A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 98. The Swedish Plot

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Toward the end of October 1948 when the ploughing and discing were done, Frits was going to lock up the farm and move to town for the winter. How he did it, I didn't know, but he found us a place in Dugald, twenty miles east of Winnipeg. A good size too, Farmer Johnson had 3500 acres under cultivation, all wheat and oats, I believe. It was good quality grain, because during the winter he recleaned all that wheat and bagged it for export. There were five boys from 17 to 28 years of age, plus a year-round farm hand, no daughters, only the mother to look after all those seven grown-up people. No wonder they could use some help in the kitchen.

Everything went fine for a while, we got a room upstairs, and I helped out in the grain barn. It got colder too, winter was coming. Then in December, Mr. Johnson, the farmer, told me, "You should get a job. We don't have enough work here." "And my wife?" "She can stay." "Oke boss, but if I go, she goes."

I started to poke around what that was all about. I learned that the farmer and his wife wanted to go to California. They needed a housekeeper to look after the boys, and Margaret would do just fine. Aha, got the idea. At fifty dollars per month plus room and board for the two of us, it was just too expensive. "Send him away," good thinking, Mr. Johnson. Frits paid us $100.

I thumbed a ride to Winnipeg and found the unemployment centre. I told the man I needed a job, any job. A German-speaking fellow told me that there were no jobs this time of the year. "That's fine," I said, "I still need a job for myself or for the both of us."

After much ado, he came up with an opening on a farm looking after cattle on the range. How could we get there? Well, in the winter, as far as you could drive and the rest of the way by horseback. How about food? "You take enough with you." Sorry sir, I would not know how to survive under those conditions. You must have something else?

Indeed, after some humming and hawing, he said there was a tourist camp in Sioux Narrows that needed a couple for the summer time. "If you take this job, you can move into one of the cabins now. It pays $125 per month year-round, and you don't have to do anything until May, just keep warm." "WE'LL TAKE IT!!!"

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