Tag Archives: Netherlands

No Wall Shall Divide

In the 19th century, separation of Dutch society into groups by religion and associated political beliefs (known as pillars) meant that many people had little or no personal contact with people from another pillar. Within the graveyard of Roermond in the Netherlands is a dividing wall separating Protestant and Catholic burials.


Married for 40 years Colonel J.W.C. van Gorkum was a Protestant, and noblewoman J.C.P.H. van Aefferden was a Roman Catholic. When the Colonel died in 1880 his wife knew that society would not allow her to be buried next to him. The solution was ingenious. Van Aefferden made arrangements for the Colonel to be buried near the wall, and she would be buried in the same location on the other side of the wall.

Two hands clasping across the divide symbolizes their love and union, and no doubt a visual rebuff against Dutch society at the time.


COL Jacobus Warnerus Constantinus van Gorkum (10 Jan 1809–29 Aug 1880)

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Josephina Carlina Petronela Hubertina van Aefferden (28 Jun 1820–29 Nov 1888)



Anne Frank

The Frank family were Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Although Anne was born in Germany, the family moved to Holland in the 1930s when the Nazis came to power. During the German occupation they were forced to hide in concealed rooms aided by trusted employees of Otto Frank (Anne’s father). During this time Anne documented the daily struggles of life during the German occupation.

In 1944 when Anne was only 15 years old, the family was betrayed and transported to the concentration camps in Poland where they were transferred from Auschwitz (the killing camp) to Bergen-Belsen (the work camp). In 1945 a typhus epidemic spread throughout the camp killing 17,000 prisoners including Anne and her sister Margot.

The diary which was a voice for her feelings and beliefs was discovered in the attic by one of the helpers and published in 1947 entitled, The Diary of Anne Frank. She prophetically stated in the diary, ‘I want to go on living even after my death!’


‘After May 1940, the good times were few and far between; first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews.’

‘I’ve reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die,” she wrote on February 3, 1944. “The world will keep on turning without me, and I can’t do anything to change events anyway.’ 

Several monuments have been erected to commemorate Anne Frank.

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