Tuesday, 7 September 2010

day 3: Where is fred? (Or: what’s in a name, place, race, religion orpuppy?)

Fred as a puppy
Fred as a puppy

Noey calls this a “when you were a puppy” photo.
That’s the puppy-me (Frederik Willem Hasselman) on my fathers lap (Frederik Marie Hasselman). His name was Fred too.

My brother (Dirk Catharinus Johannes Hasselman) is in my grandmothers arms (Edith Ethel Hasselman - von der Pfordten). She was Bavarian nobility and died in 1979 at the age of 90. She was a Sufi. I guess this photograph dates back to 1975 or early1976, because my sister (Edith Olpha Catharina Dorand - Hasselman) was not born yet. Olpha is the name of my fathers first wife (Oplha Helene Lauten) who died of cancer, like my father eventually would. Catharina is the name of mother Ine (Catharina Maria Josefa van Barschot), who gave birth to me a year after she married my much older father, who married her a year after Olpha died. Catherinus Johannes (whom my brother was named after) was my grandfather (Catherinus Johannes Hasselman) who apparently died as a result of being weakened by the “hongerwinter” in Haarlem exactly one month after the Netherlands were liberated.

Hasselman family in Glugur
"Grandmother(left) and Grandfather(right) Hasselman in Glugur Indonesia"

My uncle Jack (also Catherinus Johannes Hasselman), my father, Olpha, my grandmother... they were all in Sumatera, Indonesia when the Japanese invaded. They were all sent to (seperate) civilian camps, except for my uncle Jack who was a soldier at the time, so he was sent to Burma to work on the infamous railway. I’m not sure where the other children were at that time (Charles, Dick and aunt Edith). Jack died recently at the age 92. He would not have allowed me to use the word Japanese, it’s “de Jap” and nothing else. He didn’t think Thailand was a place to spend a vacation and when I mentioned I had to take pills against Malaria he said he had suffered from Malaria 7 times and was still around. I guess that’s how you survive such an ordeal and reach an age of 92, still driving around, painting nudes that sell for 500 euros and basically dying because he could no longer take care of himself anymore after he became immobile. According to himself, he survived because he ate fresh lomboks in the Jungle and the British just wanted chocolate and cigarettes. No, he didn’t speak much about it.

He wasn’t pleased however when not long after 1945, just after having survived Burma, he was called for duty to go back to Indonesia and take part in the infamous “politionele acties”. Family history says my grandmother sent a letter to the Queen asking for my uncle to be relieved of duty. The latter is what happened, the first I can’t confirm. “Vadertje Drees” was also something you would not day when around my uncle.

In the 1950s my father moved to Japan with Olpha. To work there. For the Japanese. Yes... In Japan... ehh... I don’t know... My mother says he said something about not being able to hold a grudge forever. No, he didn’t speak much about it. The grudge and  such.

Later he moved to Australia and Brazil where he worked for a toy factory. My uncle Jack never held his moving to Japan against my father and was apparently very close to him. When I last spoke to my uncle he told me my father wasn’t the strongest of the brothers, but could win any fight, partly because he was his mother’s favourite, but mostly because he was “Very sharp... with his tongue”. Apparently he inherited this from his grandfather (Charles Albert von der Pfordten) whom he described as “a great Malteser”.

Which could mean a large version of a usually small lion-like dog or a chocolate sweet.

Well, it is the guy sitting on the bench, with the mustache. Somehow I can see what he was trying to express.

Charles Albert von der Pfordten Family
Great-grand family von der Pfordten

Behind him is Fred (Frederick von der Pfordten),

the brother of my grandmother. I was named after him. Or after my father, who was named after him as well. Let’s just say I inherited some of his good looks :)

Where is Fred?

He went to India and was never heard of again.

So said my grandmother.

My cousin Margaret who lives in NY (Mary Margaret Hasselman) told me once she used to be afraid of my grandmother as a child because she was performing strange Sufi rituals all the time. I just remember boterbabbelaars.
She was much older when I was just a child.

grandmother sufi

Searching for Fred I did find a Frederick George von der Pfordten on the web. It was how I got to the site of Eddee. This Fred was my great-grandfathers brother and one of his children Arthur Reginald von der Pfordten who converted to Islam, was a Japanese POW during WW II and the grandfather of Eddee von der Pfordten who lives in Kuala Lumpur, whom I thank for his site and research!

Baron Freiherr von der Pfordten
Baron Freiherr von der Pfordten


We have the same great-great-grandfather: Baron Karl Ludwig Heinrich Freiherr von der Pfordten, professor of Law in Würzburg and Leipzig, minister of culture and foreign minister of Sächsen, foreign minister and two times prime minister of Bavaria:

First time (1849-1859) he resigned because his attempt to create a “third power” between Austria and Prussia failed. He was reinstated by Ludwig II (yeah he was funny in the head) in 1864 and resigned again in 1866 when the Austro-Prussian war was lost. The family was then “kicked out” by Bismarck as the family story goes. I guess they just fled because of the Kaisersbrief and the coming of the first German Reich. (Back) to Maltathat is, where he was a consul to Bavaria and Hanover.

Baron Karl apparently was also controversial in that he played an important role in the acceptance of a bill that gave more rights to Jews in Bavaria. The sharp tongue must have been present then as well:

Speech by Great-great-grandfather
Speech by great-great-grandfather prof.dr.jur. Baron Freiherr von der Pfrodten

I can’t relate another vdP to Ludwig, but there is also a Theodor von der Pfordten, a Bavarian who participated and died in something called the Hitlerputsch (coup) of 1923. Quite the opposite opinion I would say.

That happens a lot in these families. If you look at the family crests:

The crescent moons mean they participated in one of the crusades. That was against islam, yes. Yet my grandmother was -and a whole new branch of the family are- muslim.

von der Pfordten
von der Pfordten

I think that’s great! Just wait a couple of centuries and we’ll all change our minds again.

Why Malta? I wonder if it has something to do with this special category in the Malta Genealogy site: Crusade Families

The links to the Hasselman geneology are all from Fred A. Hasselman’s (unrelated) site, but originate from het Nederlands Patriciaat (Hasselman, Betuwe tak). A booklet of genealogies maintained by the Dutch state of families which have played an important role over a period of 150 years in Dutch society: Science, Politics, Culture.

Hendrik Dirk Stephaan Hasselman (www.oranjehotel.org)

There are the Hasselman ministers of Colonies or my grandfather’s brother (General-Major Hendrik Dirk Stephaan Hasselman) who was a member of the stijkelgroep but was arrested and executed in WW II, or the fact that the family used to own a large part of the Grachtengordel in Amsterdam a very long time ago and there were mayors of towns like Tiel and such. I’m in also in the book, so is Fred and Fred as well.

BRP Hasselman major of Tiel

My father was asked by the Bavarian government to take over my grandmothers title when she died, but he didn’t. I guess it’s the same with titles as with grudges: You can’t hold them forever.
A new Hasselman puppy was recently born, Finn. Uncle times 5 now!

Let’s see if we’ll make the Dutch Patricians the next 150 years as well. At least we have some stories to tell about his ancestors.

Anyway, I’m very glad that should we move to Millingen a/d Rijn, I can say my grandmother was from Duffelward (mother’s side: Willems) and my grandfather (mother’s side: Willem Cornelis van Barschot, that’s where the Willem comes from) from Groesbeek. No coats of arms, no patricians, no titles, but a hell of a good taste for picking a place to live. I also would have loved to learn from them about farming and keeping livestock.

I’m still right here.
In case you were wondering :)

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