The Story of Miesje
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Miesje, was my cat, or rather my parents' cat - she was born before I was.

She was a very smart cat and lived to a ripe old age. Getting into the house was no problem for her, just jump to the top of the 8 foot wall at the side of the house, jump to the second floor balcony, jump on the window ledge of the bathroom and jump through the open upper bathroom window into the house. When she got older, we left the lower bathroom window open for her.

During the war, her food was just as minimal as ours, but she may have had her fill by hunting. She was always able to nurse her numerous offspring.
It was a beautiful summer afternoon, maybe the summer of 1943 or 1944, can't quite remember. We sat on the terrace looking at our miserable potato patch that was once a beautiful little lawn.

Miesje was outside with her 2-week old babies when the air raid sirens went off. Immediately she grabbed a kitten by the neck and brought it into the house. She ran back and forth till all were safe.

We did not go into the house and the cellar this time. We saw the allied bombers overhead, very low, saw the hatches open and the bombs fall out. We knew it wouldn't hit us but a bit further up, at the railroad. Kids my age were very knowledgeable about bomb trajectories etc. The rule of thumb; If you see the bombs falling out, then it will not hit you. Explain trajectories to a cat!

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Miesje not only provided herself and babies with food, at one occasion she provided for us.

The next door neighbor on the other side had a jam and preserve manufacturing company. To make a long story short, he had plenty of sugar from a German contract to deal on the black market. He and his family did not ever know about food shortages. There was meat on the table every day of the week.

Well, one day I saw Miesje struggling with something, trying to get it through the fence between the neighbor and us. It was a big hunk of roast beef, at least 2 pounds!!  It was now on our property and Mother calmly confiscated it. We feasted on that for a long time!

Later the next door's maid told us she had left the kitchen door open with the meat on the counter and when she turned her back, it had
disappeared.  We commiserated with her but she said there was plenty more.  Never told her we had the roast!


Photograph of Miesje taken by my Father in 1937