New book on the German resistance

(Nederlands: Nieuw boek over Duits verzet)

Haarlem, 6 May 2017

Dear Lien and Marlouk, dear guests- Hoor! Geschiedenis (Listen! History) is actually not a publishing house, but a narrative company that focuses on our history. The name refers to an important article by Rosenstock-Huessy, the name giver of this house, entitled: History must be told. That’s exactly what Marlouk did in her book.

I’m very honored to present to you the new book of Marlouk. It is a special book in more than one respect and I can immediately add that the place where we are now, this beautiful chapel in the Rosenstock-Huessy House, is also a very special place. Because it is exactly here in this house, that the lines that Marlouk describes so beautifully come together.

The story begins with Helmuth James von Moltke, the main character in the book, because he was the initiator and the actual leader of the Kreisauer Kreis – the German resistance movement that during the Second World War prepared a new, democratic and European order for Germany, for the moment when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi gang would have fallen. Helmuth James von Moltke, as you can read in the book, was arrested in 1944 and executed in early 1945.

Helmuth James von Moltke has not visited this house, but his widow Freya and his son Konrad did, quite a few times actually. Both have passed away, but in the 1970s, 80s and 90s they had close ties with the inhabitants of this house. Lien knows all about it. Do ask her. Or the countless others present here with whom they had close contacts.

Freya greatly appreciated that this house, this community, was named after Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy. She knew that Rosenstock-Huessy was a very important source of inspiration for Helmuth James von Moltke. Thanks to the efforts of Rosenstock-Huessy together with Helmuth James von Moltke, at the end of the 1920s in Silesia, Germany, the circle of volunteers was formed that would form the basis for the subsequent resistance movement Kreisauer Kreis.

Because of his Jewish background, Rosenstock-Huessy was forced to emigrate to America. After her husband’s death, Freya with both her sons left for the US and it was thus that new circles of like-minded people were shaped that exist even today, and to which Marlouk in her own way also belongs.

For a long time, the history of the Kreisauer Kreis has remained in the shadow of more glorious resistance movements such as the Rote Kapelle and the Weisse Rose. That the Kreisauer Kreis eventually could escape from that shadow is mainly due to another person who also visited this house, Prof. Ger van Roon, who was convinced of the influence of Rosenstock-Huessy on Helmuth James von Moltke.

Van Roon was the first scientist to research history of the Kreisauer Kreis. He was first to tell the story to the Germans who hardly knew about it. It is here in this house in the 1970s that he opened an exhibition about the Kreisauer Kreis. Also he is no longer among us, but Van Roon will be reminded because of his efforts to get this part of history to the daylight.

Thus, this house is a crossroads of German and Dutch history of the twentieth century. Two more names can not be missed, of course Wim and Lien Leenman. I wish Wim still would have lived to see Marlouk’s book. How happy he would have been! The book is also a praise of Wim and Lien Leenman’s work, as they began to organize volunteer camps in Kreisau, now Krzyzowa in Poland, all in the spirit of Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy and Helmuth James von Moltke.

Krzyzowa, that is the former Kreisau, the estate of Helmuth James and Freya von Moltke where the resistance movement Kreisauer Kreis came together during the war to discuss what Germany should become Hitler once cleared the field. Because that would happen, all members of this circle were convinced. It was just a matter of time, they believed, and in that they were right, even though many of them would not live to see that day coming.

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Helmuth James von Moltke, Freya, Konrad, Ger van Roon – There are so many more names that I could mention because so many more descendants of the Kreisauer Kreis and the circle of people around them found their way to this house. In any case, there is one more name to mention, and that is Franz von Hammerstein, of whom I do not know if he has ever visited this house.

The name of Franz von Hammerstein is important to be remembered because, together with Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, he carried the idea of the volunteer camps into the future through the establishment of Aktion S├╝hnezeichen Friedensdienste, Action Reconciliation Service for Peace it is called in English. Many dozens, if not hundreds of young German volunteers from this organization have worked and lived in the Netherlands after the war, especially here in this Rosenstock-Huessy House.

S, there is a direct and highly personal line from the volunteer camps in Silesia in the 1920s to the resistance movement Kreisauer Kreis, Aktion S├╝hnezeichen Friedensdienste and the Rosenstock-Huessy House. It is a line that points towards the future, even though we do not know how and by whom that line will be carried further. In any case, Marlouk has contributed by writing this important book.