Hanny Broers

Johanna Alexandrine (Hanny) Boers 1923-1992

Hanny BoersPeter Sijmons, the son of Hanny’s sister Tonny, told us: the Boers family, 6 children, lived at the Geldersekade, upper left the doors of Glass Company Thijssens, were her father, my grandfather, worked.
When my mother asked to my grandfather “why the curtains never closed when business was done”, my grandmother suggested that it was time to move from de Wallen [red: red light district] to the Raphaelplein 32, the nicest square of Amsterdam. That happened in 1932.

Frits Boers (1924): Tonny, Hanny, myself and even Eveline, were born at the Amstel 226.

In 1924 the company Thijssens has been taking over by my father, by means of a loan, that he paid off in 5 years.
Because of economic reasons, we moved to an apartment of two floors above the company, were the previous owners had lived (the brothers Roelvink).

In 1932 we moved to the Raphaelplein 32 that was on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

Grandfathers Boers and Lambert died a long time ago, so the phrase “that the Thijssens never closed their curtains” must be a quote from one of my sisters.
My mother wanted to move, outside the city, because we lived in the centre of Amsterdam, we went to school there, and spoke with an accent, our mother didn’t liked that.

On May 7 1945, Hanny was at the Dam, with her younger sister Eveline Boers (1926).
It was so crowded at the Dam that we stood behind the Palace; we heard the music and the sounds from the Dam.
Suddenly there was a shooting, we thought it was a bonfire. From the Groote Club they shot into the crowd. We were completely thrown out.
It was so crowded that we lost each other in the chaos. After a while I arrived by the postoffice at the Voorburgwal, and I tried to look for Hanny, but that wasn’t possible. All around me were people and you walked over falling people. I went back home via the Leidseplein. At home people were celebrating and I was confused. My mother had often a premonition and asked me immediate “where is Hanny”. I said” she will come home later, it was so crowded”, not telling her what has happened. When we sat around the table,  there was a knock on the door,  there was no electricity. Somebody gave a note and said that Hanny was in the Wilhelmina Gasthuis, she had a smut in her eye. My father went immediately to the hospital and spoke with a doctor. Hanny had been lucky that a woman fell upon her. She crawled away under the woman and she realized that she had a splinter in her eye from a grenade; the eye was lost. Two days later she would started to work at the Wilhelmina Gasthuis, now she laid there as a patient. After a few surgeries Hanny decided herself ”to remove it”. In Holland you had no artificial eyes; that’s why she went to Belgium. When she stayed with a family in England she got there a better artificial eye. In the mean time she spoke fluently French, English and worked o.a. Brasil, Shell in The Hague, the Ministery of Foreign Affairs (Minister Stikker in London), in Moscow and in Brussels. There she met her husband Jacob Jan (Jaap) van der Lee (1918-2013) with whom she married in 1962 in Brussels.

 Februari 2016

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