It was almost Mothers Day.
It was a Friday the 10th of May 1940, just 2 days before Mothers day, 2 days before Pentecost (2 days public holiday in the Netherlands).
But it also was the day that Germany invaded the Netherlands.
And it was 4 days before Rotterdam got flattened and burned by German planes, bombarding the centre of Rotterdam.
It was 4 days before a lot of people lost everything
It was in those 4 days before we, our grandmother, aunties and uncles, lost everything.
Yes, the 10th of May 1940 and these four days following, were the most beautiful spring days we have had for a long time.
I was 11 years old, not a worry in the world, enjoying my new bike.
Blue skies, almost wind still and balmy temperatures.
And then on that 4th day, in the afternoon of the 14th of May 1940, out of these skies came evil, planes with explosive and fire bombs.
The centre of the city was flattened and the centre of the city burned for weeks.
And then after a while we were allowed to enter the devastation.
People were walking around, not understanding how this could have happened.
People were searching for loved ones or trying to find things left in the rubble.
And there was my mother.
World War 2 broke out on the 3rd of September 1939.
After a short while, in Rotterdam they organised something like a SES, a Voluntary Emergency Service.
I remember that my mother joined.
I remember that she was ridiculed.
She was ridiculed because she was a female and what was more, a mother of 6 children.
But when the bombs fell around us, she was there, saving people and organising shelter and food.
The men who ridiculed her, they weren't there.
And that she did, notwithstanding that one of her sons, my youngest brother, died just exactly 2 month before, at the age of 10 month.
During all that upheaval, she was the one that had already organised to have food for us, to last until emergency supplies would reach Rotterdam.
Dspite that we were separated from our father for a period of time, without knowing where he could be, she did everything to help the ones in need.
My mother was there, not only looking after us but caring for others.
I remember my mother, the way she was, caring.