Door AnnaElize gepubliceerd op Sunday 17 July 21:06

In Pretoria on July 17th 1893
In the middle of the South African winter
123 years ago today
My grandfather was born
The father of my mother
In the same South Africa
Where nearly 62 years later
My other grandfather, my fathers father would  die
January 4th 1955, in the South African summer
Nine years before I was born
And my mother’s father died when I was nine
Had a stroke when he was laughing and just about to tell a joke
After  being in a home for the elderly for a week
He had been an engineer in Indonesia
Survived a Japanese concentration camp
Merely on the thought of seeing his wife again one day
Was this outright torture easier to bear
Than the one that is masked as care?

He had been the boss of one of the biggest building companies in the Netherlands
built bridges
Lived in Indonesia
Was a beloved and fair boss
Who was considerate and sent all his employees cards for birthdays and special occassions
Was put in a concentration camp for resisting the Japanese invasion
Heroism was not unique then
It was what you did
When after the war someone else took the credit
For what he did and paid for
He did not even open his mouth
Dignity, sincerity, those words still meant something then
No one cares anymore what our ancestors did
But it is their heroism that helped us gain much of the freedom
Most are now too indifferent to protect
He was able to survive the concentration camp
By thinking of his lovely wife
After this torture, another one was waiting for him
When a piece of work calling himself a psychiatrist
Managed to convince this sweet man
That not the concentration camp his son went to caused him trauma
But the fact that he read to him every night at bed time!
If engineers would be as inept as those who consider themselves professionals of the spirit
The wheel would yet have to be invented.
How dare these charlatans
Put down heroes and steal their children’s respect?
They teach children to despise  parents
Parents in whose shadow they are not fit to stand
Since they have not a shred of  their competence, heroism, character
Yet in their murky offices
They slander and lie
Setting father against son, mother against daughter, sister against brother
Causing families to forget their great ancestors
Causing them to believe that humanity was always as base as now
But it wasn’t
And we can regain that greatness
Stand on the shoulders of these giants
And reach new horizons as they wished for us
Peace, justice, a better world

He was very dear to me
I always saw him in three piece suit
He called me his Christmas fairy
Gently bumped his head against mine as a greeting instead of giving a kiss
Showed me his pocket watch, which sounded the time like church bells
Let me play with the antique scale on the mantelpiece
Mango was his favorite fruit
The shell the most perfect structure in his opinion
A great respect for nature that runs in the family
Since his grandfather was the brother of the famous poet. Statesman and philanthropist Jacob van Lennep,
Who published the Max Havelaar
And prevented the cholera epidemic of 1866 to spread to Amsterdam
Because of his and his father’s master plan
To get fresh water from their estate in the dunes to there
His father the teacher of Thorbecke
The founder of democracy in The Netherlands

But all that is not allowed to be remembered now
It is considered improper to be proud of your ancestors

Why is that, do you think?
Perhaps because of how embarrassing that is for those who respect nothing and nobody
And destroy nature to satisfy their greed
Claiming they are entitled to
based on wealth gained by no good works at all
Or popularity gained by deceit?

How appropriate that the skies were cloudless on his day
With flowers blooming everywhere
As bright and colorful as his kindhearted soul




Herman Samuel (Mannie) van Lennep , July 17  1893-April 20 1974
Catharine Henriette  van Lennep de Vogel, August 18 1898-November 6 1979




Reacties (2) 

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Thank you so much! I have more on uvrm.wordpress,com if you are interested.
what a lovely tribute and do like your reflections on modern times