Hehe well here its is, my interview post. Post-NotN it was but oh well, it still works. I interviewed a good friend of my dad, Bill Reimer, who manages the bookstore at Regent Collage and also happens to be an expert on World War II. He had also read Diet’s autobiography, which was useful as I could ask questions directly related to her story.
My email to him:
Hi Mr Reimer,
Thanks so much for doing this I procrastinated this interview way more
than I should have. So, questions about WWII. I’d like to focus more on
Holland because it relates more to Diet Eman. If you have any other
information you like would be helpful please put some in, my questions may
not be the best. So. Here they are.
What is the relationship between the Netherlands and Canada in response to
How many Jews were saved by people like Diet?
What was the church’s response to the persecution against Jews in holland?
Was Diet an anomaly or did most Christians do the same? What do you think
was the difference between the Christians who helped and those who didn’t?
Were many people released from the concentration camps like Diet? Were
they released for the same reasons?
After the war ended, did holland change because of it? If so, how?
His email back:
Thank-you for your note and your interest in the topic!
Canada and the Netherlands had very different war experiences. Netherlands
was invaded by Germany in May 1940 and occuppied. But Canadian forces
played an important part in liberating the Netherlands in 1945 and in
delivering food to many starving Dutch. In gratitude, the Dutch people
have lovingly cared for the cemeteries where Canadian soldiers and airmen
are buried. Many Dutch refugees came to Canada following the War.
The churches’ response to the persecution of Jews was mixed. Of 140,000
Jews in Netherlands at the start of the German invasion, only 35,000
survived. The Dutch police cooperated in the hunting of Jews down.
Unfortunately many Dutch citizens co-operated in this. Perhaps this was
because they were acculturated to obeying the police. The Netherlands is a
small country, densely populated, and hence had few hiding places. But
Diet and people like Corrie Ten Boom were exceptional individuals and not
afraid to take risks on behalf of Jews who they believed were God’s chosen
ones, the very Apple of God’s Eye. There were many who took such risks but
many more who did not.
I can’t remember how Diet came to be released. Imprisoned Gentiles of
course had better survival rates than Jews but many perished or were
executed. Corrie Ten Boom was perhaps released by mistake or maybe an
official secretly admired her and had compassion?
Yes, the people of Netherlands were changed by the war. But those who
rescued went back to live side-by-side with those who betrayed Jews.
Sometimes they knew who each other was. Most had no doubt just put their
heads down and tried to survive. But the Dutch are grateful to the Allies
for liberation! Many young men died in this struggle.
My mother was born in Canada in 1922. In the 1990s she visited some
missionary friends in Europe. They stopped at a Canadian war cemetery in
Apeldoorn, Netherlands and she was overcome with emotion when she saw all the graves of Canadians that had been born in the early 1920s.
Hannah, you ask good questions!
Best wishes on your project,
So my email was very informative, and I wish I got it done before Night of the Notables. I think much of this information would have improved my speech and learning center, especially the bits about the reactions of the rest of the Dutch population to the Nazi occupation. (I focused a lot on the Restistance but I think it would have been nice to have more perspective.) Also, I think it would have been interesting to include more about the Dutch’s post war reaction like Mr Reimer mentioned above. Nevertheless, it was good to get it done and next year I know better than to procrasinate this much.