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Holocaust Memorial Ceremony in Amsterdam

May 30, 2011
Storming the Tulips authors Hannie J. Voyles and Ronald Sanders

Storming the Tulips authors Hannie J. Voyles and Ronald Sanders listen as the names of the murdered students are read aloud.

On Tuesday, May 24, the First Montessori School in Amsterdam hosted a memorial ceremony for their 173 students who perished at the hands of the Nazis during the German occupation of WWII. Led by Storming the Tulips author Hannie J. Voyles, the murdered children were remembered  by having their names read aloud by current students and by the laying of  two Memorial tiles in the school yard and one tile on the nearby public street.

The ceremony was well attended, with four of the surviving students featured in Storming the Tulips in attendance. As the names of the children were read, one could hear the elderly audience react as they remembered and mourned these losses. Many were brought to tears.

Storming the Tulips Memorial Tile

Memorial Tile laid by Hannie J. Voyles (text is in Dutch)

Gaining permission from the Dutch government to lay the tiles was not an easy task for Hannie J. Voyles, now an American citizen. Although permission was requested months prior to the event, it was not granted until the day before the ceremony, and the tiles were set just hours before the event started. Memorializing the children through the laying of these tiles and writing the stories in Storming the Tulips, fulfilled a life quest for Hannie J. Voyles, who has never forgotten her classmates who perished during the war. The tile to the right is the Dutch translation of a poem written by Hannie J. Voyles and featured in Storming the Tulips, entitled “Razzia in Amsterdam.”

After the ceremony, a reception and book signing was held at the local bookstore.

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