MEET JOHAN WILHELM VAN HULST
(January 28, 1911 – March 22, 2018)
There is a knock at your ornate Forest Hill door +all
over Toronto sadistic soldiers are banging down more
doors (..and you thought the Handmaid’s Tale was bleak..
Please do remember it’s FICTION people!) From these
homes they extract babies Some bayoneted on the spot some
saved for other sport
Parents are pistol whipped +worse Rounded up into flat bed
trucks The shrieking right out of Bedlam Now the parents are
put on trains to camps where work will set them free Can you
imagine this? I want you to So do 2,000 plus Jewish children
600 of whom Van Hulst saved in Amsterdam 1943 They need you
to IMAGINE this Only 75 years ago!
A scene that played out all over Europe Notable for the numbers
of children scooped is Paris Where the children languished in an
empty (of their parents) apartment complex until more trains were
found In Amsterdam as the Nazis approached many of the children
were abandoned in a makeshift nursery Van Hulst had to choose +took
12 Later he said: Why not 13?
It was never about who he saved but always about who he did not Now
across Toronto denizens watch as children are marched +dragged through
manicured streets Most people do nothing But 4,326 rise up! (5,595
Dutch rose too) And they begin in the shrill chaos of wrenching+screaming
to take the hands of single children Remember there are a few thousand so
stragglers are saved
These Righteous Torontonians take the children home A few semi-charred babies
are placed in trunks +ferried to Sick Kids where Doctors Without Borders graft +
mend Who are these heroes +heroines? Your friends? Your neighbours? I mean
I want to believe they are mine as much as you want to believe they are yours Now
fish darting among bones shovels full into Lake Ontario
All I really think about are the things I couldn’t do – the few thousand
children I couldn’t save.. Johan Wilhem Van Hulst)
When Germany invaded the Netherlands there were 140,000 Jews, and
by 1944, more than 100,000 of them had been sent to concentration camps.
SPRING 2018 ..Toronto the Good..