Tag Archives: Canada

About Paul Alexander Wolf – ‘Continuer à essayer’


 
Don’t tell us what we can’t do, but ask what together we can do for our human destiny!
 In a nutshell about Paul Wolf

He likes:

Family life. – The art of leadership. – Human rights. – The idea and concept of Peace. – The politics of change for the better and more justice. – Good books & musics. – Great and genuine people. – Writings. blogging kayaking. – Sailing. Travelling (when again?) – Relaxing near the Ocean at Robe or Wirrina Cove.

!!!>>AND CAPPUCCINO<<!!!! 

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now“–Chinese Proverb.
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It would be nice to be able to stick to this Chinese Proverb, and keep growing…. It is never too late planting a tree or seeds for renewal and wisdom!

About myself, – the writer of this blog… Following above proverb I keep trying, as indicated. Not sure whether I am always successful though, but it’s always good to keep trying! (‘continuer à essayer‘)

Being fortunate with the type of work I have, (a doctor’s job), – my family and I have been able to see a few things of the world. Hence an international family with 3 children. All born in three different countries.
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In a nutshell:

Born and bred in the Netherlands both my wife and I went together with our baby son to South Africa…  A position as a rural doctor in the very far north of the country together with some 8 other doctors from overseas. All in the same hospital. 
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..In retrospect a short-term involvement for a bit over one year, which was however an unforgettable experience in a time of turbulence. It is interesting that short commitments at times may have a profound impact whilst other longstanding positions seem to pass by…For various unrest related reasons we went back to the Netherlands. After 2 years the journey continued to England, then Scotland and finally Australia. (For people interested in the order of events just look at my LinkedIn profile down below, nothing special by the way..)
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In Australia we found home now for some 14 years. The children have grown up with one working and living in Queensland and the other one in New York. They all like to travel as well. My wife is still an enthusiastic tapestry weaver and works in different art sessions with various people.
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At present I am working as a GP in a rural area not too far away from Adelaide. Busy job! Locum doctors don’t cover the weekends here and we have only 2 GP’s … So not enough time to see more of the world or go to Europe and see old friends or relatives etc at the moment. Bit sad at times but that’s life at present. Going for a short break to eg Europe means 2 jet lags in one week.
Relaxing near the Pacific Ocean or very close to the Gulf of Vincent in South Australia is always possible for a couple of days, – which we enjoy really very much. And we make good use of this.
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About my future?…Don’t really know as yet. But somehow, being a ‘family physician’ at present, I would like to have a different engagement at an unalike level,  – at some stage..

Who knows!…


Keep planting seeds or trees, if possible!
Je vais continuer à essayer.
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But all this aside.

About my past family history: ….

Lets start with some archives, and only read this when interested:
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The archives of the Wolf family go back to the 17th century. Elias Wolf was born in Rostock in July 1717. Becoming Mayor of Jever he married Margarethe Christiene Kohnemann. One of their children was another Elias Wolf, born in Jever on the 24th May 17 68 and he became the owner of some plantations in Essequebo (Guyana). He was President and adviser in the Criminal Justice Department of this colony and married on the 5th of May 1792 with Sarah Barkey in Rio Essquebo. They got 5 children, including Frederik Hendrik Elias Wolf, born on the 30th of November 1803 in Breda. He became Reverend in the Dutch Reformed Church at Leeuwen and married in Gendt on the 9th of April 1828 with Johanna Henrietta Coenen. Both got 5 children including Elias Frederik Hendrik Wolf, being born in Leeuwen on the 18th of January 1829 and this Elias became a Reverend in the Dutch Reformed Church in Utrecht. He was married with Sophia Carolina Charlotte van der Goes. They got 7 children, one of which was my granddad.

Considering the directions his brothers and sisters took in life, I can only assume granddad had a colourful family. My granddad (Louis Gustaaf Wolf) was born in Klundert ( the Netherlands) on the 15th of February 1865 and married grandma (Louise Ploos van Amstel) on the 3rd of May 1899. She was born in Reitsum on the 16th of July 1877 and was the daughter of Reverend Johannes Jacobus Ahasverus van Amstel and Anna Geertruida Binksma. They had 6 children including 1 daughter who died at a very young age.

Actually I don’t know too much about granddad’s younger years. He went obviously through primary and secondary school and opted to go into Medicine but in his 5th year of this study, just before the clinical part, – he realised that this was not the future he wanted. After careful consideration he stopped medicine all together despite good results (I don’t think his own dad offered him to try a different study as there were more children to raise)…

Mind you, after 5 years, but he did do the right thing by doing what he wanted.

How and when he met grandma (oma ), I don’t know. He moved with his wife to Canada and started about 1890 one of the first Dutch settlements near Yorktown. Perhaps he was comfortable to be a bit away from his family as he did not follow the usual patterns of life, – or family expectations. Who knows. Auntie Sophia was born in Yorktown and did live amidst the real wolves and Indians. The stories were quite colourful.
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After a couple of years grandma became terribly homesick and both granddad and grandma returned to the Netherlands with the family. Obviously if grandma would not have been homesick in those days, – for sure I would not have been able to write this story in Australia. – History then for our family would have been totally different. This applies as well for my mum and dad.

I found the stories about Canada and the 2nd World War always very interesting experiences in my family background.

Being home sick can be quite bad (with other things perhaps) and the family had to settle again in the Netherlands after the Canada experience. For granddad this was perhaps not the easiest time in his life as he really liked Canada, – likewise his daughter Sophia who loved the lifestyle in the outback and the horse riding etc. For grandma it was clearly different as again she was more close to her own family.

For sure the conditions in Canada in those days were really different than they are now.
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Granddad got eventually employment with the “N.V. Maas -Buurt Spoorweg” (Maas-Buurt Railway Company) in the County of Brabant and became President – Director of this Company in 1918 after the retirement of President – Director J.M. Voorhoeve, – after the 1st world war. When granddad took over the reigns it would seem he did do this in an energetic way, with leadership and insight at times of challenges and turmoil. With an increasing number of bus companies in those days, leading obviously to growing competition, and with the economic recession, this job was really a tough job. In the Company there was the need as well for more social reforms in those days and granddad did properly engage to this, so I am led to believe. He loved his job and cared for his employees. He showed fairness courage and determination, besides a good sense of humour. In speeches he could be quite funny.
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On the 1st of June 1935 he retired from this position. Both grandma and granddad had 6 children. One daughter died at very young age and Elias (my dad’s only brother) died suddenly in 1934. His death drove grandma to total despair. She recovered very slowly.

During the 2nd World War both provided shelter for Jews in their own home at the Parklaan in Bussum. This was a tense time, last but not least as due to my dad’s activities in the resistance movement. Granddad died on the 27th of March 1948 in Bussum at the age of 83.
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Even though he died far before I was born, he made a real impact on me when I was a child. Not sure why.  Perhaps because he was both a pioneer and had lots of courage, besides being very caring for his family. His original painted picture frame is still positioned in our hallway as if he is keeping an eye on the family.

Grandma was as remarkable as granddad, but in different ways. She survived him many years and died later in the 1968 after being moved to Apeldoorn, the place where my mum and dad lived with my 3 brothers. She left a history of memories in Bussum and at her age she could not coop with this transition. Changing old people to a different place often has a major impact.

From the lives of this special granddad and grandma I sensed somehow that life may become harder when we live for others, but it also becomes happier and it brings more fulfilment.

Perhaps not everything was that positive in my later childhood (in my experience), but examples were not the main thing which gave direction in my life, it was the only thing.

My mum and dad met during the 2nd world war and whilst my dad was actively involved as the leader (so I am led to believe) of the “Flying Brigade” resistance group, my mum was dedicated to her role as a “courier” for this group. Many messages and documents went as such from one group to the other. Intelligence about German defence systems across parts of the Dutch coast line passed as such as well to Allied Forces in England.
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Both my mum and dad were the only survivors from this group, following someone betraying the “Flying Brigade”…This fate, – this coincidence actually, determined the path to their marriage – which ended some 26 years after the 2nd world war. My dad at the time was planning with his group the 4th assassination. This time on a dangerous Gestapo Officer or General, responsible for lots of Jews being transported to concentration camps (It proved that providing shelter and food for Jews was not enough)…
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During the meeting he felt uneasy about the way the planning was approached, and the meeting was stopped for 2 hours. Meanwhile he tried to find his “second-in command” (who had not turned up) to discuss asap, – but arriving at his house he noticed various police cars under the trees and his friend was not at home. ..He felt more uneasy…Going back he was stopped by my later mum at the corner of the street going to the Youth Chapel where the meeting was held. He wanted to get in but was stopped in the back yard by the ministers wife. The Gestapo had seized the Chapel already. 
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All who were in there were taken into “interrogation chambers”…
In retrospect it proved that the negotiations were held with an assassin hired by the Gestapo to infiltrate in the “Flying Brigade”… The whole resistance group was killed after 3 days of interrogation. My dad had now to find shelter during the rest of the war, as he was  a prime target for the Gestapo. …He finished his law degree and had the opportunity, straight after the war, as an Attorney to cross-examine the Gestapo officers who captured his group.
I can only guess this was both painful and interesting…

In retrospect my parents were very good and decent people and though their relationship with each other had such imperfections that it could not sustain, they tried to live life as good as possible. They made an impact in what they provided for their children and what they expressed in their own ways to friends, relatives and in their jobs.
I loved the walks with my dad in the forests near Haamstede when I was young as he always told me about things of interest. He showed a lot of interesting places in Zeeland, like eg particular spots at Zierikzee and Middelburg. He loved historical sites and old churches, the last were he played the organ at times.

I still see my mum cooking in the kitchen of our holiday house in Haamstede on hot summer evenings, with the evening sun shining through the side window, – and children sharing the table after playing football. With always the noisy sounds of the little usual quarrels among kids.
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The owner of the little local Foodland at the time (“Van Dijke”/ van Dike) was always kind enough to bring a supply of shopping home in those early days, or bringing e.g. a new gas bottle.

I was really fortunate enough to start my life within those comfortable circumstances. No matter what the difficulties were at some stage, no matter what the challenges were when I was a teenager… where it really comes too in life is affection, respect, encouragement and good examples , the last generating the sort of strength and love which is essential in life, – besides “meaning” or purpose.

Personally I had many good examples, both nearby and far away… I still have warm feelings for all those people in what they gave me during various moments in life. This appeared often in little things and most of the times they were not aware… It is one of those mysterious things in life of what we give to each other without knowing it, – and the impact it has at times.
Sometimes this happens during trivial circumstances and simple encounters, – sometimes this happens during vital moments within our human ventures. Moments with seeds being planted in our hearts and minds, and wisdom – at times many years later – growing through the grace of God.

In my case there have been people I never met who made an impact.
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Both my oldest and younger brother are still alive. One brother, 4 years older only, died suddenly in 1999. His name was Tjakko. He had a strong and solid character, also kind and generous. We played a lot when we were young and apart from some rivalry there was always encouragement and support.

Many of my childhood memories go back to the village of Haamstede at the lighthouse, where so often we went on holidays during the summers, often in the company of childhood friends.
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Like my dad, – Tjakko later went to study law (in Utrecht). It was for some reason perhaps to suspect that he did consider a career in politics at one stage, – but the political dynamics in the Netherlands did not really appeal to him, neither was he attracted to Courts of Justice. At young age however he became Director of a Road Construction Company. Both as a result of this and his investing endeavours in property he became quite prosperous in Haamstede, where he lived for several years already. Three days before he died we had a last telephone conversation in which we discussed a family reunion in the Netherlands. I was living at that stage with my wife and children in Scotland. When we heard about his sudden death on the Monday, we travelled as soon as possible to Haamstede to be part of the funeral preparations and share with the family in sadness, together with his wife. They had no children. For various reasons his life was an unfinished life, – he died far too early.

Some years between the age of 16 and 18 I spent with a lovely foster family in Apeldoorn. I was able here to finish secondary school as only this environment provided the support being required at this stage in life to help me with some attention & concentration issues at school. This was a somewhat different environment than I was used to. Quite an artistic and warm hearted family actually. There were 3 other children, all a bit younger. Wilgert, the oldest, died at the age of 25 in Groningen following an accident with a bus. One of those terrible moments where a split second of lacking the required attention to avoid danger proved to be fatal.
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Some 10 years ago we went for an enjoyable family reunion and stayed almost obviously in Haamstede, – besides travelling to Scotland and see old other friends. Having had the opportunity to live so close to the sea in Cullen, in-between Inverness and Aberdeen, was a great experience for both my wife and 3 children.

Together with their friends, our children often jumped from the harbour in the sea. I often did this as well, but often a wetsuit was needed as due to the cold sea water.
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There has been always something special with Scotland, the country of both “the high road and the low road.”

Unique as well was both our stay in England and South Africa, – all before this.

Funny enough I still remember some early preschool events and St Nickolas arriving by boat in the harbour of Goes. The city where I was born. Goes was a great place in my perception and I was sad for days with the prospect of moving to Apeldoorn.
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Adapting to Apeldoorn in 1961 took time. The (pre) school was different, likewise the culture. However also here some friends were made at an interesting primary school being called the “Sondorp school”, named after the previous school inspector. (My dad took over this function, after an earlier career change).

There are many stories about this school and my old school mates have many memories as well, last but not least about the head master. He made the school what it was , with pride, but on another note he often used his hands when kids were naughty, or when “he thought” the kids were naughty. He reigned with a vigorous regime, not rarely at a cost of the children.
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The first part of Secondary School was not that good. Often in trouble with teachers. The school system at that particular school at the Church Lane (Kerklaan) in Apeldoorn, next door to the swimming pool, was less than inviting or stimulating – the least. It went somewhat better at a different school but I think my mind was a bit preoccupied with other things going on.  At home things were not ideal and my parents went through a divorce.

Following secondary school matters profoundly changed actually after finishing the Teaching Training College in Amsterdam, and after passing an entry test for the medical faculty. I found direction. Medicine has been at the background of my mind for some time already. However I did not had the right qualifications, hence those entry exam in various subjects.

Being able to do the Medicine study in Maastricht, the most beautiful city of the Netherlands, did open various doors to the future. The city was great for students who liked the outdoors like e.g. rowing on the Maas, or climbing rocks in the hills of Belgium. I did do both as much as possible. For sure not only this!.. The concept of the Medicine study was based on problem orientated learning, – new for me and most interesting!  Problem Based Learning (PBL) was almost a replica example from the McMasters University in Canada, the last still known as a high impact University.. The concept of PBL is still with me and part of anything I want to learn.

After graduation in Medicine, life evolved further in Sneek, the county of Friesland. This as part of a hospital job which combined General Surgery, Obstetrics and A&E..Busy busy job!..It was a reasonable preparation for working and living in the far north of South Africa (Siloam Hospital).

Later, with England and Scotland in between, we arrived 10 years later in Australia…This is now in 2015 some 14 years ago, time flies!
AN CAORANN Portsoy Site
As you see I made a few big jumps in my history whilst writing this. It is just to give you a bit of insight in my background, – the writer of this blog.

The lighthouse in Haamstede -in my awareness- was built to give light, was built to endure burning.

I still have this picture in mind and it has  meaning for me.

Lighthouses do not move, they give direction, – they persist in the storms of life…
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Coming back on this blog, which offers an escape for my usual work:

The articles in this blog are a reflection of trying to engage modestly on some of the questions of our time and generation and will continue on a periodic base, – depending on my “inspiration” and workload in other activities.

Feel free to comment on the contents of any of these articles (in the comment section below), if there is anything which strikes a chord or resonates with you..

 “We dream of things that never were and say: .. “Why not?”
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Turning to a different but somehow related topic:
Some of the people mentioned below made a profound impression on me as a person, even though they died already long ago, What they had in common was that they all had more or less strong attentions to easing some of the anguish and suffering about less fortunate people in their communities..

Hence some of their citations are quite nice actually.

They often found their path through unassuming interactions with their inner wisdom and did not worry about social disapproval..

True, there are for sure many things we can’t control, but if we try to focus completely on the things we love, with similar courage and dedication as those in the following quotations, we are on our way to a better life.. A life with compassion and moving forward towards a better state of humanity in ourselves and with others… Even if sadness and disappointment is passing our way…

So still, – – don’t tell us what we can’t do, but let’s ask ourselves what we can do together, – and collected we may have this rendezvous with human destiny, even if it is only simply showing the ways for our fellows to find their own light….

Why not?
Again THANKS for reading some articles in this blog!
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I wish you all well in your own personal life journey, with hopefully lots of inspiration and good health!
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And if possible: explore the unexplored with the best possible wit or sparkle!

Live long and prosper!

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“There may be times when we are powerless to
prevent injustice, but there must never be a time
when we fail to protest”
Elie Wiesel

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——————
“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks
wrote so many years ago: to tame the
savageness of man and make gentle the life
of this world”
Robert F Kennedy
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—————–
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he
stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of
challenge and controversy”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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———————-
“But peace does not rest in the charters and
covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of
all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on
parchment and on paper, let us strive to build
peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work
for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our
people. I believe that we can. I believe that the
problems of human destiny are not beyond the
reach of human beings”
-John F Kennedy
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“A good head and a good heart are always a
formidable combination”
-Nelson Mandela
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——————
“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits
than strict justice”
-Abraham Lincoln
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———————-
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness
is the key to success”
-Albert Schweitzer
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Keep planting seeds or trees, if possible!
Gardez la plantation des graines ou des arbres , si possible !
Mantenga las semillas o la plantación de árboles , si es posible !
Halten Pflanzen von Samen oder Bäume , wenn möglich!
Tenere semi o piantare alberi , se possibile !
Przechowywać nasiona do sadzenia drzew lub , jeśli to możliwe !
Mantenha plantando sementes ou árvores , se possível !
Derzhite posadki semyan ili derev’ya , yesli eto vozmozhno !
Ueru shushi ya jumoku, kanōna baai o shite kudasai!
Jìxù bōzhòng háishì shù, rúguǒ kěnéng dehuà!
Pidä istuttamalla siemeniä tai puita , jos mahdollista !
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On the issue of human trafficking


http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=human+trafficking+photos&go=&qs=n&form=QBIR

English: Prostitutes in front of a gogo bar in...
English: Prostitutes in front of a gogo bar in Pattaya, Thailand. Original text: Like slaves on an auction block waiting to be selected, victims of human trafficking have to perform as they are told or risk being beaten. Sex buyers often claim they had no idea that most women and girls abused in prostitution are desperate to escape, or are there as a result of force, fraud, or coercion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

-Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative past Tuesday, US President Barrack Obama took the remarkable step calling modern day slavery “barbaric” and “evil” as he spoke against trafficking and praised companies, organizations and people taking up the fight against the traffickers: “It ought to concern every person, because it’s a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at the social fabric”. “It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime”.”I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name  –  modern slavery.”

A 2011 paper published in The Human Rights Review  about Sex Trafficking, the trends, the challenges and limitations of International Law,  noted that since 2000 the number of sex-trafficking victims had risen while costs associated with trafficking had declined: “Coupled with the fact that trafficked sex slaves were/are the single most profitable type of slave, costing on average $1890,= each but generating $29000,= annually, leaded to stark predictions about the likely growth in commercial sex slavery in the future.” In 2008, over 12 million people were classified as “forced labourers, bonded labourers or sex-trafficking victims,” – as the study stated. Approximately 1.39 million of these people worked as commercial sex slaves, with women and girls comprising 98% (or 1.36 million) of this population. Trafficking as can be seen is a lucrative industry. It has been identified as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.  It is second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable illegal industry in the world.
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President Obama signed legislation for domestic federal contracts, and tightening anti-trafficking rules for government contracts. He praised businesses in their industry, church groups for using their faith to tackle slavery and people trying to make sure the products they buy are slave-free. He further said: “Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights issues of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it.” The President also spoke about modern-day slavery in the U.S., from child sex slaves to migrant workers who have their documents taken from them. He said: “Last year we charged a record number of predators with human trafficking… We are going to do more to spot it and stop it.”
What he said should apply to each country, should be the responsibility of each nation, – the rule of each State to make sure there is proper law enforcement to irradiate this crime against humanity, – to ease the burdens of those who are forced to live at the bottom of a total unacceptable social and moral spectrum. A spectrum where the law of criminals rules, where people get abused and tortured for life, if they survive.
 There are countries whose governments fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards but there are many countries as well whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards. Some of them are making efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. Others however do not comply with the bare minimum required standards and neither are they willing or making efforts to do so.

A White House news release recently mentioned: “More than 20 million men, women, and children worldwide are victims of human trafficking”. “Companies around the world are taking steps to end the potential for trafficked labour in their operations and supply chains, and President Obama is committed to protecting vulnerable people as government contractors and subcontractors perform vital services and manufacture goods procured by the United States.” “As the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world, the U.S. Government has a responsibility to combat human trafficking at home and abroad, and to make sure American tax dollars do not contribute to this affront to human dignity.”

Why is this single issue so important?
This single issue represents at large the standard of any morality in any country, and failing to comply with the protection of human rights as such in this area is of predictive value as how the social & political standards of counties do evolve, – some of them simply ignoring and blind folded by the gross injustice affecting vulnerable people. Not taking any action against it is similar as allowing the world to become a worse place where cruelties within nations themselves are interlinked with the level of increasing moral decay of institutions where criminals have increasing free play. It is very clear which countries are the worst culprits in allowing this injustice spreading.
In 2009 it proved that seven countries at least demonstrated the highest possible performance in effective policies for the most significant dimensions of protection, even though those countries had problems on this issue as well. At least they did something. These countries were Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Sweden and the US. The second best performing group included France, Norway, South Korea, Croatia, Canada, Austria, Slovenia and Nigeria. The worst performing country in 2009 was North Korea, receiving the lowest score. The global extent of the problem is still horrendous. Thousands of children from Asia, Europe, North America and South America are sold into the global sex trade every year. Often they are kidnapped or orphaned, and sometimes they are actually sold by their own families, – a problem still tolerated by many countries all over the world.
Whilst there is still a  lack of understanding of human trafficking issues, poor identification of victims and deficient resources for the key pillars of anti-trafficking, besides identification, protection, prosecution and prevention, – the good thing is that the current US President is voicing his opinion on the matter. It’s an international dilemma and it deserves international attention.
The ignorance of the violent past is inadequate for the even more stormy future if little is going to change on this important aspect of human rights. Whilst ignorance is able to multiply on thousand occasions ,violence against human rights is able to multiply on a million of occasions The occasion is piled high with difficulty like we see amidst a different scenario in Syria, and we must rise with the  occasion. We can’t afford to turn a blind eye against gross inhumanity across the globe without the last and final implication that at some stage we will be ourselves the victim of similar gross inhumanity, as where we allow others to fall we will degrade ourselves as well. People not being educated on the moral issues of our times are lost people, like a child uneducated is a child lost.
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Progress in our general humanity is neither automatic nor can it be escaped, however the road towards increasing justice is as old as Methuselah and requires struggle and suffering, besides the  tiredness efforts and passionate concern of dedicated people who feel compassion, in  which all ethics must take root. Compassion only can meet its full breadth and depth if  it embraces all living people at the disadvantaged level of the human spectrum and  the fight against human trafficking is one of the corner stones of  respecting    human rights, – and international law enforcement on this issue should be at the corner of our international efforts as it is both right and a reflection of human justice.
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Abolishing of human trafficking is at the heart of global civilisation as it will decide our approach on other issues affecting human rights, – both here and around the world!
Human activities during war-time may lead to war crimes against humanity.
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From my perception human trafficking is a crime against humanity and needs to be dealt with accordingly, without mercy for those who commit them.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

 

Granddad and grandma Wolf (Rostock -Mecklenburg roots)


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My family roots is a story on its own, more detailed than being described below:
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Granddad (Louis Gustaaf Wolf) was born in Klundert ( the Netherlands) on the 15th of February 1865 and married grandma (Louise Ploos van Amstel) on the 3rd of May 1899. She was born in Reitsum on the 16th of July 1877  and was the daughter of Reverend Johannes Jacobus Ahasverus  van Amstel and Anna Geertruida Binksma. They had 6 children including 1 daughter who died at a very young age.
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The archives of the Wolf family go back to the 17th century. Elias Wolf was born in Rostock in July 1717. Becoming Mayor of Jever he married Margarethe Christiene   Kohnemann.  One of their children was another Elias Wolf, born in Jever on the 24th May 17 68 and he became the owner of some plantations in Essequebo (Guyana).  He was President and adviser in the criminal justice department of this colony and married on the 5th of May 1792 with Sarah Barkey in Rio Essquebo. They got 5 children, including Frederik Hendrik Elias Wolf, born on the 30th of November 1803 in Breda. He became Reverend in the Dutch Reformed Church at Leeuwen and married in Gendt on the 9th of April 1828 with Johanna Henrietta Coenen.  Both got 5 children including Elias Frederik Hendrik Wolf, being born in Leeuwen on the 18th of January 1829 and this Elias became a Reverend in the Dutch Reformed Church in Utrecht. He was married with Sophia Carolina Charlotte van der Goes.They got 7 children, one of which was my granddad.

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Considering the directions his brothers and sisters took in life, I can only assume granddad had a colourful family.

Actually I don’t know too much about granddad’s younger years. He went obviously through primary and secondary school and opted to go into medicine but in his 5th year, just before the clinical part, – he realised that this was not the future he wanted. After careful consideration he stopped medicine all together despite his good results  (I don’t think his own dad offered him to try a different study as there were more children to raise).

How and when he met grandma (oma ), I don’t know. He moved with his wife to Canada and started about 1890 one of the first Dutch settlements near Yorktown. Perhaps he was comfortable to be a bit away from his family as he did not follow the usual patterns of life, – or family expectations.  Who knows… Auntie Sophia was born in Yorktown and did live amidst the real Wolves and Indians. The stories were  quite colourful.

After a couple of years grandma became terribly homesick and both granddad and grandma returned to the Netherlands with the family. Obviously if grandma would not have been homesick in those days,  for sure I would not have been able to write this story in Australia.

History for our family would have been totally different. This applies as well when my dad and mum would have been caught by the Gestapo during the 2nd world war.

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The family had to settle again in the Netherlands after the Canada experience. For granddad this was perhaps not the easiest time in his life as he really liked Canada, – likewise his daughter Sophia who loved the lifestyle in the outback and the horse riding etc. For grandma it was clearly different as again she was more close to her own family.

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Granddad got eventually employment with the “N.V. Maas Buurt Spoorweg”  (Maas-Buurt Railway Company) in Brabant and became President – Director of this company in 1918  after the retirement of  President – Director J.M. Voorhoeve, – following the 1st world war. The 40th anniversary of this company was a huge event in October 1911 with lots of celebrations and praise for mr Voorhoeve, including an appreciation  from the Queen of the Netherlands at the time. When granddad took over the reigns it would seem he did do this in  an energetic way with leadership and insight in a time of challenges and turmoil. With an increasing number of bus companies in those days leading obviously to growing competition and with the economic recession, this job was really a tough job.  There was the need as well for more social reforms in those days in the company itself and granddad did properly engage to this, so I am led to believe. He loved his  job and cared for his employees.  He reflected fairness courage and determination, besides a good sense of humour. In speeches he could be quite funny.

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On the 1st of June 1935 he retired from this place and mr Schafers took over as President – Director. Later on the Dutch Railway lines (“Nederlandse Spoorwegen) took over this company and the future of the Maas – Buurt Railway Company came to an end. Granddad served the Maas – Buurt Railway Company for almost 35 years and left his legacy in the railway business in “good old Gennep”. He retired at the age of  70 and both grandma and granddad had 6 children. One daughter died at very young age and Elias (my dad’s only brother) died suddenly in 1934. His death drove grandma to total despair. She recovered very slowly.

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During the 2nd world war both provided shelter for Jews in their own home at the Parklaan in Bussum. This was at times nerve rocking,  last but not least as due to my dad’s activities in the resistance movement.  Granddad  loved to smoke his pipe and tell stories. He died on the 27th of March 1948 in Bussum at the age of 83 as a result of throat cancer.

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Even though he died before I was born, he made a real impact on me when I was a child.  His original painted picture frame is still positioned  in our hallway as if he is keeping an eye on the family.

Grandma was as remarkable as granddad, but in different ways. She survived him many years and died later in the 1968 after being moved to Apeldoorn. She left a history of memories in Bussum and at her age she could not coop with this transition.

I remember that she was cared for by miss Flick in Bussum.  “Juffrouw Flick” we called her.  She was never married and was some  10 years younger than grandma and she undertook it to look after her as there was no way grandma would move into a retirement home with more help. However at the  end she needed nearly as much care as grandma needed.

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As a family we did visit grandma on regular occasions when she lived in Bussum.  Always on her birthday, which was just before our holidays in Haamstede. Often we did visit her on a sunday and when we arrived she sat in the front bay window waving to us when we arrived. Miss Flick always moved her chair to the frontal window so that she could see us arriving on her drive way. We were always welcomed in the first instance  by mis Flick and a tiny dog who barked a lot but did not do any harm. I clearly remember the meal time events between 1 and 2 pm. All those warm meals were well prepared by miss Flick, who had a remarkable ability and reputation. As usual there were bible readings and prayers. Grandma was a very devote Christian. As children we kicked each other with our shoes under the table and giggled a lot during those moments,  being supposed to respect those serious moments, – despite angry looks of our parents. Obviously we looked during those prayers whether our parents did not look, and if they did not look there were again a few kicks under the table. Nevertheless grandma loved us as  grandchildren and she was always teary when we left again later in the afternoon. Her house was filled with furniture breathing an atmosphere of history and many memories. Her desk was full of family photo’s.

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She had a special chair on which we were not allowed to sit by our parents.  This chair was called the “holy chair”. At a stage in her life grandma had “an appearance from heaven”,  some time after her eldest son died – so we were told – and as ” this person” did sit in this chair the chair as such had a special meaning for her. As children we looked with the eyes of children and had no idea what she endured in her life. There was otherwise nothing unusual with grandma. She was grey and small, both very generous and reflecting at times the kind of wisdom perhaps not entirely from this earth. Somehow she was more closer to heaven than we have ever been and in silence she always prayed for us, more than we ever did. There was something around her which made her different from others, even different than our other grandma in Bussum where we had at times sleep overs. She was clearly my “Wolf grandma”, – a grandma of a special kind who reached a special age.

From the lives of this special granddad and grandma I sensed somehow that life may become harder when we live for others, but it also becomes happier and it brings more fulfilment.  Perhaps not everything was that positive in my later childhood, but examples were not the main thing  which gave direction in my life, it was the only thing. Hence that I am still grateful for all  the receptive moments of influence and decision, –  to make the desired circumstances. Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is merely a matter of choice as some would say.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

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https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/further-memories/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/my-dad-during-the-2nd-world-war/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/early-childhood-in-goes-a-memory/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/about-paul-alexander-wolf-continuer-a-essayer/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

For those who are left behind…


English: The Anne Frank House alongside the Pr...
English: The Anne Frank House alongside the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Nederlands: Het Anne Frank Huis aan de Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, Nederland. Français : La maison d’Anne Frank sur Prinsengracht à Amsterdam, Pays-Bas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My dad’s story is like many untold stories anywhere in  the world. It includes my mum as well, as she was involved as well. This story in which they revealed something special to me,  is what I value so much in them long after they have gone. It happened at one particular stage in their lives.

The story where people at some stage stood up against what was evil and wrong in their times. The story of people  trying to protect the right of others and their own fellow countryman against the pressures of their oppressor’s.

It’s the kind of story still happening in day-to-day life  anywhere on this world, where people are shot perhaps or wounded by powers not having  justice at heart. People at the wrong side often being used as well as  puppets for those groups or powers preying on their victims, – those not being able to make the right distinctions between right or wrong, – but at least responsible for what they did.

Those are  story’s as they still unfold  in many countries, where people sense the evils of their times and want to change it, – where people see  what is wrong and try to make it right. Whatever they do in other areas of life, –  the measure of their character is what they did  when times were not comfortable  or easy anymore , what they did at times of pressure when the risks were high. The times when they showed ‘grace under pressure”, when their inner voice asked to do what they had to do.

Those examples still show ripples of hope to break the walls of oppression, for those suffering the implications of this oppression, – wherever they may live.

Often those story’s as they do occur are not heard, and often people disappear in e.g. the “chambers of hell”, being tortured in countries like e.g Libia  (as we watched on television), – but also in many other countries.

The stories are endless and often tragic, – and still it seems that despite the beauties of this world, the many positives and the many opportunities, – the burdens of human kind are as clear as they always have been, – and still human rights at a large-scale are allowed to be obstructed or compromised by those nations allowing to do so.

This is one of those many stories, – as it happened during the 2nd world war, in a place somewhere in that small country called the Netherlands.

Being the youngest with 3 older sisters and 1 older brother, my dad was born in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.  He grew up in a family with very different characters. His parents being well grounded in their beliefs and religion. Though I have not known granddad in person as he died before my time, the stories about him made me think he was the “pioneer” of  the family. He had a  good character as well, with a strong sense of justice.

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One of my dad’s sisters (Sophia)  was born in Canada and spent  some years in Canada before the family moved back to the Netherlands, being used to the Canadian style of life, – including horse riding.

Dad’s health at young age was not that great and at the age of 7  he had mild TB. For this reason he had prolonged in-treatment and could not attend primary school until he was a bit older. Other members of the family sustained other ailments and setbacks in those years between 1920 and 1930. When my dad spoke later in life at times about his youth, his family and other events, – he always spoke with a degree of respect for his parents.  He had to smile on the memory of his own mum (Louise Ploos van Amstel), who once did knit adapted underwear  and a bra for a naked little female statue, which he received from some of his friends whilst being a student in Amsterdam. The generations were different and dad was clearly the youngest. Grandma was lovely though, always kind  besides being sensitive.

Dad’s older brother Elias died suddenly in 1934, which obviously had a profound impact on the family. It drove grandma actually to total devastation and she needed a long time to recover. After my dad did finish secondary school (“gymnasium”),  he decided to study Law in Amsterdam at the V.U.

The 2nd world war however broke out which obviously disrupted his studies, as he decided to join an increasingly active resistance group, operating  mainly in both Amsterdam and Bussum. Quite a number of young students were involved. He worked close with Joop Kemper, who started this group called “The Flying Brigade” (FB).

Johan Louis KEMPERJoop Kemper

http://www.eerebegraafplaatsbloemendaal.eu/Dbase/Biografie_K/Johan_Louis_KEMPER.html

Dad and Joop Kemper became the leaders of the FB. One of the previous members of resistance group CS-6 joined the FB as well, though FB and CS-6 were not the same. FB worked together with CS-6, the “OD”, “Group X” and Professor Oranje.

The first aim of the group was to give shelter and money for Jews, to prevent them from being arrested and moved to the various concentration camps in Germany. For this purpose they tended to meet in the youth chapel in Bussum to discuss strategies and tactics. Besides this they collected information on defence material on coastal areas north of Amsterdam and in the county of Zeeland. Photo’s about harbours and other strategic points were sent to England by couriers. It proved however that providing shelter for Jews was not enough as dangerous Gestapo officers and collaborators compromised the safety of Jews.Many of the last were shot or put on transport to Germany. This was the reason the group (FB) decided to target the most dangerous Gestapo officers and collaborators as well, and they were able to collect weapons from other cooperating resistance groups.

Obviously the Gestapo became quite anxious to discover “the where about” of FB as a number sabotage targets and assassinations became succesful and damming for the Gestapo itself. —

One day FB was planning to liquidate a dangerous traitor called Somer but the Gestapo became aware of the plan and prepared an ambush via infiltrators.

On the 9th of September 1943 the group (FB) decided to meet again in the youth chapel on the Meent weg (Meentway) in Bussum, to discuss the assassination on Somer  the next day. Somer was as far as the archives concerned a dangerous spy and traitor, but the Gestapo was already fully prepared.

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The meeting was in process but the person being hired for the assassination proved in retrospect to be a Gestapo infiltrant, who managed to get the trust of one of the group members. He was a specialist assassin and seemed to be most suitable for the job, being recommended by “friends”. It was noticed on the 9th of September that various car’s were parked around the chapel place, the last next door to the Reformed Church. It would seem that some people were walking around at the time of the meeting, keeping a close eye on the youth chapel. During the meeting in which the potential assassin was involved,  my dad raised technical reservations about certain aspects of the planning and in particular the car being used. The plan was to go ahead with the execution the next day, at a place in Amsterdam.  Dad discussed his reservations in detail whilst feeling a degree of uneasiness about the situation.  Especially when 2 people in the group, the specialist assassin included, looked at each other in a particular way, – his intuition became on the alert, but he could not pin point the danger as yet. The others were oblivious about the raised concerns. The assassin was as I said introduced by a trustworthy member of FB and  nobody appeared to have any suspicion. My dad (who felt that something was not right) decided to go out the room to discuss “some financial issues” in a next door room, and said to get back as decisions needed being made, but to give it an hour or so. He disclosed his concerns to my later mum – who was a courier for the group at the time – and both decided to go outside to discuss the matter with Wim Hille, who appeared  the most proper person to discuss the matter as he was a senior member of the group.

They sensed  they were followed. When Wim Hille appeared not to be around and dad discovered a particular blue car being parked under the trees, – he became aware of an immediate critical danger and wanted to go straight back to the youth chapel to warn his friends.

Right within the main entrance already, – a car was parked and dad tried to get back via the back yard entrance of the youth chapel, – but he was stopped in the garden by the Reverend’s wife who told him only in a few words what happened. My later mum warned my later dad not to get back in the youth chapel itself, – as it appeared that the Gestapo had fully arrived.

Both managed to escape via the back garden, followed however for a little while by some men. The Gestapo action was obviously fully concentrated on all the people inside the chapel.

With full strength they had invaded the youth chapel  and instantly arrested everybody being around. There was not even the time for an exchange in gunfire.

The house of granddad and grandma at 27 Parklaan sustained extensive searches by the police that night, the next day included as well. Dad’s sister was taken to the police station but later released.

Following extensive Gestapo interrogation and torture, – all dad’s friends were shot on the 28th of October 1943. They were accused of assassinations on people in public life including the police president in Utrecht, a police captain in Bussum, but also sabotage, – providing Jews with money and shelter, – besides maintaining close coöperation with the resistance group CS-6. The last group was responsible for both the assassinations on General Seyffardt and Minister Folkert Posthuma.

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There was a moving church service  after the death sentences were executed. CS-6 was largely liquidated as well.  – In memory of those 8 people who died for their country, – on the 6th of November 1943 this church service was held in Bussum. The church was filled with emotions and (Reverend) Ds. J.J. Louet Feiser emphasised in the eulogy on the meaning of those lives being lost, and what those 8 people had to say. They did understand the critical situation and the evils of their time and responded in the way they did, – knowing that life could take an end as result of their joint efforts (>1 Peter 5,6 and 7 < – was at the centre of his reflections).

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My dad had to seek permanent shelter until the 5th of May 1945 as he became a prime target of the Gestapo. He always carried a pill with him, which would cause instantly his own death for when he would be caught by the Gestapo.

The war had a lifelong impact on dad, – largely as due to the loss of his group. As an Attorney and staff officer (section arrest) after the war he was able to question those Gestapo officers being responsible for the executions of his friends and he got a lot of information about the 2 traitors being involved.

He started after the war a law firm with a good friend and married my future mother, who survived the war as well.

Years and years went by and after changing profession and being a school inspector for a long time in different area’s of the country, besides 2 unhappy marriages, – he died in 1995, leaving a legacy among his friends in the education system  in the area’s where he worked,  – but for sure as well within the efforts and choices he made during the 2nd world war.

My dad had his struggles, but he had his victories as well. He was for certain not perfect but looking back he was brave enough to put his life at risk for his fellow Jewish human beings, who had to face the agony of Hitler Germany. In times of  real crisis he stood up. Like my mum did in those days, long ago now.

The courage of life in most occasions is less dramatic than the courage in the very last moments of critical decisions we may face, – however it is no less a spectacular mix of both triumph and tragedy,  for those who are able to finish their lives. Dad stood up as one with others against the evil systems of oppression during the 2nd world war, – knowing as well that life could take an end.

As Corry ten Boom once said: >”The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but it’s donation.”<

My dad’s story at times of crisis in circumstances of war, is one of the many available all over the world in all its many variations, – his story however being  trivial perhaps compared with what some others had to endure, those who did not survive as he did. Nevertheless he was no bystander watching how things were evolving, without doing anything within the domain of his decisions.

Many people after the war said: “We did not know!”      Many people in Germany said this as well, and in part many indeed in Germany were not aware of the concentration camps..

In history many died in their endeavours for their own people and still many will continue to die, – either at war or in their endeavours to fight for human rights, – or bringing  liberation to those being oppressed.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; – Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them. –Let us not forget”.

Viktor E. Frankl, a famous Psychiatrist who survived the concentration camps in Germany once said: >>”Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; – to life he can respond by being responsible. – – Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

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Let us not forget,- let us never forget!

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-ougiqwtNQ&feature=player_detailpage

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/granddad-and-grandma-wolf-rostock-mecklenburg-roots/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/further-memories/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/early-childhood-in-goes-a-memory/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/about-paul-alexander-wolf-continuer-a-essayer/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/