Memories of the past and emotions of today

Subscript by the picture:  The secretary of the Jewish Rememberance monument Society Strijen, Wim van der Hoek gives a tour on the Jewish cemetery.

The Jewish cemetery in Strijen has regularly visitors who are interested in the small field with tombs. About twenty members of the funeral society Yarden went on a guided tour last Saturday.

Strijen - The sound of a woodpecker sounds, but the animal doesn't show himself. Maybe the animal is hidden between the leaves of the walnut tree or further on in the green of one of the gardens on the Oud-Bonaventurasedijk in Strijen. Beyond that it is very quiet on the Jewish cemetery. A place were old memories mix with emotions of this day. The widow of Pim Zwarenstein collects the nuts that have fallen of the tree because they are ripe. Her husband was buried here last year, over a hundred years after his grandfather Simon was buried here in 1896. The nuts are for a birthday cake for her daughter who doesn't want to have her birthday at all.. Because all these years she had her birthday together with her father, they shared the same birthday. And then it is also Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.
She leaves a quarter of an hour before the bus stands still on the Oud-Bondijk, as the dike is known tot the people of Strijen. The people that leave the bus are members of the Yarden Society who are interested in all aspects surrounding the end of life. "I wish you a good and sweet year", Wim van der Hoek, secretary of the Society of the Jewish Remembarance monument Strijen, translates the new years wish he shortly before spoke out in Hebrew to his visitors. "What a coincidence" murmurs a persons that is listening when she heard that exactly that day is the Jewish New Year.

The people had already had a tour around the village and accidentally got off on the general cemetery. This visit was also on the program, but only after Van der Hoek told his story. Then it's Mees Korbijns turn, who on behalf of the local authority takes care of the cemetery. "No, if you want to know more about the Jewish cemetery, you have got to ask Wim van der Hoek", he says decisively. "I know something, but no were as much as he does."

Van der Hoek points his audience to a picture on one of the tombs, which looks like a pipe. But it is a shofar - a ram's horn - which plays an important role in the Jewish religion. On new years day it is blown a hundred times, as if to wake people up. "The new years begins with the judgment of God, the judgment which can be influenced by celebrating Yom Kippur - ten days after New Year - and rethink your actions.

In the meanwhile makes a nod to a place at the bottom of the walnut tree. "There lie the bones of the Jews that were buried in Dordrecht. That cemetery was cleared and out of respect for the remains, they were reburied here. There will be a commemorative stone." A detail that; he whispered to us in a confidential tone.

In the meanwhile the people listen to Van der Hoek who tells about the history of the small cemetery that used to be family property. Simon Zwarenstein bought the grounds at the end of the nineteenth century with another Jewish family. The small community - Strijen counted in 1930 26 Jewish inhabitants - was taken away in the Second World War. Just because of that Pim Zwarenstein wanted to be buried on the cemetery in Strijen. His widow told it just before she left.
"He said if there wouldn't have been a war, it would have all been very different. Then my whole family would have been buried here."