Posted by: Corri van de Stege | May 19, 2007

My dearest Lara (#2)

Last night I watched the ‘Black Book’ – I know, everyone interested has probably seen it weeks, if not months ago.  However, I had not and so after a long and hard fortnight of relentless and non-stop working we decided to watch some of the DVDs that are slowly piling up.  Black Book – Paul Verhoeven, was one of them.

I’ve been absolutely in turmoil ever since watching it: it’s about the second world war, yes we know it’s all old hat, but for me it’s also about some of the stories I was brought up with, the resistance, the good and the bad, the Jews, the Dutch, the Germans, and it was all so very  Dutch.   The Dutch I know, the prejudices, the resistance stories I was brought up with (I was born well after the war,  but scars were still deep and we were told never to forget so bedtime stories were not always pleasant). 

The world is quite a different place now, but I can never forget that I am Dutch, even though I married (twice) different nationalities, across the globe, lived across the world, settled now in what everyone in England takes for granted to be the cenre of the universe, England.  But I have quite different roots, even if the English like to think they ‘understand’ and ‘know’ the Dutch.  Maybe some of us are not what we seem to be on the surface.   The ‘Black Book’ somehow or other made me feel very Dutch again – after all,  I understood everything that was being said, without looking at the subtitles, and even the German conversations were more or less as clear to me as the English conversations I have nowadays…  And you , my granddaughter, are a mixture of all of that.  Just listen and watch and never become prejudiced! 

The Dutch jewess fell in love with the good German, and the Dutch ‘resistance’ fighter was really a baddy.  Who would have thought, especially when you are brought up with graphic pictures of concentration camps, where starved bodies, piled up, are portrayed in black and white and grey and you are told ‘never to forget’.  In my bedtime stories the Dutch resistance fighter was always the saint…  And then, the world changes and it is implied  that no longer the Germans but the moslems are your enemy, and you don’t quite understand why, because in the end you get on with people and you love and dislike people, not nationalities!  You love and you hate, not because of nationalities, not because of religion, but because of what individuals do and what they are like and how they treat you and whether they are Dutch, German or Arab, or Moslem  does not make a difference, it’s nothing to do with all of that -in the end some people are good and some are bad, and some are in the middle and some just don’t know.  In the end, it’s evil people that make parts of the world a bad place, not evil nations or nationalities!  As long as you understand that my dear granddaugher, you will be able to decide who your friends are, who you should fight with, who you can love and who you should distrust because they are your enemies!



  1. Wise reflections, seachanges, and wisest advice to your granddaughter.

    How can we be sure that it isn’t whole peoples those to blame?

    We must be sure that the media we read and listen to are not the ones to blame and that’s going to be hardly possible.

    Unknown to us we have been enslaved by the pseudo-democratic system it’s been our turn to live under, I expect young people like your granddaughter and my grandchildren will have gathered enough wisdom to discern when the time comes.

  2. Jose – yes, I think they will be/are much wiser than we can ever strive to be – but that is surely a little bit due to our wisdom?!:)

  3. Not a little bit, a large size of their wisdom comes from us and our ancestors. A way of evolving I may say.

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