PHOTO: The daily life of Klaas Siersema and Maria Wilhelmina van Erp

Klaas Siersema and Maria Wilhelmina van Erp warm themselves near the stove.

Klaas Siersema and Maria Wilhelmina van Erp warm themselves near the stove.

This photo is a little scarred, but I like how it shows a glimpse into the daily life of Klaas Siersema and Maria Wilhelmina van Erp, or Oma Doorn as I’ve always known her to be called. My mom’s side of the family has always liked dogs (we treat them like kings), and this image fits with that trend. It must have been a cold day, since Klaas and Wilhelmina are situated around a stove. Also, notice the kettle heading on the stove and Maria reading a book — a simpler time!

1985: Maria Wilhelmina van Erp passes away on the 10th of December

Maria Wilhelmina van Erp raised my grandfather, Johan Siersema, and was considered by most to be his mother, since he was borderline estranged from his biological mother — Helena de Wit — for most of his life, according to my mom. “Means,” or “Oma Doorn” as she was called, passed away a little more than a year after I was born, and this is the notice that ran in the newspaper (a rough translation will be posted below):

Rough translation:

Any and general notification
On Wednesday, December 10, 1985 our lively and caring mother and grandmother has gone to sleep

Maria Wilhelmina van Erp
Born August 8, 1901

Widow of Klaas Siersema,
Colonel of infantry B.D.,
Former commander of the Military
Hertellingsgoord “Aardenburg” Doorn.

Soquel Highland / California:
Hans and Nancy Siersema

Los Gatos / California:
Phillippa and Philip Siersema

Campbell / California:
Mike and Marlene Siersema
Michael and Timmy

San Jose / California:
Nick and Priscilla Siersema
Andrew

Boulder Creek / California:
Joy and Steve Gullicksen
Christina

Doorn, “Oranjestein”

Address for correspondence:
J. lith
clover 1
3941 TJ Doorn

The cremation has taken place.

GALLERY: Envelopes sent by Maria Wilhelmina van Erp (Part 4)

Maria Wilhelmina van Erp, my step-great-grandmother who was married to Klaas Siersema, had a reputation for liking stamps. Oma Doorn, as the grandchildren would call her, would regularly send envelopes to my mom and uncles. The envelopes were empty about half the time, with the occasional note on the back saying “There is nothing inside dear, only a big hug!” or a short letter inside.

The way my mom puts it, Oma Doorn didn’t have a lot of money, so what she did have as discretionary income, she put toward these stamps and envelopes so she could send something special to her grandchildren. As a result, these had enough sentimental value for a couple people in my family to keep them through the years, and I have scanned them since.

This gallery is the third in a series of four. Links to the other galleries are at the bottom of this post.

(Hint: Click on the thumbnails to make them bigger)

To see the first gallery, go here.

To see the second gallery, go here.

To see the third gallery, go here.

GALLERY: Envelopes sent by Wilhelmina van Erp (Part 3)

Maria Wilhelmina van Erp, my step-great-grandmother who was married to Klaas Siersema, had a reputation for liking stamps. Oma Doorn, as the grandchildren would call her, would regularly send envelopes to my mom and uncles. The envelopes were empty about half the time, with the occasional note on the back saying “There is nothing inside dear, only a big hug!” or a short letter inside.

The way my mom puts it, Oma Doorn didn’t have a lot of money, so what she did have as discretionary income, she put toward these stamps and envelopes so she could send something special to her grandchildren. As a result, these had enough sentimental value for a couple people in my family to keep them through the years, and I have scanned them since.

This gallery is the third in a series of four. Find links to the others at the bottom of the post.

Hint: Click on the thumbnails to make them bigger.

To see the first gallery, go here.

To see the second gallery, go here.

To see the fourth gallery, go here.

GALLERY: Envelopes sent by Wilhelmina van Erp (Part 2)

Maria Wilhelmina van Erp, my step-great-grandmother who was married to Klaas Siersema, had a reputation for liking stamps. Oma Doorn, as the grandchildren would call her, would regularly send envelopes to my mom and uncles. The envelopes were empty about half the time, with the occasional note on the back saying “There is nothing inside dear, only a big hug!” or a short letter inside.

The way my mom puts it, Oma Doorn didn’t have a lot of money, so what she did have as discretionary income, she put toward these stamps and envelopes so she could send something special to her grandchildren. As a result, these had enough sentimental value for a couple people in my family to keep them through the years, and I have scanned them since.

This gallery is the second in a series of four. Find links to the other galleries at the bottom of this post.

Hint: Click on the thumbnails to make them bigger.

To see the first gallery, go here.

To see the third gallery, go here.

To see the fourth gallery, go here.

1942: WWII POW notice for Klaas Siersema

This is a POW notice sent from the Nazis to Klaas “Niek” Siersema’s wife, Maria Wilhelmina Siersema-van Erp, in 1942.

On the front side are instructions of what should be sent to my great-opa, including his uniform, hat, overcoat, shoes, underwear, etc., and the weight limit accepted.

On the back side is a notice saying that the Fuhrer of the German Empire previously approved the released of officers in captivation, but that they were again being taken into custody because of their more recent actions against Nazi efforts.

My great-grandmother, Helena de Wit, received a nearly identical letter (Although, the signature is different, so I am not sure whom it was for). Below, find the envelope, and front and back sides of that letter:

Envelope with Nazi stamp

Front of POW notice

Back of POW notice

UPDATE: This post was originally written as a POW notice for my grandfather Johan Nico Siersema, until cousin Anje pointed out that he would have been quite young and the top letter could have been for his father Klaas Siersema. I confirmed by comparing signatures and updated the post and tags on May 30, 2013.

JE MAINTIENDRAI: With Thanks from All Readers

Je Maintiendrai was one of the top five underground periodicals in Holland during the German occupation, according to a book on that subject by Werner Warmbrunn. The French phrase Je Maintiendrai means “I will maintain,” which is the motto of the House of Nassau (the royal family in the Netherlands). The main lettering just below where it says “Je Maintiendrai” on this sheet, which I discovered in the box I got from my grandmother’s house, translates to “With Thanks from All Readers,” according to Google Translate.

Warmbrunn’s “The Dutch, under German Occupation, 1940-1945” talks more about the paper’s history:

“After May 1943 the editorial board of Je Maintiendrai was largely made up of people who have been active in the Netherlands Union or sympathetic to its political concepts. Some of the collaborators were Catholics, but on the whole Je Maintiendrai included a diverse group of people, Protestants, Catholics, and ‘humanists,’ who worked together in harmony…

“The paper suffered two major blows. A number of distributors were arrested in July 1943, but the most important of these were freed from prison. In August 1944, however, the Germans managed to seize two of the founders and key editors. These men were executed in October.”

Of the many names mentioned, I believe N. Siersema was my Opa, Johan Nico Siersema, who was a Dutch Resistance fighter and soldier in the Army, and M. Siersema-Van Erp would have been his step-mother, Maria Wilhelmina.

The original sheet is not in great shape and I spent about an hour working with Photoshop to try to restore the edges for this digital copy. Some parts, I think you can tell, but I tried my best, because I think it’s pretty cool to see a bit of journalism history and my family history intertwine. I especially like the images of people passing the papers from door to door.