Saturday, July 21, 2018

IRELAND | Randal "the Rover" in the West

 EAST HAMPTON, N.Y., July 21, 2018–I am corresponding with a writer in Dublin, Andrew Hughes, who is writing about "Beulah", the house we lived in for two years. 

It is a mansion on the Irish Sea, on Harbour Road in Dalkey. We had a glorious time there, although the house was old and was not kept up to standards to which it doubtless was used to enjoying in prior years.

I sent Andrew a link to a collection of my mother's 1954 letters that I put together. We were traveling during the Christmas and Easter vacations in a Volkswagen bus and went to France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Andrew then sent me a link to this story about Randal in the Ballina Herald. 

We were all familiar with the headline–with its references to "Going East" and ""Randal the Rover". Yet it was good to see the actual story again after 64 years...

Monday, June 18, 2018

FATHER'S DAY 2018 | Chez Caroline

Daughter, Father and Watchdogs! L to R: (Rondo the Hero
Dog),Caroline, John (Dad) and Hachikō (not so much a hero,
but loving and cute). Photo by Alice Tepper Marlin.
Alice and I visited Caroline in Brooklyn yesterday evening for Father's Day with our faithful dog Hachikō.

The family went to The Finch in Brooklyn for a delicious dinner.

The Finch buys sustainably produced vegetables and meat from Local Bushel, where Caroline works.

Meanwhile, the two dogs kept each other company!

Friday, June 8, 2018

THEATER | "Fellow Travelers" Goes for the Jugular

Marilyn Monroe tries t bring Elia Kazan (L) and Arthur
Miller (R) back together. 
"Fellow Travelers" takes us back to the McCarthy era and the Hollywood black list.

Elia Kazan is shown turning in his former Communist Party associates so that the House Un-American Activities Committee will let him get on with his business.

Arthur Miller was less threatened by HUAC, and did not name any names. The two of them are disappointed in each other, and their friendship ended, although they continued to work together.

Marilyn Monroe is in the play as subplot and eye candy. Each man accuses the other of not caring enough when she died.

There are five other male parts (Hollywood mogul types) played well by two other actors.

The play opened at the Bay Street Theater and had a full house tonight. The review in 27East is on the mark. Good performances and direction. Deserves to open in New York City.

Monday, May 28, 2018

WELLESLEY '66 | At Agora Gallery to See Margret Carde's Art

Classmates assemble at home of Hachikō (fur ball far left) and Alice Tepper Marlin '66 (far right).
Photos by John Tepper Marlin, who sometimes writes about the #ArtBiz with that hashtag...
Wellesley is famed for its alumnae networking,
and the Class of 1966 is no slouch in that department.

Wellesley group in front of the Agora gallery.
Margret Carde, Wellesley '66, was one of the artists in the "Life Is But a Dream" Exhibition at the Agora Gallery at 530 West 25th Street.

This is near the High Line in the Chelsea area of New York City.

The show opened on May 22 and on Thursday May 24 had a reception for the New York City art community. The show continues through June 12, 2018.

The buzz at the gallery during the visit by the Wellesley class visit was voluble. The Thursday evening time slot is popular among the throngs of Chelsea gallery-trippers.
Margret peers out from among a group of
admirers of her art.

The Agora Gallery was founded in 1984 by an artist. 

It uses an innovative membership approach, allowing newcomers or mid-career artists access to the gallery scene in New York on a cooperative basis.

The membership revenue allows the gallery to require a lower sales commission on art than is currently asked by most upscale gallery owners in New York City.
Alice with Margret, in front of
one of Margret's paintings.

Margret says she creates her ephemeral, pastel-colored scenes inspired by her "emotional experiences and the thrill of viewing open land and sea."

After the gallery visit, the class group regrouped for dinner at the Red Cat Café, a block away on Tenth Avenue.

Other posts on the Wellesley College Class of 1966: Longhouse Reserve 2015. 50th Reunion 2016. Eclipse 2017.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

WALLY VAN HALL | Movie in English?

Ben Boissevain (L), son of the late Thijs
Boissevain. John Tepper Marlin (R),
grandson of Olga Boissevain.
May 29, 2018 – Boissevain family members from the Charlestjes (John Tepper Marlin) and the Jantjes (Ben Boissevain) lines have been talking in East Hampton this Memorial Day weekend about the possibility of producing a movie about Wally van Hall in English, and how they could help make it happen.

Wally van Hall has become well known in Holland, because of several books about him, a documentary and now a feature film. But he is not known in the English-speaking world, which is a pity. He was a banker and a hero of the Dutch Resistance. It is a great story.

He has been called "The Banker of the the Resistance" and even "The Prime Minister of the Resistance" because Wally not only financed most of the Resistance work but used his financial leverage and personal charm to keep the various groups within the Resistance working together.

The following bio of Wally appears on the Resistance Museum website, no doubt tied in to the new movie in Dutch (English translation of the title: "Banker of the Resistance" or "Resistance Banker") about Wally van Hall. The trailer for the movie is here:

L to R: Tilly and Wally van Hall at
their Wedding.
The link to the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) is at the end of this post. For more information, contact teppermarlin [at]


65 years after the Liberation Walraven (Wally) van Hall has been given a monument: a bronze tree lies like a fallen giant opposite the Nederlandsche Bank in Amsterdam. In 1945 the young banker was acclaimed as a bridge builder and a leading figure in the Resistance. But the story of Wally van Hall was gradually forgotten.
Wally van Hall – code name Van Tuyl – was a co-founder of the bank of the Resistance, the Nationaal Steunfonds (National Assistance Fund) or NSF. Through illegal loans and a fraud involving millions at the central bank, the Nederlandsche Bank, the NSF was able to distribute over 83 million guilders  to victims of the Occupation and countless Resistance groups. This kind of organisation was unique in Europe in the Second World War. Wally was the undisputed leader of the NSF in the west of the Netherlands.
On 27 January 1945 Wally van Hall was arrested by the Germans. He was executed by firing squad in Haarlem on 12 February, three months before the Liberation.
Seaman, banker and father
Wally van Hall grew up in an Amsterdam family of bankers and directors. But he wanted something different. Wally went to sea. He became third mate on the ocean-going trade with NV Koninklijke Hollandsche Lloyd. In 1929 it was found that his eyesight was not good enough for work at sea. He had to stop peering at the horizon. He went to New York and became a banker after all.

On returning to the Netherlands he married Tilly den Tex, the love of his life. They had three children. In March 1940 he became a partner in the banking house Wed. J. te Veltrup & Zoon. When war broke out the young family were living in Zaandam. Almost every day Wally went to the Amsterdam stock exchange. There he made contacts for his work as the banker of the Resistance.
Running an illegal bank
The NSF was set up in 1943 when ever more money was needed for Resistance groups and to support thousands of people in hiding and other victims of the Occupation.

To keep the money flowing, Wally van Hall argued that in future only large amounts of at least 25,000 guilders should be loaned. He hoped that this would also reduce the risk of being caught. For this reason he and his brother Gijs devised a system for the intricate web of illegal loans. All loans were administered in code.

On the expenditure side too, where there were the most NSF workers, everything was recorded in detail. Applications for assistance were checked. And all payments were registered, so that after the war they could be accounted for. 
The flow of money at the Nationaal Steunfonds
In the course of the war more and more money was needed to fund the Resistance. By May 1945 the NSF – the bank of the Resistance – had distributed over 83 million guilders to Resistance groups and many tens of thousands who needed help.

Hardly anyone knew where all that money came from. Income and expenditure were strictly separated, so that if one was discovered the other would not be endangered. Only Wally van Hall knew everything about both sides of ‘the bank’.  Together with his brother Gijs he ran the income department of the NSF, the Disconto Instituut.

Dispersed about the country there were 23 NSF districts, with district heads, cashiers, administrators and collecting clerks. They were mainly concerned with expenditure. All told, some 2000 workers transported suitcases full of money, brought wage packets to homes, helped Resistance groups or did the bookkeeping.
Leading figures in the NSF 
The Nationaal Steunfonds (NSF) was founded in 1943 by Wally van Hall and Iman van den Bosch. They both worked for the Zeemanspot, a fund to help the wives of seamen run by Captain Abraham Philippo of Rotterdam. As the Resistance grew in 1943 and ever more people needed help, Wally van Hall and Iman van van den Bosch decided to extend their assistance.
The leading figures in the NSF were: Wally van Hall, Iman van den Bosch and A.J. Gelderblom. They held weekly meetings in Utrecht. Gijs van Hall played a vital role in the background as the financial adviser. He and his brother raised tens of millions for the NSF.
A monument to Wally
Wally van Hall was arrested by the Germans on 27 January 1945 on Leidsegracht in Amsterdam. At first they did not realise whom they had caught because they were looking for a certain Van Tuyl. But Wally was betrayed while in prison. On 12 February 1945 Wally van Hall was executed by firing squad on Jan Gijzenkade in Haarlem.

In March 1945 the Resistance newspaper Vrije Gedachten published an In Memoriam which described him as ‘one of the leaders of the Resistance whose authority was unchallenged.’

Soon after the Liberation Walraven van Hall was reburied at the memorial cemetery in Bloemendaal. Now, 64 years after the Liberation, a  monument to him has been erected on Frederiksplein in Amsterdam. Read more.
After the war
Immediately after the war the process of clearing up all the wartime financial transactions began. Loans to the NSF were repaid by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the trick with the fake treasury bonds was set right.
After the war the NSF – now a foundation – still had 22 million guilders in cash. This money was used to make financial contributions to the building of the National Monument on the Dam in Amsterdam and to the founding of the  Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. In 1953 the NSF Foundation was dissolved.
This bio is from the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) in Amsterdam, near the ARTIS Zoo.

Friday, May 25, 2018

HERALDRY | Arms, Duchess of Sussex

May 25, 2018–The Duchess of  Sussex now has a coat of arms, created for her following her marriage to Prince Harry last week. 
The design was approved by The Queen and Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England.

Meaning The blue (azure) background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean by the California coast. The two golden (or) rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess’s home state and the three quills represent communication and the power of words. Beneath the shield on the grass are golden poppies, California’s state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace. Members of the Royal Family and their wives have have one of their spouse's  Supporters and one relating to themselves. The Supporter relating to The Duchess of Sussex is a songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication. The Coronet is laid down by a Royal Warrant of 1917 for the sons and daughters of the Heir Apparent. It is composed of two crosses patée, four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves. The arms of a married woman are shown with those of her husband and the technical term is that they are impaled, meaning placed side by side in the same shield.

Unusual Feature The decision to give Meghan Markle her own coat of arms breaks royal tradition as it is typically given to the father of the bride, but Thomas Markle was unable to give away his daughter at the May 19 wedding because of heart surgery. It also does not reference the Markle family name. (Her sister-in-law Duchess Kate's coat of arms referenced both the Middleton name and Kate's mother Carole's maiden name Goldsmith.

The Garter King of Arms said in summary: 
“The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms. Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as Cities, Universities and for instance the Livery Companies in the City of London.”


The new owners couldn't wait to take down
the Time Inc. sign. January 31, 2018. 
(Detail of photo with NY Times story.)
The Beginning of Time Two Yalies, Henry R. Luce and Briton Hadden, were cub reporters at The Baltimore News in 1922.

They pitched a crazy idea for a “news magazine.” It flew. They raised $86,000. They quit their jobs.

On March 3, 1923, they published the first issue of Time: The Weekly News-Magazine.

The End of Time Betsy Gleick, senior writer, Time: “[T]he Time Inc. sign [came] down [on January 31, 2018] and the Meredith sign [went] up basically the minute the deal closed. From the outside, the haste struck me as so depressing. Why the race to obliterate a great legacy?”

Summary of long history of Time in the New York Times, May 21, 2018.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

SUFFOLK, NY | Tea-Party Zeldin Job Growth: POINT ONE %

The Congressman from CD 1 in Suffolk County, New York, was elected in 2014. He has made creating jobs a central part of his program. He said in 2016 he would go to Washington, work with the Tea Party to reduce environmental and other regulations, and "help grow our economy and create more good paying jobs".

How's it going with that, Mr. Zeldin?

Numbers just came out today for the fourth quarter of 2017. They show that Suffolk County ranked 309th out of the 347 largest counties for growth during 2017, fourth quarter compared with the fourth quarter of the previous year.

The growth rate was Point One Percent. That's one-tenth of one percent.

Compare that with Brooklyn (King's County), which grew 41 times as fast, 4.1 percent, and ranked 14th out of the 347 largest counties.

Zeldin has had two terms to prove he can make a difference in job growth. I would say he flunks his own test. He has not helped grow the economy. He has not created more good-paying jobs.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, data released May 23, 2018.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

BIRTH | May 22 – Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
May 22, 2018–This day in 1859 was born Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. He was born in Edinburgh, where he grew up and studied medicine (and where I was earlier this month).

Sherlock has been called the most famous fictional character of the last two centuries, along with Dracula and James Bond. This reference is from Charles McDermid in a Back Story for the NY Times to which I have been unable to link (it is part of an emailed Newsletter). Excellent Britannica biography here. His website here. Wikipedia entry, also good.

Doyle is often referred to as "Conan Doyle". But he was baptized at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh–with "Arthur Ignatius Conan" as his given names and "Doyle" as his surname. Ignatius of Loyola is the anglicized name of the founder of the Jesuit Order. Doyle's second wife was known as Jean Conan Doyle rather than Jean Doyle.

Doyle's parents were both Irish Catholic, though his father was born in England. His mother was the inspiration of his life and she was a great story-teller. Alas, his father, although from a family with some fame in the art world, suffered from alcoholism and in 1864 the family dispersed to different homes in Edinburgh with some respite in 1867 as the family came together again in an inadequate tenement flat. Doyle's father suffered from mental illness later in his life and died in 1893, in Dumfries. Fortunately Doyle's talent was spotted by wealthy uncles and a lodger. He was sent away to school at nine years of age to a school that fed to the Jesuit Stonyhurst College. From there in 1875-76, he was educated at another Jesuit school, Stella Matutina in Feldkirch, Austria. He later rejected the Catholic faith and became an agnostic and mystic.

In 1876-1881, Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, including periods working in different locations in England including Warwickshire and Shropshire. During that time, he studied practical botany and started writing short stories. His earliest extant fiction was "The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe", unsuccessfully submitted to Blackwood's Magazine.

His first published piece, "The Mystery of Sasassa Valley", set in South Africa, was printed in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal in 1879. The same year, he published his first academic article, on a poison.

After his graduation from Edinburgh University with a Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1881, he was ship's surgeon on the SS Mayumba during a voyage to the West African coast. He completed his advanced Doctor of Medicine degree on tabes dorsalis in 1885. He set up a medical practice in Southsea in June 1882, with less than £10 (about $1,500 today) in his pocket. It was not successful, giving Doyle ample time to write fiction. He also wrote several articles denouncing anti-vaccinators. In early 1891, Doyle attempted the study of ophthalmology in Vienna, but his German wasn't up to all the medical terms and he quit.

Returned to London, Doyle opened a small office and consulting room at what is now 2 Upper Wimpole Street. He never had luck with finding patients, giving him the time to develop a story featuring a man named Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson. The novel, A Study in Scarlet, initially had no luck.

Then, to Doyle's initial delight, the book was accepted by Ward Lock & Co. It was 20 November 1886, and the wonderful publisher gave Doyle £25 (about $4,000 today) for all rights.  The piece appeared a year later in the Beeton's Christmas Annual and received good reviews in Edinburgh. Holmes said the character was partly based on a former university teacher. Robert Louis Stevenson, also born in Edinburgh, was able, reading the story in Samoa, to recognize that a medical school professor was the basis of the Sherlock character.

A sequel was commissioned, and The Sign of the Four appeared in Lippincott's Magazine in February 1890, under agreement with the Ward Lock company. By now, Doyle started to feel exploited by his wonderful publisher and left Ward Lock, sending his stories to the Strand Magazine.

Tired of his creation, Doyle tried to discourage his new publisher from demanding more work and raised his fee for new work to a level intended to send them away. Alas, the new magazine promptly accepted. He therefore became one of the best-paid authors of his era. 

In December 1893, he went so far as to finish off both Holmes and his arch-enemy Professor Moriarty, sending them both over  the Reichenbach Falls to their deaths in "The Final Problem". The public was outraged. They cancelled 20,000 subscriptions to the Strand Magazine. 

He was after a few years prevailed upon to revive Holmes in 1901 in the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. In 1903, Doyle came back to a Holmes short story after a ten-year lapse, with "The Adventure of the Empty House". Doyle explains that Moriarty had indeed fallen to his death, but Holmes wanted privacy and only faked his death. 

Doyle eventually accumulated 56 short stories—the last published in 1927—and four novels about Holmes. Doyle was knighted for a report he wrote on the Boer War. He showed a deep interest in the supernatural and helped popularize a famous garden fairies hoax of the early 20th century. He died of a heart attack in 1930.

Friday, May 11, 2018

V-E DAY | East Hampton Star, May 3, 2018

Remembering V-E Day Guest Words | By John Tepper Marlin [Reposted by Permission]

Charles Miner Jr., World War II bomber pilot, investment banker, and summertime East Hampton resident, died in March at the age of 96. John Tepper Marlin
May 8 will be the 73rd anniversary of V-E Day, when World War II ended in Europe. I am on my way from London to Holland, where the 1945 liberation is celebrated on May 4. That day, I plan to be at the Cemetery of Heroes in Amsterdam to remember my relatives who gave their lives to fighting the monster Adolf Hitler through the Resistance.
East Hampton contributed many fighters to this effort. Some survived World War II with powerful stories. Charles Miner Jr., who died at 96 in March, was a bomber pilot in World War II. When he died, he was one of 480,000 surviving veterans of that war, out of more than 16 million Americans who served. 
Charlie was not related to me, but he was extremely helpful to my understanding his grandfather William H. Woodin, who was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first Treasury secretary, and my own family during the war. 
As we talked one day, I became interested in his life story. Charlie had to leave Princeton before he graduated to join the Army Air Forces. “I was studying engineering and they wanted engineers, so I was called up,” he told me. “I went to a single-engine flying school, graduated in March 1943, and from there was sent to a sub depot in Charlotte, N.C., where they rebuilt planes that had crashed. I was given the job of test-flying the rebuilt planes before they were returned to their home bases. I got flying time in many types of aircraft.”
While assigned to the base, Charlie married in October 1944 a Southern belle, Mae Hoffman, who was called Maisie. “But just two weeks after we married, I had to report for combat training in two-engine bombers at the Greenville, N.C., Army Air Forces base. We were trained on the B-25 Mitchell bomber. We had three months’ training, doing mock bombing runs over Myrtle Beach at night.”
The B-25 has been described as the most versatile bomber in World War II, named after the air power advocate Gen. Billy Mitchell. Nearly 10,000 of the bombers were built between 1941 and 1945. It was the most heavily armed airplane in the world, used in the historic Doolittle raid over Tokyo in 1942.
“We had a crew of five,” Charlie said. “Besides me, the pilot, we had a co-pilot, bombardier, radio operator, and gunner. Boeing strengthened the plane by adding a gun in its nose, which allowed us to shoot back at targets, but lowered the plane’s maximum speed.”
When was his first combat run? “After my training in Greenville, I was first sent to Corsica to be instructed by the more experienced [Royal Canadian Air Force] and especially [Royal Air Force] pilots who had been flying the B-25. Some of the R.A.F. and Italian pilots were daredevils. They didn’t seem to care whether they lived or died. We had the Mosquito, a laminated-wood plane that could break the sound barrier. The pilots loved it, and they would dive from 5,000 feet. But one day a pilot tried this and one of the wings just came off. The pilot, of course, went straight down with the plane and was killed.”
Miner paused and continued in his jaunty rat-a-tat style (he was a superb joke-teller): “We started flying missions out of Corsica. The Germans were pushed north in the Italian boot, so we relocated closer to the targets, in Fano, on the Adriatic in eastern Italy, about 150 miles south of Venice. My squadron flew 18 missions at 15,000 to 18,000 feet over the Brenner Pass in the Alps between Italy and Austria.”
How did he feel on these missions? Charlie slowed down. “Of course, the Alps were a majestic sight to look down on, but each flight was nerve-racking. We had to stay perfectly in box formation during the bomb run so that the bombardiers could be accurate. We had to keep to it so long as we had more bombs to drop. We could see yellow puffs below as anti-aircraft guns tried to shoot us down, but we were not allowed to take evasive action until our payload was dropped. As soon as we released the last bomb, it was a relief, we were all out of there in every direction, helter-skelter.”
It is easy to visualize Charlie keeping his formation while the flak was flying. His cousin Woody Rowe, in an interview with me, compared Charlie (whom he calls Chas) to his mother, Libby Woodin Rowe. She was a patient mother, although neither of her sons inherited her patience. But Woody told me that Charlie never seemed to be mad at anyone. Asked about it, Charlie thought and said, “I guess you’re right. Disappointed, perhaps, but not angry.”
I asked Charlie whether the anti-aircraft fire found its mark. “Yes,” he said. “We would find out when we returned to the base when a plane and crew were gone. We all paid our respects. But after that, we didn’t talk a whole lot about the ones who were gone. It was just the risk you took.”
Again, Charlie’s usual fast-paced speak­ing style became slower. He looked at me with the closest I ever saw him get to a tragic expression. “There was one pilot who seemed immortal. He was a major in the Army Air Forces. He finished 50 missions, which meant he could retire and go home. But he wanted to keep flying a couple more times, even though he didn’t have to. On his 51st mission, his plane was hit by flak and he bailed out. I remember seeing his parachute going down over the Alps. If he was lucky, he was rescued by one of the partisans below.”
“Did you ever find out what happened to him?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “I never did.” He was silent for what seemed like a long time.
That was a personal moment for me as well, because my Dutch-born uncle Willem J. van Stockum worked hard to put himself in harm’s way. He was a bomber pilot for the R.A.F. and was hit by flak over France on June 10, 1944. I was 2 years old then, so I never got to find out from him what it was like being on the front lines of the air war against Hitler. He was flying with 10 Squadron, one of 126 squadrons serving with the R.A.F.’s Bomber Command. They were bombing a Luftwaffe airfield in Laval, France. His plane was hit by flak.
Bomber Command in World War II recruited 125,000 aircrew, of whom 57,205 were killed. That’s a 46-percent death rate. The queen unveiled a monument in 2012 to the extraordinary bravery of these R.A.F. aircrews.
My uncle Willem, a mathematician who worked in Einstein’s institute in Princeton, understood these numbers. He just had to do something about his country being occupied. His story is told in “Time Bomber” by Robert Wack. His crew of seven and another that came down on the same mission are buried in Laval. I have visited three times, including in 2014, when the French locals erected monuments to the two crews. A survivor of the bombing, of course a child at the time, said that my uncle’s flaming plane steered away from the house where she and her family lived, into an orchard.
This year I went with my wife, Alice, to see for the first time my uncle’s base, R.A.F. Melbourne near York, England. I am grateful to the 10 Squadron Association volunteers who helped us make the visit.
And I am grateful to the late Charlie Miner for helping me understand better what was facing this uncle I never knew. Whatever questions we have about the morality or effectiveness of indiscriminate bombing of civilians in World War II, our appreciation of the bravery of those who looked in the evil face of Hitler’s guns will never be sufficient.

John Tepper Marlin, a regular contributor to the “Guestwords” column, has had a house in Springs since 1981. He is writing a biography of William Woodin and a book about his Dutch relatives’ work in the Resistance.
Postscript: From the May 10 Issue
East Hampton
May 3, 2018
Dear David [Editor of the East Hampton Star], 
 John Tepper Marlin’s “Remembering V-E Day” beautifully conveys the stress, horror, and pride felt by soldiers and their families during World War II.
I thank him for writing it.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

HOLLAND | The WW2 Honorary Graves Revisited

This is the section (33) of the cemetery that includes the executed
Resistance fighters who were referred to in Jan Campert's poem,
"De achttien dooden" ("The Eighteen Dead"). The graves of Gi and
 Janka are at the far end of the row. I have posted the poem at the end.

When I visited the Honorary Cemetery, the Eerebegraaf-plaats, in 2015 with Charles Boissevain (b. 1934), few other people were in the cemetery.

Yesterday, I went with many others to the cemetery, because it was May 4, Remembrance Day.

New Stories – Hans Nieuwenhuijzen

Since 2015, Charles has passed on to me during the period since he and I visited.

In particular, he wrote to me about a talk that Hans Nieuwenhuijzen gave to the Verzets Museum.

Starting Point to Cemetery. Road closed
to motor traffic.
Like Charles (and my eldest sister Olga), Hans was born in 1934. His father was in the Resistance together with Walraven "Wally" van Hall, about whom a Dutch film has just appeared. It won a prize, Aad van Hall told me on Thursday (May 3), for the first Dutch movie in 2018 to sell 100,000 tickets. He thinks they are now past 350,000 tickets and closing in on 400,000. That is a lot of tickets in Holland.

The movie, which is in Dutch, shows how Wally and his brother Gijs had two main ways of raising money.

One was borrowing money from Dutch people and giving them worthless old bonds – there would have been many of them after the Occupation – in exchange, keeping careful track of the numbers for use after the war. The Queen promised on Radio Orange to honor these debts and after the war every penny was repaid.

The other way they raised money was to rob the Nederlandsche Bank (the Dutch Central Bank).

They stole for the Resistance an enormous amount of money, perhaps the largest bank heist in history, by printing up counterfeit money or bonds [I am still trying to find out exactly what was done], and substituting them for those in the bank vault, while taking out the genuine cash or bonds for distribution to Resistance workers and onderduikers (literally "under-duckers" or "under-divers") such as Jewish refugees.

Dutch flag at half mast, before
 the silence.
Wally, along with the father of Hans and others, was caught in January 1945 and they were shot on February 12, 1945. They are buried at the Eerebegraafplaats Bloemendaal, which although named after nearby Bloemendaal is accessed only from the long road from Overveen. Charles and I visited the graves together in 2015.

Hans knew Charles Boissevain’s uncle Jan “Canada” Boissevain and his aunt Mies and their five children, who were living at Corellistraat 6, base of the deadly CS6 armed-resistance unit. His sons Janka and Gi, caught working for CS6 on Oct 1, 1943 and shot by the Nazis.

Hans told the story that Janka and Gi tried to escape to England on a home-made boat in the summer of 1940. At the Waddensea, just west of Friesland, they were caught by the Germans. They could have been killed for this.

Bell ringing started the remembrance. The
participants stood in silence for several
minutes. At the end, the nationally observed
minutes of silence. (Trains were stopped.)
Fortunately, their uncle Tom de Booy (married to Hilda Boissevain, sister of my grandmother Olga and Charles' grandfather Charles E. H.)  worked for the Dutch Boat Rescue Society at the place where Janka and Gi arrived as prisoners.

Uncle Tom had the presence of mind to tell  the Germans, laughing loudly, that this was just a student joke, that the boys had a bet that they could reach one of the Wadden islands on their home-made boat. Now they had lost the bet, and would have to pay for a lot of beer for their friends. The Germans saw this was plausible and they let Janka and Gi free.

Visiting the Eerebegraafplaats in 2018

On the way from the Overveen station to the Eeregraafplaats, I met a well-known Dutch (and German) actor, Chiem van Houweninge, and his wife Marina. Chiem is writing a script about another Resistance leader, Cees de Jong. He is a friend of Cees's son Jan. I wondered whether Loe de Jong, who wrote the 24-volume history of World War II in Holland, was related, and was told not to their knowledge.

Flag restored to top of the mast after the
minutes of silence.
Chiem wrote several film scripts that were made into movies, including:
  • "Storm en Mein Hoof" (Storm in My Head)
  • "Die Inbreeker" (The Burglar)
  • "Dear Boys" (about Central Heating[?])
Chiem also wrote perhaps 500 situation-comedy scripts for Dutch and German television, many of them centered around a female doctor.

Chiem and Marina's son is also named Chiem and is also an actor. He played the part of the bad guy in the Walraven van Hall movie, Ross von Tonningen, the collaborator who headed the Nederlandsche Bank for the Reichscommissar Seiss-Inquart. After the war, von Tonningen was hanged and his wife was called the "Black Widow."

Two Brothers (Gi and Janka) and Their Co-Worker,
Walter Brandligt. Under Janka's name is the family
motto, which he scrawled on the wall.
"Ni regret du passé, ni peur de l'avenir."
Then I met Dr. Hildebrand de Boer, who gave me a lift up to the Eerebegraafplaats and also gave me a copy of his fine book of poems, one for each year he has been volunteering to drive older people some or all of the 4-km. trip to the Eeregraafplaats.

At the cemetery, I took a lot photos and show some of them here. In front of the graves of Gi and Janka, I was informed that the grandson of Walter was there, and we shook hands, took some photos and said we would be in touch!

The Poem by Jan Campert – Song of the Eighteen Dead

The poem by Jan Campert (1902-1943) is probably the most famous poem in Holland about World War II. He was a journalist and did theater reviews. After his country was invaded in 1940 and occupied by the Nazis, he helped Jews in trouble. He was arrested and taken to the Neuengamme concentration camp, where he was killed or died in 1943. 

With the grandson of Walter Brandligt.
Published illegally in 1943, his poem, “De achttien dooden” (“The Eighteen Dead”), tells of the execution by the Nazis of eighteen resistance fighters. These Eighteen, I was told, refer to those shot with Gi and Janka Boissevain. 

Jan Campert was the father of today's  popular Dutch novelist and poet, Remco Campert, who said: "Resistance starts not with big words but with small deeds."

The following English translation of Jan Campert's poem is by Cliff Credo; it is the only one I could find.

A cell is but six feet long
and hardly six feet wide,
yet smaller is the patch of ground,
that I now do not yet know,
but where I nameless come to lie,
my comrades all and one,
we eighteen were in number then,
none shall the evening see come.

O loveliness of light and land,
of Holland's so free coast,
once by the enemy overrun
could I no moment more rest.
What can a man of honor and trust 
do in a time like this?
He kisses his child, he kisses his wife
and fights the noble fight.

I knew the task that I began,
a task with hardships laden,
the heart that couldn't let it be
but shied not away from danger;
it knows how once in this land
freedom was everywhere cherished,
before the cursed transgressor's hand
had willed it otherwise.

Before the oath can brag and break
existed this wretched place
that the lands of Holland did invade
and for ransom her ground has held;
Before the appeal to honor is made 
and such Germanic comfort
our people forced under their control
and looted as a thief. 

The Catcher of Rats who lives in Berlin
sounds now his melody,—
as true as I shortly dead shall be
Graves of Hendrik de Jong and Walraven van Hall.
my dearest no longer see
and no longer shall the bread be broke
and share a bed with her—
reject all he offers now and ever
that sly trapper of birds. 

For all whom these words think to read
my comrades in great need and those who stand by them through all
in their adversity tall,
just as we have thought and thought
on our own land and people—
a day does shine after every night,
as every cloud must pass.

I see how the first morning light
through the high window falls.
My God, make my dying light—
and so I have failed
just as each of us can fail,
pour me then Your grace,
that I may like a man then go 
if I a squadron must face.

Comment by JTM: "Squadron" on the last line doesn't seem to be the right word. It was used of cavalry or airplanes, not firing squads...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

EDINBURGH | Visit to The Lord Lyon

Coat of Arms of The Lord Lyon King of
Arms of Scotland.
Oxford, April 29, 2018–I was in Edinburgh earlier this week and visited the offices of The Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland.

The office is centrally located in Edinburgh, on West Register Street. 

Unlike most other countries where the heraldry authorities are private or nonprofit and honorific, the Scottish heraldry office was made part of the government. The heraldry code has the force of law in Scotland, and The Lord Lyon can prosecute, which is rare or unique in the world (South Africa can prevent use of a coat of arms).
Approach to the National Records of Scotland,
on West Register Street. There is construction.

The portrait in the lobby of The Lord Lyon is that of past Lord Lyon Sir Malcolm Rognvald Innes of Edingight KCVO WS FSA Scot. He held the post for 20 years, 1981-2001. The current Lord Lyon is the third since 2001.

He was born on May 25 in a year ending in 8. His portrait shows him in the tabard of The Lord Lyon. He is now Orkney Herald Extraordinary.

I had contacted The Lord Lyon's office to ask about the possibility that the stars in the Stars and Stripes were inspired, directly or indirectly, by the mullets in the Douglas or Murray (Moray) coats of arms.

Elizabeth Roads, Snawdoun Herald and Lyon Clerk at the Court of the Lord Lyon kindly responded to my query, wondering how I would associate with Scotland the Washington family, which prior to the emigration of two sons of Lawrence Washington lived in Sulgrave Manor, Northampton, way down south, not far from Oxford.
The National Records of Scotland.

I responded that the family originally lived in Washington on the River Wear, then part of the Palatine Principality and See of Durham, near Scotland. 

Before George Washington's ancestors were called Washington, they were Wessyngton, and before that Hertburn, after the places they resided, near what became the city of Newcastle. 

George Washington's Ancestors

The Ur-Washington was Sir William fitz Patrick de Hertburn, eldest son of Sir Patrick fitz Dolfin Raby and grandson of Dolfin fitz Uchtred. 

Sir Patrick fitz Dolfin Raby was born before 1136 at Hertburn, a younger son of Dolfin fitz Uchtred. Upon his marriage to Cecily de Offerton, he became known as Sir Patrick de Offerton and Le Hirsel. The Le Hirsel land lies on the north bank of the River Tweed two miles NW of Coldstream. He died c. 1190.

Sir William fitz Patrick de Hertburn was born c. 1150 in Hertburn, near Stockton-on-Tees (about halfway between Newcastle and York). He married twice, gaining Stockton lands with his first marriage and gaining royal relatives with his second marriage to Marjory (Margaret) de Huntingdon, Countess of Richmond. Sir William and Countess Margaret were close in age, although this was her third marriage.

Margaret's brothers were William the Lion, King of Scotland, and Malcolm IV, the Maiden King of Scotland. Her father was Henry, Earl of Northumberland and Huntingdon, and her paternal grandfather was David I, King of Scotland and saint. Her youngest brother, David Earl of Huntingdon, was ancestor of the de Bruce and Balliol families. Countess Margaret's four times great-grandparents were Beatrix, Queen of Scotland and Crinan the Thane. 

So Hertburn acquired new lands and noble connections  with his new bride. He assumed tenancy of the Wessyngton  lands from the Prince Bishop of Durham at a cost of four pounds per year. He had received the Wessyngton property in trade for his Stockton lands – a good move, since he was already heir to the lands at Offerton, just across the River Wear from Washington. Given his huge step up in status, Hertburn took on the name William de Wessyngton in 1183. He died c. 1190.

Sources for the above include: 1. Audrey Fletcher, Posting as Washington Lass 
2. Archaeology Data Service, UK, 1960 


  • Today The Hirsel is the seat of the Earls of Home, and the 14th Earl, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, was British Prime Minister in 1963-1964 when I was a student at Oxford – he contributed an article to a magazine I edited, Oxford Tory. I served as General Agent of the Oxford University Conservative Association when Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, now Baron Selkirk of Douglas, was President.
  • George Washington's hero was General William Braddock of the Coldstream Guards. Together they attacked Fort Duquesne, which was renamed Pittsburgh, after Pitt the Elder, who was the patron of the war against the French in North America. Braddock gave Col. Washington his sash and Washington is shown wearing it in several portraits.
Visit to the office of The Lord Lyon in Edinburgh. L to R: (1) Snawdoun Herald and Lyon Clerk, Elizabeth Roads. (2) Portrait of Immediate past Lord Lyon, Sir Malcolm Rognvald Innes of Edingight KCVO WS FSA Scot, with a magnificent estoile above. (3) Your blogger with what seems to be a tiny coronet in chief.

Visit to The Lord Lyon

Snawdoun Herald again was kind enough to respond and wondered why a family so well-connected by marriage would wish to connect to the humbler (at the time) Douglas arms.

My answer is that the Washington coat of arms was not created until after the Battle of Crécy, by which time the Douglas family was ennobled and well established.

At this point there are so many clues and question marks that I am pausing in my quest. A good time to visit Snawdoun Herald and the office of The Lord Lyon!

Also see: My Visit to the College of Arms in London