Monday, October 17, 2016

A tribute to Survivors: 62511, 70726

       First, a disclosure: This is self-promotion. The blog often falls into this category.
      Here it is: I have written a book, and it is now in published form. If you want to order it, I will provide the links below.
      It is available through the self-publishing company, CreateSpace, and -- as of this weekend -- it is listed on Amazon.
      The title is in the headline on this post. It is the story of my parents and their lives before and after they were Holocaust survivors.
      Survivors: 62511, 70726 -- the numbers the Nazis tattooed on their left forearms.
      It is Rose and Louis Van Thyn's stories, but also my sister Elsa and mine -- our journey from Amsterdam to the United States.
      If you have followed this blog for more than 4 1/2 years, you have seen much of the material in the book. But it has been a while since the early chapters, and you might not have seen many of the photos in the book.
      Doing this has been a labor of love -- and several people encouraged me to do it -- and it also has been a labor.
      Trying to do it on my own two years ago, I failed miserably because I am not that technical savvy. It was driving me more nuts than I already am -- you can laugh at that -- and it also was driving someone who lives with me a little battier than she already is.
      So I dropped the idea. But as I kept writing about my parents' stories on this blog, people kept telling me I should put it together in a book.
       There are a couple of heroes responsible for it finally happening. Tom Johanningmeier, deputy sports editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (my journalism home for a final decade of work), formatted the whole thing, really put it together. Janet Glaspie, who lived down the street from my parents in Shreveport for years and helped care for them, proofread the pages and made many good suggestions and necessary fixes.
       Without them, I am not a published author.
       I never had great desire to write a book, but -- as I state  in the introduction to the book -- I wanted my parents' stories in one place for their many friends and mostly for our family, for the generations.
       And here's what else; it can't be said enough: The Holocaust was real, and the threat of oppression and genocide remains ever-present. There are people out there who deny the Holocaust, who excuse what happened, who  say it is fictional history.
       They are so wrong, wrong, wrong. Often loud wrong.
       I knew two people who lived through it, and who told their stories. And I've retold those stories.
      To order the book (the list price is $15, plus shipping charges): (this is the preferable option, although you might have to create a free CreateSpace account to place an order)

Kindle: (price $2.99, no photos)


  1. Thank you Nico for your labors and frustrations. I will order immediately. thanks again.

  2. From Jerome Vascocu: Thanks for passing on the inspiration that comes from honoring your parents. May we all be vigilant to never see the likes of this utterly devastating time in history.

  3. From Alan Powell: Your mother was the sweetest little lady. I used to see her at the local stores and while she had no reason to remember me, she knew my in-laws. I married Sister Elshout (from a Dutch family in Minden).

  4. From Helaine Nierman Braunig: So glad to learn that you have written your family's story. All of us look forward to reading it. Though we know a lot about your parents, I'm sure some new insights will be revealed through your lens. Also very interested in the part about your life and Elsa's. Congratulations on having completed this loving remembrance.

  5. From Suzanne Epstein Metz: The irony of retelling the history of the Holocaust, which often gets reduced to sheer numbers that our brain and heart just can't comprehend is often mediated by reading and listening to the true harrowing stories told by survivors.
    How your parents thrived and made such a meaningful life in Shreveport and produced two more generations of loving children is so fascinating to me.
    To Nico, this had to be a taxing, painful endeavor, but it will make for compelling reading. Thank you for your bravery, and for using your gifts to further our understanding of your parents' resilience in the face of unspeakable horror.
    Yes, this happened, and variations are still taking place to so many others all over the world today.

  6. From Sandra Groves Timmons: ... I want my Grands to read it so that they know that the "stories" they hear about in history class are true. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

  7. From Connie Pearson: I ordered your book on my Kindle, could not wait for the signed hard copy. All I can say is WOW ... amazing what your parents went through. So glad you are sharing their story.

  8. From Angie Robinette Bowen: The Van Thyn family lived on my street when we were young. The parents visited our classes and taught us about the Holocaust in person. Quite a story.

  9. From Cindy Childers Kilpatrick: My friend shares the story of his parents' life journey. His mother spent many years visiting schools giving proof to the Holocaust. His dad was a coffee-drinking buddy with Uncle Billy Wiggins. A great story and wonderful people.

  10. From Betty Cagle Walker: So glad you have written this book. I adored your mom. She was a tower of strength and courage.

  11. From Pam Lee Wilson: I too admired your mother. I remember her coming to school and telling her story of survival.

  12. From Jean M Rider: I admired your parents very much.

  13. From Billie Campbell Tipton: I remember your Mom telling us her story. What a blessing of a woman.

  14. From Sandi Atkinson: I am so very glad you did this. I agree that this story is important for future generations, as well as my own generation. We were born after the war and only heard generic stories.
    Your parents would be so proud of you. It was probably as difficult emotionally as anything you could ever do. I mean, their story (while one of survival) tears your heart out to think of the things they saw, that were done to them, and their loss of family and friends.

  15. From Nance Shaw (Bea's sister-in-law): I'm so excited to see it all in one place. I so loved your parents. I always said I had a Jewish mother-in-law (just never added for a good friend.)

  16. From Loretta Geneux: Rose is thrilled that you are sharing their story. She was always adamant for new generations to be educated as to what can happen. You have carried out those wishes.

  17. We just ordered the book - it will be one of the rare books I will keep for our grandchildren to learn about their great grandparents experience - you do a much better job then I can ever try.
    Thank you Nico.

  18. From Sue Turner Carter: I'm on my way today to the Seattle Center for Humanity, which is the Holocaust center, to see an exhibit called Nazi persecution of homosexuals and others 1933-1945.
    I went to the Anne Frank Exhibit when it came through, and it was incredible. Very moving, brought me to tears. Seattle was one of the five cities in the United States to receive a sapling from the original tree that she looked at out of the Attic Window when she was in hiding.
    I went to a Holocaust Remembrance service back in the spring and to the dedication of that sapling. I have been back to the Peace Garden many times to check up on it and to pray. I posted pictures on my Facebook page.

  19. From Brenda Laird: I just received your book in the mail. I may not get my house cleaned or yard work done. Can't put your book down. Great job and a wonderful way to honor your parents and tell their story.

  20. From Philip Kopuit: It's not just them who survived but you and Elsa and your kids and many generations to come with them. I really admire your work on this book. Thanks a lot.

  21. From Jan Hopkins: I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with both of your parents when they lived on Schaub. The information that they shared is something that I will cherish. They were Shreveport icons.