Another war story
Monday November 20th 2006, 12:34 pm
Filed under: Friends,History

I got this as part of a letter from my Mom yesterday. She was talking about someone at church she’d been paired up with to go visit and keep an eye out for some of the older women in the congregation. I thought it interesting enough to share, with permission:

“My new companion is a Dutch convert in her 80’s, a lovely soul with a strong conviction and sense of duty. We had a few minutes between appointments, and I got to know her a bit. She lived in Rotterdam as a young woman during the German occupation, and she had some stories to tell. I have heard Uncle Wally talk about Dutch potatoes sent to help German saints after the war, but Truus (that’s her name) was there, helped grow the potatoes. She said that they were not told at first who the potatoes were for; they assumed they were growing them for themselves. They had had a very hard time under the Germans; she called 1944 the hunger year, when the ration of bread was 1/2 pound of bread per person PER WEEK! Lots of people starved. The farmers sold food at first to those who could get out into the country, but toward the end of winter refused to sell. She said that the stake president called everyone together and sent them out to forage in the fields and byways for whatever was growing and edible, and then bring what they found back to the community soup kitchen, where things were boiled up and served nightly. This finally broke down when people quarreled about who got the best portions.

But you can see why they were delighted when the church sent seed potatoes and told them to plant them. She said their potatoes grew better than anyone else’s, because they were prayed over. There was a huge harvest and people were ecstatic. Then the church leaders called them together and said the potatoes (or at least a large part of them) were for the German saints who were starving. She said it was a real lesson, hard but necessary, in learning not to hate. The brethren were not only feeding German saints, they were helping Dutch saints spiritually. I had never heard the story that way before.”

(p.s.: No doubt lots of other people prayed over their potatoes and whatever all else they may have been growing. And of course, participation in sharing the ones Truus was talking about was strictly voluntary.)

5 Comments so far
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wow. Thanks again, for another great story to make us thankful.

Comment by Anne in Wy 11.20.06 @ 5:25 pm

That is an amazing story. I think it speaks for itself, so don’t know what else to say about it except thank you for sharing.

Comment by Joni 11.20.06 @ 6:08 pm

When I first added that p.s. to the end of Mom’s letter there, I typed her friend’s name as Truuce, and had to go back and edit in a correction. Probably the loveliest Freudian slip I have ever had.

Comment by AlisonH 11.20.06 @ 7:57 pm

My husband’s parents lived in the Netherlands during the war and had some powerful stories to relate. Thanks for sharing this one.

Comment by Mary Anne 11.21.06 @ 1:45 pm

[…] sent this to the family two years ago, a story of forgiving and […]

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