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Posts tagged ‘world war 1’

The wonder of beans and a discovery

Good morning friends!

I’m all exited today for I have learned my last new callanetics exercise and this means I’m nearly ready for stage 2 of the program! I’m definitely making progress here.

I’m growing Snap Pole beans in my windowsill and yesterday I looked at them every time I sat down at the table and every time they had grown a bit! Isn’t it wonderful how fast they can grow? I just love looking at the little leaf appearing and all just from a little warmth and light and water.

And this morning…there it was

It’s so nice to take the time to watch things grow every now and then.

I’m still going through boxes of ‘stuff’ in the attic and getting rid of a lot of unwanted items to clear some space to be able to put away the things we do need. I was going through a stack of  old books, I’m not sure where they came from but I’m guessing a house clearance we once did, when I saw this

It’s an account of the help that was given to Belgian refugees during WWI in our region. I know I kept it at the time to look through because I thought it could be interesting, but I never got around to actually read it. Yesterday I did read some of it and was very surprised to see a familiar name

H. Russcher was a member of a committee to support the foreign refugees in Tholen. My grandmother’s name was Russcher so I was immediately interested. Could this be a relative? I have done some research into our family tree and new that my gran’s dad came from a town called Meppel in the eastern part of the Netherlands so it was likely that the name was not a common name in Tholen. When I looked it up in my notes I saw that he had been a fishmerchant and that he had owned an inn in Tholen.

My gran’s name was Aaltje

I have been searching the internet but have found no proof yet ( I did find some brothers and sisters of my gran who were missing from the family tree) . But I phoned my parents and my dad ensures me that there were no other people by the name of Russcher in Tholen or surrounding villages so I am 99% sure this could either be my great grandfather or maybe (less likely because of his young age at the time) his son who was also called Hendrik. Now isn’t that exiting? And my dad tells me the inn may no longer be an inn but the building must still be there in the old town centre. Wouldn’t it be fun to go see it?

It was also interesting to learn that lot’s of food and clothing  and bedding had been sent from Canada and Chicago! They must have needed it badly for there were only around 6 million people living in the Netherlands at the time and in about a month they were accommodating around 1 million refugees! That must have been quite an effort. People were living in makeshift shacks in large barns, in churches and schools and in people’s homes when they ran out of places to put them up. It must have been hard on them during the winter months in a small drafty shack, often with a lot of children

Babies were born

Chart of the influx of refugees, mostly by boat and train. Tholen is just a small town but they had a 1000 refugees at the time.

But all the reports say that the Belgian people did not complain. They were given meals, soup most days (beans and peas) and porridge on friday and on sunday potatoes, unions and carrots with some meat. In fact they had it so good that the government had to gently persuade them to go back home to Belgium when there was no immediate danger any more! We Dutch were getting a bit tired of their Burgundian way of living, they were just too loud and cheerful for us Calvinistic Dutch people and also people were starting to worry about Belgian workers taking their jobs.

It would be interesting to go to the archives one day and see if there is more to find about how it was in Tholen at the time and maybe some photographs as well.

Have a good day.

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