The more I read and research about the fate of resistance fighter Jan van Boeckel, the more I realise how much historic information is locked inside languages. To be able to write Jan’s story and follow his path from the Netherlands through Wallonia (French-speaking Belgium) to Bavaria I have had to be able to read, write and speak Dutch/Flemish, English, German and French. As I can only read French, I have had to ask the help of interpreters and translators when I have had to interview or correspond with anyone in that language. In addition, I have even had to call in the help of someone who could decipher Sütterlin – the old German script. Undoubtedly there is also information available in Hebrew, Russian, Polish and Czech that might shed some more light on Jan’s stay in Belgium and Germany – but that is way beyond my know-how.
It makes me wonder how much information about the fate of Nazi victims and occurrences during this era is as yet unavailable to questers like myself as the information is locked within a language. I hope that by writing the Quest for Jan van Boeckel in English, I will make his story available to a larger group of people and hope to provide people with information not readily available. Strangers have in fact already contacted me as my blog has provided them with information that was not known to them beforehand.
When I find the time, I will probably publish some blogs in Dutch, German or French in the future so as to be able to make the information contained in my website available to an even larger audience – those that do not read English. For that reason I have already published the summary of my quest in Dutch
However, most of my time is now spent writing the chapters of the book about Jan van Boeckel. I have written eighteen chapters and still have a few to go. My editor is reading along providing important feed-back, she eagerly awaits every new chapter. In July I will also be visiting my invaluable advisers Ineke and Jaap to see what they think of my work so far. In July I will start asking my other proof-readers to read along – if anyone else wants to join in and help to improve the script please let me know. After the summer I will start re-working the first draft of the book.