Tag Archives: Germany

Why #Kentucky Home -8 While #Holland Is Balmy 48

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 11.44.20 AMSeriously, uncommon cold hitting Kentucky but with none of the white stuff to make it seem worthwhile–or at least fun for a bit. -8 degrees this morning as I dressed to return to the gym for the first time in probably a month (Yes, I’m one of those.)

Our family enjoyed the cool yet never bitter winters in Holland to the max. And I’ve always bought into the theory that central Europe, though further north, was warmer than North American because the Gulf Stream carries warm air from the warm ocean waters across the Atlantic.  Now scientists are saying that stream only accounts for 10% of the difference in temperatures. Really?

My young life in North America taught me to think in terms of go north for cooler temps and south for warmer ones. That life experience changed when we moved to Germany where heading south meant colder temps from higher, headed-into-the-Alps altitudes. That was an adjustment to my perspective.

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Amsterdam on about same latitude as Saskatoon, Canada as shown in overlay of European cities onto North America. (Photo credit to Klamm at PhotoBucket)

Yet my mind still struggles to grasp that in our recent Holland home it is 48 degrees today even though Amsterdam is about 900 miles north of my old Kentucky home. Yes, 1600 kilometers to the north of Kentucky as you follow the latitudes around the globe your finger runs across The Netherlands.

The latest theory says that all that warm ocean water we enjoy off the Gulf coast in America works to draw tremendous amounts of cold air down from the polar regions.

Whatever the reasons, I’m wearing a beanie indoors as well as two pairs of socks and my comfy Dutch house shoes as I remember fondly the heated floors in Germany and the fact I never needed so many layers in our old flower-kingdom home.


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Posted by on January 3, 2018 in Living in Holland


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J is for Jews in Hiding #AtoZChallenge Historical Treasure @AprilA2Z

Found on Pinterest, a photo from the gallery of

Found on Pinterest, a photo from the gallery of

On a recent visit to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam with my niece, I was reminded that it is still not known who betrayed the Frank family. I was also reminded of the courage of those who helped them, only a few people who risked so much to do the right thing.

In Chemnitz, Germany, Irene’s family was one of the few trusted with the secret kept to save lives. (Selected excerpts from “Survive Little Buddy” Book 1, My World War 2 Childhood. All rights reserved.)

Herr Baustein came back to his non-Jewish wife….He had been gone three months but knew he would be picked up again. He was ordered to divorce his wife, otherwise she would have to go into a camp with him. Their son, Jedidiah, was arrested and they did not know what happened to him.

“I don’t want her to go into a camp. Dear God, help us!”

….One morning Mama went out, early as usual, to the dairy store. She came back, shaking all over and crying. All the neighbors in our building cam out into the hall.

“The truck!” she cried. “They are at the Zweiniger dance hall. They are loading family after family into them. The Gestapo has been gathering people all night.”

Everyone ran to the dance hall.

“Get out of here or we’ll put you in these trucks too!” threatened the uniformed and plainclothesmen.

….The police came to the Cohen family who lived in back of their shoe store across the street. Their three sons, Tobias, Simon and Abner….were not home. One neighbor said he thought they had gone one way, another neighbor said another way; everyone cooperated in confusing the police.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 11.44.49 AM….As many Jewish families were disappearing regularly, some of our neighbors decided to dig caves where such families could hide….The fear of informers was so great, only a very few people knew of the plan or were allowed to work on the project.

….The Cohens worked on the digging and slept in the caves even before they were finished….Papa helped brace the ceiling with railroad ties.

….Every other day Mama took some meals late at night to the cave. She covered the food with potato peelings just in case some suspicious person would see her. Those peelings were fed to the rabbits mixed with some grated wheat.

I heard that Esther Goldberg [Irene’s playmate] and her family moved into the caves. The hidden people now totaled nine.

Salute to helpers known and unknown.  Otto Frank and the Helpers A photo taken in October 1945. From left to right: Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Otto Frank, Victor Kugler, and Bep Voskuijl. (

Salute to helpers known and unknown.
Otto Frank and the Helpers
A photo taken in October 1945. From left to right: Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Otto Frank, Victor Kugler, and Bep Voskuijl. (

….When we washed clothes for the hidden people we could see the fabric was wearing to shreds….Mama took the clothes we got from the Diakonissen sisters to the hidden people. One day Papa brought home some “army uniforms”….the Cohen boys were grateful for them.

In the late fall and winter when evenings were quickly dark, the ever hungry Cohen boys, dressed in their army uniforms, would slip through the courtyard fence and line up with the soldiers in temporary quarters outside the dance hall where the Army cooks dished out stew and bread.

[Over the next two years…]

….Policemen continually watched the neighborhood for some signs as to the whereabouts of the Jewish families. I just knew there must be more Jewish people in hiding all over Germany, being protected and helped by friends. Of course, we spread a lot of rumors that ll the Jewish people had been already picked up, and they ought to get their records straight.

Herr Helbig, another friend who drove a truck for the cities’ food supplies, came by our house often….”For them,” he used to say.

Resourceful and courageous. In the midst of darkest days, there shines a light. I believe that. So next will be K is for Kindnesses.


Kristin King is an indie author who published Irene Kucholick’s memoirs because she saw them as a historical treasure. “Preserving and distributing them means a lot to me.”


Posted by on April 12, 2016 in Memoirs & History


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WWII (Civilian) Memoirs

Soldier memoirs of World War II seem to abound, but I had trouble finding very many civilian accounts. Perhaps the survivors think they have nothing new to offer? They could not be further from the truth. My husband recently finished the Iron Curtain Memoirs and as a solider and military history buff he said,

“I even learned things I never knew before.”

So the features today are civilian accounts of the war.  The first is “In the Shadow of the Sun” and is the true story of a young family interned on Java during the Japanese occupation. Written by the daughter’s daughter, Ronny Herman Dejong, the book and the author’s blog about that time period will open eyes to parts of the war rarely viewed. I connected with Ronny through LinkedIn, but she welcomes readers and shares so much on her website:

Ronny says:

I also want to share with you part of the Japanese War Crimes Files,the NARA Files, which became declassified in the year 2000 so you will understand what would have happened if the atomic bombs hadnot been dropped. In my 2011 World War II Memoir Rising from the Shadow of the Sun you will read all that as well as what happened after the war when I grew up and became who I am today.

Iron Curtain Book 1 and 2 covers

The Iron Curtain Memoirs is the historical treasure I discovered through a high school student.  Her grandmother is best friends with the writer who was raised in Germany under the rise of Hitler and through WWII.  One thing I say often is that Anne Frank gave us 2 years, but Irene Kucholick gives us the whole war and beyond.  Her memoirs are coming out in three books divided by historical periods and also as an all in one volume not yet released.  “Before the Iron Curtain: My WWII Childhood,”Behind the Iron Curtain: My Years Hidden as a Boy,” and “Iron Curtain Escape: My Journey to Freedom.” I think if you read one of them, you’ll want to read them all.  Another great aspect of the first book is that it is appropriate for ages 10 and up and gives younger readers a peek at the war through the eyes of a child. It would also make a terrific WWII Reader for Homeschool use.

If you know of other WWII civilian memoirs, please comment with the titles. I’m compiling a list and would like to add your favorites.

Kristin King is the author of two paranormal romances “Unsinkable Vampire” and “Cain’s Coven.” Her next novel releases October 2013 and you can join the Release Party for it and the final Iron Curtain installment on Facebook here.

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Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Book Reviews


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