m. 5 FEB 1919
Facts and Events
My grandfather, Adrianus, was born in Moll, Belgium and moved to Amsterdam, Netherlands as a boy. He met Maaike Maria Jonkman at the La Cubana bar in the Leidsestraat in Amsterdam during the Second World War and married her in 1943. The war was an eventful time according to the stories from my grandmother. One story goes that Adrianus was cycling in Amsterdam when he was suddenly caught up in the middle of a razzia by the Nazi's. The Nazi's commonly confiscated all property, including bicycles. To avoid this, Adrianus found a rope somewhere and lowered his bike into the IJ and thus saves his bike.
According to my grandmother, Adrianus was also drafted as a forced labourer for the Nazi's, like so many young Dutchmen during the war. He was stationed in Travemunde, but managed to escape after three months by getting permission to spend a weekend at home. Of course, he didn't return. Later, he was arrested in Amsterdam for this and was deported to a camp in Amersfoort. He managed to escape on the very first day, however, and is lucky to avoid the bullets that 2 German guards shoot at him. According to the story, he stayed overnight with some nuns and returns home the next day by walking and hitchhiking on the back of bicycles.
After the war, Adrianus starts his family. He works as a waiter in various hotels and restaurants. In the summer of 1953, he follows the example of his elder brother, Otto, and joins the Holland America Line on two sailings from Rotterdam to New York in July and August of that year. My father told me that he travelled to Panama as well, but I have not found any evidence for that. Sometime later, Adrianus starts his own restaurant, "de Keizerskroon", on the Overtoom at the corner with the Jan Pieter Heijestraat in Amsterdam. It is a fancy, French-style restaurant. According to one of the stories from my father, dozens of lobsters are kept in the bathtub in the apartment above the restaurant in the days before Christmas.
Adrianus is, however, better at socialising and drinking than at running a business and in 1960, he files for bankruptcy. After that, he returns to various waiting jobs at Amsterdam's hotels and restaurants, but work often continues into late night drinking sessions with the staff. And while he clearly loves his children, his drink-fuelled temper does not contribute to a happy, stable family life. On the weekends, he loves to go to the polders outside Amsterdam on his moped to go fishing. One day, in 1966, he doesn't return from his fishing trip. On his way back home, his moped slips and his head hits the curb. Aged only 43, he left behind a wife and five children.