Coming home from DC on Thursday, I was doing quite a bit of rationalizing. My rationalizations consisted of ideas such as:
1 – Now I know where not to look.
2 – The answers must not be there, and now I know that.
3 – I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I did get some useful references and facts.
4 – I got to visit with my friend, Cecilia, whom I hadn’t seen in a while.
5 – I had never seen the US Holocaust Museum and now I have.
6 – The information is very hard to find and I am not a trained historian.
That was that. I did my best. I poured over books and data bases for four days. I could go home, get on with my book with what I had, and the fact checking was just not going to be 100%. Then I got the break I needed!
While at BWI waiting for my delayed flight, I turned on my computer. There was an e-mail from Patricia Heberer, one of the USHMM historians I had spoken with this week. She said:
…you may wish to get in touch with Professor Bob Moore, an expert on the Netherlands during the Holocaust and a former fellow at our Center for Advanced Holocaust. He has written excellent books on refugees from Nazi Germany in the Netherlands and the Holocaust in the Netherlands and teaches at the University of Sheffield in England….He may be able to offer you some help where I cannot.
I followed the lead and e-mailed Professor Moore. The next day I received his answer:
Not sure how much help I can be. I was contact[ed] by someone in the Netherlands last year who was also researching NV Oxyde. I have e-mailed her for permission to put the two of you in touch. She says there are company archives in The Hague and Amsterdam.
Hmmm…my lead is giving me another lead…is this a wild goose chase? or am I getting somewhere?
Within thirty minutes another e-mail from Professor Moore putting me in touch with Myriam. And then the information started to flow. She has been a huge source of information. She is in the Netherlands and has looked at so many of the files I need to see. She has been sending me dates and addresses of where my mother lived when the Nazis kept moving the family into smaller and smaller apartments. Myriam has some of the information about how my grandfather’s business operated, and she sent me the link to the Netherlands Archives where I found documentation showing my grandfather buying metal during his time in Camp Westerbork!
I am so close to the answer now I don’t need to rationalize. I just need to keep talking to people and reading and translating. I can almost smell the answers.
Thank you Patricia and Bob and Myriam!