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Peter

 

The name is ... time of ... it’s purely family ... another family.

I remember walking in the streets, in Amsterdam ... precisely that ... small style ... it’s good ... every morning, when we were still very, yes, very young. But we were … my parents were ... a new ... a new part of the ... a new part of the town so ... in the young ... in the early ... in the early part of the 1920s … there were practically no cars ... the only thing that I always remember ... is that, from my young ... especially for my young … up ... only till six, because then I began to go to school … that I played with my ... with my ... met with and played with friends in the street. Where it was a new, totally new part of the city ... and so there … there were young … young couples ... and so the young couples all began to gather children ... to get there ... and I was always with them ... and those four ... five of those boys ... stayed friends of the life ... all my life ... for life ... most ... apart from me, there is still only one left...

DC. Can you tell me the year you were born?

I was born in December ... God! I don’t remember the year ... because it was a new street, several young couples ... all ... several of these had children ... so ... I practically grew up with five children ... in precisely my own ... with them ... with their young parents ... they had settled ... in the newest part of the city.

From the twenty fifth year, I went abroad. In my most ... I want to ... I’m telling you totally openly everything ... I grew up in the 20s and the 30s and I saw even in a ... it sounds crazy to mention it from such an old man ... as soon as I ... I was an only child ... important to say ... so, therefore, I read ... read constantly at a very young age ... and ... I sort of grew up for myself. I thought that if I grew up, I wanted to do something for people and, especially after the ... if the Wars ... Wars, so that is what I did ... abroad ... for Holland. I decided, quite young, that I wanted to go abroad with the Government for these purposes. I will ... I sort of ... I felt ... that I must do something ... something that corrected what I had seen ... and just heard ... in the 1920s, everything was still of the War ... and, afterwards, still poor.

I read … I was an only child … and I read enormously, and always I read things that my contemporaries had not read. They thought ... from the moment that I could read, I wanted to read ... not bragging ... and grew up in a world after the War, and I decided to try to help ... from very, very young age, I could read and I wanted to read books but not books for children, books about the history of Man. I was sort of obsessed with the idea ... I don’t sit here to brag ... obsessed with the idea that when I grew up ... with the idea that I will grow up for the people ... for the people ... growing up ... an only child who read enormously.

This coffee is too hot!

My father always was a Doctor and a specialist in Neurology ... and also here ... what is the word? Psychiatry ... in his time, that is in the late 1920s, those two phenomenons ... it was the thing ... since then, there has come the body and the other ... I can’t remember ... and always, I was always in front ... sort of ... my friends were ... they wanted ... when it was nine o’clock, and after school, to play football, and I wanted to read.

DC. Was your father a big influence on your life?

My father was ... yes ... that’s funny! I’ve asked myself this question ... and more and more recently ... yes, he was. After all, he was a Doctor ... a great Doctor ... and great for Humanity ... I found him an example ... and the other thing ... and this may sound ridiculous but I was an only child and I observed and played golf ... no, not golf ... football and ... my friends ... alone. I was ... a near ... Oh good God! My words … there’s nothing there at all.

I was an only child and, as long as I grew up, I had thought ... to formulate not as a child ... I thought that, when I grew up, that I would run with the idea ... That, when I finish my studies, that I want to ... ridiculous but it is true ... and I also, when from twenty to twenty five, under the Germans ... so, in those years, I grew up ... when I work, it will be for Humanity. In the last year, the Germans ... now, I don’t know if you know this but it is true ... in the last year, the Germans literally are in the ... in the last World War ... any young, youngish man they picked and sent away to the Army. Having being an observing only child, I decided not for ... for my life ... for Humanity, if you will it, so ... so obviously, the thing I observed that I could do most for Humanity was of course ... functionaries. I was to be determined ... trying to ... I’m sitting here now and you don’t see it in me ... I’m telling the truth. I decided that I wanted to work for Man. 

What are we saying?

The older I became the more I wanted to ... I wanted my world to be a wide one ... what was it now? At that age, I didn’t formulate anything to myself of course ... but this is

exactly true.

I studied law.

My Grandparents came from a different time ... a totally different turn over ... generation ... totally different. We were ... my group fell out ... Oh God! I’ve lost myself.

I was born ... immediately after the First Word War … 1919. There has never been anything like it ... What I saw! The poverty during the ... during ... during the two ... between the two Wars ... and twenty five, when it finished ... the Great War ... no, forty ... at my age, it was decisive ... yes ... I can hardly imagine how it was. I wanted to do as much as possible with as many possible men ... with as many people as possible ... too much to do ... and I sit here, not on the brag. I did what I could.

My Mother ... I was an only child because my Mother medically, after the first child, could not govern ... could not have a second one ... any more ... therefore, I grew up with two adults ... people already of the world and I sat and had meals with them ... and these were the 20s and the 90s ... the 1920s... awful for so many people. So, I grew up with the idea ... lit up for a relatively short time ... not sit here to brag ... I will work for people ... for Humanity ... so, during the Second World War, I lived hidden from the Germans ... so the feeling grew up in me ... and that was that I want to try my life ... I hid ... in the cellars. During the last years, any young man the Germans picked them ... the last year ... in the last year and a half, any young man walking up the streets the Germans would catch him ... it was simply unbelievable ... unbelievable, and so, and so I also hid. I worked it out for myself. It is interesting to work for and with other men ... during the War, I decided that I wanted to work for Humanity against war. I came to England, this England and not the other. I sat with a prominent Dutch and ... Dutch man ... he questioned me once over what I wanted to do after the all ... I said I wanted to ... most of all ... that there should be no more ... oh, the word is gone ... fighting ...

DC. Wars?

Wars, yes ... Oh my God! The only way I can do is by countries ... Diplomacy ... I became a Diplomat … and, in my younger years, in languages ... six languages in my career but not worthwhile to continue. During the War, I started talking to a friend of my father ... my father was a man who was well-connected, a highly respected Doctor and a Psychiatrist. He listened to me, and never contradicted me, because he understood that this was what I wanted to do, even if it brought itself with it that I would leave my parents and they had no other children. So, during the War, I wanted to do blackly ... black was ... what the Germans ... not so ... the German occupancy ... they picked him up and sent to the Front, in Russia … so I thought ... I must myself hide and, during my hiding in Heidelberg, and with my friends in the country or, in the last year, with my parents in a sort of ... in the cellars ... the feeling grew ... it is something so terrible and so unnecessary and I formed, in my head, the idea that I want to work for as many people as possible. My father was a Doctor ... two places in the Hospital and another ... and he was a Neurologist, certainly an interesting man to talk to. One day, he ... one of his patient ... one ... a prominent man in Amsterdam during the War ... once asked to my Father, ‘What does your son … I … plan to do after school?’ In my school, my Secondary School, he had two ... two sons ... both a little older than I ... and now ... Ah! ... and he was the first man in a worldwide bank system ... my father and that man had also a ... in any case, I cannot formulate it at all any more … a very prominent man in Amsterdam during the second year ... my father was a Doctor and this man whose sons I knew ... an interest in each others’ family ... during the Occupation of ’44, this man once asked my Father ... once asked my Father, ‘Do you know what his son ... I ... will ... ?’ … I was hiding from the Germans ... ‘What will your son want to do once the Germans are away?’ This was to my Father ... during the War ... ‘He is most passionate to do something for Humanity’. I had hidden for five years, can you imagine? And so, that man helped me enormously ... he had such influence in Amsterdam, and I went to school with his sons ... so he said, ‘Send your son to me and I will have a talk with him’ ... and so ... Ah!

The man ... he helped ... he was a big influence. He was, in peacetime, the top man in a small committee, he had money and influence in Public Affairs. My Father, during the Occupation ... one of his patients was a very, very prominent man ... he met with my Father and sometimes ... his children were in the same school ... one older ... what that man said was the greatest and the most important moment in my life ... that man said, ‘Let him come and talk with me’, and I did. This is in the hollow winter ... the winter of starvation ... under the Germans ... ’44 ... I literally have seen people falling dead in the street ... and if, in the last year, a German saw me, he would pick me up of the street and send me to Russia ... and so I hid. I was a young man ... I knew from during the War that ... well, I had gone through that and now I say, and this sounds grand but it was not, I decided that I must work ... that I must do what I can, however small, to ensure that there will not be another Adolf Hitler. So, Father ... I went to school with these two boys, not in the same class, both older ... and he had some complaint for my Father ... and so the doctor and the patient had a little talk and so the other man, who was the greatest man in Amsterdam … a bank ... and money ... therefore influential ... he said to my Father when he was a client, a physical client ... his legs ... he said, ‘I get the impression that your son ... that he ... so ... will work ... it sounds crazy ... to work for as many people as possible’. He said that, ‘In peacetime, I am also the President of the Committee that accepts new, small groups of would-be diplomats’ ... so I did ... I was personally seen ... he said to my Father, ‘Let him come and talk with me’ ... and I went to him, and he said, and this is literally honest, he said, ‘I see, in you, someone who wants to work for nothing else but the World’ ... and he asked, ‘What do you think of Diplomacy?’… and it was so my way of thinking. It was a little difficult if the Government will not support ... ‘Would I go to England?’ … here, in Amsterdam, there is nothing I can do ... that man said to my Father, ‘Send me your son’ ... we had a talk together and, at the end of the talk, he said, ‘I knew his son ... two classes higher’ ... he said, ‘Oh yes!’ … he said, ‘In your talk, I don’t see the words of a businessman, I see a Diplomat’ ... his word ... a Diplomat. That is it. It was difficult under the Occupation ... I said, ‘What should I do?’ ... he said, ‘In peaceful time, I am the man unique in the Ministry ... of the Committee’ ... of course, he was a professional Diplomat. I knew his son ... he knew all about me because we went to the same school and the boy, two or three years older, went to his Father and asked his Father to help me. This is in the beginning of the last year of the Occupation ... he said, ‘Do I read you right? You are not a businessman, you are a Diplomat’ ... precisely. His name is gone ... I forget everything. In any case, he said, during his talk, he said I knew his son ... he said, ‘May I make an observation about what you must become?’ ... and he said ... and now I’ve forgotten what he said. He was a great help. I worked for the Government of the whole World.

I came to England when I left service, my wife is English, it was in the beginning of my career working for most possible people, and I was in London ... I was ... I think I was twenty six, maybe twenty seven, a young Diplomat ... and I went to a party ... I saw something in that girl, at a party where we met, and I took her out and the day after, I said, ‘This is the girl I must marry!’ She was everything. She was also a Diplomat, the Private Secretary of a very minor member of the Luxembourg Parliament. We met at a Diplomatic party in London.

My memory ... I don’t know ... my head is so nothing compared to what it was ... the memory ... I feel there is so little I can still do. My mind ... I can’t explain it ... I have no head anymore.