Thursday April 21

Written by Jack van Ommen on April 22nd, 2011

Holy Thursday. In Holland this day is called White Thursday. I attended the service in Heemstede. The usual American service includes the ritual of washing of the feet, as was done at the Last Supper. Not here. We sang a Poem, put to music, written by Titus Brandsma, “Als ik U aanschouw”  (“When I cast my eyes on You”). Very fitting for this occasion. He knew at the time that he was being led to slaughter. Brandsma, a Carmelite Frisian priest, wrote the poem in the Scheveningen prison in February 1942. He died in July 1942 in the Dachau concentration camp. He was one of the first to refuse to obey the Nazi invaders and to compromise his faith. 2579 Catholic Priest and seminarians, 109 Protestant clergymen, 30 Orthodox priests and 2 Muslim immams  from 38 European countries were interned in Dachau alone. The majority came from Poland. 1034 of them perished in Dachau, just like father Brandsma. The survivors were liberated by the same 7th US Army under Patton on April 30th 1945 as the women my mother was with from the Dachau satelite camp, the Agfa Kommando. Part of the story I am writing about my mother’s life.

Wednesday morning I delivered, to the trucking company, my three heavy boxes with paints, epoxy, spare parts for the repairs and maintenance of “Fleetwood”.

Wednesday afternoon/evening I went into Amsterdam. It was just an absolute gorgeous warm summer day. The parks were filled with people soaking in the sun, some brave souls were swimming in the Amstel river already. I met my friend Caro near the “Skinny Bridge” (Magere Brug) across the Amstel. This is very close to where I had my first job in 1955 on the Heerengracht. I walked right by the building and through the familiar neighborhoods. It seemed like all of Amsterdam had left their apartments and congregated on the sidewalks, in parks and side walk cafes. Corrine, my granddaughter, who turned 21 yesterday, has threatened me again that she is going to show up from her study in Rome. And I hope that I can show her my Amsterdam on a day like yesterday.

Kerkstraat with "Skinny Bridge"

 

Leave a Comment