Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An award for a Rupert based nurse, how violence has impacted a Prince Rupert family and some living history through the eyes of a Prince Rupert senior, some of the items of note in the news cycle for Tuesday.

DAILY NEWS, Headline Story
RUPERT SENIOR SHARES MEMORIES OF WWII RESISTANCE-- A Prince Rupert senior shares her recollections of the resistance movement of her Dutch hometown as the Nazi's were pushed out of the area, only to return for one final attack (see story here PG Citizen link) (Daily News Archive). Item is provided below as well at the end of this post.

A Prince Rupert oncology nurse receives much deserved accolades for her work on behalf of cancer patients and their families on the North coast, some background on the award presented to Judy Rea is reviewed (see story here PG Citizen link) (Daily News Archive)

The impact on a local family of a violent death far away in Manitoba is chronicled in part two of George T. Baker's review of the case of Martyn James Hendy, who was murdered in Gimli Manitoba. (see story here PG Citizen link) (No Daily News Archive item available)

Budget concerns continue to stalk School District 52, with school underway the School District is faced with an unexpected shortfall in funding from the province to the tune of $644,909, leaving it to the School District and it's trustees to examine the best way to handle the financial setback. (Daily News Archive)

Full Day Kindergarten is still a year away at least, but the details on the proposed expansion of the kindergarten program were outlined by the Education Minister Margaret McDiarmid (Daily News Archives)

The Sports section features a look at the Old Timers hockey season on the horizon, with the local league looking to expand to five teams for the upcoming season.


Back To School traffic reminder for Northwest Residents-- CFTK featured a reminder for residents of the Northwest that with school back in session, speed limits in school zones and school bus stopping requirements will be strictly enforced (see story here), they also outlined how the much discussed prospect of a day long kindergarten is at least one year away (see story here)

Daily News Front page, headline story.

Rupert senior shares memories of WWII resistance
Written by Monica Lamb-Yorski
Prince Rupert Daily News
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

PRINCE RUPERT - By It was September 19, 1944 when Mia Scholten’s hometown of Oss, Netherlands, was liberated, although six days later the Germans returned for one final attack.
Scholten, who was Mia van den Bergh at the time and had been active with the resistance group KP Nuland in Oss, was directed to deliver a written announcement from the group’s military leader to the house of Jacques van Druenen located at the corner of the Heescheweg.

“With very little time left, and in a great hurry, Mia grabbed a bike and proceeded to the ‘battle area’. At Mgr. Van de Boerkpark, barricades were in place. Allied troops were positioned inside the manholes.

In spite of a lot of yelling to ‘go back!’ Mia kept going to the corner of the Heeschweeg, where suddenly, all hell broke loose. About 300 to 400 German soldiers started an offense.” This one of the scenese described in a 55-page booklet containing some of Scholten’s WWII memories. As the story unfolds, the reader learns van Druenen’s side door had been left ajar in case someone was looking for shelter.

“Mia dropped the bike on the road, jumped over the barricade, and reached the house. At that moment she felt a bullet whiz through her hair. Afterwards, a big hole in a bay window was discovered.

“ Mia went straight downstairs towards the cellar where more people were waiting for the battle to end. In the meantime a tank demolished the bike. That was the fourth bike she lost in battle.”

Scholten began jotting down her memories of the war in February 2000 and in 2006 her cousin’s son, John van den Bergh, visited and taped some of her recollections.

Van den Bergh, who lives in Gouda in the Netherlands, had been researching their family history and told Scholten during a visit to Canada that it was her turn to talk.

“Of course I had more to say than everyone else, so he taped me,” Scholten explained with a big smile.

The 96-year-old Scholten said her story was originally written in Dutch so she translated it into English with help from her husband Harry, their daughters Norah and Lily, and Jos Pal-van den Bergh.

Last weekend Rainforest Books arranged a book signing at the Senior’s Centre and over 50 people attended.

“It went really well. It was good because it meant people are interested. The Red Hat Ladies came all in their red hats,” said Scholten of the event.

While talking about the war years, Scholten shrugged as if they had been no skin off her back.

“It was my job to be a leader, but also to sabotage instead of giving into all the rules and
regulations we got all the time,” she recalled.

The beginning of her involvement with the resistance resulted after she began working at the Distribution Centre for Oss and the surrounding area in 1939, preparing for the rationing of food products, which began on June 1, 1940.

She was given the responsibility for all valuables, the administration of food stamps and the delivery and signing of identification cards and was eventually determining how to create false documents and ensuring they were distributed to people in need.

“Mia made up receipts with names and house numbers which did not exist, signed with three initials. She wrote the false names with her left hand to make them unreadable and to prevent her signature being noticed. When using a rubber stamp, she made a little twist to make it blurred,” noted the memoirs.

Another amazing fact is a private telephone connection that existed between Oss and Den Bosch with some connections in between. Scholten often used a secret telephone hidden in the forest of Nuland to warn of the arrival of a German convoy.

Looking back, Scholten said she never had time to be scared.

“I was always daring and too busy to be afraid. By the time things worked out things had changed already. You went to bed and you didn’t know one moment from the other.”

She always had two sets of identification on her at all times. A fake one in one pocket, and the real one in the other. She’d go look at streets in her hometown and determine the last address and then pick a false address in the next hundred block. For names she’d use those of people who had died.

“But no one ever asked my identity,” Scholten remembered incredulously. “If I saw German soldiers I always made sure to be the first one to speak.”

On May 29, 1982 Scholten received the Silver Cross of Resistance in Vancouver by the Dutch Consul General and congratulations from then Minister of Education, Bill Vander Zalm.

Since April 1952, Scholten and her husband have made their home in Prince Rupert, and will celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary in October.

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