"Do not forget, forgive’
Jannes Priem belonged to the 660 men, on 1 October 1944 were deported after an unsuccessful resistance attack on SS officer Hanns Rauter by the Germans from Putten. He survived the torture in the camps. “There was an angel on my shoulder. Otherwise I would never have retold this.”
The mind is still clear. The memory rarely let him down. Sometimes that's more of a disadvantage than an advantage, as Jannes Priem can evoke horrific images from World War II even at the age of 85 that he still cut through his soul. As the piles of corpses in Bergen-Belsen, the shooting of prisoners in Ladelund or caning of camp torturer Josef Kotälla in Amersfoort. “I can not view photos or excerpts from the war without emotion. Then I shoot full. They say that time heals all wounds. Since I do not crack.” The Clean Hove has to pass in later life may record his story. That worked cathartic, even though it was accompanied by strong emotions. “Only after a visit to camp in Neuengamme 1993 came the unprocessed grief to the surface. The tears streamed down my cheeks. I shouted and groaned. My whole body ached. Then I decided to tell my story: verbally and on paper.” Earlier it was not possible according Priem to share his grief.
Humiliated, beaten, tortured and starved in four camps. Priem came as a human being within, was brutally treated and went away as number. He weighed only thirty pounds when he was in the spring of 1945 was picked up by the Swedish Red Cross from sea. However, no one was interested in his story when he was in August 1945 if one of the 48 survivors returned to the deeply religious village on the Veluwe. “The people in Wells asked if I had seen their families in the camps and whether they were still alive. I could not answer all the questions and was broke liar. I folded my years and have kept quiet about the horrors in Germany.”
The story begins on 30 September 1944 as a resistance near Putten high SS will disable. Rauter is not, however, in the car. The attack failed, but the Germans are furious. Colonel Fullriede gets to close the next day assignment Wells hermetically. Jannes Priem manages nevertheless to flee, but is found by German soldiers and taken to a farmer. On the church square are 660 men rounded up and transferred by train to Camp Amersfoort.
“Eventually I came in contact Ladelund. Whipping, kicking in your back, no food and drink. Black and blue, naked and shaved you got a piping hot shower with a caustic agent that bacteria killed. With number plate 67648 I was again moaning outside. Camp Commander Grimm was often drunk. He was waiting for us after work at the gate and took a random man from the line every night. He shot him then smiling a bullet through his head.” Priem suffered a broken jaw. “When I wanted to say in digging a tankval something against my brother, an SS man jumped down and started hitting me on. He shattered my lower teeth. Since I have to this day suffer from.” Ladelund was hell on earth. For 111 sick and debilitated Wells Egyptians meant the camp their final destination. Many died from the effects of typhoid and dysentery.
“It is a miracle that I can retell this”, says Priem. “I had an angel on my shoulder. You had luck to survive the rigors. I injured my foot. My only festering; the maggots crawled out. The camp doctor made with a heated pocketknife clean the wound, cut the meat away, pasted a piece of paper and said,: "Tomorrow you can work again '. If you could not join, you were immediately executed. Fortunately I was a day later perform sedentary work in the kitchen. That was my little angel apparently arranged.” After Ladelund, the remaining inhabitants moved to Wells extermination camp Bergen-Belsen to the thousands of corpses from the gas chambers to the crematoria bring. “Possibly there I found Anne Frank. She died in March '45 in Bergen-Belsen, as I learned after the war. The most bizarre sight was the office of German SS officers, that they had 'decorated’ with body parts of the dead. Really terrible.”
The advance of the Americans, British and Russians made in the spring of '45 panic among the Germans. Jannes Priem, following negotiations with Sweden by ship away. The British, however, believed to be related and bombarbeerden the 'Thielbek with fleeing Germans’ in Lübeck. “Of the 2800 prisoners were only fifty men rescued by the Red Cross. I heard that.” In Sweden the scrawny Priem grew strong. The 19-year-old young man was with teaspoons sugar brought to life. After the war he received to his amazement a letter from the Dutch Ministry of War to fight in India as a conscript with. “Despite all the injuries I approved and sent. In India I am still touched by a phosphorus grenade and a bomscherf in my neck, but I recovered twice miraculous.” Eventually Jannes Priem in 1951 as military police stationed in Schoonhoven, where he met his wife.
He never left the Zilverstad. Today he tells his personal history in primary schools. “I have not forgotten me what all is done during the war. But I forgive the perpetrators.”
Pieter van der Laan (source: Algemeen Dagblad)