Chorister Dedications – “Why I’m Touring the Netherlands.”
Like many Canadians, our choristers have a legacy and/or connection to the Netherlands. Find out why these singers are excited to be “Bridging Generations.”
- By: Saskia van Beers. "...for my grandparents and great-grandparents and their bravery."
- By Isobel Turpel-Lafond. “...for my Grandfather..."
- By Grace Baugniet. "Her paternal great-grandfather (Robert Baugniet) was a lieutenant in the Belgian 'Brigade Piron'..."
My mother grew up with her family in Zuid-Holland until the age of 17. Her family still lives in Holland.
She remembers May 5th memorial ceremonies as they did their wreath laying and minute of silence the way Canada does on November 11th. My grandmother is 81 and lived in Rotterdam when the war started, and has shared her stories of families getting rounded up and moved out, standing in line as a child with a food voucher for the day, her father hiding to avoid the round ups and getting sent to labour camps in Germany, the bombing of Rotterdam. One of the memories my grandmother shared was seeing her mother fall of her bike and get really scraped up and hurt, and yelling for her dad to come and help, and her mother slapping her really hard to shut her up as they had reported he was no longer with the family and his whereabouts unknown when of course he was hiding in the house.
As things got worse in the city in terms of food and safety, my great-grandmother managed to find a family in the east of the country to take her youngest daughter in, and then another farmer’s family for my grandmother, and then another farm for my great-grandfather and herself to work on so they could stay. They biked and walked at night breaking curfew, and my grandmother remembers how scared she was trying to pass checkpoints, and at times hiding in ditches, and at times travelling separately so that if they got stopped the other parent and child could go back and try a different route. My great-grandmother would break curfew and go out after dark to dig up potatoes from a field. When asked if she was scared of getting caught, but she just said she had 2 kids to feed. Safety and food on the table are not things that were taken for granted in their house growing up, but my family felt lucky that they all got through the war and were reunited unlike so many others. I have been to the area where my grandmother spend some of the war separated from her family as we’ve gone camping there. I am singing for my grandparents and great-grandparents and their bravery.