Thursday March 17. Travel Plans

Written by Jack van Ommen on March 17th, 2016

I am planning to arrive in Amsterdam on the 16th of April, for a four week visit. The main purpose to promote the recent publication of my book “SoloMan” ( www.SoloMan.us and www.SoloMan.nl). If you are contemplating reading the print book let me offer you an option in addition to the announcement  I made in my previous blog of February 23rd. The color version turns out to be the preferred choice even though it is twice the cost of the black and white print. You can take a look at the web site to get an impression of the color version at: //www.soloman.us/all-is-lost-a-books-chapter/   Besides purchasing it from Create Space for $60 plus postage I will mail you the signed book for $55 or hand deliver for $ 50, the black and white version, with a DVD of all my slide shows of the nine year voyage for $25, until I leave my last port on the West Coast in november. You can order at my e-mail address or in the contact section of this web site or the book’s web site.

Voor de Nederlanders kan ik tijdens mijn verblijf in Nederland het kleurenboek gesigneerd overhandigen voor Euro 45,00 en per post Euro 50,00 het zwart wit met een DVD voor respectievelijk Euro 20,00 en met DVD Euro 25,00 in plaats  van de Bol.com Euro 22,50 voor het boek. Graag voor mijn aankomst bestellen op mijn e-mail adres of het contact op deze web site of die van het boek. Ik verwacht een presentatie van het boek op Watersport Vereniging “De Schinkel” in Amsterdam te doen waar ik de gast en later lid was tot eind 2013. Ik hoop dat ik nog wat meer lezingen kan geven voor watersport verenigingen en houd me hartelijk aanbevolen voor Uw suggesties ik kan eventueel mijn retour wat uitrekken tot na midden mei. Ik heb de centjes hard nodig voor de nieuwe boot uit te rusten voor het vervolg verhaal.

De other reason for the trip came about in the last week. The choir of the Augustinus church, I sang with in 2013, is giving another concert on the annual memorial day for the victims of the second world war on May 4th. We will sing Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem mass. The theme of the concert is the Hymn “Abide with me” . This has a special significance to me because our mother wrote about this and I recite her story from my book “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”:

From Vught into the unknown

We were ordered to stand in formation on the exercise field of the camp early in the morning of September 6. Everyone was given a blanket and a chunk of bread and we were then marched to the rail depot of the concentration camp. A long line of cattle cars stood stretched out on the tracks. The male prisoners had already been stuffed in the forward cars. My group, of about 100 women, out of a total of about 650 female political prisoners, from the Michelin factory detail, had grouped our selves together. Most of my group, 82 women, managed to end up in the same cattle car. These cars were meant to carry a maximum of six cavalry horses….The heavy wooden doors were shut and we heard a lock and chain being attached. We could only stand up and barely move. There was a latrine barrel in one corner and no water. The first thing we did was, with our wooden shoes, to break the wooden slats from the blinds in the small windows, to give us a little more air. We deposited all our bread rations in one corner as far away as possible from the latrine. One woman was assigned to distribute the bread. Next, we divided our group in three sections of 27 women to take turns in standing, sitting and stretched out on the floor. Now we had a plan and we felt a little more in control. The train started moving slowly. It felt as if the Lord stretched his arms out over us with a blessing when two young women softly started singing the Dutch version of: 

Abide with me, fast falls the even tide.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
 

And the fourth verse:

I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.

Where is death’s sting? where, grave, they victory?
I triumph still if thou abide with me.

More and more women in our car and along the track joined in. The chorus could be heard afar.

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When I wrote back to the choir member who mentioned the theme about this particular part of the book, I was asked by the choir director to have this passage read at the concert. This is a great attribute  to these women of whom between 200 and 250 of the 650 perished in Ravensbrück and surrounding satellite concentration camps. Just a few of these brave Nazi resistance women ever got any attention, one possible exception for Americans is Betsie ten Boom the sister of Corrie ten Boom.

I shall keep you posted on this blog of my schedule and report on the visit. Today I make a short trip to Bellingham and Vancouver to see friends, back on Saturday in Gig Harbor. A friend and parishioner of St. Nicholas church treated me with a buddy pass on Delta Airlines for the trip to Amsterdam.

Please, keep me in mind for presentations of “SoloMan” to your yacht clubs and organizations before my Holland trip and before my August sailing. I need the money to outfit the new boat.

 

 

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