“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Episode 5: Back to The Netherlands

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This picture of concentration-camp Miranda de Ebro
is not included in the original book.
It was copied from another blog site here 

Back to The Netherlands

Recently arrived refugees report that the circumstances in The Netherlands have been worsened in a short period of time. Many Jews have been captured now and it's going on and on. When Izak got this message, he takes a drastic decision. He will get his Jewish fiancee Leentje Frankenhuis from Almelo city and her family into safety. From the vice-consul he gets his permission (and the required papers) to help escape people in The Netherlands.

After a journey by train of a couple of days Izak arrives early August 1942 in The Hague, where he gathers a group of about ten persons. Probably these are mainly family members of his fiancee. Izak collects an amount of 2.500 guilders, which he mainly distributes to his travelling companions. The company travels to Belgium and there it goes wrong already. In Brussels, the capital city, they are confronted with a Jews raid. Izak tries to save his fiancee by drawing her in a porch. But in the panic he catches the wrong girl from the crowd. He will never see his fiancee again. Also the other family members will not survive the war.

At long last Izak continues alone, he takes another route then the first time. Possibly Jules Haeck provided him the information as well. By train he travels to Dijon in France, where he has to contact someone of the French Resistance. But while travelling he lost the piece of paper with name and address. Aimlessly he perches on a seat in a park. After some time a gentlemen called Mr. Picard approaches him. Now it turns out that he is the man he should have contacted. He will help Izak to continue his journey. The two men seal a friendship for the rest of their lives. After the war he traveled several times to Dijon to show him his wife and son.

After Dijon Izak is transferred to another resistance man, who will help him to cross the Demarcation line. It is still going well and on September 13, 1942 he arrives in unoccupied France. Three days later he is again in Perpignan. He travels again to the Dutch refuge in Le Soler. Another fugitive from Hengelo city heading to Great Britain, called Johan ter Doest is waiting here for his transit papers as well. We don't know if the two men have ever met.

In November 1942 the Germans decided to annex Vichy-France. This is a direct threat for Izak, he should flee prematurely, without the required papers. The vice-consul gives him 100 Francs traveling money. Just after he crossed the border with Spain, Izak is arrested and transferred to concentration-camp Miranda de Ebro (see picture on top), the camp for illegal refugees. In this camp more Dutch refugees, heading for Great Britain, end up their journey, like again the other man from Hengelo, Johan ter Doest. After six months Izak gets permission to leave the camp. Via Madrid he arrives finally on June 7, 1943 in Lisbon, capital city of Portugal.

He signs up at the Dutch consul, where-after he manages, with some other Dutchmen, to get an airplane, first to Ireland and then to Great Britain.

Translation by Leo Kolwijck, 2014


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