Better Late Than Never
Best case scenario: Every veteran we meet is lucid and able to tell their story the way it happened.
However since we are interviewing people in their mid-eighties and asking questions about events that took place over sixty-five years ago, often times the best case scenario is not possible. It is hard to shake the feeling that this project is happening five or ten years too late. One particular veteran I met in Montreal recently really brought that fact home for me. This gentleman, Peter Van Bree Voort, attended our event in Montreal with his wife and daughter the day after being discharged from the hospital for heart surgery. He came to the event still connected to his oxygen tank. When Mr. Van Bree Voort was ready to be interviewed, he was clearly physically uncomfortable and unable to go downstairs to where we had set up our audio recorder. I turned to his daughter and suggested we postpone the interview until that her father felt better. She said, “We better do it now. You never know what tomorrow will bring.” I nodded and we set up a new recorder in a less ideal, but closer location.
I anticipated a difficult interview, however as soon as I asked Mr. Van Bree Voort to state his name; it all came out –an incredibly articulate and emotionally charged story. He spoke of his time in the Netherlands and how he and his family risked their lives helping local Jewish families survive. He was a Prisoner of War; spent time in jail and hid from the Nazi’s in rural areas throughout the Netherlands. His story was mind blowing. After wards, his daughter turned to me and said: “Thank you, now my father can leave this life in peace”. After this interview I was left with the strong sense that even if we are a little late in some cases, it’s incredibly clear that it’s better late than never.
Listen Peter Van Breevoort's Story"