June 22nd, 2010

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Tuesday June 22nd. An emotional confrontation with World War II

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
I spent the day in the National Archives in the Hague.  My request to examine the files of the war criminal procedures against Sonja van Hesteren were granted. Van Hesteren was a Dutch Nazi sympathizer who was used to trap the leader of  my mother’s resistance group. She was sentenced to 12 years and later reduced by a Royal clemency to 9 years.
And today’s search did not answer that question. But there are hours of interesting reading on the events between 1943 and 1947.  But the most emotional discovery was the fact that the files include the records of the testimony of one of the German interrogators of the despised SD (Sicherheits Dienst) officer, Emil Ruehl, who reveals from whom he obtained the name of the person who gave away to him the real name of the resistance group leader he was looking for. 
We knew this person and he and Ruehl are long dead and there is no record in these files if his claim has ever been challenged. These archives will become public records in the near future.
My father was arrested two weeks before the leader was caught. He was repeatedly interrogated to obtain the identity of the leader but since my father had nothing to do with the resistance work my mother was involved with he had no idea who this person might be with the “nom de guerre” he used. Once they knew his real name he was phoned and trapped by Sonja van Hesteren on April 20 1944.  Then shortly after my mother turned her self in figuring that she could handle the ordeal better than my father. Then they released our father and the rest is history. I can only speculate if my father and mother ever knew of this scenario. But now it does start to make sense out of a number of contacts, or better yet the lack of contacts, between a number of the players, since the war’s end.
The below picture was taken today from the train on the rail road bridge that just opens for a few minutes in the middle of the night on the Standing Mast Route through Amsterdam.

De Houtmankade from train