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Reagan's Visit to a German Cemetery

April 26, 1985

I am a contemporary of Anne Frank, but not Jewish. I lived in Holland during the German occupation, from age 10 through 15. My family hid Jews during the last two years of the war.

Boy Scouts were disbanded, but we "sabotaged" German transportation by slashing tires or placing nails on the road--our proud, but childish contribution. I hated Germans with a vengeance.

My father was rounded up, along with most of the rest of our neighborhood, in October of 1944 to work as slave laborers on the German defense line behind the Rhine. The streets were cordoned off, early in the morning, to prevent escape of the roundup. All able-bodied men between 16 and 60 had to report. If not, and you were found, the man and his family would be shot, the megaphone announcer said.

My father reported. The house was searched by two German soldiers. They apologized to my mother and stayed just long enough to not arouse any suspicion on the part of their commander. My father escaped in February, 1945. I still cringe when I hear the German language, but the attitude of those two soldiers makes me concur 100% with President Reagan's decision to visit Bitburg.

JOHN A. van HUIZUM

Acton

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