August 14, 1945 Japanese accepted US terms of surrender, that of the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, 1945. The official day of surrender is imminent. All POW‘s and civilians in Japanese concentration camps will have liberation delayed by days and weeks, some as late as September 12, 1945 (in Borneo).
An anonymous survivor left a poem sixty-two years later, which I and others were able to find. It became a message to me, and I hope all of us, about the resilience of the human spirit, and the wonder of grandchildren in bridging survivors back to a sense of hope, family, faith and love.
I visited my home country The Netherlands (Holland) in 2007, including the war memorial monument in Den Haag (The Hague). There I found the anonymous poem. The words to a grandson were carefully encased in plastic and sharing space with a sea of flowers and wreaths. I left the poem there, but carefully copied it down. Thank you, anonymous writer, survivor.
By coincidence, it was August 17, 2007, two days after the sixty-second anniversary of the liberation of the camps. I want to thank my co-translators: Fred Wilson, a camp survivor, and Boukje de Vries Jobsis, my mother for their help with this poem. I dedicate the privilege of finding this poem to my father, now deceased, A.C. “Kees” Jobsis, the grandfather I never knew, Gerrit Jobsis, and all survivors and their families.
The Healing Bridge (originally untitled)
Since God sent you into my life
Sinds God jou in mijn leven heef gezonden
I have experienced so many good things
Heb ik zoveel goede dingen ondervonden
that I always again find joy
Dat ik het altijd weer een vreugde vind te mogen weten
God wished to entrust me with you lief dear grandchild,
God heef jou dit kind als een lief kleinkind willen te vertrouwen,
“Show him your love, in order to build a bridge
toon hem jou liefde, om een brug te bouwen
from him to Me
van hem naar God,
because he is also My child.”
want hij is ook Zijn kind
I want you to understand — whoever loves God may always find shelter with Him.
Ik wil dat hij beseft: wie Hem bemint die mag voor altijd bij hem schuilen
God will never leave you alone
Hij laat hem nooit alleen
and when you must cry about all which is incomprehensible,
En moet hij huilen om alles wat er onbegrijpelijk is,
I will tell you again, that every great loss and yearning
vertel hem dan, dat ieder groot gemis
makes it possible for God
het voor God’s liefde mogelijk kan maken
to touch every place in your heart
om ieder plekje van je hart te raken
“War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.” — Jimmy Carter (1924-), thirty-ninth President of the United States, awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, extract from his Nobel Lecture, Oslo, December 10, 2002, Copyright The Nobel Foundation 2002