On the 18th of October I had the honour of participating in Kunstbende Limburg Voorronde. The video is my performance which won me first place. This means I have to perform in my capital, Amsterdam, on the 7th of November. I wanted to perform more like the sixteen-year-old I sometimes forget I am, instead of the Second World War persona I usually perform as. But I couldn’t read poems without including where it all started, could I now?
18 and 19 January 2020, while still living in the rush of being in the newspaper, I was hired to read my poems for the Echt-Susteren event. I was more than thrilled to do so and decided to show up in the right attire.
During the event I read a few of my poems, one before the mock battle and one before the amazing concert on Sunday evening. I met a lot of great people and I was very thrilled to have gotten this chance.
There aren’t many pictures from me, but I found one made by Patricia Geerling and one by a photographer for L1 (I assume Jean-Pierre Geusens). I want to thank the organization for the amazing weekend and everyone who showed up. Thanks again
On the 13th of January 2020 I had an interview with Geertjan Claessens for the newspaper known as “De Limburger”. He came to my house and we talked for about an hour on my hobby and what drove me to do what I do.
It was an experience that really made an impact on me. I didn’t know how to act in the beginning, and was really nervous. But after a few minutes I loosened up and he and I spend a good part of the interview just making some jokes and talking stress free.
After that Annemiek Mommers, the photographer, and I tried to come up with a good idea on a pose for the photograph. To be honest with you, I was more a nervous, chuckling and kind of embarrassed mess, and she pulled me through it for sure.
She took an amazing photograph in my library where I write most of the times. She’s an amazing person and a very kind soul.
Skip forward to Tuesday. I was still sleeping when my father woke me up, walking into my bedroom with a grin on his face and exclaiming: “You’re in.”
It’s quite a weird moment for one to wake up with your own face staring back at you from the newspaper you read daily. And especially since I wasn’t fully awake yet, I spend about five minutes just staring in disbelief. One of the first pages, my interview.
Let’s just say I never expected to get this far, so every new step is frightening. But its worth it.
Rainier Eggen, the DJ for Radio Parkstad and I, had a lovely talk on the 4th of December. We talked about a lot of amazing things, and he is a great guy! We shared a taste for music and I listened to some very good songs while on the show.
He is a really kind and welcoming person, so I felt straight at home there. Although I was a bit nervous, he helped me right through it. We talked about my passion and I read a poem of mine, which he really seemed to like.
We joked around a bit, but all the same it was an amazing experience. I also met two lovely ladies while just coming back rom the interview who told me they were inspired by what I do. It meant the world to me!
Once I got home, I still couldn’t fully believe it. Thousands of people had listened to me, even a few of my good friends had tuned in, some from abroad. I had never imagined this to be possibly, but trust me when I say I’m so happy that it is.
Martin Krewinkel, a man in my re-enactment group and to be fair, a true sweetheart and a gem in every way, messaged me one day if it would be alright with me if he used one of my poems for a song.
Of course I said yes.
Time went by, and after a month or so, he messaged me again, now with the complete song of one of my poems. He loves music and loves writing and singing, yet all the same he loved my poetry and combined the two to something so sweet and heartwarming.
I listened the song for a good few days non-stop until everyone at home grew tired of me and I was forced to wear headphones, haha. None the less, it truly warms my heart and I personally really like the song, hope you all do too!
Credits go to Martin Krewinkel for the amazing song!
Here are the original poem:
There he lay,
In crimson bathing,
His lifeless eyes,
His useless body,
No more breaths,
For his lungs to fill
No more days,
Yet to come,
No more watching
The rising sun
There he sat,
With bloody hands,
For his fallen friends,
His lips shut,
No words to say,
No call to utter,
Or God to pray,
With anger filled,
He grabbed a gun,
At that rising sun
Night took over day,
Death would always stay,
He sat silently,
In No Man’s Land,
With a message,
For Heaven to send,
Of grief, sadness,
And the beautiful dead,
A message which is nothing more,
Alles ist anders wie erst
Rot ist nicht nur einfach rot
Rot ist die Farbe der Menschen die ihren Streit verloren haben
Rot ist die Farbe der Kinder die nicht mehr nach Hause wiederkehren sollen
Rot ist die Farbe des Kriegs
Des Blut das ich nicht mehr von meiner Händen waschen kann
Rot wie die Sonne die mich jeden Tag weckt
Rot wie die Lippen der Frau die ich so vermisse
Rot, die Farbe des Kriegs, dem Zuhause das ich nicht mehr wieder erkenne
Rot ist meine Farbe, so wie Tausenden anderen Männer und Frauen, weil rot nicht nur einfach rot ist
A dead German soldier, killed during the German counter offensive in the Belgium-Luxembourg salient, is left behind on a street corner in Stavelot, Belgium, on January 2, 1945, as fighting moves on during the Battle of the Bulge.
Don’t ever forget that you are loved
By those right here and those above
For what you’ve said and done
By loving wife and son
And don’t you dare to brush it off
When someone says you’ve done enough
For your hard work is seen by all
And we’ll be there, when you stand or fall
You fought in wars we can’t comprehend
And I realise not all can be mend
But I will do my best for you
Because this is what my generation should do
You see, there are so many who care
And trust in them, for they’ll be there
All you need to do is ask
And although that sounds like an impossible task
We do remember all those wars
And I realise my freedom is yours
So let that never be in vain
All your love and pain
This poem is for Jose Morales, born in 1923. He is still very much alive and getting on for 97.
He served in the 5th armoured division in Europe and then continued on fighting in Korea.
He loved to be outside working, he was a true handyman. He worked as a plumber and loved his wife Josefina Morales (1922-2017) and his three sons Joe Morales, Carlos Morales and Ramiro Morales (1949-2017).
I want to thank his grandson for approaching me, Corban Adkins. He is in two of the photographs.
Helmut Schwarz and Fritz Birken had been childhood friends ever since they could remember. They had done everything together, walk to school from neighbourhoods deemed unsafe to helping the other get a job, making up amazing facts that until the moment they made them up, the other didn’t poses.
They shared food when the other didn’t have enough money for a nice sandwich, or blankets when the other was freezing, they laughed together when the other made a stupid joke and they got detention together for the stupid things the other had done.
They did everything together, so, naturally, they were going to fight together too. And that they did.
Here they stood, after years of service and months of being hunted down. They were worn-out, you could say, they looked older than they actually were, a layer of mud and sweat covering their face, their eyes defeated and pained.
They held their hands up in defeat, showing the enemy they were not ready to die. Because they weren’t sure what came after death and if they’d be separated. After so many nightmares they had lived together, they couldn’t lose the other. Not now.
They saw the enemy closing in on them and just as they had always done, they pretended to be strong. In reality, they were scared, wasn’t it for the small amount of dignity they still had left, they would’ve crumbled to pieces right then and there.
Once every few seconds they shared a glance, but it was different from the look they had shared minutes before. There was no panic, no adrenaline, just sadness and fear. A hint of relief maybe, none would ever tell a soul they were somewhat happy. The war was over.
And if they had to surrender, they’d do that together too.
Although they didn’t share any words, they knew exactly what the other was thinking, and it hurt. They had no idea what was going to happen, as English words were thrown at them like insults. And with the last minutes they shared together, they said goodbye and thank you.
Thank you for all those years of kindness and joy, all those times of bringing me back safe when I was drunk, all those times of running away with me when I did something stupid, thank you for all the years of you being my friend. And last, thank you for being there. Thank you for being there on the frontline, for protecting me whenever you could. Thank you for coming with me, for being my rock. Thank you for being my friend. My best friend.
Helmut Schwarz was forcefully pushed around by what some called heroes and liberators, others enemies, parted from his best friend. Fritz Birken, gentle as he was, tried his best not to lose his friend out of his sight, but was soon swallowed by the Americans.
Without being told why, they pushed our German soldier, Helmut, in front of the Chaplin, who didn’t seem very stressed or fazed. Being parted from the rest of his group set our Wehrmacht soldier on edge, yet there was nothing he could do. One wrong move and he feared he was gone.
The Chaplin stepped out of the car, calmly, and with what was to be read as compassion, walked up to a man who had killed other people. One of the biggest sins. None the less, here he was, being torn between faith and friendship, watching how the one person he had still left, was being pushed inside a car.
Hopefully he wouldn’t get sick, he always got sick in those army vehicles, especially with this weather. If he’d collapse they might leave him for dead. He had heard stories of Americans leaving wounded Germans behind, so he wondered, would they really?
Lost in thoughts he suddenly felt a cold finger on his forehead, water dripping down his skin. He twitched slightly, wanting to step back. He urged himself not to, watching how the Chaplin blessed a man some saw as nothing more than scum, the devil’s soldiers.
Why? One word, so many answers. Why did the American care? They were both believers, though in two different things. Or he believed, once, a long time ago. And as he was met with the soft smile of a man who had just given him God’s blessing, he allowed himself to look around.
There were so many American’s they would’ve never stood a chance. They didn’t try. Other soldiers might have done so, though none of them wanted to die, so they made sure the chance of them doing so in the last months of the war was as slim as possible.
He stepped inside the car, next to the Chaplin, who started his engine. Behind him was a jeep filled to the brim with armed American soldiers, were he to try something stupid.
Maybe it was because he accompanied the Chaplin and had a lost debt to God he had to be paid, or maybe pure luck, but they were driving right behind the truck they had pushed his best friend in, Fritz. He recognized him immediately. Force of habit perhaps, always having to know where his clumsy friend was.
They pulled up, a silence none of them seemed to mind hanging in the air. It wasn’t an awkward silence, or a silence for they didn’t know how to communicate with the other. But somehow, he needed feel the need to start a conversation. He was driving with a Chaplin, what could go wrong?
For once, there was peace. Something they thought they were bringing, but now found out they had been taking all along. It was this sudden weight being lifted from your shoulders, as he finally enjoyed the sunshine again, the soft laughing of men and the wind against his face.
If this is how they were to lose the war, he didn’t fully mind. For the first time in months he felt like he was free, not while protecting what he thought was worth protecting, or walking through villages they had taken, no, he felt free the second he thought his freedom would be taken from him.
Maybe the Americans were liberators after all?
On photograph: (left) Nick Geerling (Fritz Birken) and Bryan Pisters (Helmut Schwarz). Taken by Jan-Thijs Koppen
Pure hate was all it took
To ensure his place in my history book
Written down on paper, white
He stands there with full delight
Children have to learn his curse
And what perhaps is even worse
Is that not many of them know
Where all the lost soldiers go
The Fuhrer, he made it to the end
Not strong enough to play pretend
As he puts that horrid gun on his head
While he joins his men in death
He got out through the backdoor
And I smile, for war is no more
But am I sure? I fear I’m not
A fake smile is all these men’ve got
He fell before he could’ve even met
The soldiers of war, which he had fed
He went out, knowing he didn’t win
A new era, he knew, would never begin
The news spreads, he took the easy way out
Some people are stillfilled with doubt
Because Adolf Hitler put a bullet
Through that mind in which demons crept
And there he is, chapter five
As we learn about those no longer alive
And those who chose his side
In the depths of Hell, they hide
The name of that one man
That’s a name everyone should recognize
And what about the name of all the soldiers?
Their hearts twice the size
Of the Fuhrer of the Fatherland
So why is it that we don’t learn about Theodore Miller, Ruth Haskell, Werner Goldberg but we do learn about Adolf Hitler, Jozef Goebbels, Herman Göring and Heinrich Himmler?
Only the important people, right?
Hello! My name is Sara Curfs and I’m fourteen years old, or at least I was when I wrote these poems. I live in The Netherlands, go to a secondary school like every other teenager and I do re-enacting (which I realised sooner or later not many other teens do).
I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, behind a small and old wooden desk from my father and even tried writing English when I was around ten years old. I’m self-taught in the language and started truly writing English when I was twelve.
I’m quite a cheerful person, if I say so myself, I’m very spontaneous (sometimes a bit too much) and happy, overall. I wrote my first book, in Dutch, when I was very young, and it never came to be.
I went on my very first re-enactment event in September, 2018. I was so surprised and shocked but above all impressed of what I’ve seen, that I decided to write a story. A story turned into a poem, which turned into multiple poems, which escalated into a website and an own book.
And now we’re here.
I want to thank you for reading until the very end, hoping I’ve either warmed you at heart or made you feel any emotion whatsoever.
I never thought this would happen, my own book. It’s quite scary, isn’t it? Hopefully you enjoyed my poems, that’s all that matters.