Liberation of Holland and a Pack of Players Plain Cut
You can read the back story (the travel part) in a post I published last August 23rd called “The Cellist in Amsterdam“. At the end of that post I mention a film treatment that I wrote that was never made. Well, here’s what happened to the film treatment.
The film I wanted to make was a documentary about the impact of the Nazi occupation on Dutch classical music during World War II. To take a film from paper to production requires money so I shopped it around. I contacted producer after producer. Each was very kind, saying that they couldn’t help me but directing me to someone who might be able to.
It may sound like a run around but those connections eventually led me to Michael Levine, probably the top entertainment lawyer in Canada and then Larry Weinstein of Rhombus Media. A top drawer producer in Canada. He generously gave me his advice: to get it made you need to find a Canadian angle.
So, off I went in search of a Canadian angle. I worked the Internet and the phones. I had many interesting conversations but one stands out as special. This, finally, is the story I want to tell you.
My search led me to a man in Virginia who someone thought might have the Dutch/Canadian connection for me. Sadly, he didn’t. But he eagerly shared a story which I vividly remember.
– He was 5 years old when the war started and the Netherlands succumbed to Nazi occupation. He was 10 years old when the war ended. During that period, his mother was an active member of the underground and he was cared for much of the time by a neighbor.
Canadian troops were at the forefront of the liberation of Holland. The day the Canadians arrived, this 10 year old boy was at the neighbors. She told him to go home and tell his mother that the Canadians had arrived and the war was over.
He did so, but his mother didn’t believe him. Working in the underground all those years caused her to be quite paranoid. He recalled her going out in the streets, seeing a soldier and yelling at him that he was a Nazi in disguise. Because he didn’t speak Dutch, the soldier had no idea what she was saying. A little baffled, he simply took a pack of Players cigarettes out of his pocket and offered her one. It was when she saw the Players cigarettes that she finally believed the the war was over. –
The experience of travel never ends just because one is at home. This may be an extreme case of a travel experience growing over time but, it does happen. It’s one of the things I love about travel.