Saturday April 27. National annual Dachau commemmoration.

Written by Jack van Ommen on April 27th, 2013

This was the first time that I had the opportunity to attend this event at the Dachau monument in Amsterdam. The date is always the Saturday closest to the 29 of April, which was the date the U.S. 7th Army Rainbow Division under General Patton liberated the Dachau concentration camp. Our mother and her companions were intercepted on May 1st,  by the same American soldiers, on their death march from the Dachau satelite camp at München-Giesing. The last time that our mother attended this event there were still a good number of surviving survivors of the Dachau women. Today there was just one left, Mrs. Willemijn-Petroff van Gurp. She is 94 years but in her condition she’ll be sticking her red rose in the Cypress hedges for another 10 years.  I had a chance to talk to her. Two weeks ago she received my book “De Mastmakersdochters”. Several Dutch high schools have followed the lead taken in German high schools to write memoirs of Dachau survivors. The program is called “Names instead of Numbers”. See http://www.gedaechtnisbuch.de/namen-statt-nummern/english/index-engl.html Several of these students were in attendance. I show the photograph below of Willemijn and the Dutch teenagers Job Bruin en Jelle Braaksma of the Cartesius Lyceum who wrote her story. Willemijn was a school friend of Pom Koppert-Buma. (Remember: in Holland and most European countries married name-maiden name). I met Pom’s son, Sjoerd Koppert, in Santa Barbara in 1998 and he was on the dock in Santa Barbara to wave me out for the first long (3,000 nautical miles 28 day) passage to Hiva Oha in the Marquesas, exactly 8 years ago, this week.

It looks ike I may have found a (cabin) roof over my head after all, in the “De Schinkel” marina. Stay tuned. I am staying temporarily with my sister and husband in Badhoevedorp. The festivities have started here already. Today is the crown-prince’s birthday. (And the 4th birthday of my princess Madison, my great-granddaughter.) His coronation is on Tuesday in Amsterdam.

 

 

 

 

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