A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 82: A New Life - A New Era

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I would call it an era of uncertainty. There was a World War from 1914 to 1918. They said that it was the war that ended all wars. Sure, so what happened only 22 years later? We had another World War, so terrible that it made the first one look pale in comparison. Will we have another? It seems that all through history, people have been killing each other, starting with Cain when he killed his brother Abel. The murders have become more sophisticated over the centuries. Cain used a bone or something to stop his brother from getting any older. Next there were knives and hatchets and explosives, and just now in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, atomic bombs. Is there any hope for humankind? Will we ever learn? Maybe yes. Maybe no.

I was born after WWI. I don't or did not grasp what it was all about. Sure you read and heard about atrocities and devastation that had taken place. You shrugged your shoulders and said, "So what?" Nobody who went through it wants another war, but those who went through it are getting older. A new generation who never experienced the horrors takes over and we are in the same boat again. No, I can keep meditating about that, but it won't stop the world from moving on, so I'd better move with it.

Where do I start? My first love had always been automotive: trucks, cars, motorcycles. I had a little experience with transporting goods in 1938 and 1939. I figured horse and wagon were things of the past, so I didn't want to start with that. I sold "Tommy" my beautiful big brute to a fellow who had horses and took good care of them. I trusted he would do the same with Tom.

Soon I found a 1934 Ford Model B moving van which was for sale. The Canadian army made what they called "The Dump". It was at an airport in Arnhem. They parked all their surplus trucks and equipment, which ran in the hundreds and maybe more. I went looking at the display: millions of dollars worth.

Nothing was to my liking. The vehicles were too large and clumsy for the load they could carry, the tires too big and the boxes too small. It seemed they were built for England with the steering wheel on the wrong side. On top of that, they were all four-wheel drives. I could imagine the extra weight - we didn't need that as we had to pay road tax by the weight of the axles: less weight less taxes. Of course, gas consumption was also a big factor.

So, my little old Ford would have to get me going. I cut the roof off the van, cut the sides so I could take them off and fashioned a tail gate. The storage over the cab I left intact to store ropes and stuff. It did not look that impressive but I was back in business in a modern way - motorized.


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