Wednesday, March 19th. Farewell to a Hero. Jan Eusman April 20, 1920- March 14, 2014

Written by Jack van Ommen on March 19th, 2014

As reported on Tuesday:

Last year, February 10, I reported on my visit with Jan Eusman. The last survivor of my mother’s 2nd World War resistance group. Jan Eusman passed away last Friday, peacefully and just as clear of mind as when I saw him last year.  He was the only one to escape from the trap the Germans and their Dutch Nazi collaborators had set on the van Breestraat 155, where they caught five men and three women on May 22 and 23 of 1944. The three women joined my mother, who was arrested a month earlier, in Vught, Ravensbrück and Dachau. Two of the men were executed on June 16th 1944 and one of the men died shortly after war’s end from the damage in captivity. Jan took four bullet  in the escape, three were removed in the hospital. His father and another resistance member managed to smuggle Jan out of the hospital by a very clever scheme. This is all documented in “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”. The exact opposite scenario had happened a month earlier when an other member of our mother’s resistance group was arrested by the Nazis, when his father buckled  under NAZI pressure. His son perished in captivity.  As far as I can determine Jan was the last of the survivors of this group. Exactly one year ago, also on March 14, Marretje Ockhuysen-Habermehl, passed away. She, also at great risk, worked with Jan for the underground newspaper “Trouw”, delivering the paper. Marretje also happened to be near the van Breestraat 155 on May 22nd 1944 and witnessed the shooting of her colleague.  Jan would have celebrated his 94th birthday this April 20. The funeral will be tomorrow. I plan to pay my respect to this hero.

Wednesday March 19th: A cold wind blew, the bulbs are in bloom but most of the trees are still bare. I attended the funeral service in Uithoorn. The reformed church “De Schutse” was packed with Jan’s family and friends. Pastor T.C. Wielsma led the beautiful service befitting a hero. An organist and trumpet player and many familiar hymns. Including the Dutch version of “Abide with me fast falls the eventide”. This brings strong emotions to me because as it was described by our mother when the cattle cars started rolling from the concentration camp Vught to Ravensbrück in the first week of September 1944 : “Two young girls started singing and it was quickly picked up by the rest of the 900 women spread over 10 box cars. ”

Blijf bij mij, Heer, want d’ avond is nabij.
De dag verduistert, Here, blijf bij mij!
Als and’re hulp m’ ontbreekt, geluk m’ ontvliedt,
der hulpelozen hulp, verlaat mij niet!
 

En het prachtige 4e couplet:

Geen vijand vrees ik, als Gij bij mij zijd,
tranen en leed zijn zonder bitterheid.
Waar is, o dood, uw schrik, graf, waar uw eer?
Meer dan verwinnaar blijf ik in de Heer

We sang a newer version. Jan’s surviving youngest brother, two daughters, one son and several of the grandchildren paid tribute to their, brother, father and opa and one of his great granddaughters said her good bye. Martine, a granddaughter with whom I have become friends since meeting her last year at her grandfather’s home, read a letter that Jan had sent to his parents when he was first arrested in 1942. She will let me have the text and I’d like to translate it for you. It is an incredible testimony to his courage and strength from his Faith.

One of Jan’s daughters told us that he liked Paradisum from Gabriel Faure’s Requiem. We sang this at last years May 4th memorial day services for the victims of the 2nd WW, with the Augustinus church choir in Buitenveldert. So, this one is for you Jan:

Jan P. Eusman taken Feb 10 2013

Jan P. Eusman taken Feb 10 2013

Great Grandchildren

Great Grandchildren

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