Monday, March 29, 2010

The Effects of War

We live in times of peace. Sure, there are wars today and yes, many of the armed forces of Western countries, including the Netherlands, are fighting those wars. But these wars are fought overseas, far away, in countries not our own. We, civilians, are safe in our own country, our own houses, our own beds, far away from the devastation of war. How different this was for our ancestors. Many of them lived through times of war. Wars fought in their own country, their own towns, their own backyards.

We, as genealogists, often find records of those times. Records for our ancestors that served in the military, but also plenty of records of civilians in war times. And even if there are no records that specifically mention our ancestors, there are a lot of records and data about the wars, on a national and local level. It paints a vivid enough picture of those times and we can imagine our ancestors in that context. However, there is one important thing we often overlook when we look at wars. Maybe it’s because we have never truly known war, but it’s so easy to look at the dates in a history book and say ‘that’s when the war ended’. How wrong we often are!

The dates in history books tell when the battles ended, when peace was signed, but never is it the date the war ended. Wars can be compared to earthquakes. First there’s a big one, the war itself. Then, when that is over, there is at least one, but often several aftershocks. People’s lives have been ruined and effects of the war can be felt for years afterwards. And just because the big fight is over, doesn’t mean that all conflict magically disappears.

I was vividly reminded of this fact just last week. I’d long coveted the book ‘Achter verduisterde ramen – Voorschotense kronieken 1940-1950’, which is a book about the Second World War and the years after in Voorschoten, the place where my grandparents (all of them) lived during the war. It came out in 2009 and last week I finally bought it. I had expected to find several of my ancestors in it, like L.J. van Aken, a resistance man who barely survived an assassination attack, and B.C. Bolle, who held several public posts just after the war. I was not surprised to find a long list of Lamboo’s, all related in some way or another to me, as they are a big family and they’ve always been very active in the community. It did come as somewhat as a surprise though, to find my grandfather Adolph Knura mentioned.

Adolph Knura was German and he came to the Netherlands in 1932. His sister, Anna Knura, was married to L.J. van Aken and he came to live with her and work for L.J. van Aken’s painting company. He met my grandmother Henriette Geertruida Lamboo and got married. By the time the war broke out, they had two children. But however much my grandfather had integrated into Dutch society, he was still legally a German citizen. And so it came to pass that my grandfather was called to serve in the German army. He didn’t want to, but he still had parents and siblings in Germany and if he didn’t comply, they would feel the wrath of the Nazi’s. After the war, he returned home. All of this was known to me, and I expected there to maybe be a mention of this in the book.

Color me surprised when I opened the page his name was listed on according to the index to read the title ‘Landsverraderlijke personen’ or translated: ‘traitors’. According to the book, my grandfather was arrested after his return from Germany and spend a year in a prison camp before he was released, having been cleared of charges of being a traitor. The source for this was an interview with A.J. Lamboo, held in 2005. This information came as a complete surprise to both me and my mother. We had never heard of this before.

I need to look further into this, of course, see if I can find any paper sources for this, and maybe ask my aunt, who was around 6 or 7 at that time, if she remembers anything of it. Still, whether this is in fact true or not, and I’m inclined to say it’s true, it brings home the fact that after a war is fought, the war isn’t over yet. It wasn’t for my grandfather, nor for any of the other people arrested on charges of being a traitor (true or false). It wasn’t over for any of their families either. For years after the war, the effects were felt. And it’s important to realize that, spoiled as we are with peace. It will not only lead us to unexplored sources, like in my case, it will also help us realize just how good we have it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fearless Females - Promt #26

What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

My grandmother Henriette Geertruida Lamboo only went to primary school. According to what my mother told me, she then went to work as a housekeeper with doctor Boer, where she also took care of his children. My mother recalled a family story that there wasn't any money to let my grandmother study any further because her sister got married.

What I know for sure is that my grandmother was a bright woman and she keenly felt the loss of not having had the opportunity to continue learning.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fearless Females - Promt #25

Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children. Was she loving or supportive? A disciplinarian? A bit of both?

I asked my mother about what kind of mother my grandmother was. My mother told me that she was a different mother to her than to the other children. There was quite a bit of a difference in age between my mother and the rest of my grandmother's children. My mother was not only the youngest, but by the time she was born, my two aunts were almost adults and after them there were four boys. My mother was allowed more than her brothers, she was a bit spoiled in comparison.

My mother was, and is, a great mother. She's loving and supportive, and I can talk to her about absolutely anything. I blessed to have her.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bribed By Dancing

The cashier looked at the two teenagers in horror. She’d just scanned two full shopping carts of products and the total amount on the register was almost 100 gulden. And apparently, the two girls that were doing the shopping were planning to pay in coins. Small change, collected in two large, heavy bags. The people in the line behind the teens were growing restless, but there was nothing they, or she, could do to speed things up. With a big sigh, the cashier bowed to the inevitable and started counting the coins.

Perhaps you are wondering what the above scene has to do with dancing, since that is the topic of this edition of the COG. Perhaps it will make more sense if you know that one of the teenagers was me, roughly ten years ago, and the reason for the whole scene was dancing. You see, I love dancing, I really do, but I rarely get a chance to do so. So when in my second year of high school my home room teacher asked for two volunteers to arrange a dance feast, guess who signed up with her best friend? Yes, that would be me.

Luckily, there really wasn’t much work involved. Our school had several great amenities that most schools don’t. We had our own gym, our own theater with seating for about 60 people, and our very own disco. The disco was generally used as an overflow-cafeteria. There were several vending machines there, a bar, and two niches with inbuilt seating and a table. There were also several loose bar-like tables. The entire thing was done in red and black. So, location wasn’t a problem.

Music and lights weren’t a problem either; there was a special commission that took care of that. So the only thing we really had to do was buy snacks and drinks. And boy, did we make a nuisance of ourselves while doing that. Still, until this day, I honestly claim that it was not our fault!

In order to pay for the drinks and snacks, tickets were sold to all those who wanted to come. Our class was organizing it together with another class, and between the two classes there were about 50 people coming. A ticket cost something around 3 gulden, I believe, and most paid in small coins. Think 25 cent coins, 10 cent coins, 5 cent coins, and occasionally 1 gulden coins. So, when my friend J. and I went to the supermarket the day before the feast, we had two bags full of coins.

Once we were at the local supermarket, the snacks were taken care of pretty quickly and actually filled an entire cart. We weren’t too worried we’d gotten too much, after all, 50 hungry teenagers can eat through much more than what we had gathered. It was mainly chips anyway, and the bags contain much less than the size they actually are. However, when we had to decide on the soda, we came upon a problem. Neither one of us had ever shopped for so much people and we were uncertain how many bottles we should get. We decided that it was better to have too much to drink than not enough, but that left the problem of maybe being stuck with a dozen or more unopened bottles.

This was about the time that I came up with a brilliant plan that might’ve aggravated the manager of the store. I decided that we should ask the manager if we could return any unopened bottles, so I had someone fetch him. To say he was not happy that two teenage girls were trying to get him to agree to their unconventional plan is probably the understatement of the decade. Eventually though, he agreed. So, J and I filled a second cart with soda and some fruit juice and then made our way to the check-out.

The horror scene described at the beginning of this post became reality there. I have never seen a cashier so horrified in my life and the people behind us in line weren’t exactly happy either. Still, J. and I had great fun!

The party turned out great, with lots of dancing. We did indeed have about 5 unopened bottles of soda left, which were returned the next day. This whole episode would never have come about if I hadn’t been promised dancing. The worst part? I was taken in by the same promise not two years later! Also, the left-over money from this little shopping trip precipitated an event that nearly destroyed my friendship with J. But, that are stories for another time….

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fearless Females - Promt #21

Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

My mother described a tender moment she had with my father and me. Although, if me is the right word in this case, I'm not sure, since it was about 10 weeks after my conception. It was the first time my parents saw and heard my heartbeat. In the words of my mother, it was 'indescribable'.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

History of a Village on the Hills

My grandfather Adolph Knura was born in Bottrop, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Nordrhein-Westfalen borders the Netherlands and Bottrop is right in the middle of the highly industrial Rurh-area. My grandfather was born in 1914 and left Bottrop in 1932, and although he returned there numerous times to visit his family, he never lived there again.

Although my grandfather’s stay in Bottrop was short, the history of Bottrop, which means ‘Village on the Hills’, is everything but short. Bottrop was first mentioned, as Borgthorpe, in 1092 as being part of the assets of a monastery. In 1423 Bottrop received the right to hold markets, a very valuable right at the time. The first time Bottrop shows up on a map is in 1573, the name in use by then is Bortdorpe. The current name of Bottrop is seen on documents for the first time in 1630.

In 1856 a mine is opened in nearby Essen, which is the start of the industrial era in Bottrop. Mining would continue to play an important part of life in Bottrop until well into the 20th century. I know for a fact that Adolph Knura’s father, Bergmann Josef Knura, was a miner. Because of work opportunities opening up, there is an immigration wave in 1880 to Bottrop. The industrial era also shows up in advances like electric lights, first seen in Bottrop in 1896, and a tram that runs from the Horsemarket to Essen, which rides for the first time in 1899.

On 1 July 1914, on the dawn of World War I, my grandfather Adolph Knura is born. Four years later, in 1918, the war is over. Bottrop as a community mourns the loss of 1678 soldiers who lost their lives in this war. A scant year later in 1919, Bottrop finally gets city rights, which they had been trying to get since 1905.

In 1923 the city is occupied by Belgian and French troop for two years. As of yet, I have been unable to find out exactly why this was and if it was just Bottrop that was affected or if the surrounding towns, or even a larger area, was also occupied.

In 1930 one of the mines in Bottrop closes. Two years later, my grandfather Adolph Knura leaves Bottrop, where he leaves his parents and several siblings. Considering that a year later, in 1933, the Nazi’s hoist the swastika flag at city hall as their first public appearance in Bottrop, he might have gotten away from there just in time. Local parties are put aside, as is the major.

In 1940, World War II starts showing its effects on Bottrop. The newspaper is shut down and the bronze clocks of the churches in Bottrop are melted down for the war effort. In 1942 a wing of the Maria Hospital is hit by a landmine. The hospital is severely damaged. The Althoff Mall is destroyed by a bomb in March of 1943. Aerial attacks do heavy damage in Bottrop in 1944. Especially the neighborhood Ruhröl is heavily hit, about seventy percent of the residential buildings there are destroyed. On 30 March 1945 Americans occupy Bottrop. I don’t know exactly when they leave, but considering that there are elections in 1946, I expect the Americans are gone by then.

In the years after the war, rebuilding is a big theme. The Althoff Mall that was completely destroyed reopens in 1951. And in 1954 the first carnival parade is held since the war. In that same year, the last of the destroyed buildings is completely broken down.

Economically, Bottrop is very dependent on the coal mines in the years after the war. In 1955, half of the working people in Bottrop make their livelihoods directly or indirectly from the mines. It’s also in 1955 that the first bus starts riding in Bottrop, it’s the beginning of the end for the tram lines. In 1958 a new coal mine is opened nearby.

Bottrop and the neighboring Kirchhellen form the new city Bottrop in 1976. In December of that same year, the last tram in Bottrop stops it’s service. In 1981 the largest coal processing plant of Europe is opened in Bottrop. In 1987 Pope John Paul II visits Bottrop. In 1996 the biggest sportstadion of Bottrop, the Dieter-Renz- Halle, burns down to the ground.

In the first decade of this century, Bottrop has started large renovations to modernize the city. Neither my grandfather, nor any of his siblings, as far as I know, were alive to see this. For them, Bottrop would always be the city that lived of the mines.


Sources:

http://krix-s.de/bottrop_geschichte.htm
German wikipedia page about Bottrop


This post was written for the 27th edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Salomon Mulder - Marine

I had found out on-line a while back that there might be some information about my great-grandfather Salomon Mulder at the National Institute for Military History, of course concentrating on his career as a Marine. Considering that he was a professional all of his life and he was a POW in WWII, I had hoped there might be some information there. There were, however, two problems. The first was that although I was sure there was information there, it was in the form of a personal record, which could contain anything from a small piece of paper with just his name and rank, or his entire service record. I was of course hoping for the last to be the case, but there was no way to tell until I actually saw the record.

And that was where the second problem came in. This archive is a military archive, housed on a military base. Because of this, it has very limited opening hours, no weekend days where you can go there, and if I understood correctly from their site, you even had to make an appointment before you came. This all combined with the fact that I have normal working hours made it so that it would be August before I could get there in person and look at the record. And I, being the impatient being that I am, didn’t want to wait that long!

So, I send them an e-mail, detailing where the record was and if it was possible to get a copy of whatever was in it. I honestly didn’t expect much, most archives have too much work to bother with such a request. However, to my great surprise, not even a week later I got a thick, fat envelop from the NIMH. And look, there it was, copies of everything in the file, no costs attached!

And what was in the file? Two loose cards of service from Salomon and his entire (yes, ENTIRE!) service book, detailing everything from postings, to ranks, to diploma’s, to his pension, and even his two marriages, including his children and stepchildren, and sometimes even addresses. I am so happy with this. It will take careful study, as the handwriting is tiny, sometimes untidy and hard to read. But oh, will it be worth it! It’s a virtual treasure trove of information, and one I never expected. I’m really, really happy with this, as it is the very first record I have found for my great-grandfather.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fearless Females - Promt #4

Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

The date was 20 December 1979. In Voorschoten, my mother woke up to a house full of nervous energy. The only one not nervous was my mother herself. She got herself ready and by the time her soon to be father-in-law arrived to take her to the hairdresser, she was ready to go. With her hat, needed to get her hairdo to fit perfectly with her outfit, she was driven to the hairdresser at the Johan van Meerplantsoen. She passed the house of her fiancée on the way, which she found kind of exciting.

After getting her hair done, she went back home. It was incredibly busy, because besides her parents, one of her brothers, T., and his family were staying at the house too. Everybody is excited and present, except her two sisters. Her eldest sister is in Australia, where she lives, she’d been to the engagement party but couldn’t make it to the wedding. Her other sister is at the time still persona non-grata at home, so she wasn’t there either. Her sister-in-law S. helped her with her dress and make-up, while her mother fluttered around her.

Ten minutes before the wedding party arrived at the house to pick up the bride and her family, there was a panic. It became apparent that the pants of my mother’s youngest brother, R., hadn’t been shortened yet. In the few minutes remaining until they had to leave, S. did a rush job of sewing the hem by hand. It was done on time.

My mother looked out the window and saw a dark red Rolls-Royce driving up and she knew her fiancée was in it. At the time, they were replacing the brick road in front of the house with an asphalt road and my mother’s father had gone to the workers the day before and told them his daughter was getting married the next day. He’d asked if they could clean the road up a bit so the wedding party wouldn’t have to go trudging through the mud. They’d been very kind and the road in front of the house was pretty clean. Her father opened the door, while my mother was still in her parent’s bedroom, which had been transformed into a dressing room for that day. And my father came upstairs and peeked around the corner of the door, carrying her bride bouquet. My mother thought he looked cool. Together they went downstairs into the waiting cars, with all the neighbors watching.

They drove to the town-hall and on the way there they heard that close to the town-hall there’d been a car accident and a child had been hit. My mother was startled, because she knew a lot of children were going to be there, because both she and my father were active with the youth division of the soccer club. They were lucky, nobody they knew was involved in the accident. They arrived at the town-hall, where even more family and friends were waiting. After they went inside, there was a bit of a consternation. My father was supposed to give the rings to somebody to hold on to, but there was nobody there to take them. The official was unpleasant, he was telling them to hurry it up. All my mother was thinking was ‘as long as I get my ring back when it’s time’. The situation worked itself out, and before my mother knew it, she was married. The official told nice story, but she honestly can’t remember what it was about anymore, just that it was nice. She had to sign and afterwards, when she sat down, she slipped and almost landed on the floor. Because she was still underage, her parents had to sign too, and she needed a witness, which was her brother R. To keep things equal, my father’s parents also signed, and his younger brother H. signed as his witness. The bride and groom then received all the congratulations. My mother hoped nobody cried, because if someone started crying she’d start too, and she didn’t want to cry. Whether she actually cried or not, she doesn’t remember.

Afterwards, they went to the Burgemeester Vernedepark to take the wedding pictures. When first mentioning the park as a location to the photographer, he’d been surprised, he hadn’t even known Voorschoten had a park. They were very lucky. It had been raining all morning, but by the time the wedding party left my mother’s home, the sun was shining.

After the pictures, my parents drove to restaurant Allemansgeest in Voorschoten. My mother had always thought it to be a nice, romantic location. When her father-in-law had asked her where she wanted to hold the wedding reception and dinner, which he would pay for, she’d immediately thought of Allemansgeest. However, because it was fairly expensive, she was hesitant to mention it. She talked about it with her mother-in-law. When she asked my mother where my mother wanted to have the reception and dinner, my mother admitted she liked Allemansgeest. My mother-in-law responded by saying that that was what she’d had in mind too, because she thought it to be such a beautiful location, so that’s what they would do. She then went to her husband and said: “we want to have the wedding at Allemansgeest”.

When my parents entered the restaurant, everybody who was there, which was my mother’s family, my father’s family, her godmother Ali de Jong, and her father’s youngest brother Paul Knura and his wife Else, stood up and sang a special song. Some more wedding pictures were taken there, one besides the Christmas tree at the request of my mother. She wanted one because she had a picture of her engagement also besides the Christmas tree. The party had coffee and cake and talked for a while. Then the room was prepared for the reception. My mother remembers little of the actual reception, only that is was very, very busy and she got lots of presents. The only present that she recalls is a Japanese aralia. She remembers it so well because it barely fit the car when they left and in the years after that it grew so big it didn’t fit in the living room anymore. Eventually, she gave it away the her neighbor, who’d always said she liked the plant so much.

After the reception, the wedding party had dinner in the round room of Allemansgeest. It was in this same room the Queen Willemina drank tea when the weather was too bad to sit outside. The Queen visited regularly, whenever the men of the royal family were out hunting at the nearby Bijhorst, because she didn’t like hunting. In this same room, the wedding party had a large dinner. In between two courses, a waiter came up to my mother and said there was a phone call for the bride. My mother went to the phone, which was a really old version, set in a cubicle with a door with glass in it. She picked it up and said her name with a really small voice and at the other end of the line was her sister, calling from Australia. She cried then and was very happy her sister had called. Sometime during the meal, her father also held a speech. My mother just hoped he wouldn’t get too sentimental, because she hates that and her father was known to get sentimental when he’d had some alcohol. Thankfully, he restrained himself from getting too sentimental.

Around eleven, or maybe even later, my parents drove home to Delft, with a car loaded with presents. A friend of theirs even drove with them to Delft in his own car, also loaded with presents. It was going to be the first night they would spend at their new apartment. When my parents came in, my mother noticed a stick with something on it, kind of like an popsicle stick, in one of the potted plants, and she immediately realized their friends had been inside the house. She called out a warning to my father, but she had to go to the toilet pretty bad, so she went straight there. When she opened the door to the toilet, she saw it was filled with balloons. My parents were now on their guard, and they inspected the bed. Lifting up the top sheets, they found the bed filled with peas. Carefully, they picked up all of the sheets, neatly folded them so no peas could escape, and deposited them in the living room. They were pretty tired, so my mother can’t really remember if she noticed then, or the next morning, that whomever had been inside the apartment had written on the bedroom window: shush, newly weds!


Sources:
Personal information from my mother

For privacy reasons, no pictures were included in this post, nor were any of the names of living people written out.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fearless Females - Promt #3

Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

No, I don't share a first name with one of my ancestors, which was delibiratly done by my mother. The 'female family name' is Henriette, which, unfortunately, is almost always shortened to Jet. My grandmother hated the shortening, and although she named my mother Henriette, she gave my mother a completely different calling name. My mother, in turn, did the same with me, giving me a completely different name.

When looking at my family tree, the name that jumps out the most is Catharina van Haastrecht. Most of the names of the females in the tree are fairly traditional, like Henriette, Alida, Petronella, Geertruida and Johanna. Catharina is fairly 'fancy' compared to the other names in the tree and so far, also unique.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fearless Females - Promt #2

Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?


Henriette Geertruida Lamboo - approximately end of the 1950's - beginning of the 1960's

This picture shows my grandmother Henriette Geertruida Lamboo doing a puzzle. It was one of her favorite pastimes and I fondly remember the times when I would 'help' when I was little. I can hardly remember a time when there wasn't a half-done puzzle on the dining room table at my grandmother's when I went there. I still have several of her puzzles and sometimes, when I miss her, I get one out and put it together. The picture might not be of the best quality, but it's one of my favorites nevertheless.

Tombstone Tuesday - Bertje Knura

Bertje Knura, whose official name is Lambertus Johannes Adolphus Knura, was born on Sunday 19 June 1955. A short six years later he died, on 11 September 1961. He was buried on 14 September 1961 at the Roman Catholic graveyard of the St. Laurentius church in Voorschoten. I wrote his biography in the post The Forgotten Uncle.

On 12 December 2009 I went to the small graveyard to look for his grave. I found it in the children's corner. I'm actually happy I went in winter time, even though it was freezing, because the rose bush in front of the headstone would've hidden the text completely if there were any leaves on it.



Text on the stone:

Onze lieve Bertje

19-6-'55 - 11-9-'61

Fam. Knura

Detail pictures below.




Monday, March 1, 2010

Fearless Females - Promt #1

Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

My favorite female ancestor has to be Sophia Zbieszczyk. She's my great-grandmother, the mother of my maternal grandfather. I know nothing about her, except for her name, that she was married to Bergmann Josef Knura and had several children.

I'm fascinated by her, have been ever since my mother told me my grandfather had said, not long after I was born, that I was the spitting image of his mother. He continued to say this until the day he died, when I was not even two years old. Now, years later, I could be looking into a mirror when I look at a picture of Sophia in her younger years, when she has two, maybe three children.

To learn more about Sophia, I'd need to start with my grandfather's records in Germany. They won't be publicaly available for another four years, unfortunately, so I can't do much, for now. I patiently await the time until I can start digging into this woman's life and in the mean time, I am left to dream of how her life could've been.


The picture that leaves me feeling like I'm looking into a mirror. Sophia is the woman on the right with the baby in her arms.

Biography of Henriette Geertruida Lamboo

I’m currently writing the series Looking for Lamboo, about the research I’m doing on the Lamboo branch of my family. At present, the series focuses on my research into the life of Henriette Geertruida Lamboo, my maternal grandmother. I’m a bit further along in my research then this series shows, but right now I’m a bit stuck, not knowing if there are any great gaps or which points I still have to look into. Therefore, I’m eagerly using this COG’s topic to write a biography of my grandmother with all the information I currently have, just to have an overview of things.

The first thing I did was make a timeline, which can be found here, in which I put the most important pieces of verified information I have about her. It gives a nice, clear overview of her life. In one quick scan, it becomes clear that after Henriette’s birth on 15 December 1913 until her marriage to Adolph Knura on 11 May 1938 I have no information. From her marriage on out, I can track her life fairly good, however the information that I have is pretty bare bones. It’s all dates and little personal information. Clearly, there is room for improvement there. Let’s take a closer look, because a timeline isn’t meant to hold all information and a biography highlights what you have so you know where to start looking.

Henriette’s birth is well documented. I know she was born to Anna Hendrika van Dijk and Bernardus Johannes Lamboo in Zoeterwoude on 15 December 1913. I know she wasn’t an only child, but so far I haven’t taken a look at the rest of the family yet. However, I do know that the part of Zoeterwoude she was born in alternated between being Zoeterwoude and Voorschoten. So without moving, she could’ve changed towns.

I’ve found nothing so far about her childhood, but there are some things I know without having to look for sources. I know she went to primary school, because she could read and write quite well and took great pleasure in it. I also know that in that time period here in the Netherlands we had what is called the ‘verzuiling’. Basically, it means that there were three ‘columns’ of people in the Netherlands that did not mix. Roman-Catholics, Protestans and the Liberals (which was basically everybody else). If you were Roman-Catholic, you went to a Roman-Catholic school, grocer, hairdresser, club, pub, etc. So, knowing she went to school, I also know she went to a Roman-Catholic School, most likely local. Since she lived in Voorschoten (or sometimes Zoeterwoude because of changing boundaries) all of her life, there’s really only one school she could’ve gone too. The local Roman-Catholic school. For after primary school, however, I do not know anything. She could’ve continued to study, most likely then in Leiden, or she could’ve stayed at home. I do not know.

When we get to 1938, however, we do go into a part of her life that’s pretty well sourced. On 21st of April 1938 a letter notifying the family of the marriage ban of Henriette Geertruida Lamboo and Adolph Knura was send. In it was also the invitation to the wedding, which was to take place on Wednesday 11 May 1938 at the Roman-Catholic church of H. Laurentius in Voorschoten, at 9.30 in the morning. It also gave the current addresses of Henriette and Adolph and the address of their new home, which they would move in after the wedding. Further sources show that the wedding did indeed take place on this day.


Wedding picture of Adolph Knura and Henriette Geertruida Lamboo - 11 May 1938, Voorschoten

A little more than a year later, the first child, a daughter, is born on 29 May 1939. On 1 September of that same year, Nazi-Germany invades Poland and World War II has officially begun. On 10 May 1940 Germany invades the Netherlands. It has to have been a tense time for my grandparents, seeing that my grandfather was German, not neutralized at the time, and most of his family still lived in Germany. On 16 March 1941 Henriette had her second child, another girl.


Henriette Geertruida Lamboo with either her first daughter or her second daughter - approximately 1939-1941

Sometime after this, my grandfather Adolph was drafted into service. He was basically told to either serve in the German army or his family would be deported to a prison camp, or worse. There really wasn’t a choice and my grandfather left. Henriette stayed behind with two young children. Family tales are that she helped Jews during this time, but I haven’t been able to find out anything definite yet. At the end of the war, my grandfather was injured in the fight against Russia. He was send to a hospital in the Netherlands, according to family tales, from which he escaped and made his way back to my grandmother and his two daughters. Not long after that, the Netherlands were freed.

Five years after the war on 1 May 1950 Henriette and Adolph have another child, a boy this time. Five years might seem like a big gap, but I know that my grandmother had at least two miscarriages, so one of them could very well have been in this gap. Another three boys follow quite rapidly, on 27 October 1951, 25 November 1953 and 19 June 1955. Then, at 45 years of age, against all odds and expectations, my grandmother has another child on 27 March 1959. It’s another girl this time, my mother.

A mere two years later, tragedy strikes the family as they lose their youngest son, Lambertus Johannes Adolphus Knura. He’s only six years old. He’s buried in the children’s section of the Roman-Catholic cemetery of the Roman-Catholic church of H. Laurentius in Voorschoten and my grandmother continued to visit his grave at least several times a year until she died.

From 1961 until 1973 I have virtually no documentation about my grandmother’s life. However, in 1973 Adolph and Henriette celebrate 35 years of marriage. There’s no real documentation, but I do have pictures of the party. The same goes for the party they threw 5 years later for their 40th wedding anniversary.

However, their 50th wedding anniversary in 1988 was quite a party, and I have more sources about that than just the pictures.


Picture of 50th wedding anniversary party of Henriette Geertruida Lamboo and Adolph Knura - 11 May 1988

In fact, in one of my grandfather’s In Memoriam’s, written by Willem van der Linden in name of the entire soccer club, this party is mentioned:

Almost two years ago we got to do something in return, even if it was very little in comparison. For the occasion of the party for his 50 years of marriage, which Dolf was anticipating eagerly, we had the opportunity to show Dolf and his wife our great appreciation for everything this couple has done for us.

As can be ascertained from the above piece, two years later, to be precise on 30 January 1990, Adolph Knura dies. Not long after that my grandmother moves out of the house she had lived in since shortly after the second World War and into a smaller home in a compound especially for self-sufficient elderly people. From that time onwards it is that my memories of her begin. I remember visiting there, the candy she always gave that you always had to check to see if it hadn’t gone bad. I remember the way we could talk for hours, I remember the hugs. I remember some precious gifts she gave me, just because.

I also remember being on holiday in Mexico, to celebrate my parent’s being married for 25 years. I remember getting a call at 5 o’clock local time on 27 December. We’d celebrated Christmas two days before. Had an after-party of sorts the day before. When we got the call, we knew it was bad news. Nobody ever calls at that time, especially not when you’re on holiday, with good news. We heard that my grandmother had fallen ill, been taken to the hospital and had been operated upon. The operation had gone well, but she now had an infection and the doctors didn’t expect her to survive. We needed to come home, immediately. I remember being numb, mostly. An ocean away from the place you most want to be. To have something to do, I started packing the suitcases, while my parents tried to contact the insurance and travel agency to get us on a flight home. When the suitcases were packed, I turned on the tv. We could receive CNN, and on it we saw the news of tsunami’s that had devastated so many people. At that point in time, I really couldn’t bring myself to care. The magnitude of that disaster missed me and my family completely, because we were dealing with a tragedy so much closer to home. My memories of that morning are patchy. I remember sitting in the lobby of the hotel, crying, when a Canadian woman came up to me and asked me if I was all right. We talked for awhile about my grandmother. She was nice, but if she ever told me her name, it didn’t penetrate my brains. I also remember another Canadian offering to buy us tickets back to the Netherlands if we couldn’t arrange anything. Eventually, we had a flight for all three of us, and at around 10 o’clock local time we headed to the airport of Cancun. On the way to Mexico we had a direct flight, but now we had a stop in Houston for an hour and a half. With all the new security measures in place, we barely made it to the plane in time. It was a flight of over 10 hours, from Houston to Amsterdam. The first thing we did upon landing, while waiting for the luggage, was call somebody for an update on my grandmother. She’d died while we were up in the air, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.

My grandmother died on 27 December 2004, having achieved one of her greatest wishes, never to live in a nursing home. Until the day she died, she lived on her own, took care of her own. In the end, I’m grateful we never made it to the hospital on time. She never woke up after the operation, so talking to her one last time wouldn’t have been possible, and according to my uncle she’s looked terrible. It’s better to remember her for the vibrant, smart, sometimes ‘catty’ woman she was.


Sources:
Personal knowledge J. Mulder, granddaughter of Henriëtte Geertruida Lamboo
Persoonslijst: CBG, persoonslijst Henriette Geertruida Lamboo (1913-2004).
Ondertrouw aankondiging van A. Knura en H.G. Lamboo, 21 April 1938, Voorschoten, Zuid-Holland, Familiearchief Mulder, Voorschoten
"Bidprentje Lambertus Johannes Adolphus 'Bertje' Knura," 14 september 1961, Voorschoten, Familiearchief J. Mulder, Voorschoten
In Memoriam voor Adolph Knura uit de krant," undated clipping, February 1990, from unidentified newspaper; Familiearchief Mulder; privately held 2010 by J. Mulder, J. Mulder, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Voorschoten
Persoonskaart, CBG, Den Haag; Adolph Knura (1914-1990)