You might hate it when your mom or dad tells you to clean your room, or brush your teeth, but what if your parents told you to hide for many years with only one egg a month to eat and almost no contact with the outside world?
Edith and Loet Velmans had to do just that. They survived with only hope for the war to end. Mrs. Velmans kept journals during the war like the famous Anne Frank, many years later she turned small parts of her journals mixed with other memories into a book. Once Mr.Velmans stepped onto the warfield in Asia he became a target.The japanese army enslaved him and forced him to work on railroads, but in the end he did escape. Both of them might have gone through tragedies but you can see them smiling while walking the streets of Great Barrington. Edith and Loet Velmans will both go down in history as heroes.
Edith and Loet Velmans are a married couple who live in Sheffield Massachusetts. They are both survivors of trauma but tend to look at the bright side of things. Mrs. Velmans was born in 1925 around when World War I broke out. So far she has come out with one award winning book named Edith’s Story, it won The Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Award. Her book is filled with uplifting memories that give you courage by breaking your heart. Some adults think of her as a grandmother figure because of her outstanding kindness. Last year in Holland they held a parade in both of their honer celebrating their amazing courage and strength. They visit The Mahaiwe Theater frequently to enjoy live shows and movies. Mr.Velmans was born around 1923. He has come out with 2 books, ¨Long way back to the river Kwai¨ and ¨From P.O.W to C.E.O¨. Both Mrs. and Mr.Velmans are to be remembered here in The Berkshires.
Many people know of World War II as when the Holocaust broke out and many Jews were killed, but it’s more than that, there was a war, a very bad war. Loet Velmans was one of the few to escape the Holocaust while being Jewish. As soon as he heard the news about Hitler, Velmans fled Holland. A couple years later he traveled to Asia, this time fighting for the English army. Soon after arriving he was captured by the Japanese army and became a Prisoner of War near the famous River Kwai. At kwai he became a slave with thousands of others. He built railroads in terrible conditions for many years. Out of the 2,000-5,000 only around 500 survived, and he was one of them.
The Holocaust in one of the biggest tragedies in our history. When Hitler went into power he had a plan to kill every single one of the Jewish people, created a group that called themselves the Nazis. They made every Jew wear a Jewish star on their clothes and on their ID cards they put a J. Concentration camps are places isolated from civilization where trainfulls of Jews were sent to be killed. Edith’s entire family were sent to concentration and they died in gas chambers. Velmans solution to the Nazis and Hitler was to hide with a non-jewish family and pretend to be christian herself. Many people hid, including the famous Anne Frank, but if you try to hide from Hitler there is a very high chance you will get caught, and then sentenced to death with millions of others. Thousands millions died during Word War II, only a few survived, and thankfully she was one of them.
Both Edith and Loet Velmans have gone through tragedies, but they do not let their past control their future. They look at the bright side of things even though they hold memories that could emotionally break someone down. To overcome their adversity they had to go through emotional and physical challenges, Mrs.Velmans went through the devastating tragedy of losing her immediate family, and still have fear run through her body every day while going on the street without wearing a Jewish star. Yet here she is, smiling while watching opera at The Mahaiwe Theater. Mr.Velmans has a different but similar adversity, but it is still as tragic as Mrs.Velmans. I do not believe slavery need an introduction, people including Mr.Velmans went through such pain to what, get money, get rewards? No, just to be kept alive. But again there he is standing excitedly on a podium receiving the 2011 Terezin Legacy Award. Both of them fought with their lives to receive their freedom, and it might have been their endless fighting, or their hope for the war to end, but they definitely received it.