so crazy, apart from the biological provability, to be a child of a Jewish mother still being Jewish!
I made it again today. In a regional meeting of the Association of Dutch Municipalities over municipal global policy. I suddenly got the economist Adam Smith (right and pure capitalist) under my nose pushed through by a VVD lady: "The public interest is most profitably encouraged where each individual can freely pursue his own interests."
I fumed with rage, literally. So the world is not like that. The law of the jungle prevails and only the strong will always be at the expense of the weak, which will never be unimpeded or even could aspire. Think about this "Global Village," which is our world. I ask her this, as controlled as possible, 'How big - do you think - is the percentage of people in our ‘Global Village ', that can freely pursue their own interests? And is that – ethically speaking -own interest not only appropriate to the smallest common denominator?'
She did not answer, but came afterwards to me to talk about it. I said- it was in the meeting a municipal global policy, east- west and north-south relations - East and West should never meet here because she was a follower of Adam Smith and I of Marx.
96.
 Again there was silence, and then she said: "But that does not mean that we have to hate each other, right?" No it does not, but friends? At such a moment I feel again at one with the persecuted, the oppressed, that is where I belong. Among the Jews, the Jewish Marx, as well, if I'm honest, all oppressed peoples that come up in revolt who flash through my mind.
 Links dead? No, but left and right do not let the back of their tongue be seen, in order not to arouse resistance? Or are we becoming a- political?
 I should in the future be more wary of the individual motives and self-interest, which should be pursued because in the approach of the right it cannot go differently in practice, than at the expense of the oppressed, in my feeling. The making of a new political awareness?
 Hey discovery?
Sticking to the old values, which I - unconsciously have ingested and have tested the breast milk and found to be correct in my adult life, Jewish huh? This  is ebbing my anger.

Every day a thread is a shirt sleeve in the year.
20 November 1992
I was putting away my cart. An elderly man was looking about in a panic. I had seen him before in the store when I was picking out Sharon fruit and he wanted to know what kind of fruit it was.
 It turned out that he had lost his bag of groceries. Just put down to clear away the trolley.
97.
My presumption that one of the clerks had taken the bag to the office, proved correct. Radiant he appeared moments later with his bag. I had waited for the results. He said that this was the third time and I warned him not to put down his messages unattended anywhere. Anyway, I thought I'd go now, good evening sir. My attitude turned out, in the mall, to make a volcano of misery. He had been in a Japanese POW camp and was badly beaten. He had  never seen his father and mother again. And when he had found his brother, he also appeared to have died. Terrible, but he had also been married for more than forty years and also his wife had died five years ago. He had remarried and his second wife worked very long days so he did the housework and shopping. A whole life just popped out there. I felt so terribly small, to see such a man wipe away his tears. I should have left earlier, but had to do with him. He also had a war pension, and ... Well ... How do you make something like that loose?
21 November 1992
Today a Womans Workshop by Women in Peace in Cunera. A long day over the former Yugoslavia, the war in Bosnia. I had in my workshop a group leader a  former Yugoslav. Can you imagine such a thing.... they can never return. Lived here now for eight years. Family: Bosnians, Serbs and Croats, both Christians (Orthodox and Catholic) as well as Muslims. Everyone fought against everyone. Who is not dead or wounded, has deserted spouse and family. The frenzy of lust, macho men that bring resentment up thirteen centuries to find alibis for their bloodlust. The male scientists that sit at the top, not politicians, along with the military, unscrupulous murderers than anyone else in the world after Hitler. Those men. That anger in me. I must do something with it.
98.
In the plenary session an appeal was made to the existing female MPs to accommodate orphans and children of Serbian raped women in Dutch homes. That made that I, no microphone, shouted: "And what when those children grow up?" At first it did not go down well, but later, at the end, when I went to say goodbye to the chairman jantien Achtseribbe, she revealed that she and Leoni Spikes had understood me very well. They will try to keep the kids there. Jantien told me that she was married to a Jewish man (I had my star on) and understood me. What was somewhere in the back of my mind for a while, I realized when I was in the rain bringing a few letters to the mailbox.
My father told me; long ago that Olga had come for the first time to the Netherlands to find work. I do not know whether she had any qualifications. Maybe she was just very good at sports, who knows. So she came to The Hague, where a couple had 'hired' her, perhaps as a housekeeper like Olly, or a maid. She therefore came as "illegal," for economic reasons here.
That night the "Mr. and Mrs." Said that she must make herself beautiful, because they would receive visitors. One way or another, she realized that she had not come to an ordinary house, but a closed brothel and she managed to escape through a window. She must have already known my father. How? Through a socialist youth group? Or perhaps through international exchange, so then not "illegal"? At least she had fled (already) from The Hague to Amsterdam, to my father or to other members of that group. Shortly thereafter she became naturalized by marrying my father.
That was on 18 October 1933.
On 1 August 1935 I was born and in the beginning of '36, she must have returned from Vienna with me. Until autumn and winter 1938, witnessed the photos, in winter clothing which were taken in Oosterpark or Sarphatipark in Amsterdam.
99.


Between August '35 and Fall '38 they must therefore have been divorced, when Jaap could marry in Vienna Hilda. Olly can now write that they did not know whether my parents were then divorced, but my father certainly was not a bigamist. Besides, the story is in that regard is clear enough. Moreover, I have a lawyer and attorney, Plantage Middenlaan 88, in the center of Amsterdam, with a telephone number. Probably the divorce lawyer from when we were still living in the Czar Peter Street. So close by.
Another couple of links to the chain. Or beads on the cord? We are now waiting for the letter, which has to come from Aunt Olly.
What else do I need to get past some of letting myself be? Not everything has been worked out, nor on paper or in my head.
100.
Erica in Amsterdam
101.
The scrap of paper from Mr. Cooper
102.
The two issues from my earliest childhood are still the flight from Vienna to Amsterdam, and the abrupt divorce of my mother.
From the time, to the end of the hiding I can figure out the facts, which were a predominant feeling of darkness and cold. Except for a few sunny memories from Hoorn. The Martha Foundation, surely in Nieuwersluis has certainly brought memories above which all the children of that time living  in the west of the country must have had. And besides that also  the memories of the house itself, the garden with its, lightning struck cedar, the lawn by the pond, where we caught and made frogs 'tame', where we made from reed, skirts.
The owner and his wife, who returned to their own country seat after the war, I visited sometime around '85, to seek the past in a first attempt. They were old and then accused me (!) that we, the children of the war had made a hole in their hedge and that hedge was never properly mended. That was that. I had no opportunity to see something of the house or the garden, but a weak cup of coffee and a biscuit. Very genteel poverty.
Martha Foundation in Alphen: a lot beatings, punishment and tasks, surviving unconsciously, belittling and never being the best of the class. In the group I was the worst and slowest, especially at stopping socks and knitting worsted stockings. 'Snail' van Beek, apparently no one cared anything about her, according to stories I heard decades later.
Yet also some nice memories: I told ghost stories, later, to my peers, when we were in bed and had to be quiet. I taught them dances and was very creative with beautiful pieces of material and cardboard and paper, for example, I made diadems for the hair. The kindergarten, how is it possible, nevertheless it bore its fruit. In the memories of others I was a very serious, rarely smiling girl.
In my early memory games pink rubies (or what I mistook thereof) encased in a brooch in the shape of a bouquet, played a role.
103.
Last week there was an art and curio market here, striking, especially as art deco porcelain and old dusty materials evoke nostalgic feelings in me. And by one stall there was a brooch that did not belong there. Strasz pink rhinestones, a bouquet with blackened metal and bronze-colored stalks. I loved it; it called a lot of old, good feelings awake. But it was expensive at fifty guilders. I lingered at the booth, ostensibly to look at other things. The salesman then said suddenly, "Good lady, for ten guilders, then." Well, I got it and am still happy with it, though it is perhaps not even worth the tenner. Every time I see that brioche, I think of the pink rubies, which I had found as a child so lovely. I have placed it on the list with my mother’s photo.
Yesterday I was in a curio shop in Utrecht and  for five guilders I bought a very old book. A  probably first published in Dutch version of the  book by  Beecher Stowe: The negerhut. A translation of Uncle Tom's cabin.  With the original engravings "to the twentieth American printing from the English translation." On page 59 the engraving with Eliza, fleeing across the ice! A publication of the  Gebr. E. and M. Cohen, Amsterdam.
24 November 1992
I'm too impatient and thereby make the receipt of the facts more important than their processing. Certainly in terms of my own life. I'm still waiting for three drawn lines:
1. Answer from Jerusalem;
2 Answer from London;
3 KRO radio with Kalien Blondes.
A fourth, entirely in the background hit point, a new appointment with Margreet about the  Martha - Foundation.

Meanwhile, I am again eager to take action. In the Platform Modiale Awareness. With an action for the former Yugoslavia, where  I have plotted the lines. I will convene a meeting to do something on behalf of AFKIN* and the Federal Food Bond attracts harder: Women Committee, work group "International Solidarity."

I'm going to start another book, where I can write about my work now to keep everything in perspective, only for myself.
Why am I still doing all this? Why do I not live a good life with my small pension, like other people? Come on, I know the answer after all. If I was brought up as most people with the same background, in the safe bosom of a loving family, I was maybe barely aware of a different world than my little safe world.
It's just my own traumatic life that has made me aware of and empathetic to the trauma, the fears, and the world of others. And if I can do something with it, for example by writing about it, then surely that is a bonus? Even though I sometimes get the feeling I am found to be  a little crazy, a voice in the wilderness. But if I keep quiet, I feel indeed responsible. As with writers, journalists, protest singers and artists I have my own way to express my dismay about the horrors of our time. And maybe too emotional, but that is the way I happen to be.
26 November
Dorine called. In the form of Yad Vashem was indeed stated in Hebrew "Olga Bock, house wife, two children, shot in the street by a German officer because she did not have her star on. In Amsterdam. Married name and name of parents unknown. "
Tragically, so many inaccuracies!
Well, Olly knew even better than I was saved by nuns! How nameless and unwittingly can a person live and die! Dear Mutti that after fifty years of your life and death I  can give you a name! Is that not a miracle?
* The anti-fascist committee of Nieuwengein
105.
Tonight I find the courage to call Hedda van Gennep. She confirmed Elmas suspicion that Olga was alone when she was arrested. And that the Dutch police or the home front did it. She has seen it happen, that she and her mother were arrested and her mother was beaten in the street because she was wearing a box for her star. By Nederlanders- in uniform!
So.... I have never taken leave or said goodbye. Pfff ... and Mutti was gone.
And then my daughter Jessica came bye, for a quick cup of coffee.
Hedda gave me the telephone number of the National Institute for War Documentation. When Olga was arrested and held prisoner and deported to Westerbork, I can maybe find something about it there.
Today I submitted a proposal for the Platform Global Awareness on support actions for Bosnia. An amount per capita for joint financial operations and public action, for games, work and labor for the Yugoslav displaced centers. Who are bored silly, they do not speak our language, sit together and the only distraction they have is the TV that news from home will bring, in their language. I wonder if mayor Laan will positively pick this up. That was point 2. Point 1 is realized on 10 December, and next week, Ad, a good friend, is here with me and we will work on the content of the magazine Global,  the periodical that  the platform are going to send out around 15 December.
 This weekend to realize point three!
106.
 With the 'reconstruction' of my book case I come again across the white ceramic jar with lid, wherein sits a packed piece of stone from Auschwitz, that a friend of Renco, my ex-husband, specially brought for me. That now can get an honorary place.
Will I be able once again to visit there, as in Vienna, or at Yad Vashem, there to find my mother's name?
First search in Westerbrok barracks 41/0.
Bring telegram.
And fetch the photo of Olga and me at the photographer.
27 November 1992


The photograph is collected. The price was 90% better than expected, the print was disappointing. A bit flat and smooth compared with the yellowed original. Too bad, but she seems to look younger in it though.

Surprise! Paul was suddenly in front of me; he came for the second book. It was fine, again to exchange so many things with him. There remains much old camaraderie. He has grown and now goes (a little) in depth; even with emotions he dares to talk about and show a bit. Something where he used to be closed about and a thunder cloud formed over him, "Life is good, right?" He is a complete man to be. And so I should prefer him throughout.
We also talked about the reason for writing. Identity crisis? Yeah, maybe but I had no feel for my identity. And when we entered into a relationship, he wanted me holding that identity, gave no meetings or work to be with him. That would oppress him. No, now I understand that.

What am I still glad that we can talk and write all about these misunderstandings. Now I also told him that it was apparently still my nature to efface myself away for the man I loved. And that was a huge threat to the adventurer who Paul wants to be.
107.
I thought it was not so much a question of identity, but also and above all that I no longer came out after Elma’s book and the conference ‘The hiding child,’ to finally do and  want to know the unwitting and the unsaid things from the past and from to speak, albeit on paper. This quest for knowledge and words became the mission of my life. More important to me than anything I did earlier in my life for that unconscious burden I had to explain. And previously used to hide behind for intimacy behind a so transparent wall.
Now I can talk, I can tell Paul all. There's a little sadness, because I could not before. Now he could understand why I was how I was. But would he though have coped? I do not think so.
Regarding the OPK where Elma wrote about: there is a note found in an archive box from the Martha foundation, which said that the Germans gave permission to take me in at the Martha foundation. That could, to me it is clear, also have been falsified by the "resistance", to let me be safe hiding there. Finally there were more Jewish children.
 More research necessary.
30 November 1992
The RIOD * called. Annemiek van Boxmeer. She has heard the whole story, but already knows that there is no available data on the way my mother was arrested, the time she has sat and so forth. All details of the houses of detention in Amsterdam from the war are now destroyed. This also means that no Dutch police man has become accountable for his conduct in the war. I will send a letter to   Mrs van Boxmeer with all the relevant information about my mother and she will very carefully look at what data whatsoever.
*National Institute for War Documentation
108.
 In Westerbrok, she said, are found personal things of the people that were there. I do not think however that I will find anything there; she was there only three days.  By RIOD it is maybe also possible to find out how she died: on the train, on arrival or in the gas chamber. On the note that was found at the Free University for my inclusion at the Martha foundation: they consider it quite possible that it was falsified by the resistance. But I have to search that out at the university.
Moreover, I am this weekend truly active for society. I have written participation notes for Wednesday, December 2nd in the ABZ- committee (of Administrative Affairs) and therefore will speak about the municipal identity card. Moluccans will be put separately therein. I do not agree to that and just cannot!  I will try to stop it.
And there is a silent vigil scheduled on December 24 because of the smear campaign against illegal immigrants, where a piece I wrote will appear in the  Molenkruier, our house-to-house newspaper.
I have also already the participate notes in January, the police report will be addressed in the ABZ- Commisssion. Wow ... now nothing more please.
109.
December
110.
111.
1 December 1992
Yesterday I talked to Elma. I  have found at the Nieuwengeinse recycling center New Work, two books that I thought would be something for her. If she, as a journalist, needs for investigations or needs old newspaper photographs, Our Beautiful Life, 100 years newspaper photographs (Dutch) and a visual report with newspaper pictures of the great woman strike on 8 March '81 may be useful. She is, I believe, happy with them. Next week I will bring them.
 Elma said something that has stuck: I would have to look Olly up in London personally. I can still do that, but I feel a threshold. In a letter I can confront her with the past, but can I do that in person? And then, I would see it as climbing a mountain. The night before I dreamed of her and saw her as an old lady suffering with swollen legs. She is no longer so hardy, she needs time. To write back. So I interpreted the dream for myself.
I have gotten  from New Work also a book of Meyer Sluyser that I did  not yet have : There is growing grass in Weesperstraat and Leonard de Vries: Chaverien, is  that a children's book?
I will hear from Dorine if the library of the JMW (Jewish Social Work) has interest in them. No mail from abroad.
3 December 1992
For a few days I'm overly nervous again. Not just because of the participation in the evening yesterday ABZ * - commission over the identity card of the Dutch Municipalities. I was sure of my case and have also been vindicated. That card is not, at least for now, going ahead!
* General Administrative Affairs
112.
 Where from then? Afraid because I go against the established order? Mayor Laan personally assured me about that matter. Why then? The weather, the high moon, the constant low pressure area? Causes that are mentioned more frequently in the past.
When Flik was mayor here, I did open my mouth as needed. He took me quite seriously and I had forgotten that I now have good-will on the city council. But that may not be the only reason for my stress.
Perhaps waiting for an answer from London? If that still will come? One reason to consider sending a postcard about it?
No post from London. No post from Israel.
8 December 1992
Finally! Post from London and from Jerusalem!
The last pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. Tomorrow I will tell you everything. Now just as the overriding emotion when I read the translation of the registration of Yad Vashem. "I ask you to give the survivor a" posthumous citizenship "of the state of Israel, the undetachable sign of solidarity with the Jewish people." She belongs there. I belong there. Never before have I felt so Jewish. At heart and inseparably attached. Even though the fact that the only attachment is to the JMW and Dorine, who let me feel through the years that I belong. With no family, I am more a part than with my children. Still I belong, with the Jewish people for centuries and until the end of time.
It became just too difficult, there were tears.
Mutti, you're nearly  home. Then you may rest in peace and this task is accomplished. "Ein schon Leich '* is made, a beautiful funeral. Who knows, I may be I will bring you. And otherwise I will visit you in Jerusalem at Yad Vashem. It is almost 1993, and since I do not speak Hebrew nor ever observed the Jewish calendar, I raise my glass of herbal tea and say, "See you next year in Jerusalem."
113
9 December 1992

Now it will begin with the letters from Aunt Olly and Rabbi Schachter. I will start with the second. The first is so difficult, so traumatic, that I have read it bit by bit. And yet still I collapsed.... Sick with the shock, first with anger, a lot of grief and rebellion later. I'll be back to the translation, if I can muster up the strength today.
Later that day. Rabbi Schachter writes:
Dear Mrs. Van Beek,
I was on a visit abroad, hence the delayed response.
I was very touched by your thoroughness and your desire to correct the registration of the memoir, while my concern was not to further traumatize and bring you in touch with family.
I enclose some forms for you to register your mother and possibly other family. It will be clear that we cannot destroy completed prior Pages of Testimony, we can add a memo or note there with a reference to the 'added Pages in 1992, for example, which will lead to your corrected Pages.
Fill in the form attached, please; address it to me so that I can add the Red Cross letter and your letter there when I have received them.
Yours sincerely,
                                                                                                      Rabbi J Schachter '
* Yiddish
114
The form is filled in; I just need to wait a few days for a small copy of the photograph of Olga and me to send.
And now, there is no escape: the letter from Aunt Olly.
Dear Erica,
I wish I could answer questions, but maybe at my age of 85 I forget a lot, or I did not know a lot of things when they happened. I'm surprised your father seems to have known me. I've never met him! Olga was really no more than a colleague of the "Arbeiter Turn Verrein. She walked to Holland , I believe, before Hitler's woes began in Vienna? Are you born in Holland? I was so happy to meet here, Miss Palmer, a lady who wanted to guarantee my parents, Hilda and her two children! But Hilda preferred to marry Jaap and go to Holland, Instead of becoming a maid servant like me , and the children arrived with a Kindertransport 'here and lived with an English couple. It took ten months before I was given Inge to stay here with my parents and later with me. I do not know whether Ilse knows these facts, but do not tell her, please.
Another fact is that Olga BORROWED the jacket with the star pinned from Hilda. It was Hilda’s cloak! I hope Ilsa and Inge never hear this. Please, let them never know!
Erica, please try to forget what has happened. Forget and forgive!!
I admire you for.....
Furthermore, I cannot go now.....
So this was the big secret that has remained hidden for fifty years. Olga had worn Hilda’s jacket briefly.... and she was gone.
115

And the guilt and shame later on have assaulted Ilse and me.
Fifty years! Fifty years straight it was hushed, nobody wanted to talk about my mother with me, everyone has told me to leave the past alone. Also to Ilse. She would’ give her mother sorrow ‘by asking questions. No, she would know the secret and maybe tell me. That shame, guilt, we have carried our whole life, we did not know what!
That anger over the fate unknown, but no less felt, has given me and Ilse in our adulthood, crisis dragged into crisis. How do you translate the moaning, the pain that is felt in your head to your toes, the flow of adrenaline, which can destroy your body, into words! Give me those WORDS!!
Hilda had thus lost her cloak, the cloak that killed my mother, and that fifty years long has covered everything, even my life.

Tell me how I translate this literal pain in written sentences and I'll write a book thicker than Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses and heavier than the Torah and the State bible together.
How do I make the story in question to look like something that remains credible for myself? Here it looks like a bad novel, with fictional personalities. But it's true. It really happened! This was my life. And that of my mother.
I have to pick myself back together. And continue to write.
For hours I postponed it. I have tried everything: telephone calls, including Paul, talked to Jessica, lounging before the TV, to come to my senses. With Dorine yesterday I tried to place it in perspective in the context of that time, especially into perspective...
Same day, very late. Now I finish the letter of Olly.
116
I admire you because you have led such a strong, useful life and are still so helpful. That must have been partly because of your Christian education. *
I have nothing to forgive Hilda of. After  my visit with Inge to Holland Hilda wanted  Inge and Kurti  to live with her, and Louis, with whom she was not married at the time. He must have been a good, decent man, that he not only accepted Ilse, but also to take the two children in. To help her, he even married her. I begged Hilda to be allowed to keep Inge with me for two years so she could finish her education . Hilda refused that.
  In any case, it seems that she gave up the struggle for the children, including the conflict with the Jewish refugees commitee that protected the children. And nobody saw or heard anything about it afterwards .....
Yes, Erica, the bitter times that you have gone through in your life have made you what you are now. A brave, compassionate person. Try not to think of the past; enjoy your still  relatively comfortable life now, as I do. I try not to take note of what is happening around me in the world (I know that's very selfish, but in my 85 years I have no more fighting spirit in me). I live with my cat Shelly quite satisfied, waiting for Inge's weekly letter. I hope that the treatment of Allen (Inge's husband) is helping to fight his cancer. He recently had an operation and is doing well and hopefully for quite a long time. Their three daughters live in England, but I only see Sara occasionally. Kate lives in Sheffield, so quite far away. I rarely see her. Helen shows no interest in contact with me. I have not seen her since my eightieth birthday.

Well, dear, you do well. Do not think too much about what has happened and make the best of life. All good wishes,
Aunt Olly
* How did she work that out?
117
Well, all good spirits, help me! What should I answer the old lady? She means it apparently so well; all my questions about my mother, she has indeed answered, as far as she could. The conclusions are indeed my own responsibility.
From the shock, I write my first spontaneous reaction in fluent German. Afterwards I do not send it, it was too hard for her.
I shy off, for the umpteenth time. Go to sleep.
10 September 1992
I put aside everything today to be well prepared for the establishment of the Platform Global Awareness. Two weeks ago, I submitted a proposal to give a 'flying start' to this Platform. Aid to Yugoslavian  displaced persons in the Netherlands and an amount per capita to be voted by the council, for the large joint fundraising (rural) to Somalia and Bosnia.
I can cry now. So I do it. After a little playful opening speech of the mayor, we continued the meeting. And all official events were treated as the drafting of an annual plan, joint events, bylaws etc. Nothing came out of the paint.
Participants walked away. When barely half was over, my proposal was on the agenda. All I wanted was my name swept underneath the platform and then to the City Council. Well, you cannot expect in such a situation that the point is also discussed but equally serious. The next meeting is late January. And then I have to come up with a concrete proposal. As if this was not practical. And others thought again that they first had to talk with their supporters about it, while the Platform is designed precisely to take independent decisions. They have, it is clear, no idea, what it's like to sit in the war.
118
Oh, next month the need is still there?! Yes, and the fact that they are there left in the shelters by us, let down this winter, means nothing. And that belongings and money will only be available next year (maybe) is less important than a rich regulatory conduct of meetings. I was so angry and bewildered that I'm seriously thinking to do the whole action and only in a personal capacity. But I just cannot physically and mentally. I have even taken on working for a torchlight vigil on December 24 against xenophobia and smears against refugees.
So this was the big disappointment today. The leaflet Globally, that this time must be written exclusively on the Ad control, was again nice. I have written for that a very small article and controlled and corrected it. On Saturday the volunteers market and on Tuesday is the AFKIN- meeting.
I know I'm doing it myself, but I would love to continue to do everything, writing, mourning and work. Help!
That participation in the ABZ- committee has been a great success! National newspapers and the Utrecht’s newspaper wrote about it. Elma was not allowed to,  but did have contact with the consultative body of Moluccan Welfare and Lilipali from the parliament. That has raised questions for the minister. The VNG downplayed the case, as uncertainty of Mayor Laan. I was able to bring him the parliamentary question and wait for the answer from The Hague.
That's my life.
But I long to be again, completely busy with the past, with myself, so that I have written this all. Hey ...  it is with a feeling that I, in this way have been able to tell about my mother.
The spirit goes where it will- there for her no time, no distance. She moves in other dimensions, other people, other times and conditions. Provided that it is willing to be empathetic.
Here I sit, I can do nothing else, and who wants to go with me?
119
It could have happened like this.
It's August, 1942. It is a warm day, threatening to storm. Olga and Erica go to Olga’s sister Hilda, who has a baby. That is not easy at the time, raising a baby.
Olga has a star, a Star of David on her dress. She did not have a coat on; it's the height of summer. If small Erica also wears a star? I do not know.
At the end of the afternoon the sky darkens, but nevertheless it's not raining yet. Hilda discovers that she needs something for the baby. Milk? Flour? Or the teat is broken, or the bottle ....
And Olga offers to quickly go and get it. Quickly , because it is nearly curfew. Then there should be no more Jews walking about outside ... because the air is so threatening she calls to Hilda: " I just put on your coat "and leaves.
 And then she comes upon a Dutch policeman or a border guard, who sees a yellow star and from that liberty takes hold of this young and attractive woman. To his pleasure and her terror the star was not sewn, but pinned. That is for him the reason, that he, under threat with his gun-there were stories that she had been shot dead on the street, but that was not true - to arrest her and confine her in prison.
At home waiting, in increasing panic, Hilda and the little Erica. And as it gets later Hilda is more certain that Olga has been arrested. Because she did not have the star sewn on her coat but had fastened it with safety pins.
It takes days before they are assured. It lasts until September 8 before she receives a note from Olga herself, who is currently on route from Amsterdam to camp Westerbrok. Olga tries to encourage her sister even at that time. But on September 10 she sends from Westerbrok a telegram in panic to Hilda, asking her to send the "Aryan" papers from her ex-husband, it does not help. The next day, September 11, she is stowed in the lorry, to Auschwitz, where she is immediately killed upon arrival.
120

And then she comes upon a Dutch policeman or a border guard, who sees a yellow star and from that liberty takes hold of this young and attractive woman. To his pleasure and her terror the star was not sewn, but pinned. That is for him the reason, that he, under threat with his gun-there were stories that she had been shot dead on the street, but that was not true - to arrest her and confine her in prison.


At home waiting in a great panic, Hilda and the little Erica. And it is getting more certain that Olga has been picked up. Because she had not sewn on her coat the star, but had fastened it with safety pins.
It takes days before they get affirmation. But it is not until September 8 before she receives a note from Olga herself , who is under way at that time from Amsterdam to Westerbork. Olga tries to reassure her sister even at that time with courage. But on September 10 she sends from Westerbrok a panicked telegram to Hilda, asking her to send the "Aryan" papers from her ex-husband. It does not help. The next day, September 11, she is stowed in the lorry, to Auschwitz, where she is immediately killed upon arrival.
120
For Hilda the nightmare would now have begun. This is irrevocably the last time that Olga can help her. In fact die for her.
What should she now do with the little Erica? It is as hard as it is with the baby. Fortunately, Erica also has a father, an 'Aryan' father still, who, to complicate the story, at that moment ‘for appearances’ is married to Hilda. Naturally he is divorced from Erica’s mother. His father, Jack, has a brother who is recently married. And they want to look after Erica.
But if Olga does not return- and nobody knows whether she will- it becomes even more difficult. Erica then suddenly becomes a Jewish child, a risk. And then the wanderings of the child starts from hiding - to hiding place, until no one knows anymore and she is back at her aunt and uncle on the sidewalk.
Where is Erica’s father at that time?  It appears that he is sent to work in Germany until he manages to escape in the summer of 1943. He is "married" with Hilda and according to the Registers and Population of the town hall they live at the same address, but actually he lives with his father, Erica’s grandfather.
When he, after his escape, will look for his daughter and arrives at his sister in law , that's just at a moment when they are "beating" Erica (his words, many years later). After a violent argument he takes his child to his home, where she has a few wonderful months. The only good time actually in her childhood, when she became an adult, could fondly look back.
That sister in law has not let it sit. Jaap show no signs of gratitude that she has been part of the child's fate, especially since she was still a Jewish child. Instead, he has quarreled with her, added her reproach and 'just' captured the child. Calling for revenge? She can, so she turns to someone from the Council for Child Protection, "because it's inexcusable that such a small girl grows up by two men, moreover, it is a Jewish child.’’
121
The latter must have been difficult for the Council for Child Protection, but there is someone who has signed a letter that the Germans include Erica van Beek at the Martha Foundation  in Alphen aan de Rijn. The Martha Foundation appears to be ‘started’ in Alphen by the Germans! In Nieuwersluis some of the children were housed.
On a cold, wet, dark day in December 1943 is Erica then "safely drilled ' in the Martha Foundation, where she will remain until she was nineteen.
And Hilda?
Hilda with her two older children can safely get away from Vienna.  She gets the chance to go to England. But she prefers to let her children go - with a girlfriend - she continue to stay in Amsterdam.
After the war she married Louis, after a divorce from Erica’s father. The baby from the beginning of this story thrives on and has a father and a mother. A second baby, born during the war, does not survive. Hilda with her child also sat for a while in Westrbork but knew how to survive.
After 1945 she performs a short struggle with the Jewish Refugee Committee and the OPK, the War Foster Children Committee, to regain her older children. She may have tried to get Erica out of the orphanage. That did not work. And failure is –possibly - based on the fact that she is Erica’s aunt and her stepmother. Well, the OPK did their own standards and Hilda would have not have coped with the possibility of raising four children.
Has Hilda been happy with her memories and her past?
122
Vienna
It must not have been easy living in Vienna between 1920 and 1933. There was the recession, unemployment, poverty. There, as well as here. Grandfather, Armin Bock, refugee from the Czech Republic, had become stateless. Married to the Viennese Joszefa Karpfen (omama, my grandmother), his two children, daughters Olga and Hilda, are also stateless. Although Jewish, there is no indication that they were part of the Jewish community in Vienna. But Grandpapa had, due to the persecution of Jews fled to the Czech Republic. What did he do for a living? Had he (right) support when unemployed? Or did the family in the beginning a little capital?
Grandpapa apparently  died young. The family was a member of the Socialist Workers Party. Especially omama seems to have been militant in it. The youngest daughter, my mother Olga, was also an enthusiastic member of the Arbeiter Turn Verein and even later won gold at the Workers' Olympiad in Budapest.
The single parent family seems to have been very needy. Reasons why Olga took the decision to try to find a job in the Netherlands. She came to the Netherlands and found, except for work and income, a man and later had a child from that marriage.
The eldest daughter had two children in Vienna. From a relationship with a man she could not marry?
The story is complicated.
Hitler's hell is visible in 1933. In that year, in October, Olga married in Netherlands Jaap van Beek, not a jew, but a blonde blue-eyed Dutchman. (A few generations back, one Lady Von Dalmann of German landed gentry, married to a Van Beek, so the "Aryan" could not be doubted.)
Almost two years later, from the marriage of Olga and Jaap, a daughter is born, Erica. The marriage seems to have lasted for a half a year longer. Olga goes back to Vienna with her baby. It is not known whether Hilda is (still) financially maintained, nor is it known whether, as the separation between Olga and Jaap is final, Olga receives alimony. It can be assumed that Olga earns a living for the family. At that time, Erica is so ill that she is hospitalized in the children's hospital in Vienna and has a lot of children’s sicknesses consecutively. Which cannot have been conducive to Olga to keep her job.
After Kristallnacht not only hell breaks loose in Germany, but the panic among Jewish citizens in surrounding countries.
Jaap since August 1938 separated from Olga, goes to Vienna and begs Olga remarry him for her and Erica’s safety. Olga refuses and points out to him that Hilda and her two children are much more vulnerable. How is Jaap committed to marry Hilda and her two children for their safety while he still loves Olga? Olga is a strong personality, an athlete at heart, much stronger than Jaap and Hilda together.
Olga goes with Erica and Omama 'on vacation' and when they come back, Jaap, Hilda and the two children have left Vienna. That must have happened in the summer of 1939.
Aunt Olly Weiss
As said Olga was a member of the Arbeiters Turn Verein. In the same building where she lived with her family, also the Weiss family lived. And the family loved the little children of Hilda, especially the eldest daughter Inge. Olly Weiss was Olga’s team mate.

Olly sought and found work as a housekeeper or maid in London. She also wanted her parents to come and Hilda with her two children. She was lucky to find one Miss Palmer, a wealthy lady who wanted to guarantee both the family Weiss and Hilda. This event took place in the course of 1938. In '39 all was arranged.
But when push came to shove, in other words, when Olly went to Vienna to pick them up, Hilda now turned out to be married to Jaap. Rather than be a maid in England and take care of her children, she went to Amsterdam with Jaap. While her children, with a 'children's transport' travelled to London. After being there for ten months, Inge went  to live with the Weiss family, where, after the death of Olly’s parents was raised by Olly herself. Her brother Kurti was raised up by foster parents. Both children remained in England, becoming adults and received British citizenship.
124
Hilda’s third child, Ilse who was  born in the Netherlands, stayed with her. It was after the war, so she got a (step) father, grew up prosperously , but not without trauma as the second generation child. And was actually an only child.
The war also seems to have been for her parents an indigestible matter and when the daughter was mature they decided to separate. Not long after that Hilda died, she was burned out.
13 December 1992
I am sitting with my feelings back in the war times. For a few days now. Has nothing changed in fifty years? The realization that the Platform, so Nieuwengein then , now refuses to do something about the misery of the displaced-shelters in the form of some distraction, or to advise B & W on a contribution per capita for Bosnia ( where a hunger  winter of '44 is  on the way!) and Somalia .... Here nothing can be done, knowing how it is makes me so desperate that I cannot sleep and can think of nothing else all day. Although yesterday I have been at the stand of Novib at the voluntary market all day with a friendly face.
You know, you can only talk to people who know what you're talking about.
I am glad that the action against xenophobia, against illegal smear campaign, comes in order. Peter has created posters for the twenty-fourth. Women for Peace and Amnesty participate.
125
So I can channel my grief and my anger without damaging myself.
Sadness and anger are not gone, oh no.
I want to go back to December 9, the letters.
I will tell Rabbi Schachter the story briefly, why I am so determined to straighten out the Pages. Does he not see it himself, that it is not a remembrance of my mother, but the desire of my niece to have the name of her family member in this?
N'importe what kind of data? Not one syllable of it was correct, except the name. My first feeling was therefore, that the Rabbi, felt a little passed over , because I did not respond to the discovery of the niece, who also knew nothing. But that is not what I was looking for, I must make it clear. Reparation for Olga, of whose life and death only Hilda knew about and who kept silent from me. That mantle of fifty years that was revealed by Olly, with instructions never to let Ilse and Inge know. I want that also in the Pages. I will have to let Ilse know of that letter. How? I'll have to think, well that's no rush.
Other things remind Olly that she no longer can place. But concerned about that time, she is still, though she says that she does not have any "fight" more with her 85 years.
That means that she had in that in the past, and that shows. The courage not only for herself but also for others to find a safe haven, speaks from her letters. It is a pity, a great pity that Inge and Kurti that I should have known so well in Vienna have disappeared completely from sight. Actually just like Ilse. A family band will I never have with them again, but it's nice that I have heard about them again.
Over the acceptance of ‘that coat ‘I am still not there, even if I put it in perspective. How do you do that as a victim? I can say, Hilda, I forgive you; the fact itself is your underestimation of the danger of your carelessness. That is something that happens.
126
But it did have my mother killed, as you ought to have been wearing that coat. And as you have survived (but how?), so she could  have survived. She would have taken Ilse , combative as she was. Now my life has given Ilse a home, but apparently not a happy childhood. Let me hold on to that. Ilse has also become a war victim, her "home." And my life has consisted of flights from nowhere to nowhere, me closing my past until now. Here only I have found my home. Only after three children and two marriages. My oldest lost through drugs and suicide-no mother who could reach him, he was imprisoned in himself.
Jacob, my child that hid under a coat until he suffocated. From a fear of living.

Leo, who is alone and that maybe will remain that way, grew up with me and two fathers could not be real fathers.
Jessica, who is still fighting for freedom under that coat, which she now knows, exists.
I myself, that I no longer dare to venture into a new relationship, after making wrong choices five times. Thanks for the one who taught me to sublimate my anger and grief into action for people, who like me suffered from oppression and infringements of his human dignity, proclaiming rights for the incapacitated!
Is that the key to my whole life after Olga? Oppression and disregard for my human dignity? Finally, I was Jewish and, as such, was I- treated in the time when I lived. I see now. And I have acted in the past twelve years, but for recognition of my person and to restore my dignity
From my empathy with those, and for those that I I worked with, from what I have experienced myself.
But also of anger and sadness, which could not be captured in words, because I kept the cargo from the past denied until now.
127
15 December 1992
What is -and what is the function of -a prophet?

 Pastor Mook called me, ‘The prophetess of Nieuwegein. ‘ That has  lingered.
Tonight council meeting . In the break I was talking to J.H. He told me enthusiastically about the worries of preparing for Christmas. And I told him that I was not able to celebrate Christmas this year. What happens so close east of our borders. With Bosnia and images of Somalia.
Another councilor said later, "You did not come to make us sad, huh Erica?”

What should I do? Stay talking in the form of politeness? I may not express my feelings, my sorrow and anger and impotence in order not to disrupt the Christmas party? May I not indicate that we cannot celebrate with a clear conscience and cheerful mood while such terrible inhuman things happen this Christmas season?
Did Reverend Mook mean that I am a thistle under foot? Or (calamity) prophet who disturbs the peace of the conscience of Christians and non Christians?
 We, war children and adults know, yet have still all experienced at firsthand? And yet are still scared, angry, helpless and almost powerless? Almost, because only a small area, we cannot get involved to resist the immense indifference, the ‘cocoon’. Pull that screen, that wall you've built around you and just see what happens around us. Let's work together to try there to change that. It is not for us, then for our children and grandchildren. So that the blood on our hands of our indifference does not come upon our descendants. Then we will be certainly guilty. Omama, as weak as you were, you were a militant woman who meant a lot for the labor movement.
Mutti, the strength of your character, your perseverance and sportsmanship, your living will to start a new life here, with all the menace of Hitler Germany. Give me some of your perseverance, despite all resistance. I'm so discouraged now.
128.
Who wants to hear
Those who wish to see
Who suffers too
Not just with me
But with the horror
Where people like them
 Should survive them
or die?
I did not ask for, nor can I shut myself away from it.
My powerlessness over my past blends seamlessly into despair about the horrors of today.
I thought I could get away now, but every time that it takes longer, I am more a part of them. I hear them, right here in my safe little flat I'm not safe there. L’histoire interieure se repete toujours; comme l'exterieur. Et parce que cette histoire d'aujourd'hui est l'exterior. Et parce que cette histoire d'aujourd'hui est l'histoire de moi-meme et de Maman et Omaman et six miliones des autres hommes. Et il passe aujourd'hui, après cinquantes années.
Now back in French, earlier to Olly in German. What comes up as I write this?
Say, write what I know, what I feel. And make people participants of what happens , whether they like it or not.
The coat has to go.
I fight and wrestle with all these feelings, day and night. Sometimes it's sadness so great that I have no spoken words, and if I find them, because of the interests of others, my mouth takes over, without being able to stop it.
Is this the function of a prophet?
 Or do I behave like an intrusive campaigner?
No, that is not me. But maybe they see me like that, if I do not keep my feelings under control and thus contact others in their heart and conscience.
I do this more than ten years-over declared unfit for work (sick and disabled), over racism versus equality. If it would leave me indifferent, I would have no need to write about it or talk about it. Sometimes they give me the feeling that they think I am mad.
So be it. This is me, Erica, made up of a life that was dominated by an invisible and unknown coat of fifty years now. Exponent of "lest we forget."
129.
16 December 1992

I just read Ilse’s letter of 14 November again, where she tries to untangle the knot that has occured upon completion of Rivka’s addition to  The Page. The history of Olga and Hilda were jumbled. This could imply that Hilda has also told Rivka facts - the jacket- and Rivka has therefore  become confused, that is the misunderstanding  . I try now to put it in the time. Everyone was still busy processing, or stopping of the flaring memories of the horrors. We were traumatized, and could not put into words what kept us so busy. Maybe Hilda has told her story confusingly, which was picked up as such. But when she wrote a letter about it, not only Olly knew it, but Rivka knew then - and Ilse also now!
1.How do I tell Ilse?
2.How can I tell that to Aunt Olly?
Oh time, get me in that matter!
Kalien Blonden called. Relief: the radio programme is off. The editors did not think it a good opportunity.
I let on to her surprise that I find  it fine,because the only reason I had agreed, lay in the search for survivors, who would have known her. That is now no longer necessary. Thence.
130.
130.
The last data is now coming in and the next week I hope, if not the real grieving process, yet will I finish this book.
In the last few days, there were quite a few things that ran together, so it was difficult to stay with this case. So emotional, I could not sleep and really collapsed yesterday. (And promptly at half past three in the afternoon I slept until eight o'clock this morning, with some interruptions!)
Why my emotions with me went on the run?
Among other things because I cannot handle that people very carelessly spend  millions and millions on Christmas shopping, chunky tables, feasting, while just over our border and further, into former Yugoslavia, history is being repeated. The same history, which I'm trying to deal with in this book. Shut up, Erica, don’t make us sad, and do not appeal to us and our consciences. Don’t you see that we want to celebrate, you disturber!
Judging by the signals I expected Thursday, December 24th not a big turnout for the torch vigil, we organized as AFKIN.
Yesterday I again brought out in the library, the Jewish Weekly News. Searching for clues that maybe I had previously overlooked. In the Jewish Weekly News, number 20 of August 21, 1942, I found an article on the confirmation of the star.
131.
 Serious warning
The presidents of Amsterdam’s Jewish Council make further emphasis for Amsterdam's attention to the obligation of Jews to:
1st to properly attach the Star of David and wear it visibly;
2nd refrain from entering gardens, parks and all the roads that are forbidden for Jews;
3rd not use traffic ways without a license;
4th not live or stay at other addresses than the above address mentioned on the identity card.
Violation of these provisions has led in several cases to severe punishment, even when it was solely due to carelessness. Hence the repeated serious warning.
 It is conceivable that Hilda has even tried to get help from the Jewish Council, or at least tried to get to the Council for information when Olga was not coming home. Maybe she told them that Olga was wearing her coat. But nothing helped. This remains hypotheses, but I cannot imagine differently.
21 December 1992
Today I received this letter from the RIOD:
Dear Mrs van Beek,
In response to your letter of 2 December 1992, I can tell you the following:
The collections of the RIOD contain unfortunately no more details about your mother Olga Bock then you are already familiar with. For example, there are no documents that have been preserved, which relate to the arrest of your mother.
132

THE JAILS ADMINISTRATION  HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED AFTER THE WAR*
Of the documents relating to the Westerbork transit camp, the proof is that Olga Bock was indeed deported on 11 September 1942.
I would have liked to have done more for you. I'm sorry, that by the limitedness of the material at my disposal, it is not possible.
Sincerely, Ms A van Boxmeer.

Where can I still go with my anger and sadness? Is there a policeman ever punished for the preparation of murdering my innocent mother? A driver for obediently bringing her to her place of execution?
And today happens again the same! Are people because of their origin, their religion, massively persecuted their appearance, killed, expelled, put to flight. And survivors should only see them ready to come out.

Okay, okay, it's all happened fifty years ago and I am only now so far, I can handle it a little, to relive that time for myself.
Yet it is too much for me, as before, the same things are happening. My empathy should not be stretched too far!
All and sundry of the Dutch tribe celebrates rather extensive Christmas. So I don’t  need to .
*Capitals are mine
133
23 December 1992
It brought to mind again the note of Olga. There is no trace of reproach to Hilda . Instead, she tries yet to speak to Hilda with courage, "Kopf hoch, Madel."
History does not change its view. Never has there been a ‘point of return’. Who am I, that I look back with so much anger and resentment at a time, which cannot be compared with this time, in this society, in this same country? And, I have the  examples that today terrible things happen with and through people.
May a man fail? Weak and maybe a coward, if he should suffer such intolerable tension, as at that time? With, still, the examples of Germany and now in Yugoslavia.
130.
The last data is now coming in and the next week I hope, if not the real grieving process, yet will I finish this book.
In the last few days, there were quite a few things that ran together, so it was difficult to stay with this case. So emotional, I could not sleep and really collapsed yesterday. (And promptly at half past three in the afternoon I slept until eight o'clock this morning, with some interruptions!)
Why my emotions with me went on the run?
Among other things because I cannot handle that people very carelessly spend  millions and millions on Christmas shopping, chunky tables, feasting, while just over our border and further, into former Yugoslavia, history is being repeated. The same history, which I'm trying to deal with in this book. Shut up, Erica, don’t make us sad, and do not appeal to us and our consciences. Don’t you see that we want to celebrate, you disturber!
Judging by the signals I expected Thursday, December 24th not a big turnout for the torch vigil, we organized as AFKIN.
Yesterday I again brought out in the library, the Jewish Weekly News. Searching for clues that maybe I had previously overlooked. In the Jewish Weekly News, number 20 of August 21, 1942, I found an article on the confirmation of the star.
131.
 Serious warning
The presidents of Amsterdam’s Jewish Council make further emphasis for Amsterdam's attention to the obligation of Jews to:
1st to properly attach the Star of David and wear it visibly;
2nd refrain from entering gardens, parks and all the roads that are forbidden for Jews;
3rd not use traffic ways without a license;
4th not live or stay at other addresses than the above address mentioned on the identity card.
Violation of these provisions has led in several cases to severe punishment, even when it was solely due to carelessness. Hence the repeated serious warning.
 It is conceivable that Hilda has even tried to get help from the Jewish Council, or at least tried to get to the Council for information when Olga was not coming home. Maybe she told them that Olga was wearing her coat. But nothing helped. This remains hypotheses, but I cannot imagine differently.
21 December 1992
Today I received this letter from the RIOD:
Dear Mrs van Beek,
In response to your letter of 2 December 1992, I can tell you the following:
The collections of the RIOD contain unfortunately no more details about your mother Olga Bock then you are already familiar with. For example, there are no documents that have been preserved, which relate to the arrest of your mother.
132

THE JAILS ADMINISTRATION  HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED AFTER THE WAR*
Of the documents relating to the Westerbork transit camp, the proof is that Olga Bock was indeed deported on 11 September 1942.
I would have liked to have done more for you. I'm sorry, that by the limitedness of the material at my disposal, it is not possible.
Sincerely, Ms A van Boxmeer.

Where can I still go with my anger and sadness? Is there a policeman ever punished for the preparation of murdering my innocent mother? A driver for obediently bringing her to her place of execution?
And today happens again the same! Are people because of their origin, their religion, massively persecuted their appearance, killed, expelled, put to flight. And survivors should only see them ready to come out.

Okay, okay, it's all happened fifty years ago and I am only now so far, I can handle it a little, to relive that time for myself.
Yet it is too much for me, as before, the same things are happening. My empathy should not be stretched too far!
All and sundry of the Dutch tribe celebrates rather extensive Christmas. So I don’t  need to .
*Capitals are mine
133
23 December 1992
It brought to mind again the note of Olga. There is no trace of reproach to Hilda. Instead, she tries to speak to Hilda with courage, "Kopf hoch, Madel."
History does not change itself. Never has there been a point of return. “Who am I that I look back with so much anger and resentment at a time, which cannot be compared with this time, in this society, in this same country? And, I see through examples today that terrible things happen with and through people.
May a man fail? Weak and maybe a coward if he should suffer such intolerable tension, as at that time? With, still, the examples of Yugoslavia and now in Germany?
Hilda,
Whatever have been the consequences of the 'coat', who am I, that I would condemn. If I have to forgive anything, I do hereby wholeheartedly!
It apparently had  .
  And if not, then we have to accept that life is as it is and I am that I am. Do not look back at what might have been if ....
And I want to see in advance what is possible. What good things I can still contribute. So what happened and what is presently happening east of our borders, will perhaps not go repeating itself...
Over that and this way I will have to write back to Olly and Ilse.
And I will.
I have searched for my mother and found her. Even though I did not know how I would find her, I knew that I had never taken leave of her. I did that now. And I may mourn a youth that I and hundreds of thousands, even millions of children that were taken away by the madness of power forces, who use the power they have to create people that are immersed in grief, because they differ in color and origin from what they propose as normal.
134
This is the letter I wrote to Rabbi Schachter:
22 December 1992
Dear Rabbi Schachter,
It took me a few days before I was able to write back.
I would first like to thank you again for your concern of my wellbeing.
Enclosed you will find the new Page of my mother with a picture of her and me as a child. Thank you that you want to take care of her file.
I want to tell you again, so that no misunderstanding exists, I had to research the past of my mother and me. I had no evidence that she ever existed, except this picture and some papers, when in a short time two things happened. The book of Elma Verhey "To the Jewish Child” was released and the conference “The Hiding Child “, became public. I not only survived almost without memories, but also with fear and anger that I did not understand.
I had to make this quest. Not only for me but also for my daughter Jessica, a second-generation child, so she and her mother will understand themselves better and also to give her a past.
I've told you about my two sons, one of them died by suicide, by deliberately taking an overdose of pills and drugs. That has to do with my past. And the second son has his difficulties through that.
And there was another, important reason and that was to give a grave with her own name to my mother. So she was no longer an unknown and unnamed victim.
135
I never sought nor wanted relatives. Anyone who has survived, that knew of my existence, never let that be known. Not even shown of their existence. I say this not with anger or self-pity. But there is no room for them. I have my own life, my (former) family, my friends and my work. With the latter I mean, I (still) want to believe in the 'Global Village' and our shared responsibility there-for. So I see my daily volunteer work. Here I have found my family and friends. Believe me, I have no bitterness.
 I found my mother. And my own past.
At the same time I have lost my fear of my memories. And thus so many remembrances have come back. Not all, the most traumatic still remain hidden.
I have among other things discovered that my mother was arrested and thrown in prison and later via Wester Bork in Auschwitz is murdered, that the coat she was wearing at the time, with the pinned-star, was the coat of her sister. She probably borrowed it to get something quickly for her sister’s baby. .and did not return. And sister survived and has not looked back at me.
That makes this discovery very difficult to process. Do you understand?
The whole story of my quest, now by friend Paul typed and edited. I will keep my promise and send you a copy. That is if the book is finished. If it is published.
A miserable side effect is that this quest is taking place at a time when all that misery in Germany and the former Yugoslavia is now happening. Where the Serbs are doing the same things against non-Serbs, especially against Muslims. It is very frightening to believe that humanity will never change, no matter how big the technical progress and the communication possibilities for humanity nowadays have become. On the contrary, it seems that we just want to use it to destroy ourselves and the world. There was a time, not so long ago; I had the idea that humanity was becoming better and wiser.
Well, I'm wiser ... and sadder.
136

Regarding my Israel I had the hope that the war with the Palestinians would come to an end with election of the Labour Party. But there is still no sign of peace. On the contrary, the PLO and Hamas will work together and I'm terrified for such cooperation.
Judaism and Peace.... will it ever go together?
Last I read in a newspaper a statement by a Serbian word carrier: "War makes sense as long as there is a possibility to make a profit." Is that not cynical? Put the word 'peace' in place of 'war' and we can have the most delicious world. And then of course an  all-out ban and closing of  all weapons factories because they destroy our world and kill our children, our fathers and mothers.
But these are simply philosophical thoughts of mine. I expect no one, to make this a reality.
I'm going to leave you. Thanks for everything you've done for me. Receive my best wishes for yourself. Forever,
Yours sincerely,
Your Erica van Beek.
37
24 December 1992
A while ago I wrote: "In the past is the present, in the moment what is coming." A cliché, but how true!
The hatred is now grown by supra-nationalism and social discontent is the seed where fertile soil is found in the victims of today and future generations. The raped women of Bosnia bring forth children who are already hated for their birth.
The fruits thereof may be new wars again, in about 25, 50 or 100 years.
Tribal strife, religious wars, they are now and always will be. Because we are only human, obstinate and unruly.
And all surviving victims will be able to write books like this ...
Peace on earth is a dream, we have to face the truth.
Maybe that is the lesson I had to learn and if necessary why I had to write this book.
The "Global Village," which I dream of is the dream of a relatively small group of people. With little power. And our world will continue to run maybe a little longer. But will they survive?
To believe in it, I would have to rely on the fundamental goodness of people. The fundamental sense of responsibility for each other as human beings. The I = you feeling.
And I must begin with myself.
Sigh..... I'm not there yet.
39
Jood
141
January 29, 1993
Finally I have written draft letters to Olly and Ilse. Maybe I can finish them Sunday and send them. The text I want in any case to record here.
Dear aunt Olly,
It took me a long time to learn to live with what is written in your last letter. The thought that Olga had the coat on of Hilda was very hard to bear. It is even reflected in the title of the book about my childhood, that will be called Two women and a coat.
Now the time is ripe, now I am able to live with it, as with everything that has happened.
The period from 1939 to May 1945 was on the Continent a time of incomprehensible terrible events. Where the people who survived were injured for the rest of their lives. Hilda  was also briefly in the concentration camp Westerbork, together with Ilse  who was a baby.
I am convinced that Hilda has gone to the Jewish Council in Amsterdam when Olga did not return. And she told them what has happened. I am so confident because I read in the Jewish Weekly from a few weeks later an article warning people extra not to pin the star, but to sew it on: "Several people that are pinning have been severely punished.” What I would have to forgive Hilda of, I have forgiven her.

142
As you said, life has not exactly been kind to me, but Hilda had to live with her grief and her anger, and get on with her life. What's maybe never really happened, to which maybe she was not able to.
I tell you (including myself) once again: life is as it is. I've learned to accept that.
It is possible that Olga on that (rainy!) day in August '42 put on Hilda’s jacket just to get something quickly for the baby, and she was arrested (and taken to jail and later to Westerbork etc.) almost as soon as she  came out on the streets. Her face was so truly Jewish, that I doubt that, even if for her a hiding place was available, that she might have survived.
Therefore, I cannot understand how Ilse, Inge and Kurti could know nothing about it, even after Hilda and Louis died. It was still not intentional Hilda; it was carelessness, with incalculable consequences.
I have decided to send a copy of your letter to Ilse. Maybe that's a consolation to her. She is still with sadness and anger from the past. There were so many, too many things that she could not understand. So much that she was unable to go to the conference Hidden Children.
Can you imagine what war does with small children? Even those events that you cannot understand, that feeling of "I could have better not have been born," which remains always. That entire trauma, your whole life. Until you have learned to find words for and to use those words for yourself. This is done usually not before your fiftieth birthday. And then the past, has long since  used or deformed your character. And your life decides. The fears and anger have become a part of you. How do you deal with that? That is for an outsider very difficult to understand.
Life has also not been easy for you, I suppose. But you, your family and the children were not hunted in England as wild animals such as Jewish people in the Netherlands. You were pretty safe there.
Do you understand, there is no more reproach. To anyone. It all happened. As it is happening in Yugoslavia. We never expected that it could all happen again. But it does!
143

Dear aunt Olly,
I have now also been able to give my mother a funeral. In Jerusalem, at Yad Vashem in the Hall of Names. And my whole childhood became memories to me.
That was the purpose of the quest and no less for my life that now has to continue, more than ever. The whole has to be a book that is worth reading.
I send you my love and greetings and thank you for your help.
Hoping again to receive a letter from you,
Your Erica.
Dear Ilse,
It has taken a long time before I could process what I came to know about the past. Like so many Jewish people, I have processed it- with a friend in this case in a book, which will hopefully be released.
 It is much, very much, that has become clear. Also regarding aunt Olly’s feelings towards your mother. Do you want me to tell you everything or would you rather just read my last letter to Aunt Olly? You can also wait for the book. The title is Two women and a jacket.
  Only now am I able to discuss with you anything you want to know. Your sadness and anger have become clearer to me. As for me, I have now learned to accept life and let go of the past now that I have found words to describe it. That is also thanks to you.
We cannot change the past.
144

I'm now finished with it all. And I hope you find the courage to do so too. Maybe my letter to Olly will help you with that. Otherwise I will let you know when the book comes out.
Do not hesitate to write me, call or visit, if you have questions to ask. I have now a different perspective than 'then'.
I hear from you?
Yours  Erica
These letters I now send as soon as possible.
145
February
146
147
28 February 1993
Letter received from Aunt Olly, which made me very distressed. Of course she's right. But Elma and Paul found it too: Now I turn and I should be able to let it sink  a while.
Here's the letter.
Dear Erica,
This time, I find it hard to answer your letter. But first, I wish you luck with your book. I had no idea you were a writer. But you have abused my trust. When I told you about that incident with Hilda’s jacket I prompted you not to tell Ilse. Finally, it was her mother's fault that may have led to Olga’s death, even if it was indirect. Now it is in your book and Ilse will read it and she could tell Inge. You cannot tell me that it was necessary to make their memory of their mother worse.
I can only hope that Ilse will not be too much affected.
Maybe it can be prevented that Inge will know. She has enough to worry about with her husband's illness. In any case, I do not think Inge suffers from her memories of that time, because she and I only know of the events through other people. Our only concerns were the war cases, we Jewish people, even strangers, were treated the same as the English themselves.
I only hope that now you are able to put the past behind you.
Best wishes,
Aunt Olly
148
Of course her trust is, in terms of the jacket, ashamed. But how do I make it clear that I did not just think that was precisely the point where everything revolved around? For fifty years, my mother is dead in silence out of shame about it. Is it not time that it is written, spoken and processed? Out of concern for them, the now adult children of Hilda, I may panic again, keep my mouth shut, I feel guilty for events in which I have had some part. I became the victim, not her.
Apparently she was so angry (or confused) that she could not place the name on the envelope accurately.
149
March
151
12 March 1993
Visit to Westerbork. Search for Barak 41.0.
At five past eight Jessica and I met at station Batau-north in Nieuwegein. The train to Amersfoort at 8:44 we reached easily and we got there at just after nine. A terrible station. With that in Apeldoorn, I think, one of the worst of the Netherlands. A type of aircraft thoroughfare that comes out in Amersfoort-Never land. It took a while before we could orientate and we even had to ask the way to the Amersfoort station, where we should wait for Dorine to ride together in her car to Westerbork.
The weather gods had the first day of spring and made that the trip became an almost festive experience. Despite the gray tones that marked the destination.
Just before Hooghalen we decided to eat coffee with a treat. But it was only to get a sandwich on stale bread.
The parking lot of the Remembrance Centre in Westerbork lay still in the early afternoon. And when we got out the full gravity of our goal fell like a gray blanket over us.
Inside, in the open lobby with visitor reception, the almost sacred atmosphere was shattered by a whining barking dog. Moments later, the sound of Christmas songs ....nota bene, belong to a video film further on.
The exhibition is almost complete. Only my mother was, also here, not to be found in any picture, in any film. She was here as well? All the daily and weekly horrors. More than sixty thousand people, including Olga my mother lived here for a longer or shorter time before they were transported for slaughter in cattle trucks.
152
It's all displayed there, with matching sounds. Only missing the smell of fear.
At the end of the exhibition, I was surprised by the fragment of a poem by Leo Vroman:
Come this evening with stories
How the war is gone...
And they repeat a thousand times
All the times I will weep
That was too much. Internally I was at that time a lost, screaming and frantic child appearing as usual, I think. Very controlled. Jessica and Dorine were not done yet. But I could no longer see clearly.
Later, outside, the worst point of pressure of the boiler could be taken. Through an emotional spot, tears: "That poem of Vroman that they should have left out...." Nonsense, of course. It hung there not for me. But it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Walking through the forest of the Observatory we tried to reach the Memorial Field , the former camp. I was actually secretly glad that we were a bit lost. The final over tired body did during that seemingly endless walk make my emotions fly away. At one point I heard and saw again and I could hear birds enjoy a day out in the first warm rays of the year.
We reached a crossroads. Where was the Memorial Field? Left? Right?
We decided to go left.Mistake. An endless road without any traffic. Until finally a boy approached with a transport container behind his bike and revealed to us the secret of this traffic-free road.
Dorine had wanted to pick up the car in order to go to the  Memorial Field . But here, on the site of the Observatory , whereby this road also belongs cars may not drive. Because it causes interference in the reception of space signals. Later we would be on the field, and perceive for ourselves the enormous steadily rotating satellite dishes.
153
There was nothing to do but continue to walk back and by the Memorial Centre , step on the bus to the field. A bit of a bad feeling for me, because I was at the first confrontation with the bus chauffeur several hours before quite emotional about the sign on the front of the bus  'Kamp Westerbork' in large letters. Did that now may not be: former Kamp Westerbork? Or Memorial Field Westerbork? He responded quite shocked, he had never thought about it. The driver was a nice guy who even picked us up again.

And the sun kept its profusion spreading above  us.
The Memorial Field  is only recognizable as ‘Camp Westerbrok’ through the eyes of the mind. That means that on this radiant day, close your eyes and try to imagine that every slight rise in the ground was a barracks or a house, the roads were muddy pools, the air was cold and menacing. And where there now is a floor in the area, the locomotive was with cattle cars behind it. Dark, wet, cold. Screaming, crying, fear of death. Animal apathy too. Human survival instinct in all shapes, smells of fear, impoverishment and damp peat.... But also superhuman courage and optimism against their better judgment.
 We searched for Barrack No. 41-0, where my  mother had stayed, but there was not before  every barrack a mushroom with a number. We dwelt at length on the former apple instead. For every Jew an asterisk for each Shinti or Roma (Gypsy is still a nickname) a fire. An English boy picked up a loose star to take it as a souvenir. "You shouldnt do that," I said and he obediently put the star back on a stone. For how long?
 Walking along the ancient monument of the bent rails, along the paths and fences, along the partially intact kept ruins of barracks, my courage sank in shoes. Would I find the place where- about -Olga had been? Along the way I picked up a piece of debris on gray cement with pebbles from the side of the road. Something from the bottom, the base of the former barracks. It has been given a place with just such a piece of debris from Auschwitz, at home in a ceramic pot.
Then, with the exit in sight and already standing bus, Jessica screamed. ‘Forty-one!! ' Dorine and I reacted sluggishly, for we had not expected it. ‘Ma, Dorine, please look: Barak 41.’
From a huge sense of relief that there was yet again a proof of her existence, I looked at Jessica and Dorine to the mushroom which indicated that this was a house in a long line. Did it mean that she ended up with friends or acquaintances? The panic, which she must have known during the three days she was here? Immediately afterwards I realized that I'm here, as her daughter and standing with her granddaughter and my good friend, after fifty years, to bring her a final tribute. As at a funeral. This is where I spent my last salute. That is so Erica That I had to grin in spite of myself. My dead loved ones live in my heart that was never tied to one place. But the relief to have laid the last piece of the puzzle in place, having finished the quest, was great. I kept grinning. Jessica was delighted that it was she who found the place, Dorine was happy for me.
The purpose of the journey was found. And in the van to the center I told elated to the astonishment of the other occupants, ‘I have found again the place of my mother’
The return trip to the West was quick. And the thread to the past snapped when we were tired and hungry and could find no place to recuperate, to get something before we had to take the long journey home. Dorine decided to drive to Amsterdam. She put Jessica and myself out at staion Amersfoort. Her children were too long waiting for her, it was getting late.
My daughter and I decided to first eat in ’The Old Tram 'opposite the station.
155
The waiter was a friendly young flatter . The food was not even reasonable. Then he asked in clearing if it had tasted, I could not help saying that the meat had been too long in the fat, because the steak did  not taste good.
The train was ready. Only in Hilversum, we discovered that we had taken the wrong train.
157
September 2, 1994
To create a book, that was actually not what it was about. When the need was there, Erica wanted to force in herself a breakthrough. Writing was just a tool. Has it done her good?
"I can now talk about myself, not as before , then you had to bring everything out," Erica said. And I think:
Yes
You are now
Different
yet
 the same

Paul













































 Twee vrouwen en een jas
Dedicated to  the  Jewish social work ,
Dorine de Gruyter,
in memory of
Olga, my mother
And with thanks to Paul Groenendaal and to Elma Verhey,
 without whom this book would not have come about
Foreword
On the 1st September 1992

Erica writes hesitantly in a nice small, silk-bound booklet, "was very cozy ..." and she ponders further on the title of the diary that she wants to track the reporting of the quest which it has decided.
The reason is threefold
An inner need which has become increasingly stronger in recent years.
 All the chaos of her childhood surfaced.
she sits at her kitchen table looking out over the gallery railing over Nieuwegein. In this house she lives satisfied. Now is time to dare.
And she begins to write and muses. The title….
They could not have suspected in the summer of 1994, at the same kitchen table but much happier, with a sigh of relief and glad to work on her book with friends, the manuscript would shut and satisfyingly say, "Right, now we can eat. I have a beetroot salad. Jewish recipe.  Do you like it? "
They would certainly not have suspected two years ago, that her book would be in the shop windows in 1994.
Yet that is so. In August 1994 she was eating beetroot salad with two editors. Twice repeated she had to go through exhausting the entire confrontation with its own past, word for word, to make a diary into  a book. Popular portions, clarify things that diarists always perceived as historic.
I was one of the editors and I can assure you that the whole process from September 1992 until now, two years later was a hellish emotional period for Erica.
Paul Groenendaal
Leiden, 1 september 1994
September
15.
I have made a decision. I will ask Dorine to help me-finally- to go back to the past.
I have told that to my friends Piet S. and Corrie van R. Corrie is an old girlfriend that I know from the anti -racism work and Piet is chairman of the club where I am a secretary. I have told them that if I continue to function that I will need their help. That is why you are my friends? Through difficult times to help each other?
With Corrie I had a good talk, among other things, the power that comes from daring to continue to be vulnerable. She is currently in a difficult period and suffering physically and mentally.
I gave her calcium and magnesium, herbs and vitamins. In her family I am “the herb lady” not completely unjustly.
Piet gave me as an answer a mountain of work that by tomorrow morning had to be done.
for the first time I realized that my teeth bit together when I heard my own keys rattle while I opened the door to the deadbolt. Memories of the Martha foundation.
Later that evening. The memories become clearer.
 The leader, Ilsa Love, had the compassionate habit of using her keys, if she wanted to "admonish" children.
1943 -Nieuwersluis?
We stood in line one behind the other, naked, with a towel and a washcloth. Forty children. Two at a time we were washed in a cold bath. Now again I smell the scent of it. And  in the dorms, there were many bed wetter’s. Beds which were, roughly forty centimeters apart.
16.
 Woe betides you if you have not said or sang well before bed your prayers. God's love also expressed itself as "they" heard children still whispering : then they made you stand before your bed, cold feet on the ground, and wait and see how long they let you stand. Sometimes for hours. And you dared not to go to bed or to say anything. I was always picked out. If I had not knitted well , I had to knit at night sitting on the marble stairs. If she was back on time and not pleased, you got there "seams" in. And sometimes she forgot me. I sat there half naked, until she had to go to the toilet and just saw me sitting there.
Stopping blows. Every time going up and down the line. I  could never do it good and flee enough. When it was my turn , it was time for slaps, until I was half unconscious. What made her even angrier was that I could not respond. From fear, or also pride?

Then you had to eat on the penalty bench, the “biekenbank” and you were not allowed to play.
In was proud of my father , who could get on with her. Who brought so many sweets that all the children, also those that had visitors could eat sweets too. What was left over was taken away by Miss Geert Knoet. She searched me to make sure that I did not hide any. All the children called him Papa and loved him.
Emmie  Veldkamp- as snow white so beautiful. Red cheeks, pitch-black eyes and hair. She sat behind me in school and kept pricking me in my back with a pin. Finally I had enough; I turned around slowly and dropped solemnly my ink pot over her head empty.
That day was I beaten so much with the walking stick of Mr. van de Berg that I had to be taken to the hospital. The children bullied me so much, because I never said or did anything back. After the ink pot scene was that over for good. They saw that I "just" only responded when it suited me. Nevertheless Geert Knoete still saw me as a good victim, was why?
17.
3 september 1992
 The name of Margaret G. Van der H. was Greetje. She studied with me the Bible sitting in Alphen aan den Rhijn and comes from the Martha charity. She made contact with me and we made an appointment. Today at Central station in Den Haag.  Neutral territory. We arranged to meet at the third desk in the hall, at three o'clock and because we did not know each other she would recognize me by a bright pink umbrella that I was carrying.
My train arrived at a quarter to three , right on time. And while I stepped off the platform and walked to the hall, I looked around to see if I could recognize her. She should be wearing a red jacket. I did not see her so I waited
And as time passed, the passengers around me were together at the counter and rushed to their trains and I saw homeless and drug addicts. I became despondent and more despondent .What could have gone wrong?  After waiting an hour I took the train home.
Money thrown away, that journey and now I am skint. I can’t travel until I have money again. Preparations for the municipal platform Global Awareness, where I among others with Piet work, has so far cost nearly 100 euros on shipments, letters and the like. It is voluntary work, therefore I have to see if I will get it back, and if so when.

 So I have just called Margaret: It was my fault that the appointment did not go according to plan. I had Thursday in my diary and she as teacher could only get Wednesday free. Therefore she waited for an hour on Wednesday for nothing. We have now an appointment for next Sunday, 7 September.
Then she comes to me, not on neutral territory!
She told me, via telephone, things about the Martha foundation that I did not Know any more. About farmer Kwakernaak for example whose farm next to the home, whose calves I could take care of. Oh yes , I still  remember  that .

ik doopte de kalfjes zelfs , en voor de stier , die altijd in zijn hok zat en die vreselijk hard kon loeien, was ik erg bang.
I baptized even the calves, and the bull, which was always in his kennel and who could howl terribly hard, I was very scared of. Margaret  told of the shoe maker of the charity , over the subsequent build-up of the group of children. And I told him about the injustice that I, because I was allowed to study, was held responsible for the behavior of the younger children in my group. We talked for a long time , but I can not visualize her.
There are a lot of people of my age searching their  past. Rien G. is one of them. I know him only from the telephone. He too is searching  and has stories  that for an “normal” man come across as unreal. Rien is grown up in a Christian family and no one could explain to him over his (orthodox ) circumcision. He has lived in Alpha aan de Rijn and later in Boskoop. He remembered groups of children that rode bicycles in the Martha foundation. I remember the kilometers long marches that we did in lines of three ,to and through villages around Alphen. Very recognizable as asylum children ,but bicycling ? I don’t remember that . The only bicycle that I remember , I got from my father and that was stolen within two weeks! the leadership will have had  fun  with that.
Family Cote. Father was vice president, mother was a woman that every child wanted. We were children , without parents, without family ,without  backgrounds. They were very loved by us girls that were growing up .I  studied with Mieke their daughter and I still have a photo of her that she is in with other friends from school.
4 September 1992
Memories.  Nieuwersluis. White, Sunday sleeved aprons, black worsted stockings, clogs. White metal crib and  curtains with lots of lace. Was that toys or did babies lie in them? A very large house ,a park around about with a large grass field.
19.
Upstairs was a hall: The toilets flooded  over, stink and filth everywhere. No memories of the layout of the house or the daily affairs .
Later, after 1946, Alphen aan den Rijn. The group where I first sat , was right of the building. That was of the leader  (of day of night) Geert Knoet. Later on I sat above in the group M2… the electric cables hung loose out the wall. I got a shock and was unconscious for a while.  on a bench in a small alcove in the hall I came around. In the hall of M2 I learned other children songs and dances. I made a dance from “ zeg kwezelken wildet gij dansen?”  I still remember that dance  and in bed I told the kids always (horror) stories , where  the others always  huddled together in bed. That could then apparently.
Was it there that I first got my menstruation? I was eleven years old and no longer in the group of Geert Knoet. I must have been in panick when I found blood in my bed in the morning. Scared to get punishment- or that I had a fatal illness.
But the leader ( I don’t know which one) told me that I was now a Big Girl and no longer could I play with the boys. She gave me clean sheets and strange-looking terry "canvases" with a hole on each side and a waist belt. That was that, that was my sexual information sessions and that of the girls of my generation.
The school attic, which stood on the site. What I did there? I was there sometimes for drawing lessons? There were antique busts and heads of plaster and marble and it smelled and was  very dusty.
Mr. Van Dijk from the third class sat with his hand in my pants . If I reacted he told me to “shut up” and pinched me hard.
20.
These are memories that come up. I don’t remember any of the other leaders except the sadistic women Geert Knoet and Ida de Liefde  ( the corpse if compassion , “so as we called her) she got later an eye sickness , literally fire red eyes and according to tradition would go blind. We called that the punishment of God. There were also good leaders , such as the one Margaret called : Leny Zwaal.
Margreet found it  unlikely that I was made responsible for twelve young people from my group ....I was studying and was the only one that had a small room for myself- a former kitchen- where I could do my homework.
“But” said the former leader ( who?) “then you should make sure that the youngsters stay sweet” or words to that effect. That I do not remember names! The result was that I could not do my homework in the afternoon or evenings. I taught myself from the clock tower that I could see out my window , to sleep and wake up , sometimes at four in the morning to do my homework. I had to be a good example .Even now is six hours sleep enough! I had to go to bed at the same time as the  others and was controlled if my light was out.
That ” privilege “lasted less than a year. Then I had to go back to the “dorm “ and my room became a kitchen again. At least in my memory.
Slak van Beek. That was me. That is what they called me. Slow, clumsy, always the last in the line, whatever line. In the line by Geert Knoet , for every run in the black stockings or knitting on Sunday gray hosiery. How often did I have to take my work back and start again? And how often did I get beaten because I was the last in the line?
21.
5 September 1992
Zij van Vlink , a girl in my class, whose brother had a sort of animal magnetism for me. It depended on her if I may walk with her brother over the school grounds. It cost me my best books. Pure blackmail!
Rieke and Liesje Olie and their brother , who suddenly after the war were called Olij. The choir of Jo Toet , partner of Daniel Waayenberg, and the songs that we sang:
The heavens remains gloomy hung down
A dead silence reigns supreme
Creation grieves, she has no songs

And the organ tone of the forest is stupid ....
That has always stayed with me. And now comes a thought to me and a singing game over spring from princess Irene that we learned:
We are the hares out of the woooods
The small hares out of the woooods
and eating a hazelnut….
Today I read the Nieuwe Israelitisch Weekblad (NIW)from 28 August that was sent to me from the telephonist from the Jewish social work . The tears are in my eyes as I read the column from G. Philip Mok: “Am Jisraeel Chai.”
I am a Jew in heart and soul. I realize this especially , because,  even though  my past was  by the Martha charity very Christian and baffling , is very  agitated by the reading of the NIW and this column.
Will anybody ever bring my soul to her right place?
22.
Margreet was here. With a photo album full of photos of children from the buildings of the Martha foundation. Truly also a picture of Geert Knoet! Margreet stayed till five o’clock. I only recognized her when I saw her childhood photos. She is now a grown up lady and a teacher. And I have been stated as being incapable to work.
Although I am particularly strained, there are still no emotions that come up with the looking, talking about and recognizing of pictures from this time. Strange , actually. Names , names of people and places it was not more than that. Or not yet? Just scents come back. And the tinkle of the many chains of Miss Corvase the German teacher
And the face of the pathetic spinster of needlework,-who  was also bullied by me.
We talked about the family Cote, also for Margreet a very loved family. It was a  shame that Mieke had  so little  attention , because her parents were caring for more than four hundred and fifty children. And hospitality and love, that the children received from no one else.
23.
Still 7 September , evening
I have asked  Paul, my dear friend from the past and still,  whether he wants to read my writings.  And if it may ever be a book , would he be my editor?

In the years past  I've never been able  to tell him anything from my childhood. And when I tried it sounded confusing  and incomprehensible to him . And still I  panicked , as he practically forced me to go into the past, how lovingly and patiently he tried. It caused unbearable tension between us.
My strange reactions to his innocent remarks, my off-track anxiety and panic attacks , and I crawled into my shell when he became irritated. His bohemian - like attitude toward my need for security. Love and security, very civil,  are synonymous with safety for me.  For him it means trouble, curtailing his freedom.  Doubly, as a clipped bird in a cage. That can not continue to go well. And therefore did not go well.
After two years of silence I made contact with him. This is also the way to tell him about my youth, all those things, all those fears that surface.   Will I persevere to the end? And will Dorine , my friend from the Jewish social work , and Paul , my old friend , able to provide enough support for it?
Paul also has his stories.  Stories  from his childhood, how he experienced the war. And the years after. His life is a continuous line, with peaks of course, like an ECG., But his Memories are a common thread running through his life. And me? I have the feeling that my life only halfway in my adulthood begins. The way back from there is not even visible, but it must be there. I'm finally not come into the world as an adult, or without background or parents.
24.
The memories keep coming. There is now no stopping them. When I was fourteen , in 1949, I could stay whenever I wanted to at my uncle Bart and aunt Marie and their two daughters ( Marie is the one that arranged for me to be taken from my father and placed in the Martha foundation , But I had not realized that yet). After staying there a few times they told me , that I May leave the Martha foundation and come and live with them, if I promised never more to have contact with my father! I did not realize that she therefore would experience the ultimate triumph, by taking my  father’s   only child away- for good - after years before, my father had me taken away from her. He told me once how he accidentally had witnessed how they mistreated me and how he then took me, but that's another story. Aunt Marie thought she’d  have cheap household help from  me? Until that point I knew no more about housekeeping than drying up . After a short period of reflection I refused to give up my father. I had to return to the Martha charity and I never stayed there again! They cried with anger and disappointment but I never regretted my decision. Even though I was thus in the Martha Foundation, and even though I was not yet aware of the purpose and background.
Yet I was then, just as unconsciously, an arrogant weight. I must have been nineteen years and I just started working in the council office in the town of Woerden. I had left the Martha foundation and was free to visit my father. With him in Amsterdam, also lived  uncle Coen  (his brother) and his wife Aunt Cor. Uncle Coen was a park worker and I worked in an office. I suggested that he was a staff member and I officer. Absurd and ridiculous. We had words, it was not fun anymore. Maybe I wantedto offend them by punishing them for leaving me in the Martha foundation. In my childhood I stayed  with my father and  with them? Then they had to stay together in a house and were busy trying to get my father , who was alone out, because they had a family. Grandpa was already dead….


25.
Grandpa ! That small house that I can still smell. Grandpa , whom I passionately loved, who sat me on his lap , read and played with me, who cut all the cartoons out of the newspaper and pasted them in a big book for me and upstairs there was more big books and cartoons and other things were I was allowed to play . I realized that in later years my grandpa and my father , played a smaller role in my life , among other reasons , because, they both did more for the youngsters of number 88( grandpa lived at number 90 on the Plaatijzerweg) and for their mother, auntie Ella. I felt that I did could not come between or be involved there .But the short time that I lived with my father and grandfather and came to auntie Ella’s and played with the youngsters , Henk and Erich ( it was not longer than a half a year), was the only rally happy time of my youth.
Back to the Martha Foundation.
It's the feeling. No conscious memory. It must have been dark, cold and wet. Rain and wind, when I arrived in Nieuwersluis.
I have the same feeling when I think of how I was brought  from one hiding place to another  to a person's hand, with maybe a briefcase or a bag in the other hand.
Actually I can’t remember real memories out of that period. It is like a thin black veil which is located over the entire past. You see it and know  that there is something behind, but to see through it is so difficult. There is nothing, even for only a moment, illuminated, allowing you to see everything clearly.
I was there, at Serreschans, in Nieuwersluis. It stank and was noisy and humid. In the evening we folded our clothes on our shoes ,  some wore wooden shoes - so that we could flee if necessary.
26.
 I had nightmares, others banged evening and night with their heads rhythmically against the headboard of their bed. I know of at least one time I'm sleepwalking into the dining room to sit and  sat there all night, with  my arms folded. Until the group came for breakfast and woke me up. That is how it was told to me later on. Geert  Knoet had to – with cold water- wash and dress me completely.I seem to have come far away.
During every air raid, all attacks on or near the railway line Amsterdam - Utrecht, we dove at night under the beds. Or during the day, under the tables or in the ditch. And when we gathered wood in the forest across the street, we looked panicked for a tree to stand against.Their was a farm in the forest. If we were there in the area we pushed in and stood against the wall. One child from the group once stole something there. For that , later on all of us got one at a time ,  a beating. Geet Knoet knew how to give a beating. And I never had the impression that she  did so reluctantly.
Two dormitories. Hepatitis broke out, jaundice, diarrhea and vomiting. Then we got punishment. If you had to throw up everything was shoveled back on the board, different food put over it and you had to eat it .
For days you were given the same plate of food . That really happened.
On Friday afternoon we went for a bath. Very soapy water, probably there was no real soap anymore .All forty children went into the same bath water at least that is how I remember it. I definitely remember on a Friday after the bath , leading everybody to their knees  beside the bed . There we were in our our nightdresses or pyjamas  , and I spoke facing where I believed East to be out a prayer. Where did I get that from! Even Geert Knoet  later on knelt and prayed with me.
27.
In that time , I had also knowledge of everything that was eatable, and there was a lot  edible  in the big garden around the grounds of Sterrenschans. I seemed to know what wild rye and wheat were, which fruit was edible, which mushrooms were poisonous. There was a bush with bright red fruits that we definitely had to stay away from .But somehow or another I knew that the fruits were definitely not poisonous. And they were really tasty. Since I had eaten it, they had , probably with fear and trembling, waited a day and then the bushes were looted. What was left over was made into jam. The strange thing is that I lost some of that knowledge after the war and was only returned in my high school years. How could I, a city kid from Amsterdam and Wenen , know all those things and use it too?
Cold , wetness, stink and fear. The feelings prevail over the war violence.
Why, dammit, do I not  remember how and by we I was taken away from my father? Or how I was taken away from my mother ? I feel darkness. Screaming and shouting from every side?
The panic of then is again totally back. Bugger up all! Leave me alone.
12 September 1992
The past won’t leave me alone. Now I have started voluntary work in abundance.   I speak to a lot of people who want to talk about the flash that one has seen in me in early news. That was at the conference ”The hiding child” . That lasted three days , but the first day I could not handle it, and I left in the afternoon.
Now their stories are coming out. …. The stories from people that can’t forget how their friends, and their classmates disappeared. How the rumors about treason and hiding of teachers and teachers who disappeared and aunts and uncles   and so on. Me they had never associated therewith.
28.
18 September 1992
It's hard to get hold of this book.I don’t feel physically fit and the doctor won’t allow me to give blood for the red cross before he has his self-done an examination.
Still I want to go back. Not to the time of hiding, but to the time before that. What do I really remember from the time with my mother? Blank memories come up, real memories!
We lived in the Vrolikstraat in Amsterdam. I am in the living room playing with my dolls house with real lights. My father made that. The curtains are closed, the lights are burning.
In the back room there is singing with guitar and mandolin en…violin? Austrian (mountain) songs, Dutch hiking songs, operetta songs. I feel good about it, even though I'm alone, but with Kareltje- Karlchen will have mentioned him- my big wooden doll out of Wenen, whose legs moved back and forward when you moved his legs. When we went for walks he walked beside me, then Mutti or someone else held his other hand and we waved them back and forth.
Jetje my neighbor .We play in the garden .Jetjes mother is with my mother. We ran on the veranda , into the kitchen. But Jetje stepped in the wooden veranda onto a big nail. I feel sick, because she had so much pain . Typical, such a reaction.
We play at Jetjes in her house. She has a grandpa, who lives in the back room. One day grandpa does something “dirty” . He takes his willy out and hold it against me and Jetje. We were not allowed to talk about it. We found it so interesting, that straight away we tell it to Jetjes mother…..The next day grandpa is gone and Mutti wont talk about it.
Auntie Hilda, Mutti and me walk in the Leidsestraat. Mutti has a yellow dress on with small blue roses. I am playing hopscotch , pavement on , pavement off and sprain my ankle. That hurts so much that I nearly faint. Mutti takes me in her arms . Then I pee on her beautiful new dress and from shock I begin to cry really hard.
I have warts under my foot and was with her at the doctor. He burns them away and I scream  out. When that is done , is Mutti talking with the doctor and I walk around and stand on something that is glass that cuts my foot open. Mutti was upset and apologized extensively with the doctor, but does not look at my foot.
With a lot of kids at the same time we are at a clinic. In the entrance of the door stands a doctor,who will cut out our tonsils. He gives a speech, where the mothers are. He promises the kids (I think he overlooks me) a scooter with square wheels, if they are very sweet.I am furious. I also want a scooter with square wheels, but he has not promised me anything and I don’t want to go with them in. Without mother , all doctors and nurses and strange big stools….And PAIN! With force they opened my mouth, there is pain and blood in my throat. Panic!
 Later on I got a present from Mutti, but not a scooter with square wheels.
The front room is the children’s room. The curtains, the cushions on the home made plywood stools, the tablecloth, the curtain for the home made cupboard- everything is covered in thin light blue material with small yellow and pink flowers. I have a lot of toys, more than other children. My father makes a lot . I think that he also made the furniture and the lamp.
But I am rather at my auntie Jo, who lives behind us and has eight children. There it is always busy and cozyThat is where I would rather eat, not at home, sometimes Mutti eats there too.
Looking back, it seems like I come from far away. Another time,  different atmosphere. The noise outside overwhelms me here. Then the reassuring noise  of the  refrigerator takes over.
Back. Other memories.
Across the street is a sweet shop. Sometimes I get a whole penny to buy sweets.Then I go with Jetje or with a girlfriend to look for what I want.
We always go with a group of children, with a grown up , to the Frobel school. Then we pass by a wasserete . Mutti is so beautiful, I am so proud when she comes with us. Or if we go somewhere else. We go out a lot, also on visits.
Memories of scenery, stage curtains, hollow-sounding voices and ballet practice rooms with piano music.I am in a ballet group with other little ones But Mutti is also  very musical: she can sing and dance and loves the theatre…
( Years later I went with my father on a visit to a family Schubert. They came out Wenen and knew my mother. And me as a small girl. Their home was a revelation, so well-known and familiar to me. But the people, Mr. and Mrs. Schubert, I did not remember.)
Mutti is proud to make me beautiful. I remember a pink and white woolen skirt with very nice buttons. A tartan dress of silk with a white lace apron, white silk socks and black patent leather shoes.I feel the material now as I think about it…..
Images… They keep coming, tumbling over each other in their haste to reveal their self to me. I write key words in order not to forget them, not one can escape now, how they whirl together.
31.
Argument between my parents. The swing hangs from the doors to the veranda in the back. They sit together  around  the table, maybe playing a game- and so I try to swing that I can catch my father out. That poor sweet man.
Another vision. I am in a holiday camp in Petten on the sea. Specially set up for the sickly. I get there a sickness, perhaps nostalgia. It must be winter, a hard winter. My beautiful Mutti is brought in with bloody legs and lies beside me in the hospital ward. She has  walked far  through deep snow and the hard top layer  has broken  her silk stockings and rubbed her legs broken .But she is with me again. She has to stay in bed longer than me. I don’t remember any more, apart from that I don’t want to lose sight of her again. Except when I go to the Frobel school. I made so many nice things  and have  brought them home for her: a doily for the tea chest (with the  coffee set) made by  folding a countless number of times  silk paper; and  beautiful  things made  of wire and colored beads, such as a swing with side posts and a doll ( with a picture) on it. The picture I made again in the Martha Foundation , I now remember.
From the Frobel school , I remember a party. I have to run with a young boy to win a glass of lemonade .There is two glasses: In one of them is real orangeade, the other is colored on the inside. I win! And I pick the good glass too. He is very mad.
A warm spring morning. The sun has just risen. I stand with Mutti by the Bata. My father works there. Airplanes fly overhead. Noise , bomb craters .My mother falls to her knees , throws her hands before her face and begins to scream and cry. War  “Oh no, My God no!” Everywhere people, everywhere panic. My father? I don’t know. My sweet , beautiful Mutti is bleeding and crying. In my memory I am completely rigid and only see the image and hear noise. horrible noise.
32.
Swimming in th e sports fund bathson the Heiligeweg. I heard later that as a baby I could swim. But there is panic, as I a toddler climb to the top of the diving board and was  suddenly discovered on the edge of the shelf.UI was caught by a man. Mutti cried from shock.
We sleep in the alcove ,the room in between . Beside  the back (living) room frosted glass sliding doors, which could make the living room bigger ; beside  the front room with a  wooden door .On both sides was  a bed.
Mutti often wears a brooch from the Stefan Church in Vienna, where we must have lived. I see the colors now before me. I find that the most beautiful thing and I climb up on her lap often , just to see it.
Vienna. From Vienna I remember little or nothing. A large, gray, barrack- like building where all voices sound very hard. A big garden like a park. Or is it a park? There I also  have an Omama, that in my memory is very big and stately, Many and very big stairs and very high. You still see that in old films.
As I dive into the past again without clear memories, at least without images.The feeling of very fine porcelain The scents, the   scent of earl grey tea ,bergamot, roses, the under  scent of certain perfumes, from freesia’s:  That was the scents of Mutti.
I must have been a smart child. Bilingual, with a large vocabulary in both Dutch as East German. And with only a faint notion of the dramas that took place around me and the tension of the impending war. Then it was just very lucky.
33.
And suddenly it was over.
One of the last things I remember from the Vrolikstraat, the bomb crater is nearby, at the corner of Van Woustraat.
19 September 1992
After all these years, is now (of course completely unjustified, I realize that though) great anger towards my niece Ilse, her half brother Kurt and half sister Inge  (my cousins ), not even a little time to share with me .After Vienna- and from there I only have a photograph- I never saw them again. Anyway Ilse has regular contact with Inge .Or is Hilda, her mother and my aunt ( Muttis sister) responsible for that? Ilse has stayed in England at Inge’s and sometimes Inge comes to Amsterdam. Ilse has worked on a kibbutz. Ilse has kept her mother. Ilse is not to balame , no one is to blame. These things just happen like that. But she has kept a whole family. I lost everyone.
34.
 Would   her mother  not  be responsible for the only child of her sister? She survived,  my mother was killed. Maybe I was not really happy at hers , but I had  family. Family in  Amsterdam, in ,England, Austria( Vienna) and Israel . Ilse kept those contacts. I never had them.
Bitterness is not necessary and not good .But I still have to get rid of it.
Tonight I read on teletext about  the first really anti-Semitic demonstration in Eastern Europe. And the decision by the Arab countries to engage in a "holy war" against Serbia (for the Muslims in Bosnia).
Fear strikes, Nostradamus was right? Literally, also was the misery in Iraq predicted by him. In 1994, Europe would be at war with Islam, and warnings would not help.
 Wait and watch as Europe and Israel will perish and America will get involved too late? So then we get World War III.
20 September 1992
Teletext , Page 312. Budapest. Tens of thousands of demonstrators against the president and against the management of the Hungarian television. The Democratic Front had warned against Jewish power.
Teletext, page 313.If this "holy war" would continue - there is Iran an army ready, says teletext- and if only if Saudi Arabia is against, what's going to happen here? All those tens of thousands of young, rudderless Muslims who are aware to be Muslims if they want nothing "to do", they will find a purpose in this so-called holy war? A purpose to live for, an ideal? Ah  heaven, then Europe will indeed be overwhelmed  by Islam, but other than Nostradamus meant . Who predicted that the threat would come from Iran.
35.
There is an enormous depression coming. I have to see . But what is  the usefulness of the past,  if there is nothing good to expect from the future? I wrote that in a poem in 1956, when there was an uprising in Hungary.

Perhaps there is no future to live in
So we almost stand still naturally.
It seems to me, it is  far better to stay
Than to perish in the future.
I'm just here to do something else. Read Paul's letters. He has  everything I write on the computers , and sends me the prints with a letter. Memories and things that happen to him now, that never were related to me. About how he and his friends, shortly after the war, were driven by nerves and panic  to cause a massive blow to the  garden of the Jewish family of Juultje  .How much he regretted it later. How easily he rolled over the war, his memories  are colored by his   awakened wanderers spirit.
In the newspaper Het Parool from 27 August ( why have I not read that before now?) writes Chawwa Wijnberg: “The feeling of sadness, anger and despair, which we (the children) as it were victimized ...)
She forgot to mention the fear and fundamental loneliness.
I dreamed of a shindig in someone’s room. There was a beaten up bed.Nobody danced with me, I desperately did my best to look as happy as the others that were available.I suggested to them that we sit on the bed , but they did not want to do that. On leaving, someone showed me out  and I just walked outside in the darkness. Left the others behind me, and they went the other way.
36.
 And I woke up afraid.
And last night I dreamed of earthquakes and noise and trapped between the people and I could   not go anywhere. I realized in the dream that that was the safest place to be.
I have written to Ilse , and told her what I can remember, or thought I could. I have asked her if she can tell me more. Maybe her mother Hilda has told her things about my mother, my grandparents , about Vienna. Maybe that will help me to remember things again.
21 September 1992
I want to try to continue. I have  yet to discover a wide no man's land between Mutti and the Martha foundation. I find it very scary and it's all very murky. If I cannot find it,  I must use violence. It  wears me out, but also makes me stubborn.
At the beginning of this week I close this book and send it to Dorine to read. Then after we have spoken about it , I take it back.
24 September 1992
Dorine agreed to once again pick up the image of my mother. Like that , that is potentially imposed by my father and my  family.
And try to find an answer to the question to what extent it has affected my self-imposed image. And so  my life.
Where I'm going and where I come from?
37.
Despite sleeping pills I have not slept in two nights. I'm too busy with voluntary work and obligations thereabouts, then again, I also feel the desire to let that go and come to myself. Does  not work. Tired, muscle and bone pain. I  get up again at 05:15 and have put on coffee. Pondered about errors and  heartlessness   present in others, about shortcomings in my work. I talk too much. I've never been this way.
39.
October
41.
1 October 1992
I have fallen  into a massive depression and have layed everything (temporarily) down. And I again feel guilty about that .... I was yesterday during a meeting sitting at home so nervous that it was not fun anymore. It is necessary to prepare an event for 17 and 18 October, but I stuttered, could not get my words out, belittled myself and understood little. I feel spiritually paralyzed me and have pain all over my body. Why? What is happening to me?
Jessica, my daughter has read the memories to Mutti. She was happy ,  she said .It has given her more information over her unknown grandma and more understanding for me.
4 October 1992
I   could not do anything the last few days. There was actually   so much work to do that I was  torn   to continue, between my desire with this book and my "love and devotion to duty" for the work that must end  17 December, when the municipal Platform Global Awareness is installed. All preparations for this swallowed my time, my energy and my money.  I had already given up the trade union work in the past month, as well as my    contacts with council and commission.
Jessica had warned me that my dive in the past would take my energy. She seems to have been right. It is still scary and it is still not known if it is really worth it all:
I, the Jewish middle aged daughter, grew up in a "Christian" environment, have come during this quest at a point where I am searching for my Jewish roots. But precisely because of my past I hear, and I feel, no longer at home in the Jewish community. What the latter may be.
42. 
Anyway, here we go: the image I have of my mother. A real image I have not so clear. A small, muscular woman, slim. And quite striking, very large eyes, well dressed, sometimes chic. Sometimes  happy, sometimes aloof. I don’t remember  hug parties, nor things we did together. However, we were inseparable, which is pretty normal for a single mother with a child.


Yet there must be, outside of the described memory, an image that appeals to reality. Though the knowledge   from the past (not the Memories),  the fleeing and the fears of the rising anti-Semitism before the war, persecutions,  bring back real memories that I'm mentally maimed by them. The image stays the same: My beautiful , sweet Mutti.
My father has told me about  the fleeing to and from Vienna . He told me about Hilda , whom  we went together to visit. And he also told me that, years after the divorce, when he was  long  just   friends with "mother" that he  still loved Olga . Her eyes, he could not forget them. At the same time, he really gave me the picture with a woman, who was immensely irritated by his lack of willpower, Only in 1963 I was, here, facing my past. I received from the Red Cross proof of her death.perseverance and ambition. She herself had, after all, despite social opposition, won gold medals at the Workers' Olympics in Budapest. That were immediately snatched away at the border control in Germany, was another matter. He, my father had on his marriage abandoned his studies in state economy to support his family. He could not find any work in the crisis. For the support he worked in the DUW   (social service’s)., but I don’t know if his marriage was already over or not. That was the picture my father gave.
43.
Although he was a sweet, gentle man, he did not make it with Olga, who must indeed have possessed so much more perseverance and rationality. This is clear from what she has achieved in athletics, her survival instinct, but also from the circles in which she must have been.  Artists, theatre, musicians and the likes of  did not fit at all with the soft, pliant and pure leftist worker boy who was my father.
I actually believe that from Olgas side, that it was a marriage of rational considerations. However, he was lost from the moment he saw her. That he called her “hard” afterwards, I can understand now but it does not change the image I have of her. That has something of defenselessness.
So far as I remember , we never talked about her in our family. She is hushed and I  was “the poor small child” . Literally hushed .When I was at my first hiding place , at the aunt from my father’s side, I must have asked when Mutti was coming back.” Do not complain, we'll see when she comes  back. be quiet, now it should be over. "
No proof of her existence ever after.
A little understandable when one remembers how it was at the  time. At each address it must look as if I belonged. And a child who complains about   when Mutti was returning,  was a danger  for her surroundings. The questions and even the memory was so very quickly suppressed and eliminated by the mental and physical coercion from outside. And the multitude of impressions, all relocations and new environments and the induced fears, the memories indeed disappeared. Nobody, apart from my father , had ever talked with me about my mother. Also after the war. It was- suddenly- aborted.  Only in 1963  was I, suddenly, confronted with my past. I received from the Red Cross proof of her death. .A “Wiedergutmachungsgeld” from Germany, which I can use to benefit my family. Only in that time, when I had received that relatively small amount, I was wondering if there is somewhere maybe someone still alive who my mother was. Despite the obituary.     Because  I had two small children and a million questions. I looked at every Jewish looking woman – Maybe she was the one? I wrote to Israel, when I saw on television a woman that I thought looked like Olga.
44.
 As I got older, my feelings denied this understanding of this.
There is bullying children's game in which the children stand in a circle with a child in the middle. That one child with a hard push is hurled to another. After such a shove you try to regain equilibrium, but before you succeed in it, you get pushed again by another child. When  you  think you are  standing well ,  you  are  pushed before  you can regain balance. That is the image I have from my childhood. Once I was with someone, I could hold someone. That brings a new memory in the light. Me holding  Mutti’s hand, always. In the tram on her lap, me doing  most of the talking. I belonged with her, I held on to her. The image I have of myself from earlier years, after the disappearance of Mutti , is  of that child in the center of the circle.
Here in this falt in Nieuwengein, where I live from 1981, there has been change.
Divorced from my second husband, the children grown up,I left my soul in ” prayer”  in charity work. That is also a way of hiding from myself.
 But I am myself, Erica van Beek. A woman for whom I could respect, despite her bouts of depression, crazy reactions, and panic states.
There Paul and Dorine have played a big part in.
45.
9 October 1992
Yesterday I started with  Dorine the  processing, and we  agreed that  they would inquire about my mother at the State Archives. The next time we will discuss when we will look for Olga in barracks 41/0.
 A picture of me as a toddler with a hat on, has on the back the year 1939 .I was then four years old and back in Amsterdam. A fact that raises no recollection .
46.
Erica in 1939
47.
From Olgas letter from Westerbork to Aunt Hilda, I took it that they had to report to the prison at the Amstelveensweg, because she had not sewn but had pinned her star. From there, they should be sent directly to Westerbork and Auschwitz. When Olgas sister, my aunt Hilda died, I received from her daughter Ilse, out of her legacy, a letter and a telegram written from Westerbrok. It was thus that I finally collapsed and could do nothing  with the feelings that arose.
The telegram from Olga from Westerbrok
The facts as I know them now at a glance:
8 September 1942:
Letter that she is transported to Westerbrok:
10 September 1942:
Telegram from Westerbrok;
14September 1942:
Official date of death in Auschwitz.
48.
The first hiding place:
Bestevaerstraat 19 -high. Before that I was for a time in the Bellamy- straat, anyway on the 11 August 1942.
Mutti must have disappeared around about my seventh birthday.
Since that birthday fell on a Saturday (found on the perpetual calendar) there is to think of a family member , in this case certainly, that took me in because Olga had to report on Monday, 3 August 1942 at the Amstelveenseweg.
 Then, on September 8, she writes that she's " deported" to Westerbrok. That was a  "Wednesday". The telegram of September 10  was in vain. The next following day that the train left to Auschwitz was Tuesday 14 September, the same date as her official date of death! Indeed, the trains always left on Tuesday?
That can mean two things. The first is that she did not survive the journey . The second , that she indeed was “murdered” directly when she arrived. However, it could mean , that she never arrived in Auschwitz dead or alive….or never even left….
Help. I don’t understand!
Then in the  Bellamystraat…. Was I there for a short time by Hilda and did I arrive  on 11 August 1942 in the Bestevaerstraat by Marie and Bart? Or at her parents?
In the Simon Sttevinstraat, in my memory a street behind, I was by Marie and Bart.
Between 11 August 1942 and 15 December 1942, there is a series of addresses. After the Simon Stevinstraat the Keizergracht. By whom? After that the Prinsengracht, I also can’t remember . De Eerste Leliedwarsstraat, in the middle of the Jordaan. A crooked house with sloping floors.It stood under construction for many years. I remember that I must have been at a cousin of my father. That the sloping floor was broken and the furniture too and smelly. Wooden floor and a damp stinking kitchen. The people there could not do anything about it : The houses were not maintained. In a room lay a pile of patches or blankets, that is where I slept. In another room there was a window that looked upon a house, where  Chinese  people lived. Sometimes if I look outside and saw the boys with their beautiful white shirts and their black trousers. I found them soooo beautiful!
49.
After that in Hoorn , Keern number 32 or 24. A sister of my father, aunt Bets, married with Aart den Ouden, three children. That was a real family.I slept with their daughter in one bed. We went after the harvest searching opium poppy. That was in the Kennemerland. The stubble in the country short   mowed grass  caused bleeding legs and feet. How was the  reaction  to that? I don’t know anymore. All that we could find we put  in the pants with elastic in the legs  and was given at “home". Sometimes we kept apples or pears for ourselves and we eat them in bed.
In the town center was a peacock cage and the school was nearby.I went to the school with a neighbor boy, whose parents were informants. This is less of a memory than what I was told later. The Germans marched by our house, singing ”Auf der Heide bluht ein kleines Blumelein und dass heisst  Erika…” And me, with my Austrian background pulled on the trouser leg of the sergeant and said: “Ikch heiss auch Erika.” However, on the shoulders of the Germans I've been several times to school. Then I was soon gone from Hoorn.
Then I again ended up with Marie and Bart. In Amsterdam North, Vijfde Vogelstraat 17.  Marie was hard. Father  said that he had fled from the “Arbeitseinsatz”  and came home. He lived a distance of twenty five meters away and came to visit me, and caught Marie , just as she was giving me a beating. It must have been a hard quarrel before he retrieved me and took me to grandpas. I was not allowed to see Marie again. That was not necessary; I now had grandpa and the two neighbor boys Henk and Erich. And I had the only happy half a year of my youth, since my mother’s disappearance.
Marie took revenge and reported me. Probably at the Council for Child Protection. On the 15 December 1943, a cold, wet, dark day, I was again removed and brought to the Martha Foundation, then in Nieuwersluis.
Well, there is a very clear result. That Rivka (Ella) has informed several times to me. That I have interested! Family, only it never was told me.
What remained was a lie. And denial. In this case, two different things. But that’s another story.
I have immediately written back to Ilse and told her that I have received a letter from Olly. I hesitate to send her a copy of it.
                                                                   6 November 1992
Dear Ilse,
I am writing back straight away. Thank you very much for your letter. Now I can write back to Schachter.  I had already written evidence about mother's death, but now I can explain to him how it is.
In the meantime I have received a letter from aunt Olly. I will send you a copy, but hesitate because she did not- how shall I say this- write so friendly about your mother. Let me know if you wish to receive the letter-and you can.
As for me, I want to find the truth. Olly is not so young anymore and it was a hectic time then. But I must do it with hypotheses. These are often 'ouch'. Would I however, be reconciled with the past, then I will have to continue for the time being to write. A journalist friend wants to make a book of my quest. And the KRO wants to dedicate a radio show to it.  This came about because of ads I've posted in the hope that there are still people alive who knew Olga .
No, nil comma zero reactions.
In the book that I am writing, about the hiding, the Martha Foundation, and the like are  discussed, but mainly my search for Olga.
Meanwhile I have, thanks to you, a past back that is mine. A kind of wholeness, whereas before my life began only in my early adulthood and all that had happened to "another child named Erica '. You understand? Thanks again. Wholeheartedly. We are getting closer, you notice that too?
Very cordial greetings and until the next letter,
                                                                   Erica
77.
Indeed, I am aware that, where this story began as a personal process, it is now  my mother's story. I think it is about the fact that I want to know these things, she could have told me if she not- so young - had been killed. Others, including Jessica, hear the stories of home and about the past. That is the most normal thing in the world!! ouch- in this paradise, that is called  the Netherlands.
It's very selfish and I have never felt so self-centered and prepared. But I consciously try the pain, the anguish, the misery and the flights and keep fleeing from day to day all those millions.
Because I have to live in my life. And so far it has not been.
Tomorrow firstly I will write back to  Schachter and aunt Olly.
11 November 1992
 The anniversary of Jacobs’s death.  I am thinking back to that hopeless, terrible day, six years ago. Looking for the poem that I wrote. And another, that I wrote as I was mourning for Jacob in 1986.
78.
Jacob
I have known you- and not known you my child
- I have a picture of you, that is called Jacob;
And image of rebellion, fury and suffering
That binds you to my past.

 I have built a picture of you, my child,
That put his arms around me and held my hand.
Not the boy who destroyed his life
  But one who finds life fearful and unlivable.

That scared and angry and on the run
 in life never found a shelter
and disbanded from his fear by his death

I loved you, my child that we knew.
And powerless, I watched how you
have wounded yourself so deadly.
                                                                 Nieuwegein, 1986
79.
Who wants to hear
how trumpeter grief
Who will not run away
for my nocturnal crying….

Hear how the land
shakes under my feet thumping
looking crying
Screaming for my children....

their hunters
continue to be injured
And flee
for my boundless grief ...

About him and his name
can turn around
Flights as I approach
come seeking solace…..

I want their names
not know him forget
Never love again no more
do not be complicit….

Do not come closer
I liked you even trust
Again memories
should be to what was….

And who wants to hear….
80.
11 November, later
I still have written the letter to Schachter. With "urgent" on the envelope. Because in the mailbox was a letter from the 'Division for Personal Commemoration,' say 'the department Commemoration of Persons ":
"We propose to inform that one page witness statement to commemorate your loved ones, family and friends, who lost their lives in the Holocaust, are added.
The Pages of Testimony will be included in the computer and stored in the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem. A second notice with the names registered shall be sent to you next month. "
Yes, hasty and erroneous data
12 November 1992
If I have ever had the illusion that humanity has become wiser and better, it is now absolutely over. At the time of Gorbachev, I still had hope. Ethnic and nationalist wars that since robbery and especially in the 'civilized' Europe have broken make me realize that humanity has learned nothing. I have always expressed the opinion that the "masses" consists of individuals, who each have their responsibilities with respect to themselves and their fellow men. I take the view back without extreme bitterness, but with the sad realization that it was an illusion. The "dumb masses indeed. The masses seem to have a need for a negative individual, projecting above ground level, head and shoulders. His pursuit the ideals of the global village? The only thing that still exists thereof is the data of the news distributionA message from the newspaper yesterday, a headline: 'Bosnia Muslims are actually threatened with extinction. ‘
And the world is watching.
Yesterday I passed the pieces from my tray from the town hall. And immediately an alarm bell was  raised. For the new municipal identitieskaart is a counterpart of what the (jew) got on the Ausweiss: an asterisk with a number (eg * 76 468.) For Moluccans!
'Moluccans' indeed have a 'special status' in the Netherlands. But the name and picture together should be sufficient recognition? Along with the smear campaign against so-called illegal immigrants gives me the conviction that the "Ausweiss bitte," mandating us of wearing - and showing- identification at any request is only a matter of time. And then the shift to the right and nationalism also struck here. Because only 'real' Dutch have a municipal identification.
Of course I have taken the necessary steps. Also to get this publicity, but you have to wait and see how it is picked up and whether one sees the danger.
 Below the letter in translation I wrote to Rabbi Schachter enclosing a copy of Olgas note, her telegram and the evidence of her death.
                                                                  11 November1992
Dear Rabbi Schachter,
My heartfelt thanks for your letter of 16-10-'92, but above all for your loving attention.
As you can understand it for me indeed a shock to have read and found out that there is already a Page. I needed a few days to get over the shock and to discover that the story in the Page was wrong with the reality.
This morning I received a note from the 'Division for Personal Commemoration,’ my mother is registered on the basis of your story. Please, undo, it was too fast, too hasty. I do not blame you, you were full of good intentions and truly believed in what you found.
Truth is, I send you:
1 An almost illegible note, which my mother wrote on the way to Westerbrok on Wednesday 8 September 1942, to her sister Hilda. The original can be found in the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam;
2 A copy of a telegram that my mother sent to her sister from Westerbrok on September 10, 1942. The original of this is found in the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam;
3 An excerpt from the municipality of Amsterdam, which shows that  my mother, Olga Bock, was murdered in Oswiecim (Auschwitz) in Poland, and that she was the daughter of Jozefa Karpfen and Armin Bock. Also showing that she had been married to Jacob van Beek, my father;
4 Finally, a letter from the Dutch Red Cross information office.
The last two letters I received, as you can see, already in 1963, when I was married  with my first husband. They were the only evidence, then, that I had, that she had ever lived. Many years later, when my mother's sister died, I received that note and that telegram. And that was that. Make from it your own story...
Now, after receiving your last letter, I tried to get in touch with Ilse, the daughter of my mother's sister. That sister survived and died about ten years ago. I translate for you part of the letter I received:*.
Until there the letter I received from my cousin.
When I received your letter, I thought that I was crazy or had a wrong picture in my mind of the past. It took a while before I realized that that was not the case and that no second Olga Bock existed with the same background. One possibility was then, that the Israeli cousin had her own story about my mother, which I discovered, was true, as you see.
 As for my father is the following. He was not a Jew, but he did not get me after the war to take care of me.
*see page 74.
83.
Hilda would not do that *, as I have discovered. So I had to stay in that very Christian orphanage until I was 19 years old. And I had to forget everything (had forgotten all) of my first childhood.
The truth about my life and that of my mother is really complicated. I have to  rediscover my past and my memories now. That's why I try to write down on that quest, everything about that trip to the past. A good friend, a journalist, is willing to make a real book. Not to get a bestseller, but for my children, my ex-husband and my friends: who are interested in my mental journey.

 I hope you that you will give my mother the ultimate right in the Page, to fill in the new found truth. This letter is the report for The Hall of Names. I will be very grateful if you would change the existing one.
A picture of my mother and me as a little child (I have changed a bit over the past fifty years) is now re-created and if necessary I will send it to you in due course.
The unfamiliar uncle or cousin, I will not write, but maybe would you be so kind as to tell him what I have written?
Finally, I would like to express my greatest gratitude, and I hope you will write me back. You are at this moment the thread that connects me to Yad Vashem, the place where my mother will get a fair and beautiful place, where she is at home.
Yours sincerely,
                                                                              Erica

* Or had they no authorization for that purpose? There is evidence? I could not find any..
84.
13 November 1992


Today the papers are again full of terrible things that are happening in the former Yugoslavia. Murders, mutilations, rapes.... How will the survivors continue to live? Demonic primitiveness still requires an equally primitive response: Bombard the so-called purified areas where Serbs live alone. A little each day until they surrender. Naturally, hundreds of innocent will die, but on the other hand maybe the horror finally ends and the other population group not only feels avenged, but not otherwise is wiped out and can return to their place. That is never going to be good between the people and the neighboring countries. Now if there was only intervention! Before Muslims come to 'help' from the Middle East. Oh, poor Yugoslavia, what should it be?
 In the Netherlands there is still hope left. Saturday, November 14 at the Tropical Museum in Amsterdam a meeting of the Labour Party 'adorned' with a pocket  line of AFKA, Anti Fascism Committee Amsterdam, to show that not all the Netherlands is behind the smear campaign against illegal immigrants.
Good, further with my mental journey.
14 November
Yet to go back to yesterday. The meeting of the Labour Party was due to 'circumstances ‘not in Amsterdam but in The Hague. And according to the, I would say, naturally present ME, there was only fifty autonomists that demonstrated and therefore naturally were beaten away and had to be arrested.

Fortunately it penetrates to the media that the smear campaign against illegal immigrants is wrong. Refugees or not, but everything is lumped together! An embarrassment for politics? Am I not a voice of the people? Such things affect me deeply!
85.
Following is the translation of the letter I wrote today to aunt Olly in London. In itself a partial evaluation, actually only scheduled for late December.
Dear aunt Olly,
Thank you very much for your letter. It answered very many questions that I had all my life. I am sorry that you know so little, but what you do know, brought back so many memories again and made me aware again of many things.
This is a very long letter, prepare yourself then for?
Ilse has also helped me a lot.
I'm going to tell what I remember, or have come to learn or have read.
My father, Jaap, who died on 28 November 1976, has always told me that he continued to love Olga his entire life. In 1938 (of'37), he begged Olga to marry him again, for her own and my safety. She refused, probably left Vienna when he came there and told him according to his own words, to marry Hilda, because she would, with her two children need him a lot more. That would be the reason (can) he married Hilda, according to him, just to help Hilda and her two children. I suppose neither Olga nor Jaap knew anything about the fact that you would take her with her two children to England. As it is told, Jaap went to Amsterdam and Hilda soon followed. They had both before and during the war, often the same address, but never lived together.
Olga and I came back later to Amsterdam. As Hilda told Ilse, still a little surprised:  "She came sailing down the Danube." Ilse had her own image   (by the way  it was talked about) from the book Uncle Tom's Cabin: Eliza, jumping from ice floe to ice floe on the Ohio River, to escape the slave trader and to save herself and her child .
86.



It must have been a very traumatic journey and an escape in the nick of time to Holland. Jews were then no more allowed public transport, train or bus travel. I have no memories of that, even though I was there. Never mind. I will leave it at that. Maybe my fears, panics and bad dreams are the root cause.
When Olga was taken away in August '42, she assumed that I was safe with Hilda, according to the note she wrote just before she reached camp Westerbrok. Shortly after  began my life as a so-called "Hidden Child.” There followed a number of addresses, where I, as a Jewish child was not really welcome. Until I came in the winter of '43 to that very Christian, very cruel orphanage, where I remained until my nineteenth year. When I was 'free' from there ,   I had to my knowledge no other real family other  than my father, who over the years, faithfully visited me each visiting day. Oh yes, I knew Aunt Hilda, Louis and Ilse, I had some relatives on Jaap's side, and to kill some time I had visited them with Jaap (very rarely I had permission to go with him for a few days in my summer holidays).But there was no family ties, not  with Hilda, nor with Jaap's side. I also don’t remember anything about the brief encounter with you and Inge. There must have been from the beginning simply too much sadness, anger and trauma in me.
 Now I have to deal with that past. There is indeed much to forgive, especially Hilda, who during and after the war abandoned me .Her child and she were quite safe because she was married to my father, a non-Jew. Yet Ilse and Hilda sat in Westerbrok for a time, but came out safely, through that marriage, I think. After the war, Jack and Hilda got divorced straight away, so she could marry Louis.

The last eleven years I have been very active for ‘disabled *’ for refugees, gypsies, for society in all its forms.
87.
As a volunteer. I had and have no ordinary pension. It is a pension for victims of persecution, especially Jewish people. Just like my grandmother Joszefa (Ilse wrote to me about her), a militant woman of the labor movement. I have even been, for a number of, a member of the Communist Party of the Netherlands, which no longer exists. I chose the wrong husbands and separated from them. The wrong lovers and discontinued that relationship again. Now I'm grateful that I live alone since my now adult daughter Jessica has left home.
Returning to Hilda: I, but also, Inge and Kurt have her, I think, to forgive, a lot. I will reach that pointof forgiveness in the near future. I am slightly conscious of the fact that I'd never have been the same helpful woman, if things had turned out otherwise. Do you understand what I mean? Life is just the way it is and I've been through it, for whatever reason. We will have to accept and live our lives. While the rest of the world is just about on fire. I agree with you, that it is terrible.
Back to your letter. I  think it was the excuse that Hilda could not get me back because she had been married to my father. * But I want to believe that she was unable to bring me up because of everything that had happened before and maybe Louis did not want me. Ilse has never been able to understand this and despite her loyalty to her mother, she is in her heart still angry, about much bigger things, but also because of me. I can understand .
*however, it may have been true. Only recently was it publicized in publications that the Child Protection used that excuse at the time. Better Christian than Jewish, they found.
88.
Now about Olga. As I  have discovered recently, the following things happened:
-On September 8, 1942 she was released from prison in Amsterdam, where she was detained for the simple fact that her 'star' was pinned instead of sewn. The Germans are still very 'gründlich' as you know.
-On September 10 she sent a telegram to Hilda from  Westerbrok  to send her the  Aryan papers of Jack, but it was too late, because
- On September 11 '42 she died in Auschwitz. The journey lasted three days.
This is true according to all the information that I have, official and informal. So that should be accepted. She fortunately only suffered for a short time. And now I am able to bury her, to give her a grave and a Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem in the Hall of Names in Jerusalem, for the victims of the Holocaust. And now I am able to remember my mother and some of my childhood. That heals me in a way; it makes me whole, so to speak. A woman with a past that I previously could not remember because of the terrible things that had happened. With "Today" writing, thinking and remembering. And with a future, long or short, but worth living.
That is what I mean by ‘whole’. And perhaps cured, healed, through that journey into the past itself. And at my age, 57 years old!
Only that part of Hilda keeps crossing my mind. I'll have to think over and over, until I can forgive her. Can you understand that? Oh yes, I have still something to ask.
From what Jaap has told me about Olga, about you and about Vienna, I always understood that you and Olga were great friends.
89.
Maybe indeed just because of the sports club, as you wrote. But really not above that level? How is it that Jaap admired you so much, almost worshiped you? Only because of your part in this tragedy in Vienna? Or because you were good friends with Olga and her family? Her best friend, whom she trusted, like Hilda trusted in Olga? Maybe Hilda was very much a dependent, very childlike and she could not make decisions for herself or defend herself? You and Olga must have been strong personalities, you were well-qualified sportswomen. Maybe she felt more or less forced into what she did, first by Olga and others, later by Lois. My father had therein little to say. It would explain a lot of things, if that was so.
Today, everywhere with wars and misery in the world and especially in Eastern Europe, with refugees, I am also not able to let  any of them stay in my house, legal or illegal. It would break me. Do you understand what I'm saying? Oh, I want to reach that point of forgiveness!
Would you please write me back? Even if you think you cannot really tell me anything of what happened or cannot help me further.
Until then, I'm still sincerely yours,
                                                                         Erica
15 November 1992
So, that has put everything nicely in a list. Albeit superficial , about my lovers is not quite honest .Only one of them was a jerk and I realized that almost too late. The one that I cannot mention here, still has a big place in my heart. Life itself made and end to our relationship. And Paul, oh well. I loved him very much, but we did not fit spiritually together.
90.
 My frustrated soul could not bear his affection towards his ex-wife and ex-girlfriends. Superficially seen, pure jealousy. But it was not that alone. In a love relationship, I should feel perfectly safe, and that I was not. I always enjoyed what he did, his writing and his poetry; have learned everything I know of graphic art from him. But a relationship, a lasting bond of love was something impossible. Fortunately, we can now be close friends. Now I trust him so much that I have asked him to help make this book.
A little reminder comes up with a few notes during commercials.
Kommt ein Vogel geflogen
Setzt sich nieder auf mein Fuss
Hat ein Breifel in sein Schnabel
Von der Mutti ein Gruss

Leiber Vogel fleig weiter
Nimm ein Kuss mit und ein Gruss
Denn ich kann dich nicht begleiten
Weil ich hier bleiben muss

En dan

Hoppe hoppe reite
Wer da fallt der schreit er
Fallt er in den Graben
Fressen ihn die Raben
Fallt er in den Plumpf Macht der Reiter ‘Humpf’
There will sometime come back more songs. It shows that as a child I had singing and music played to me. About that fact itself I remember nothing.  At the Mulo we learned from our German teacher songs like ‘Das Standchen’ from Schubert and Weihnachtslieder as  ‘Schlaf wohl, du susser kleine du' that I knew how to play at  once and that just came to my mind now. It was already in there! Strange, that it just comes to mind now. Hey Erica, remain rational
91.
I have given myself a bunch of phlox as a gift. It smells overwhelming. It is mid-November; imagine it, an engine will not start from the cold and damp. I sit with my butt almost touching the heater. Behind my back, it is almost winter and my nose smells mid-summer. Crazy huh? That is only in this crazy frog country.
17 November 1992

Today was again a puzzle of  the past. First with Dorine then later with  Elma.
It is impossible to continue to do this rationally. My throat is tight and my head is spinning still. Tonight my girlfriend An was here play  a game of dice. I've kept it inside until now, a quarter past twelve at night.
Dorine and I went back to two key questions:
1.    How did Olga end up in jail? And
2.    Hilda, with some difficulty could she have kept me?
Olga was not the type,  that has now become clear that would report under orders. It is possible that Hilda, Olga and I walked on the street and were arrested by the (Dutch) police officer, if only because of the stars. That Olga was picked from the street because her star was pinned. The note makes it clear that Hilda knew! That makes Elma’s suggestion actually a little off, that Olga was alone on the street. In the circuit to which Olga had gathered around her there were only Jews (the names Schubert, mentioned earlier, and Hirsch came back in my mind). They may have been someone else walking in the street, who could  have escaped it and warned Hilda – at  Olga’s request. But the most likely explanation is still the first. They still had to get their quantum of Jews? And she sat in a Dutch house of detention on the Amstelveenseweg. It was at a time in the beginning of the straatrazzias, before entire streets were taken away. Imagine how that happened. That I myself have no reminder of that event, says nothing. Too traumatic things, at least to me,  are well shielded. But my heart is pounding at this moment again from the fear: the most familiar and unwelcome feeling of my life.
92.
Olga was picked up by a Dutch policeman. They still had to get their quantum Jews? And she sat in a Dutch house of detention on the Amstelveenseweg. It was in the beginning of the street raids, before whole streets were picked up. Imagine  how that happened. That I myself have no reminder of that event, says nothing. Too traumatic things, at least to me, are well shielded. But my heart is pounding at the same time again of fear: the most familiar and unwelcome feeling of my life.
Maybe I'll get to do regression hypnosis before this book is finished. For all these things to really face definitely.
 Hilda again- according to Dorine and Elma it  is not impossible that Hilda was really not assigned me by  the OPK (commission War Foster children) *. Because they thought that I was better off at the Martha foundation than my own familiar family, who were not Christian. And by a 'Pulse' had nothing more and had to start all over again. Hilda’s guilt to Olga and later to me, rightly or wrongly - that I have no judgment on may have meant that she later has not looked back at me. But also her character and Louis could have contributed. I simply could not see into her heart and she did not speak. In the next letter I write I will ask this of Aunt Olly and Ilse. Hilda they barely knew, of course, I'm not sure if she made real trouble for me. But those very "Christian" ladies and gentlemen of the OPK and Child Protection Agency I can well imagine, there you need only to turn to the book of Elma. If Hilda approached the Jewish members of the OPK, also remains a mystery. For eternity. Okay, I want to give her the benefit of the doubt; she has not had it so easy.
* A committee consisting of mainly non-Jewish, very Christian people.
93.
Yet..... Why?
But that's what life is sometimes, Erica. Tomorrow I will call Hedda van Gennep for more background information on those months in '42.
A comforting word for tonight, tomorrow is my daughter here to eat and we go happily to the world shop, to buy groceries.
18 November 1992
My daughter now has read everything and actually without comment laid down the books.
I see how important I think how she experiences it. Well, for her it is the history, the intricate story of her mother's childhood and family. She finds it, like Dorine, that I am changing throughout the process. I myself don’t have that feeling yet, though I hope that it comes. Apart from Dorine I still cannot really talk about it. It is, really complicated and the distance remains.
A result must be, that I learn to trust again. And not to build a facade of self-awareness and self-confidence in my personal contacts. With Dorine I can let go of it, proud and happy with what I do and did and have achieved. With others I can never talk about it, if it concerns me at least. About the work I did and do I myself feel good, but I always feel as a sort of middleman and know exactly who does things better. It has for example resulted in the identification of the appropriate chairman of foundation * Property, which actually does it better than I would ever do it. Or initiating and defending things that I really believed in, but where others had to play the responsible role.  Further I stay humble in   the background, , and allow others the honor that I get sometimes.
*An organization for the sole purpose of obtaining its own global center.
Am I chaotic- still- to a demanding task with responsibility for me to take? Or am I just "shy"?
94.
Put me in a room with eight hundred anonymous, it goes well. But personal contacts, with all the warmth I feel for those people. I often hyper- ventilate. And I notice that only when I am alone again. I realize it's not just a matter of misanthropy, despite all the social skill.
 The underlying cause is distrust in honesty of others towards me. A wrong expression, glance or a curt answer, and I am gone. Feel (again) rejected. Something from earlier time. I distrust such a person for a very long time. Uncertainty. Anxiety. Fear that they see through me. That is why I seek the attack: If you think "That man is crazy," I am at that time also. But it passes by itself.
The knowledge of the past, of all that misery, leading to fear, significant uncertainty, anxiety, that leads to depression does not help. It realized that again today.
Will that also get better? It hinders my real development; it keeps me in second or third place. Not that I'm ambitious. But it's a false modesty, and resulting from fear to really stand out. It's something from the hiding and the Martha Foundation. How do you overcome something like this? and is that really necessary? Am I not so terribly tired of that eternal struggle with myself, that I see ghosts? And am I not ready to take a step back and not take on challenges or cross barriers anymore? That is the easy path. No fear of people, personal contacts with the rest of the "family," which are not going well currently. And no friends? I surely think to have. How uncertain and tense that I am. It's not a solution, to become a nun? A hermit? Just now that I'm complete? But what and how?
95.
 I not called Hedda van Gennep yet. Fear, like with Elma, there again those fears. It was long before I was through that with Elma, too long. How is it that I do not have that with Dorine? I then stay rational? In the time.
I myself think that it might have to do with being prepared. You do not feel robbed, despite your questions.
Today Memorboek has arrived. ‘The plate’s atlas of the life of Jews in the Netherlands from the Middle Ages until 1940’. A book almost as large and as thick as the King James bible. All the pages reveal that this history is also mine. I despite my not – believing but still a real Jew, unlike, yes, then what? That I'm closer to that side than the Dutch side that represents my father. Not so crazy, apart from the biological provability, to be a child of a Jewish mother still being Jewish!
I made it again today. In a regional meeting of the Association of Dutch Municipalities over municipal global policy. I suddenly got the economist Adam Smith (right and pure capitalist) under my nose pushed through by a VVD lady: "The public interest is most profitably encouraged where each individual can freely pursue his own interests."
I fumed with rage, literally. So the world is not like that. The law of the jungle prevails and only the strong will always be at the expense of the weak, which will never be unimpeded or even could aspire. Think about this "Global Village," which is our world. I ask her this, as controlled as possible, 'How big - do you think - is the percentage of people in our ‘Global Village ', that can freely pursue their own interests? And is that – ethically speaking -own interest not only appropriate to the smallest common denominator?'
She did not answer, but came afterwards to me to talk about it. I said- it was in the meeting a municipal global policy, east- west and north-south relations - East and West should never meet here because she was a follower of Adam Smith and I of Marx.
96.
 Again there was silence, and then she said: "But that does not mean that we have to hate each other, right?" No it does not, but friends? At such a moment I feel again at one with the persecuted, the oppressed, that is where I belong. Among the Jews, the Jewish Marx, as well, if I'm honest, all oppressed peoples that come up in revolt who flash through my mind.
 Links dead? No, but left and right do not let the back of their tongue be seen, in order not to arouse resistance? Or are we becoming a- political?
 I should in the future be more wary of the individual motives and self-interest, which should be pursued because in the approach of the right it cannot go differently in practice, than at the expense of the oppressed, in my feeling. The making of a new political awareness?
 Hey discovery?
Sticking to the old values, which I - unconsciously have ingested and have tested the breast milk and found to be correct in my adult life, Jewish huh? This  is ebbing my anger.

Every day a thread is a shirt sleeve in the year.
20 November 1992
I was putting away my cart. An elderly man was looking about in a panic. I had seen him before in the store when I was picking out Sharon fruit and he wanted to know what kind of fruit it was.
 It turned out that he had lost his bag of groceries. Just put down to clear away the trolley.
97.
My presumption that one of the clerks had taken the bag to the office, proved correct. Radiant he appeared moments later with his bag. I had waited for the results. He said that this was the third time and I warned him not to put down his messages unattended anywhere. Anyway, I thought I'd go now, good evening sir. My attitude turned out, in the mall, to make a volcano of misery. He had been in a Japanese POW camp and was badly beaten. He had  never seen his father and mother again. And when he had found his brother, he also appeared to have died. Terrible, but he had also been married for more than forty years and also his wife had died five years ago. He had remarried and his second wife worked very long days so he did the housework and shopping. A whole life just popped out there. I felt so terribly small, to see such a man wipe away his tears. I should have left earlier, but had to do with him. He also had a war pension, and ... Well ... How do you make something like that loose?
21 November 1992
Today a Womans Workshop by Women in Peace in Cunera. A long day over the former Yugoslavia, the war in Bosnia. I had in my workshop a group leader a  former Yugoslav. Can you imagine such a thing.... they can never return. Lived here now for eight years. Family: Bosnians, Serbs and Croats, both Christians (Orthodox and Catholic) as well as Muslims. Everyone fought against everyone. Who is not dead or wounded, has deserted spouse and family. The frenzy of lust, macho men that bring resentment up thirteen centuries to find alibis for their bloodlust. The male scientists that sit at the top, not politicians, along with the military, unscrupulous murderers than anyone else in the world after Hitler. Those men. That anger in me. I must do something with it.
98.
In the plenary session an appeal was made to the existing female MPs to accommodate orphans and children of Serbian raped women in Dutch homes. That made that I, no microphone, shouted: "And what when those children grow up?" At first it did not go down well, but later, at the end, when I went to say goodbye to the chairman jantien Achtseribbe, she revealed that she and Leoni Spikes had understood me very well. They will try to keep the kids there. Jantien told me that she was married to a Jewish man (I had my star on) and understood me. What was somewhere in the back of my mind for a while, I realized when I was in the rain bringing a few letters to the mailbox.
My father told me; long ago that Olga had come for the first time to the Netherlands to find work. I do not know whether she had any qualifications. Maybe she was just very good at sports, who knows. So she came to The Hague, where a couple had 'hired' her, perhaps as a housekeeper like Olly, or a maid. She therefore came as "illegal," for economic reasons here.
That night the "Mr. and Mrs." Said that she must make herself beautiful, because they would receive visitors. One way or another, she realized that she had not come to an ordinary house, but a closed brothel and she managed to escape through a window. She must have already known my father. How? Through a socialist youth group? Or perhaps through international exchange, so then not "illegal"? At least she had fled (already) from The Hague to Amsterdam, to my father or to other members of that group. Shortly thereafter she became naturalized by marrying my father.
That was on 18 October 1933.
On 1 August 1935 I was born and in the beginning of '36, she must have returned from Vienna with me. Until autumn and winter 1938, witnessed the photos, in winter clothing which were taken in Oosterpark or Sarphatipark in Amsterdam.
99.


Between August '35 and Fall '38 they must therefore have been divorced, when Jaap could marry in Vienna Hilda. Olly can now write that they did not know whether my parents were then divorced, but my father certainly was not a bigamist. Besides, the story is in that regard is clear enough. Moreover, I have a lawyer and attorney, Plantage Middenlaan 88, in the center of Amsterdam, with a telephone number. Probably the divorce lawyer from when we were still living in the Czar Peter Street. So close by.
Another couple of links to the chain. Or beads on the cord? We are now waiting for the letter, which has to come from Aunt Olly.
What else do I need to get past some of letting myself be? Not everything has been worked out, nor on paper or in my head.
100.
Erica in Amsterdam
101.
The scrap of paper from Mr. Cooper
102.
The two issues from my earliest childhood are still the flight from Vienna to Amsterdam, and the abrupt divorce of my mother.
From the time, to the end of the hiding I can figure out the facts, which were a predominant feeling of darkness and cold. Except for a few sunny memories from Hoorn. The Martha Foundation, surely in Nieuwersluis has certainly brought memories above which all the children of that time living  in the west of the country must have had. And besides that also  the memories of the house itself, the garden with its, lightning struck cedar, the lawn by the pond, where we caught and made frogs 'tame', where we made from reed, skirts.
The owner and his wife, who returned to their own country seat after the war, I visited sometime around '85, to seek the past in a first attempt. They were old and then accused me (!) that we, the children of the war had made a hole in their hedge and that hedge was never properly mended. That was that. I had no opportunity to see something of the house or the garden, but a weak cup of coffee and a biscuit. Very genteel poverty.
Martha Foundation in Alphen: a lot beatings, punishment and tasks, surviving unconsciously, belittling and never being the best of the class. In the group I was the worst and slowest, especially at stopping socks and knitting worsted stockings. 'Snail' van Beek, apparently no one cared anything about her, according to stories I heard decades later.
Yet also some nice memories: I told ghost stories, later, to my peers, when we were in bed and had to be quiet. I taught them dances and was very creative with beautiful pieces of material and cardboard and paper, for example, I made diadems for the hair. The kindergarten, how is it possible, nevertheless it bore its fruit. In the memories of others I was a very serious, rarely smiling girl.
In my early memory games pink rubies (or what I mistook thereof) encased in a brooch in the shape of a bouquet, played a role.
103.
Last week there was an art and curio market here, striking, especially as art deco porcelain and old dusty materials evoke nostalgic feelings in me. And by one stall there was a brooch that did not belong there. Strasz pink rhinestones, a bouquet with blackened metal and bronze-colored stalks. I loved it; it called a lot of old, good feelings awake. But it was expensive at fifty guilders. I lingered at the booth, ostensibly to look at other things. The salesman then said suddenly, "Good lady, for ten guilders, then." Well, I got it and am still happy with it, though it is perhaps not even worth the tenner. Every time I see that brioche, I think of the pink rubies, which I had found as a child so lovely. I have placed it on the list with my mother’s photo.
Yesterday I was in a curio shop in Utrecht and  for five guilders I bought a very old book. A  probably first published in Dutch version of the  book by  Beecher Stowe: The negerhut. A translation of Uncle Tom's cabin.  With the original engravings "to the twentieth American printing from the English translation." On page 59 the engraving with Eliza, fleeing across the ice! A publication of the  Gebr. E. and M. Cohen, Amsterdam.
24 November 1992
I'm too impatient and thereby make the receipt of the facts more important than their processing. Certainly in terms of my own life. I'm still waiting for three drawn lines:
1. Answer from Jerusalem;
2 Answer from London;
3 KRO radio with Kalien Blondes.
A fourth, entirely in the background hit point, a new appointment with Margreet about the  Martha - Foundation.

Meanwhile, I am again eager to take action. In the Platform Modiale Awareness. With an action for the former Yugoslavia, where  I have plotted the lines. I will convene a meeting to do something on behalf of AFKIN* and the Federal Food Bond attracts harder: Women Committee, work group "International Solidarity."

I'm going to start another book, where I can write about my work now to keep everything in perspective, only for myself.
Why am I still doing all this? Why do I not live a good life with my small pension, like other people? Come on, I know the answer after all. If I was brought up as most people with the same background, in the safe bosom of a loving family, I was maybe barely aware of a different world than my little safe world.
It's just my own traumatic life that has made me aware of and empathetic to the trauma, the fears, and the world of others. And if I can do something with it, for example by writing about it, then surely that is a bonus? Even though I sometimes get the feeling I am found to be  a little crazy, a voice in the wilderness. But if I keep quiet, I feel indeed responsible. As with writers, journalists, protest singers and artists I have my own way to express my dismay about the horrors of our time. And maybe too emotional, but that is the way I happen to be.
26 November
Dorine called. In the form of Yad Vashem was indeed stated in Hebrew "Olga Bock, house wife, two children, shot in the street by a German officer because she did not have her star on. In Amsterdam. Married name and name of parents unknown. "
Tragically, so many inaccuracies!
Well, Olly knew even better than I was saved by nuns! How nameless and unwittingly can a person live and die! Dear Mutti that after fifty years of your life and death I  can give you a name! Is that not a miracle?
* The anti-fascist committee of Nieuwengein
105.
Tonight I find the courage to call Hedda van Gennep. She confirmed Elmas suspicion that Olga was alone when she was arrested. And that the Dutch police or the home front did it. She has seen it happen, that she and her mother were arrested and her mother was beaten in the street because she was wearing a box for her star. By Nederlanders- in uniform!
So.... I have never taken leave or said goodbye. Pfff ... and Mutti was gone.
And then my daughter Jessica came bye, for a quick cup of coffee.
Hedda gave me the telephone number of the National Institute for War Documentation. When Olga was arrested and held prisoner and deported to Westerbork, I can maybe find something about it there.
Today I submitted a proposal for the Platform Global Awareness on support actions for Bosnia. An amount per capita for joint financial operations and public action, for games, work and labor for the Yugoslav displaced centers. Who are bored silly, they do not speak our language, sit together and the only distraction they have is the TV that news from home will bring, in their language. I wonder if mayor Laan will positively pick this up. That was point 2. Point 1 is realized on 10 December, and next week, Ad, a good friend, is here with me and we will work on the content of the magazine Global,  the periodical that  the platform are going to send out around 15 December.
 This weekend to realize point three!
106.
 With the 'reconstruction' of my book case I come again across the white ceramic jar with lid, wherein sits a packed piece of stone from Auschwitz, that a friend of Renco, my ex-husband, specially brought for me. That now can get an honorary place.
Will I be able once again to visit there, as in Vienna, or at Yad Vashem, there to find my mother's name?
First search in Westerbrok barracks 41/0.
Bring telegram.
And fetch the photo of Olga and me at the photographer.
27 November 1992


The photograph is collected. The price was 90% better than expected, the print was disappointing. A bit flat and smooth compared with the yellowed original. Too bad, but she seems to look younger in it though.

Surprise! Paul was suddenly in front of me; he came for the second book. It was fine, again to exchange so many things with him. There remains much old camaraderie. He has grown and now goes (a little) in depth; even with emotions he dares to talk about and show a bit. Something where he used to be closed about and a thunder cloud formed over him, "Life is good, right?" He is a complete man to be. And so I should prefer him throughout.
We also talked about the reason for writing. Identity crisis? Yeah, maybe but I had no feel for my identity. And when we entered into a relationship, he wanted me holding that identity, gave no meetings or work to be with him. That would oppress him. No, now I understand that.

What am I still glad that we can talk and write all about these misunderstandings. Now I also told him that it was apparently still my nature to efface myself away for the man I loved. And that was a huge threat to the adventurer who Paul wants to be.
107.
I thought it was not so much a question of identity, but also and above all that I no longer came out after Elma’s book and the conference ‘The hiding child,’ to finally do and  want to know the unwitting and the unsaid things from the past and from to speak, albeit on paper. This quest for knowledge and words became the mission of my life. More important to me than anything I did earlier in my life for that unconscious burden I had to explain. And previously used to hide behind for intimacy behind a so transparent wall.
Now I can talk, I can tell Paul all. There's a little sadness, because I could not before. Now he could understand why I was how I was. But would he though have coped? I do not think so.
Regarding the OPK where Elma wrote about: there is a note found in an archive box from the Martha foundation, which said that the Germans gave permission to take me in at the Martha foundation. That could, to me it is clear, also have been falsified by the "resistance", to let me be safe hiding there. Finally there were more Jewish children.
 More research necessary.
30 November 1992
The RIOD * called. Annemiek van Boxmeer. She has heard the whole story, but already knows that there is no available data on the way my mother was arrested, the time she has sat and so forth. All details of the houses of detention in Amsterdam from the war are now destroyed. This also means that no Dutch police man has become accountable for his conduct in the war. I will send a letter to   Mrs van Boxmeer with all the relevant information about my mother and she will very carefully look at what data whatsoever.
*National Institute for War Documentation
108.
 In Westerbrok, she said, are found personal things of the people that were there. I do not think however that I will find anything there; she was there only three days.  By RIOD it is maybe also possible to find out how she died: on the train, on arrival or in the gas chamber. On the note that was found at the Free University for my inclusion at the Martha foundation: they consider it quite possible that it was falsified by the resistance. But I have to search that out at the university.
Moreover, I am this weekend truly active for society. I have written participation notes for Wednesday, December 2nd in the ABZ- committee (of Administrative Affairs) and therefore will speak about the municipal identity card. Moluccans will be put separately therein. I do not agree to that and just cannot!  I will try to stop it.
And there is a silent vigil scheduled on December 24 because of the smear campaign against illegal immigrants, where a piece I wrote will appear in the  Molenkruier, our house-to-house newspaper.
I have also already the participate notes in January, the police report will be addressed in the ABZ- Commisssion. Wow ... now nothing more please.
109.
December
110.
111.
1 December 1992
Yesterday I talked to Elma. I  have found at the Nieuwengeinse recycling center New Work, two books that I thought would be something for her. If she, as a journalist, needs for investigations or needs old newspaper photographs, Our Beautiful Life, 100 years newspaper photographs (Dutch) and a visual report with newspaper pictures of the great woman strike on 8 March '81 may be useful. She is, I believe, happy with them. Next week I will bring them.
 Elma said something that has stuck: I would have to look Olly up in London personally. I can still do that, but I feel a threshold. In a letter I can confront her with the past, but can I do that in person? And then, I would see it as climbing a mountain. The night before I dreamed of her and saw her as an old lady suffering with swollen legs. She is no longer so hardy, she needs time. To write back. So I interpreted the dream for myself.
I have gotten  from New Work also a book of Meyer Sluyser that I did  not yet have : There is growing grass in Weesperstraat and Leonard de Vries: Chaverien, is  that a children's book?
I will hear from Dorine if the library of the JMW (Jewish Social Work) has interest in them. No mail from abroad.
3 December 1992
For a few days I'm overly nervous again. Not just because of the participation in the evening yesterday ABZ * - commission over the identity card of the Dutch Municipalities. I was sure of my case and have also been vindicated. That card is not, at least for now, going ahead!
* General Administrative Affairs
112.
 Where from then? Afraid because I go against the established order? Mayor Laan personally assured me about that matter. Why then? The weather, the high moon, the constant low pressure area? Causes that are mentioned more frequently in the past.
When Flik was mayor here, I did open my mouth as needed. He took me quite seriously and I had forgotten that I now have good-will on the city council. But that may not be the only reason for my stress.
Perhaps waiting for an answer from London? If that still will come? One reason to consider sending a postcard about it?
No post from London. No post from Israel.
8 December 1992
Finally! Post from London and from Jerusalem!
The last pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. Tomorrow I will tell you everything. Now just as the overriding emotion when I read the translation of the registration of Yad Vashem. "I ask you to give the survivor a" posthumous citizenship "of the state of Israel, the undetachable sign of solidarity with the Jewish people." She belongs there. I belong there. Never before have I felt so Jewish. At heart and inseparably attached. Even though the fact that the only attachment is to the JMW and Dorine, who let me feel through the years that I belong. With no family, I am more a part than with my children. Still I belong, with the Jewish people for centuries and until the end of time.
It became just too difficult, there were tears.
Mutti, you're nearly  home. Then you may rest in peace and this task is accomplished. "Ein schon Leich '* is made, a beautiful funeral. Who knows, I may be I will bring you. And otherwise I will visit you in Jerusalem at Yad Vashem. It is almost 1993, and since I do not speak Hebrew nor ever observed the Jewish calendar, I raise my glass of herbal tea and say, "See you next year in Jerusalem."
113
9 December 1992

Now it will begin with the letters from Aunt Olly and Rabbi Schachter. I will start with the second. The first is so difficult, so traumatic, that I have read it bit by bit. And yet still I collapsed.... Sick with the shock, first with anger, a lot of grief and rebellion later. I'll be back to the translation, if I can muster up the strength today.
Later that day. Rabbi Schachter writes:
Dear Mrs. Van Beek,
I was on a visit abroad, hence the delayed response.
I was very touched by your thoroughness and your desire to correct the registration of the memoir, while my concern was not to further traumatize and bring you in touch with family.
I enclose some forms for you to register your mother and possibly other family. It will be clear that we cannot destroy completed prior Pages of Testimony, we can add a memo or note there with a reference to the 'added Pages in 1992, for example, which will lead to your corrected Pages.
Fill in the form attached, please; address it to me so that I can add the Red Cross letter and your letter there when I have received them.
Yours sincerely,
                                                                                                      Rabbi J Schachter '
* Yiddish
114
The form is filled in; I just need to wait a few days for a small copy of the photograph of Olga and me to send.
And now, there is no escape: the letter from Aunt Olly.
Dear Erica,
I wish I could answer questions, but maybe at my age of 85 I forget a lot, or I did not know a lot of things when they happened. I'm surprised your father seems to have known me. I've never met him! Olga was really no more than a colleague of the "Arbeiter Turn Verrein. She walked to Holland , I believe, before Hitler's woes began in Vienna? Are you born in Holland? I was so happy to meet here, Miss Palmer, a lady who wanted to guarantee my parents, Hilda and her two children! But Hilda preferred to marry Jaap and go to Holland, Instead of becoming a maid servant like me , and the children arrived with a Kindertransport 'here and lived with an English couple. It took ten months before I was given Inge to stay here with my parents and later with me. I do not know whether Ilse knows these facts, but do not tell her, please.
Another fact is that Olga BORROWED the jacket with the star pinned from Hilda. It was Hilda’s cloak! I hope Ilsa and Inge never hear this. Please, let them never know!
Erica, please try to forget what has happened. Forget and forgive!!
I admire you for.....
Furthermore, I cannot go now.....
So this was the big secret that has remained hidden for fifty years. Olga had worn Hilda’s jacket briefly.... and she was gone.
115

And the guilt and shame later on have assaulted Ilse and me.
Fifty years! Fifty years straight it was hushed, nobody wanted to talk about my mother with me, everyone has told me to leave the past alone. Also to Ilse. She would’ give her mother sorrow ‘by asking questions. No, she would know the secret and maybe tell me. That shame, guilt, we have carried our whole life, we did not know what!
That anger over the fate unknown, but no less felt, has given me and Ilse in our adulthood, crisis dragged into crisis. How do you translate the moaning, the pain that is felt in your head to your toes, the flow of adrenaline, which can destroy your body, into words! Give me those WORDS!!
Hilda had thus lost her cloak, the cloak that killed my mother, and that fifty years long has covered everything, even my life.

Tell me how I translate this literal pain in written sentences and I'll write a book thicker than Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses and heavier than the Torah and the State bible together.
How do I make the story in question to look like something that remains credible for myself? Here it looks like a bad novel, with fictional personalities. But it's true. It really happened! This was my life. And that of my mother.
I have to pick myself back together. And continue to write.
For hours I postponed it. I have tried everything: telephone calls, including Paul, talked to Jessica, lounging before the TV, to come to my senses. With Dorine yesterday I tried to place it in perspective in the context of that time, especially into perspective...
Same day, very late. Now I finish the letter of Olly.
116
I admire you because you have led such a strong, useful life and are still so helpful. That must have been partly because of your Christian education. *
I have nothing to forgive Hilda of. After  my visit with Inge to Holland Hilda wanted  Inge and Kurti  to live with her, and Louis, with whom she was not married at the time. He must have been a good, decent man, that he not only accepted Ilse, but also to take the two children in. To help her, he even married her. I begged Hilda to be allowed to keep Inge with me for two years so she could finish her education . Hilda refused that.
  In any case, it seems that she gave up the struggle for the children, including the conflict with the Jewish refugees commitee that protected the children. And nobody saw or heard anything about it afterwards .....
Yes, Erica, the bitter times that you have gone through in your life have made you what you are now. A brave, compassionate person. Try not to think of the past; enjoy your still  relatively comfortable life now, as I do. I try not to take note of what is happening around me in the world (I know that's very selfish, but in my 85 years I have no more fighting spirit in me). I live with my cat Shelly quite satisfied, waiting for Inge's weekly letter. I hope that the treatment of Allen (Inge's husband) is helping to fight his cancer. He recently had an operation and is doing well and hopefully for quite a long time. Their three daughters live in England, but I only see Sara occasionally. Kate lives in Sheffield, so quite far away. I rarely see her. Helen shows no interest in contact with me. I have not seen her since my eightieth birthday.

Well, dear, you do well. Do not think too much about what has happened and make the best of life. All good wishes,
Aunt Olly
* How did she work that out?
117
Well, all good spirits, help me! What should I answer the old lady? She means it apparently so well; all my questions about my mother, she has indeed answered, as far as she could. The conclusions are indeed my own responsibility.
From the shock, I write my first spontaneous reaction in fluent German. Afterwards I do not send it, it was too hard for her.
I shy off, for the umpteenth time. Go to sleep.
10 September 1992
I put aside everything today to be well prepared for the establishment of the Platform Global Awareness. Two weeks ago, I submitted a proposal to give a 'flying start' to this Platform. Aid to Yugoslavian  displaced persons in the Netherlands and an amount per capita to be voted by the council, for the large joint fundraising (rural) to Somalia and Bosnia.
I can cry now. So I do it. After a little playful opening speech of the mayor, we continued the meeting. And all official events were treated as the drafting of an annual plan, joint events, bylaws etc. Nothing came out of the paint.
Participants walked away. When barely half was over, my proposal was on the agenda. All I wanted was my name swept underneath the platform and then to the City Council. Well, you cannot expect in such a situation that the point is also discussed but equally serious. The next meeting is late January. And then I have to come up with a concrete proposal. As if this was not practical. And others thought again that they first had to talk with their supporters about it, while the Platform is designed precisely to take independent decisions. They have, it is clear, no idea, what it's like to sit in the war.
118
Oh, next month the need is still there?! Yes, and the fact that they are there left in the shelters by us, let down this winter, means nothing. And that belongings and money will only be available next year (maybe) is less important than a rich regulatory conduct of meetings. I was so angry and bewildered that I'm seriously thinking to do the whole action and only in a personal capacity. But I just cannot physically and mentally. I have even taken on working for a torchlight vigil on December 24 against xenophobia and smears against refugees.
So this was the big disappointment today. The leaflet Globally, that this time must be written exclusively on the Ad control, was again nice. I have written for that a very small article and controlled and corrected it. On Saturday the volunteers market and on Tuesday is the AFKIN- meeting.
I know I'm doing it myself, but I would love to continue to do everything, writing, mourning and work. Help!
That participation in the ABZ- committee has been a great success! National newspapers and the Utrecht’s newspaper wrote about it. Elma was not allowed to,  but did have contact with the consultative body of Moluccan Welfare and Lilipali from the parliament. That has raised questions for the minister. The VNG downplayed the case, as uncertainty of Mayor Laan. I was able to bring him the parliamentary question and wait for the answer from The Hague.
That's my life.
But I long to be again, completely busy with the past, with myself, so that I have written this all. Hey ...  it is with a feeling that I, in this way have been able to tell about my mother.
The spirit goes where it will- there for her no time, no distance. She moves in other dimensions, other people, other times and conditions. Provided that it is willing to be empathetic.
Here I sit, I can do nothing else, and who wants to go with me?
119
It could have happened like this.
It's August, 1942. It is a warm day, threatening to storm. Olga and Erica go to Olga’s sister Hilda, who has a baby. That is not easy at the time, raising a baby.
Olga has a star, a Star of David on her dress. She did not have a coat on; it's the height of summer. If small Erica also wears a star? I do not know.
At the end of the afternoon the sky darkens, but nevertheless it's not raining yet. Hilda discovers that she needs something for the baby. Milk? Flour? Or the teat is broken, or the bottle ....
And Olga offers to quickly go and get it. Quickly , because it is nearly curfew. Then there should be no more Jews walking about outside ... because the air is so threatening she calls to Hilda: " I just put on your coat "and leaves.
 And then she comes upon a Dutch policeman or a border guard, who sees a yellow star and from that liberty takes hold of this young and attractive woman. To his pleasure and her terror the star was not sewn, but pinned. That is for him the reason, that he, under threat with his gun-there were stories that she had been shot dead on the street, but that was not true - to arrest her and confine her in prison.
At home waiting, in increasing panic, Hilda and the little Erica. And as it gets later Hilda is more certain that Olga has been arrested. Because she did not have the star sewn on her coat but had fastened it with safety pins.
It takes days before they are assured. It lasts until September 8 before she receives a note from Olga herself, who is currently on route from Amsterdam to camp Westerbrok. Olga tries to encourage her sister even at that time. But on September 10 she sends from Westerbrok a telegram in panic to Hilda, asking her to send the "Aryan" papers from her ex-husband, it does not help. The next day, September 11, she is stowed in the lorry, to Auschwitz, where she is immediately killed upon arrival.
120

And then she comes upon a Dutch policeman or a border guard, who sees a yellow star and from that liberty takes hold of this young and attractive woman. To his pleasure and her terror the star was not sewn, but pinned. That is for him the reason, that he, under threat with his gun-there were stories that she had been shot dead on the street, but that was not true - to arrest her and confine her in prison.


At home waiting in a great panic, Hilda and the little Erica. And it is getting more certain that Olga has been picked up. Because she had not sewn on her coat the star, but had fastened it with safety pins.
It takes days before they get affirmation. But it is not until September 8 before she receives a note from Olga herself , who is under way at that time from Amsterdam to Westerbork. Olga tries to reassure her sister even at that time with courage. But on September 10 she sends from Westerbrok a panicked telegram to Hilda, asking her to send the "Aryan" papers from her ex-husband. It does not help. The next day, September 11, she is stowed in the lorry, to Auschwitz, where she is immediately killed upon arrival.
120
For Hilda the nightmare would now have begun. This is irrevocably the last time that Olga can help her. In fact die for her.
What should she now do with the little Erica? It is as hard as it is with the baby. Fortunately, Erica also has a father, an 'Aryan' father still, who, to complicate the story, at that moment ‘for appearances’ is married to Hilda. Naturally he is divorced from Erica’s mother. His father, Jack, has a brother who is recently married. And they want to look after Erica.
But if Olga does not return- and nobody knows whether she will- it becomes even more difficult. Erica then suddenly becomes a Jewish child, a risk. And then the wanderings of the child starts from hiding - to hiding place, until no one knows anymore and she is back at her aunt and uncle on the sidewalk.
Where is Erica’s father at that time?  It appears that he is sent to work in Germany until he manages to escape in the summer of 1943. He is "married" with Hilda and according to the Registers and Population of the town hall they live at the same address, but actually he lives with his father, Erica’s grandfather.
When he, after his escape, will look for his daughter and arrives at his sister in law , that's just at a moment when they are "beating" Erica (his words, many years later). After a violent argument he takes his child to his home, where she has a few wonderful months. The only good time actually in her childhood, when she became an adult, could fondly look back.
That sister in law has not let it sit. Jaap show no signs of gratitude that she has been part of the child's fate, especially since she was still a Jewish child. Instead, he has quarreled with her, added her reproach and 'just' captured the child. Calling for revenge? She can, so she turns to someone from the Council for Child Protection, "because it's inexcusable that such a small girl grows up by two men, moreover, it is a Jewish child.’’
121
The latter must have been difficult for the Council for Child Protection, but there is someone who has signed a letter that the Germans include Erica van Beek at the Martha Foundation  in Alphen aan de Rijn. The Martha Foundation appears to be ‘started’ in Alphen by the Germans! In Nieuwersluis some of the children were housed.
On a cold, wet, dark day in December 1943 is Erica then "safely drilled ' in the Martha Foundation, where she will remain until she was nineteen.
And Hilda?
Hilda with her two older children can safely get away from Vienna.  She gets the chance to go to England. But she prefers to let her children go - with a girlfriend - she continue to stay in Amsterdam.
After the war she married Louis, after a divorce from Erica’s father. The baby from the beginning of this story thrives on and has a father and a mother. A second baby, born during the war, does not survive. Hilda with her child also sat for a while in Westrbork but knew how to survive.
After 1945 she performs a short struggle with the Jewish Refugee Committee and the OPK, the War Foster Children Committee, to regain her older children. She may have tried to get Erica out of the orphanage. That did not work. And failure is –possibly - based on the fact that she is Erica’s aunt and her stepmother. Well, the OPK did their own standards and Hilda would have not have coped with the possibility of raising four children.
Has Hilda been happy with her memories and her past?
122
Vienna
It must not have been easy living in Vienna between 1920 and 1933. There was the recession, unemployment, poverty. There, as well as here. Grandfather, Armin Bock, refugee from the Czech Republic, had become stateless. Married to the Viennese Joszefa Karpfen (omama, my grandmother), his two children, daughters Olga and Hilda, are also stateless. Although Jewish, there is no indication that they were part of the Jewish community in Vienna. But Grandpapa had, due to the persecution of Jews fled to the Czech Republic. What did he do for a living? Had he (right) support when unemployed? Or did the family in the beginning a little capital?
Grandpapa apparently  died young. The family was a member of the Socialist Workers Party. Especially omama seems to have been militant in it. The youngest daughter, my mother Olga, was also an enthusiastic member of the Arbeiter Turn Verein and even later won gold at the Workers' Olympiad in Budapest.
The single parent family seems to have been very needy. Reasons why Olga took the decision to try to find a job in the Netherlands. She came to the Netherlands and found, except for work and income, a man and later had a child from that marriage.
The eldest daughter had two children in Vienna. From a relationship with a man she could not marry?
The story is complicated.
Hitler's hell is visible in 1933. In that year, in October, Olga married in Netherlands Jaap van Beek, not a jew, but a blonde blue-eyed Dutchman. (A few generations back, one Lady Von Dalmann of German landed gentry, married to a Van Beek, so the "Aryan" could not be doubted.)
Almost two years later, from the marriage of Olga and Jaap, a daughter is born, Erica. The marriage seems to have lasted for a half a year longer. Olga goes back to Vienna with her baby. It is not known whether Hilda is (still) financially maintained, nor is it known whether, as the separation between Olga and Jaap is final, Olga receives alimony. It can be assumed that Olga earns a living for the family. At that time, Erica is so ill that she is hospitalized in the children's hospital in Vienna and has a lot of children’s sicknesses consecutively. Which cannot have been conducive to Olga to keep her job.
After Kristallnacht not only hell breaks loose in Germany, but the panic among Jewish citizens in surrounding countries.
Jaap since August 1938 separated from Olga, goes to Vienna and begs Olga remarry him for her and Erica’s safety. Olga refuses and points out to him that Hilda and her two children are much more vulnerable. How is Jaap committed to marry Hilda and her two children for their safety while he still loves Olga? Olga is a strong personality, an athlete at heart, much stronger than Jaap and Hilda together.
Olga goes with Erica and Omama 'on vacation' and when they come back, Jaap, Hilda and the two children have left Vienna. That must have happened in the summer of 1939.
Aunt Olly Weiss
As said Olga was a member of the Arbeiters Turn Verein. In the same building where she lived with her family, also the Weiss family lived. And the family loved the little children of Hilda, especially the eldest daughter Inge. Olly Weiss was Olga’s team mate.

Olly sought and found work as a housekeeper or maid in London. She also wanted her parents to come and Hilda with her two children. She was lucky to find one Miss Palmer, a wealthy lady who wanted to guarantee both the family Weiss and Hilda. This event took place in the course of 1938. In '39 all was arranged.
But when push came to shove, in other words, when Olly went to Vienna to pick them up, Hilda now turned out to be married to Jaap. Rather than be a maid in England and take care of her children, she went to Amsterdam with Jaap. While her children, with a 'children's transport' travelled to London. After being there for ten months, Inge went  to live with the Weiss family, where, after the death of Olly’s parents was raised by Olly herself. Her brother Kurti was raised up by foster parents. Both children remained in England, becoming adults and received British citizenship.
124
Hilda’s third child, Ilse who was  born in the Netherlands, stayed with her. It was after the war, so she got a (step) father, grew up prosperously , but not without trauma as the second generation child. And was actually an only child.
The war also seems to have been for her parents an indigestible matter and when the daughter was mature they decided to separate. Not long after that Hilda died, she was burned out.
13 December 1992
I am sitting with my feelings back in the war times. For a few days now. Has nothing changed in fifty years? The realization that the Platform, so Nieuwengein then , now refuses to do something about the misery of the displaced-shelters in the form of some distraction, or to advise B & W on a contribution per capita for Bosnia ( where a hunger  winter of '44 is  on the way!) and Somalia .... Here nothing can be done, knowing how it is makes me so desperate that I cannot sleep and can think of nothing else all day. Although yesterday I have been at the stand of Novib at the voluntary market all day with a friendly face.
You know, you can only talk to people who know what you're talking about.
I am glad that the action against xenophobia, against illegal smear campaign, comes in order. Peter has created posters for the twenty-fourth. Women for Peace and Amnesty participate.
125
So I can channel my grief and my anger without damaging myself.
Sadness and anger are not gone, oh no.
I want to go back to December 9, the letters.
I will tell Rabbi Schachter the story briefly, why I am so determined to straighten out the Pages. Does he not see it himself, that it is not a remembrance of my mother, but the desire of my niece to have the name of her family member in this?
N'importe what kind of data? Not one syllable of it was correct, except the name. My first feeling was therefore, that the Rabbi, felt a little passed over , because I did not respond to the discovery of the niece, who also knew nothing. But that is not what I was looking for, I must make it clear. Reparation for Olga, of whose life and death only Hilda knew about and who kept silent from me. That mantle of fifty years that was revealed by Olly, with instructions never to let Ilse and Inge know. I want that also in the Pages. I will have to let Ilse know of that letter. How? I'll have to think, well that's no rush.
Other things remind Olly that she no longer can place. But concerned about that time, she is still, though she says that she does not have any "fight" more with her 85 years.
That means that she had in that in the past, and that shows. The courage not only for herself but also for others to find a safe haven, speaks from her letters. It is a pity, a great pity that Inge and Kurti that I should have known so well in Vienna have disappeared completely from sight. Actually just like Ilse. A family band will I never have with them again, but it's nice that I have heard about them again.
Over the acceptance of ‘that coat ‘I am still not there, even if I put it in perspective. How do you do that as a victim? I can say, Hilda, I forgive you; the fact itself is your underestimation of the danger of your carelessness. That is something that happens.
126
But it did have my mother killed, as you ought to have been wearing that coat. And as you have survived (but how?), so she could  have survived. She would have taken Ilse , combative as she was. Now my life has given Ilse a home, but apparently not a happy childhood. Let me hold on to that. Ilse has also become a war victim, her "home." And my life has consisted of flights from nowhere to nowhere, me closing my past until now. Here only I have found my home. Only after three children and two marriages. My oldest lost through drugs and suicide-no mother who could reach him, he was imprisoned in himself.
Jacob, my child that hid under a coat until he suffocated. From a fear of living.

Leo, who is alone and that maybe will remain that way, grew up with me and two fathers could not be real fathers.
Jessica, who is still fighting for freedom under that coat, which she now knows, exists.
I myself, that I no longer dare to venture into a new relationship, after making wrong choices five times. Thanks for the one who taught me to sublimate my anger and grief into action for people, who like me suffered from oppression and infringements of his human dignity, proclaiming rights for the incapacitated!
Is that the key to my whole life after Olga? Oppression and disregard for my human dignity? Finally, I was Jewish and, as such, was I- treated in the time when I lived. I see now. And I have acted in the past twelve years, but for recognition of my person and to restore my dignity
From my empathy with those, and for those that I I worked with, from what I have experienced myself.
But also of anger and sadness, which could not be captured in words, because I kept the cargo from the past denied until now.
127
15 December 1992
What is -and what is the function of -a prophet?

 Pastor Mook called me, ‘The prophetess of Nieuwegein. ‘ That has  lingered.
Tonight council meeting . In the break I was talking to J.H. He told me enthusiastically about the worries of preparing for Christmas. And I told him that I was not able to celebrate Christmas this year. What happens so close east of our borders. With Bosnia and images of Somalia.
Another councilor said later, "You did not come to make us sad, huh Erica?”

What should I do? Stay talking in the form of politeness? I may not express my feelings, my sorrow and anger and impotence in order not to disrupt the Christmas party? May I not indicate that we cannot celebrate with a clear conscience and cheerful mood while such terrible inhuman things happen this Christmas season?
Did Reverend Mook mean that I am a thistle under foot? Or (calamity) prophet who disturbs the peace of the conscience of Christians and non Christians?
 We, war children and adults know, yet have still all experienced at firsthand? And yet are still scared, angry, helpless and almost powerless? Almost, because only a small area, we cannot get involved to resist the immense indifference, the ‘cocoon’. Pull that screen, that wall you've built around you and just see what happens around us. Let's work together to try there to change that. It is not for us, then for our children and grandchildren. So that the blood on our hands of our indifference does not come upon our descendants. Then we will be certainly guilty. Omama, as weak as you were, you were a militant woman who meant a lot for the labor movement.
Mutti, the strength of your character, your perseverance and sportsmanship, your living will to start a new life here, with all the menace of Hitler Germany. Give me some of your perseverance, despite all resistance. I'm so discouraged now.
128.
Who wants to hear
Those who wish to see
Who suffers too
Not just with me
But with the horror
Where people like them
 Should survive them
or die?
I did not ask for, nor can I shut myself away from it.
My powerlessness over my past blends seamlessly into despair about the horrors of today.
I thought I could get away now, but every time that it takes longer, I am more a part of them. I hear them, right here in my safe little flat I'm not safe there. L’histoire interieure se repete toujours; comme l'exterieur. Et parce que cette histoire d'aujourd'hui est l'exterior. Et parce que cette histoire d'aujourd'hui est l'histoire de moi-meme et de Maman et Omaman et six miliones des autres hommes. Et il passe aujourd'hui, après cinquantes années.
Now back in French, earlier to Olly in German. What comes up as I write this?
Say, write what I know, what I feel. And make people participants of what happens , whether they like it or not.
The coat has to go.
I fight and wrestle with all these feelings, day and night. Sometimes it's sadness so great that I have no spoken words, and if I find them, because of the interests of others, my mouth takes over, without being able to stop it.
Is this the function of a prophet?
 Or do I behave like an intrusive campaigner?
No, that is not me. But maybe they see me like that, if I do not keep my feelings under control and thus contact others in their heart and conscience.
I do this more than ten years-over declared unfit for work (sick and disabled), over racism versus equality. If it would leave me indifferent, I would have no need to write about it or talk about it. Sometimes they give me the feeling that they think I am mad.
So be it. This is me, Erica, made up of a life that was dominated by an invisible and unknown coat of fifty years now. Exponent of "lest we forget."
129.
16 December 1992

I just read Ilse’s letter of 14 November again, where she tries to untangle the knot that has occured upon completion of Rivka’s addition to  The Page. The history of Olga and Hilda were jumbled. This could imply that Hilda has also told Rivka facts - the jacket- and Rivka has therefore  become confused, that is the misunderstanding  . I try now to put it in the time. Everyone was still busy processing, or stopping of the flaring memories of the horrors. We were traumatized, and could not put into words what kept us so busy. Maybe Hilda has told her story confusingly, which was picked up as such. But when she wrote a letter about it, not only Olly knew it, but Rivka knew then - and Ilse also now!
1.How do I tell Ilse?
2.How can I tell that to Aunt Olly?
Oh time, get me in that matter!
Kalien Blonden called. Relief: the radio programme is off. The editors did not think it a good opportunity.
I let on to her surprise that I find  it fine,because the only reason I had agreed, lay in the search for survivors, who would have known her. That is now no longer necessary. Thence.
130.
130.
The last data is now coming in and the next week I hope, if not the real grieving process, yet will I finish this book.
In the last few days, there were quite a few things that ran together, so it was difficult to stay with this case. So emotional, I could not sleep and really collapsed yesterday. (And promptly at half past three in the afternoon I slept until eight o'clock this morning, with some interruptions!)
Why my emotions with me went on the run?
Among other things because I cannot handle that people very carelessly spend  millions and millions on Christmas shopping, chunky tables, feasting, while just over our border and further, into former Yugoslavia, history is being repeated. The same history, which I'm trying to deal with in this book. Shut up, Erica, don’t make us sad, and do not appeal to us and our consciences. Don’t you see that we want to celebrate, you disturber!
Judging by the signals I expected Thursday, December 24th not a big turnout for the torch vigil, we organized as AFKIN.
Yesterday I again brought out in the library, the Jewish Weekly News. Searching for clues that maybe I had previously overlooked. In the Jewish Weekly News, number 20 of August 21, 1942, I found an article on the confirmation of the star.
131.
 Serious warning
The presidents of Amsterdam’s Jewish Council make further emphasis for Amsterdam's attention to the obligation of Jews to:
1st to properly attach the Star of David and wear it visibly;
2nd refrain from entering gardens, parks and all the roads that are forbidden for Jews;
3rd not use traffic ways without a license;
4th not live or stay at other addresses than the above address mentioned on the identity card.
Violation of these provisions has led in several cases to severe punishment, even when it was solely due to carelessness. Hence the repeated serious warning.
 It is conceivable that Hilda has even tried to get help from the Jewish Council, or at least tried to get to the Council for information when Olga was not coming home. Maybe she told them that Olga was wearing her coat. But nothing helped. This remains hypotheses, but I cannot imagine differently.
21 December 1992
Today I received this letter from the RIOD:
Dear Mrs van Beek,
In response to your letter of 2 December 1992, I can tell you the following:
The collections of the RIOD contain unfortunately no more details about your mother Olga Bock then you are already familiar with. For example, there are no documents that have been preserved, which relate to the arrest of your mother.
132

THE JAILS ADMINISTRATION  HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED AFTER THE WAR*
Of the documents relating to the Westerbork transit camp, the proof is that Olga Bock was indeed deported on 11 September 1942.
I would have liked to have done more for you. I'm sorry, that by the limitedness of the material at my disposal, it is not possible.
Sincerely, Ms A van Boxmeer.

Where can I still go with my anger and sadness? Is there a policeman ever punished for the preparation of murdering my innocent mother? A driver for obediently bringing her to her place of execution?
And today happens again the same! Are people because of their origin, their religion, massively persecuted their appearance, killed, expelled, put to flight. And survivors should only see them ready to come out.

Okay, okay, it's all happened fifty years ago and I am only now so far, I can handle it a little, to relive that time for myself.
Yet it is too much for me, as before, the same things are happening. My empathy should not be stretched too far!
All and sundry of the Dutch tribe celebrates rather extensive Christmas. So I don’t  need to .
*Capitals are mine
133
23 December 1992
It brought to mind again the note of Olga. There is no trace of reproach to Hilda . Instead, she tries yet to speak to Hilda with courage, "Kopf hoch, Madel."
History does not change its view. Never has there been a ‘point of return’. Who am I, that I look back with so much anger and resentment at a time, which cannot be compared with this time, in this society, in this same country? And, I have the  examples that today terrible things happen with and through people.
May a man fail? Weak and maybe a coward, if he should suffer such intolerable tension, as at that time? With, still, the examples of Germany and now in Yugoslavia.
130.
The last data is now coming in and the next week I hope, if not the real grieving process, yet will I finish this book.
In the last few days, there were quite a few things that ran together, so it was difficult to stay with this case. So emotional, I could not sleep and really collapsed yesterday. (And promptly at half past three in the afternoon I slept until eight o'clock this morning, with some interruptions!)
Why my emotions with me went on the run?
Among other things because I cannot handle that people very carelessly spend  millions and millions on Christmas shopping, chunky tables, feasting, while just over our border and further, into former Yugoslavia, history is being repeated. The same history, which I'm trying to deal with in this book. Shut up, Erica, don’t make us sad, and do not appeal to us and our consciences. Don’t you see that we want to celebrate, you disturber!
Judging by the signals I expected Thursday, December 24th not a big turnout for the torch vigil, we organized as AFKIN.
Yesterday I again brought out in the library, the Jewish Weekly News. Searching for clues that maybe I had previously overlooked. In the Jewish Weekly News, number 20 of August 21, 1942, I found an article on the confirmation of the star.
131.
 Serious warning
The presidents of Amsterdam’s Jewish Council make further emphasis for Amsterdam's attention to the obligation of Jews to:
1st to properly attach the Star of David and wear it visibly;
2nd refrain from entering gardens, parks and all the roads that are forbidden for Jews;
3rd not use traffic ways without a license;
4th not live or stay at other addresses than the above address mentioned on the identity card.
Violation of these provisions has led in several cases to severe punishment, even when it was solely due to carelessness. Hence the repeated serious warning.
 It is conceivable that Hilda has even tried to get help from the Jewish Council, or at least tried to get to the Council for information when Olga was not coming home. Maybe she told them that Olga was wearing her coat. But nothing helped. This remains hypotheses, but I cannot imagine differently.
21 December 1992
Today I received this letter from the RIOD:
Dear Mrs van Beek,
In response to your letter of 2 December 1992, I can tell you the following:
The collections of the RIOD contain unfortunately no more details about your mother Olga Bock then you are already familiar with. For example, there are no documents that have been preserved, which relate to the arrest of your mother.
132

THE JAILS ADMINISTRATION  HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED AFTER THE WAR*
Of the documents relating to the Westerbork transit camp, the proof is that Olga Bock was indeed deported on 11 September 1942.
I would have liked to have done more for you. I'm sorry, that by the limitedness of the material at my disposal, it is not possible.
Sincerely, Ms A van Boxmeer.

Where can I still go with my anger and sadness? Is there a policeman ever punished for the preparation of murdering my innocent mother? A driver for obediently bringing her to her place of execution?
And today happens again the same! Are people because of their origin, their religion, massively persecuted their appearance, killed, expelled, put to flight. And survivors should only see them ready to come out.

Okay, okay, it's all happened fifty years ago and I am only now so far, I can handle it a little, to relive that time for myself.
Yet it is too much for me, as before, the same things are happening. My empathy should not be stretched too far!
All and sundry of the Dutch tribe celebrates rather extensive Christmas. So I don’t  need to .
*Capitals are mine
133
23 December 1992
It brought to mind again the note of Olga. There is no trace of reproach to Hilda. Instead, she tries to speak to Hilda with courage, "Kopf hoch, Madel."
History does not change itself. Never has there been a point of return. “Who am I that I look back with so much anger and resentment at a time, which cannot be compared with this time, in this society, in this same country? And, I see through examples today that terrible things happen with and through people.
May a man fail? Weak and maybe a coward if he should suffer such intolerable tension, as at that time? With, still, the examples of Yugoslavia and now in Germany?
Hilda,
Whatever have been the consequences of the 'coat', who am I, that I would condemn. If I have to forgive anything, I do hereby wholeheartedly!
It apparently had  .
  And if not, then we have to accept that life is as it is and I am that I am. Do not look back at what might have been if ....
And I want to see in advance what is possible. What good things I can still contribute. So what happened and what is presently happening east of our borders, will perhaps not go repeating itself...
Over that and this way I will have to write back to Olly and Ilse.
And I will.
I have searched for my mother and found her. Even though I did not know how I would find her, I knew that I had never taken leave of her. I did that now. And I may mourn a youth that I and hundreds of thousands, even millions of children that were taken away by the madness of power forces, who use the power they have to create people that are immersed in grief, because they differ in color and origin from what they propose as normal.
134
This is the letter I wrote to Rabbi Schachter:
22 December 1992
Dear Rabbi Schachter,
It took me a few days before I was able to write back.
I would first like to thank you again for your concern of my wellbeing.
Enclosed you will find the new Page of my mother with a picture of her and me as a child. Thank you that you want to take care of her file.
I want to tell you again, so that no misunderstanding exists, I had to research the past of my mother and me. I had no evidence that she ever existed, except this picture and some papers, when in a short time two things happened. The book of Elma Verhey "To the Jewish Child” was released and the conference “The Hiding Child “, became public. I not only survived almost without memories, but also with fear and anger that I did not understand.
I had to make this quest. Not only for me but also for my daughter Jessica, a second-generation child, so she and her mother will understand themselves better and also to give her a past.
I've told you about my two sons, one of them died by suicide, by deliberately taking an overdose of pills and drugs. That has to do with my past. And the second son has his difficulties through that.
And there was another, important reason and that was to give a grave with her own name to my mother. So she was no longer an unknown and unnamed victim.
135
I never sought nor wanted relatives. Anyone who has survived, that knew of my existence, never let that be known. Not even shown of their existence. I say this not with anger or self-pity. But there is no room for them. I have my own life, my (former) family, my friends and my work. With the latter I mean, I (still) want to believe in the 'Global Village' and our shared responsibility there-for. So I see my daily volunteer work. Here I have found my family and friends. Believe me, I have no bitterness.
 I found my mother. And my own past.
At the same time I have lost my fear of my memories. And thus so many remembrances have come back. Not all, the most traumatic still remain hidden.
I have among other things discovered that my mother was arrested and thrown in prison and later via Wester Bork in Auschwitz is murdered, that the coat she was wearing at the time, with the pinned-star, was the coat of her sister. She probably borrowed it to get something quickly for her sister’s baby. .and did not return. And sister survived and has not looked back at me.
That makes this discovery very difficult to process. Do you understand?
The whole story of my quest, now by friend Paul typed and edited. I will keep my promise and send you a copy. That is if the book is finished. If it is published.
A miserable side effect is that this quest is taking place at a time when all that misery in Germany and the former Yugoslavia is now happening. Where the Serbs are doing the same things against non-Serbs, especially against Muslims. It is very frightening to believe that humanity will never change, no matter how big the technical progress and the communication possibilities for humanity nowadays have become. On the contrary, it seems that we just want to use it to destroy ourselves and the world. There was a time, not so long ago; I had the idea that humanity was becoming better and wiser.
Well, I'm wiser ... and sadder.
136

Regarding my Israel I had the hope that the war with the Palestinians would come to an end with election of the Labour Party. But there is still no sign of peace. On the contrary, the PLO and Hamas will work together and I'm terrified for such cooperation.
Judaism and Peace.... will it ever go together?
Last I read in a newspaper a statement by a Serbian word carrier: "War makes sense as long as there is a possibility to make a profit." Is that not cynical? Put the word 'peace' in place of 'war' and we can have the most delicious world. And then of course an  all-out ban and closing of  all weapons factories because they destroy our world and kill our children, our fathers and mothers.
But these are simply philosophical thoughts of mine. I expect no one, to make this a reality.
I'm going to leave you. Thanks for everything you've done for me. Receive my best wishes for yourself. Forever,
Yours sincerely,
Your Erica van Beek.
37
24 December 1992
A while ago I wrote: "In the past is the present, in the moment what is coming." A cliché, but how true!
The hatred is now grown by supra-nationalism and social discontent is the seed where fertile soil is found in the victims of today and future generations. The raped women of Bosnia bring forth children who are already hated for their birth.
The fruits thereof may be new wars again, in about 25, 50 or 100 years.
Tribal strife, religious wars, they are now and always will be. Because we are only human, obstinate and unruly.
And all surviving victims will be able to write books like this ...
Peace on earth is a dream, we have to face the truth.
Maybe that is the lesson I had to learn and if necessary why I had to write this book.
The "Global Village," which I dream of is the dream of a relatively small group of people. With little power. And our world will continue to run maybe a little longer. But will they survive?
To believe in it, I would have to rely on the fundamental goodness of people. The fundamental sense of responsibility for each other as human beings. The I = you feeling.
And I must begin with myself.
Sigh..... I'm not there yet.
39
Jood
141
January 29, 1993
Finally I have written draft letters to Olly and Ilse. Maybe I can finish them Sunday and send them. The text I want in any case to record here.
Dear aunt Olly,
It took me a long time to learn to live with what is written in your last letter. The thought that Olga had the coat on of Hilda was very hard to bear. It is even reflected in the title of the book about my childhood, that will be called Two women and a coat.
Now the time is ripe, now I am able to live with it, as with everything that has happened.
The period from 1939 to May 1945 was on the Continent a time of incomprehensible terrible events. Where the people who survived were injured for the rest of their lives. Hilda  was also briefly in the concentration camp Westerbork, together with Ilse  who was a baby.
I am convinced that Hilda has gone to the Jewish Council in Amsterdam when Olga did not return. And she told them what has happened. I am so confident because I read in the Jewish Weekly from a few weeks later an article warning people extra not to pin the star, but to sew it on: "Several people that are pinning have been severely punished.” What I would have to forgive Hilda of, I have forgiven her.

142
As you said, life has not exactly been kind to me, but Hilda had to live with her grief and her anger, and get on with her life. What's maybe never really happened, to which maybe she was not able to.
I tell you (including myself) once again: life is as it is. I've learned to accept that.
It is possible that Olga on that (rainy!) day in August '42 put on Hilda’s jacket just to get something quickly for the baby, and she was arrested (and taken to jail and later to Westerbork etc.) almost as soon as she  came out on the streets. Her face was so truly Jewish, that I doubt that, even if for her a hiding place was available, that she might have survived.
Therefore, I cannot understand how Ilse, Inge and Kurti could know nothing about it, even after Hilda and Louis died. It was still not intentional Hilda; it was carelessness, with incalculable consequences.
I have decided to send a copy of your letter to Ilse. Maybe that's a consolation to her. She is still with sadness and anger from the past. There were so many, too many things that she could not understand. So much that she was unable to go to the conference Hidden Children.
Can you imagine what war does with small children? Even those events that you cannot understand, that feeling of "I could have better not have been born," which remains always. That entire trauma, your whole life. Until you have learned to find words for and to use those words for yourself. This is done usually not before your fiftieth birthday. And then the past, has long since  used or deformed your character. And your life decides. The fears and anger have become a part of you. How do you deal with that? That is for an outsider very difficult to understand.
Life has also not been easy for you, I suppose. But you, your family and the children were not hunted in England as wild animals such as Jewish people in the Netherlands. You were pretty safe there.
Do you understand, there is no more reproach. To anyone. It all happened. As it is happening in Yugoslavia. We never expected that it could all happen again. But it does!
143

Dear aunt Olly,
I have now also been able to give my mother a funeral. In Jerusalem, at Yad Vashem in the Hall of Names. And my whole childhood became memories to me.
That was the purpose of the quest and no less for my life that now has to continue, more than ever. The whole has to be a book that is worth reading.
I send you my love and greetings and thank you for your help.
Hoping again to receive a letter from you,
Your Erica.
Dear Ilse,
It has taken a long time before I could process what I came to know about the past. Like so many Jewish people, I have processed it- with a friend in this case in a book, which will hopefully be released.
 It is much, very much, that has become clear. Also regarding aunt Olly’s feelings towards your mother. Do you want me to tell you everything or would you rather just read my last letter to Aunt Olly? You can also wait for the book. The title is Two women and a jacket.
  Only now am I able to discuss with you anything you want to know. Your sadness and anger have become clearer to me. As for me, I have now learned to accept life and let go of the past now that I have found words to describe it. That is also thanks to you.
We cannot change the past.
144

I'm now finished with it all. And I hope you find the courage to do so too. Maybe my letter to Olly will help you with that. Otherwise I will let you know when the book comes out.
Do not hesitate to write me, call or visit, if you have questions to ask. I have now a different perspective than 'then'.
I hear from you?
Yours  Erica
These letters I now send as soon as possible.
145
February
146
147
28 February 1993
Letter received from Aunt Olly, which made me very distressed. Of course she's right. But Elma and Paul found it too: Now I turn and I should be able to let it sink  a while.
Here's the letter.
Dear Erica,
This time, I find it hard to answer your letter. But first, I wish you luck with your book. I had no idea you were a writer. But you have abused my trust. When I told you about that incident with Hilda’s jacket I prompted you not to tell Ilse. Finally, it was her mother's fault that may have led to Olga’s death, even if it was indirect. Now it is in your book and Ilse will read it and she could tell Inge. You cannot tell me that it was necessary to make their memory of their mother worse.
I can only hope that Ilse will not be too much affected.
Maybe it can be prevented that Inge will know. She has enough to worry about with her husband's illness. In any case, I do not think Inge suffers from her memories of that time, because she and I only know of the events through other people. Our only concerns were the war cases, we Jewish people, even strangers, were treated the same as the English themselves.
I only hope that now you are able to put the past behind you.
Best wishes,
Aunt Olly
148
Of course her trust is, in terms of the jacket, ashamed. But how do I make it clear that I did not just think that was precisely the point where everything revolved around? For fifty years, my mother is dead in silence out of shame about it. Is it not time that it is written, spoken and processed? Out of concern for them, the now adult children of Hilda, I may panic again, keep my mouth shut, I feel guilty for events in which I have had some part. I became the victim, not her.
Apparently she was so angry (or confused) that she could not place the name on the envelope accurately.
149
March
151
12 March 1993
Visit to Westerbork. Search for Barak 41.0.
At five past eight Jessica and I met at station Batau-north in Nieuwegein. The train to Amersfoort at 8:44 we reached easily and we got there at just after nine. A terrible station. With that in Apeldoorn, I think, one of the worst of the Netherlands. A type of aircraft thoroughfare that comes out in Amersfoort-Never land. It took a while before we could orientate and we even had to ask the way to the Amersfoort station, where we should wait for Dorine to ride together in her car to Westerbork.
The weather gods had the first day of spring and made that the trip became an almost festive experience. Despite the gray tones that marked the destination.
Just before Hooghalen we decided to eat coffee with a treat. But it was only to get a sandwich on stale bread.
The parking lot of the Remembrance Centre in Westerbork lay still in the early afternoon. And when we got out the full gravity of our goal fell like a gray blanket over us.
Inside, in the open lobby with visitor reception, the almost sacred atmosphere was shattered by a whining barking dog. Moments later, the sound of Christmas songs ....nota bene, belong to a video film further on.
The exhibition is almost complete. Only my mother was, also here, not to be found in any picture, in any film. She was here as w