A slight fiction about my family

On a certain day in October, a rose blooms in Hamburg. Every year, on that day, on a grave in Ohlsdorf Cemetery, the grave of Margaret _____, Widerstandskämpferin. On that day, in the freezing rain, a red rose blooms overnight where there was no rose before.

On a certain day in May, a rose is laid in Amsterdam. No one sees who laid it, no one watches, but in the morning a cut red rose, fresh and fragrant, lies on the grave of Leendert _____, staatsman. Every year, on that day.

On another day in May, across the ocean, an old woman sits by her window and weeps. She is Jette Koning, née _____, and she is 90 years old. She lives in a nursing home, and the staff is attentive, the sheets are clean, and the lawn is perfect. Flowering plants line the road, but there are no flowers planted by her window.

On a certain day in October, 1940, Margaret _____, died in Ravensbrück, a concentration camp for women. On a certain day in May, 1914, she married Leendert _____.

On another day in May, the Nazis invaded Amsterdam. The family scattered, and Jette never saw her parents again.

On that day, she sits by her window and weeps. Every year, on that day, flowers grow where there were no flowers before. She sees a rosebush in full bloom: roses, fresh and fragrant; red, and full of thorns.


Thank you for sharing that about your family. You have labeled it as fiction. I (and I am sure others) would be very interested in hearing the non-fiction story of your family.

If you have parts that you don’t actually know what happened, simply label them as speculation.

I would like to hear Jette’s story.

Kindest regards.


I agree. Please consider this request.

Oma’s grave does not say Widerstandskämpferin on it, and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t one (captured too soon, I think). I don’t know for a fact that the camp she was in was Ravensbrück.

Hamburg does not often see freezing rain in October.

My mother is only 87, she lives at home with Dad, and that’s not her real name.

Oma left Opa 4 years before the invasion, and they were married in July, not May. Mom did see her father again (indeed, he lived until 1970).

And of course, there are no roses.

I’ve tried to avoid giving too many details about my mom, but I think I’ve posted before that Opa was Leendert Seegers - that’s the Google translation of his bio. He also testified (in writing) in Waldemar Hoven’s trial at Nuremberg. Perhaps not a statesman, but he did right by Holland.