Buried Treasure

March 4, 2006

Look what Rebecca and her boyfriend found in our cellar:

The first one is a badge that was worn on the cap of Landwacht officers. The Landwacht served as an auxiliary police force in the Netherlands, under the authority of the NSB (the principal Nazi party in Holland). There’s a better shot of the badge on this website, seventh photograph down.  http://axishistory.com/index.php?id=4552

The second is a Luftwaffe national insignia. Here’s what it looks like on an officer’s cap.


When I first saw the WWII relics, I was creeped out.  But, then I realized that, instead of being a Nazi enthusiast, which was my initial suspicion, it is more likely that a former owner of this house brought these back as souvenirs from his service in the war. Now they are mine. It’s like holding a piece of history in my hands.

These mementos are particularly fascinating to me because of my interest in Judaism. It began with Fiddler on the Roof, a movie that is one of my all-time favorites. I first saw the film as a teenager, and it had a profound effect on me.  Over the years, everything I’ve seen or read about Judaism or the Holocaust has made a lasting impression. The first Bar/Bat Mitzvah I ever attended moved me deeply. I cried through the entire ceremony.

In my thirties, while working in the high school library, I picked up a book called My Name is Asher Lev,by Chaim Potok.  I was enthralled, and have since read (and loved) all of his works. Once, I had a dream in which people were talking to each other in Hebrew.  In my dream, I couldn’t speak the language, but I was able to understand it.

When I was around fifteen years old, I woke up one night to the sound of my much younger brother screaming, “Ma! Ma!”  Still half asleep, I ran into his room saying, “What? What?”  I saw that our mother was standing there staring at me, but I didn’t pay much attention to the look on her face, and went back to bed.  She later told me about a vision she had at that time, but I don’t want you to think I’m even crazier than I’ve already led you to believe, so I’ll skip the details.  Suffice it to say that it was chilling, and related to the Holocaust. 

My mother’s father, by the way, was Polish. His children were raised Catholic, but I’ve always wondered if there’s more to this than meets the eye… Oh well, I guess I’ll never know.

Song of the Day: Zog Nit Keyn Mol (Never Say) Anthem of the Jewish partisans, written by Hirsh Glik in the Vilna ghetto. Glik was shot by the Nazis at the age of 24 after escaping from a forced labor camp.


One Response to “Buried Treasure”

  1. yaketyyak said

    Comments from D-Land

    Cassie – 2006-03-04 13:45:18
    Wow, what are you going to do with the relics? Have you read Night by Elie Wiesel?
    Bex – 2006-03-04 13:55:40
    Gee, today in your journal you say “Never say that this is the end of the road” – my journal today is entitled “The End of a Road” – weird, huh? We are in mourning here today at Crow Cottage.
    Bozoette Mary – 2006-03-04 14:48:11
    Another book recommendation: A Thread of Grace, by Mary Doria Russell. It’s riveting.
    Michael – 2006-03-04 16:31:22
    The tangible reminders of history such as those relics really help remind us of what the world had to go through to get us where we are now. It’s great that they showed up in the hands of someone who can really appreciate them, after so many years. I too discovered the novels of Chaim Potok many years ago. I think it might be time to reread them.
    Stephanie – 2006-03-04 18:34:51
    Oh yes, Cassie, I’ve read Wiesel’s Night, Dawn, and The Accident. Powerful stuff. I’m going to keep the relics. They’re not worth much monetarily, but having them is like owning a slice of history. Dear Bex, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you. Mary, thanks for the book recommendation. I’m going to take you up on it. Michael, thank you for your thoughtful words. I think it’s time to reread Potok, too!
    Jim – 2006-03-04 23:23:47
    I think you are right in your supposition about a American veteran having lived in your house. My Dad brought home a lot of such souvenirs from WWII. My brother and I treasure them and think of the absolute hell our father and countless others went through to save us from the Nazis. I’m saddened to think that these tokens brought home by this unknown vet were left behind, as if they had no meaning to anyone in his family.
    Stephanie – 2006-03-05 06:47:16
    I hear you, Jim, but these tokens mean something to me, so the unknown vet didn’t leave them behind for nothing.
    ann marie – 2006-03-05 11:44:25
    What a find, Steph! Does it make up for finding bats in your attic?
    Stephanie – 2006-03-05 16:03:41
    Errrr, I think I’d rather have no bats!
    aimee – 2006-03-06 19:34:58
    whoa! it’s always nice to have some kind of artefact from the past. makes you feel all tingly and excited. i know i would feel like that if i had it.
    victorVic – 2006-03-08 11:00:00
    ~V~ WOW!!!! YOU HAVE ran up on some very interesting objects….. I to am into many of the ways of judism…. reseach them things…. they might bring more into light then you can ever know 🙂 all good! !! i’am going to send you a pic of me and cubby when he came down to see candy and i….. check out my necklist lol
    karen from phillyError! Hyperlink reference not valid. – 2006-03-08 19:42:05
    Stephanie, I was so happy to find you again! I was really missing reading about you & the girls. I remember you telling me about that dream when you were 15. Weird, huh?
    Stephanie – 2006-03-09 05:32:31
    Vic, where is that pic? Karen, I kept meaning to email you with my new journal address, but never got around to it. How DID you find me? By the way, it wasn’t a dream – my mother was wide awake when she had the “vision.”

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