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August 10, 1948 Kota Inten passengers gathered for 1998 reunion

London, Ontario park venue for fiftieth

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

On August 20, 1998, Gerry den Bok, then a book store owner in Burlington, Ontario, tried to reconnect with those who shared the greatest journey of his life. The plans for a reunion with fellow travelers of the August 10, 1948 sailing of the Kota Inten had been publicized, a program had been prepared and a number of responses received. Now in his early eighties, Gerry den Bok still hopes to complete his little, still unfinished project to identify fellow passengers whose picture he took aboard the ship.

The Kota Inten made a number of transatlantic trips in 1948 (starting with the March 12 sailing, it sailed again on April 8, May 7, June 4, July 6, August 10 and September 7), which we book-ended by journeys from Rotterdam to the Dutch East Indies and back.

Among the reasons the reunion did not attract more participants from the August 10, 1948 voyage are a couple of obvious ones: first, the passengers were not able to keep in contact with one another as they spread out across Canada (and the U.S.A.) after disembarking in Quebec City ten days later, and second, the diverse background of the 744 passengers. As Gerry den Bok already noted in his recollections of the trip, they were accompanied by a large group of German speaking Mennonite refugees who had been displaced by warfare in such places as the Ukraine and other locations.


It is not all that surprising that the Kota Inten was not pressed into service in the following years. Gerry den Bok noted its very Spartan accommodation: everyone was assigned to a hammock located in a large hold, which had a section for the men in the rear and one for women and children up front. The Kota Inten had showers but piped in sea water rather than fresh water, which may have been fine for soldiers then but was definitely not appropriate for fare paying emigrants.

Gerry den Bok collected the names of some families who were with him on this Kota Inten sailing: K. Baptist, K. Bos, the Braaksmas, J. Dibbits, H. Eigenbrood, the Geertsemas, K. Kollen, D. van Rooyen, K. van Tol, the Veenkamps, and T. Wiersma (not all the initials were available. He later had contact with a Mennonite family as well).

Others are: S.A. Blanken, the Buits, J. De Boer, the Geldermans, H. Harssema, A. Kuysten, J. Lycklama a Nyeholt, H. Menger, J. Mulder, F.G. Peters, R. Soeting, Prof. J. Spelt(?), the Van Barnevelds, T. VanderWerf, Anna Wiebe, and G.J. Wiegers. To be added to the list, please e-mail windmill”at” or call 1-800-881-0705 for a form.

To return to Gerry den Bok’s unfinished project: on the top picture are four members of a Veenkamp family and (on the very right Dinie Dreise (van Rooyen). Who are the others? On the bottom Kota Inten sloop picture are Gerry de Bok (standing in the back) and three Veenkamps. Who are the others? Any information is welcome, to the address of the Windmill Herald, please note August 10, 1948 Kota Inten journey.