Cornelius Vink, Catharina Vink, and Amanda Testa

Recorded November 29, 2019 Archived December 4, 2019 41:23 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: lsk002268


Cornelius Vink (86) and his wife Catharine Vink (86) talk about their childhoods, first meeting and raising a family together. They also discuss their separate experiences during World War II. Catharina shares memories of growing up during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia and being held in concentration camps. Cornelius remembers his mother's death by the Germans in the Netherlands.


  • Cornelius Vink
  • Catharina Vink
  • Amanda Testa

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:02 Okay Honda.

00:04 Okay, you looking for the both of my going to say my name is Cornelius Fink.

00:17 I was born in the Netherlands on January 15th 1933.

00:24 SMI Asia right now is 86

00:29 My birthday is

00:33 Today's date November 29th. Today's date today is December.

00:43 Today is November 29th.

00:50 2019

00:52 2019

00:58 They live in Snohomish Washington State.

01:07 Now, you know, my name is Catrina V. I was born in Indonesia on the island of Borneo what is translated now doing on the island and I was born April 23rd 1933.

01:24 And I live at the moment in Washington, Snohomish, Washington.

01:31 Borneo is now called kalimantan.

01:37 When do I have to change this?

01:41 Okay, and now I'm Beaver here. I know my husband and I was 16 years old and he was 17. You are high school be running High School.

01:55 And now we have a lot of things to tell.

02:02 That was so what was one of the happiest moments in your life.

02:11 In the same room as me.

02:20 Saddest moments in your life share this moment of my life is that I saw my parents at least my father my father suffered a lot because my me my me when he came out to concentration camp you have tattoos on his arm because I was also a semen and in the concentration camp, they felt it from his arm and that's why so sad because I used to sit on his lap and usually to play with my hand over his tattoos. So never said for me very sad as a young kid.

02:55 Spell I didn't know that you would be late. So and I will never been divorced started. My father took its 2.5 ever live in Borneo. So we took his sweet and we were pushed in and hotel all of his people that are was Roseanne to Java.

03:23 And how old are you and I was six I was six years old and I will send to you and then the Japanese game that war has it been started and the Japanese game and we had they didn't put those in concentration camp yet. They just put them in houses and the Concentration Camp. I was 8 years old. I was eight years and I

03:52 State did they do I was almost 13. So the last year of the war. I was in an Indonesian concentration camp and that was another story but then he suffered a lot because first we got some food and we were not allowed to go outside feverall put in people's houses that used to be and vacation house for the Chinese people and they separated in different parts of the houses that they have that and a football player all around the camp and some lights so that they can keep an eye on her spit after we going to do

04:38 At night at least

04:40 And I remember because for me it was very sad because my mother she had to work for the Japanese and I had to take care of my brother as well suited man stronger than me.

04:55 Anna

04:57 And my mother was in working in that for the Japanese. Yes to work on the fields.

05:05 Sometimes she says if. If I'm not coming back from the fields, that means as God needed me. So I was taken by God and I felt bad and I said to my mother but I mean we need to stay awake. She says but those are things that happens so and every month every day at around 6 or 5, they come of the from the field and my mother has a special swing in her hands and my brother and me used to stay in front of them get cash that used to be our house. And then I used to say to him. Mommy's coming because I see her arm is swinging.

05:49 And so that's how my mother came so Beaver happy because if my mother couldn't come you had to go to the head of the camp and tell him that we are now without a mother they separate us.

06:03 In before I turn eight

06:07 They had it they had.

06:09 Set now they have to separate my father from the family. So they talked to my father away and doing different camp and he was placed in different camps and he couldn't have any contact with him. So we didn't see him for 5 years.

06:29 It was a hard time for me because

06:34 I saw things happening but wasn't really nice but killed it and don't supposed to see because of us a lady picked up some pieces of Daddy-o and she wanted to go people that were hanging on the foot buy it if they can get something from us, but we cannot get key from hennything show higher.

07:01 I saw this lady changing one. Banana is a piece of material and a hold of her. So they shaved her head bald to call her clothes off title on a pole under one of the pools that he had in again.

07:22 And effing Julius burn her nipples with cigarette.

07:29 Add H move together and her son was crying and they put the Sun and took a piece of his earlobe away. So NBA schedule don't supposed to see all this because it is not good. But Deb says if you don't really see this you have to see this if you don't see it, this is going to happen to you too. So far as a little kiss nacho friend saying

07:59 Well, 1940-42 43 something like that.

08:07 But it was a tough time but we all made it and my mother and my brother we praise the lord we should have calluses on my knees from kneeling down, but you create a lot and nothing just got her those players. So and then I got and then I got malaria in a concentration camp people that have no Milady. I don't know what it is because you faint from chipping. You should fit so hard that you just faint from it and we had some boys in the camp and they had to lay on top of me so that I don't shave her.

08:54 And my mother says when she stopped shivering you can get off so there is trying to hold me down and my mother waited till the night time and she measured the light how many seconds to light goes around and she was dressed in black and she crawled because in our camp we have quinine trees quinine help you with your fever. So she got some beliefs and she got some box and crawled back on the back to our house or our garage and then the next day she cooked some tea from it and it is so bitter. I had to hold my nose and drink it.

09:39 And so that is that help me get well from my malaria.

09:46 Affordable Diamond got in Holland. I couldn't give blood because of malaria.

09:54 Oh and Pat you had your your when the war started in Holland in what year that was?

10:08 What happened to your mom? And my mother was shot by the Germans?

10:18 More more or less by accident because

10:22 They'll ever shooting at the clouds and my mother talk about the steps in front of me.

10:30 And I was 11 and then I was very tall for my age. Syllabus just about almost as tall as he was inside the bullet that killed events through my hair.

10:45 The dentist that's the main thing that that's happened over the wall to me.

10:50 And

10:54 The other thing that happens nothing necessarily to me, but by a lots of lots of lots of ducks families and how long they used to be a lots of Jewish people living

11:06 Especially in Amsterdam

11:09 And the devil roll around the table by the Germans put on trucks and sent to Germany.

11:15 A little burned Denver killed and burned and sometimes to all healed up smells like one most of us giant barbecue because I have been in so many Jewish people.

11:29 Remember what year that was 1944. My mother was killed in a 44.

11:41 I've got a few days before the end of the war.

11:54 Except ye Will Smith out of yard.

12:00 So basically, what do you put Germans wanted to take over all of Europe and you depend on take over all in all Asia Asia inside?

12:14 But what?

12:16 Red V in story. Yeah, I remember I still remember.

12:26 What's up with you?

12:29 Facilities are still working and all of the time the Lord of event of the mostest versus the hospital. So

12:37 The ambulance pick up my mother took to bring her to the hospital.

12:42 And then

12:45 She was in the hospital a few minutes and then she died.

12:57 Did you remember what you picked up? She's rough to have a guy glasses glasses. Can you find in 2q to your aunt?

13:15 Do your arms house?

13:18 Give me your father's too cute to your aunt's house. And you stayed that in that room upstairs in the attic and then when he came back, what did he say to you?

13:33 I love you, man. I'm a man under mother is not here anymore, son. I still have her glasses.

13:47 Hear another man better than me.

13:51 I know.

13:54 Well after Civil War in 1946 MLB Mets first we had to go find the Red Cross because we were all gone. So we had to find my father if he were still alive today that's crossed checks, but they're for the dish that they have and it said your father is still alive and he lives in bundle. I'm doing some parts of java. So does that cross Lucas with the train from Mario that is a place in your car to Samara. That's another place in Java and from there to Jakarta and their Bieber put in a camp.

14:37 Ameiva waiting for the Red Cross to find my father.

14:41 And it took them two days and maybe even camp and beaver visiting a fishing with my fat if they found my father then they found my father and me but all looking at each other because we didn't look the same anymore because my father was so skinny and became Benny came out the concentration came in my mother. So and I said to my mother this is not our father and my mother says yesterday she fired and how many

15:10 Who's that later? We were there in 19 years was a 1945 45.

15:19 Protein shakes for the beginning 46 bus in March 46. And so I said to to my father sure. Can you see can I see you armed?

15:34 He says yeah, and he showed his arms and there were no tattoos. It's up to us for all gone. And I asked my father what happened to your arm. My father says I had to work for the Japanese in the jungle and it was a tiger that attacked me and I took him off my arm, but he had a piece of my my tattoo with him. So this was the story that my father told me because he don't want to tell us the real story because he thought you don't understand.

16:09 Then maybe they're all together. We were put in an order to Camp nice camp that we stayed together all for all three of us because

16:20 Text when we had to go to the Indonesian Camp, they kept my brother and he just turned 12 years old and he said to us Vivo mothers and daughters and kids under 12 could come in and truck ever put in a truck.

16:43 And numb

16:45 They told us that they're me going to a place in my mother and my brother said to my mother where you go in there and my nieces I want to come to now. You cannot come today, but next time you can come but it was not the reason the reason was the day go to my mother and I are away from him and he stayed back.

17:13 For about a couple more months because that's was Indonesia. He turns 12 for Indonesia and you turn 11 and older you can fight for Indonesia.

17:26 Even when you are a little boy and a dress a terrible time for my mother for me too, cuz I have to keep my mother kind of tight up next to me that you don't go up in the middle of the night and walk all the way back to that camp.

17:43 Look for your brother and look for my brother and then you went join that made me mad men. We met my father. My father said to my heart to my mother we have to go to Holland because we cannot stay here because I start developing.

18:05 And I got little breasts in all that and my fight of us are afraid that all those Indonesian shoulders for rape young girls. So he filled in a form through the through the Brick by my father used to work for the baby and they called at BPM for the shell company and Uncle Joey could go to Holland with my brother is still in Indonesia. And my mother asked my mother was leaving my house. We have a lady that we go Auntie she stayed back and she says I take care of your son. Don't worry about

18:49 So in 1946, we left my father my mother and me on the ship and

19:00 Proventil Jewish Canal to Holland

19:04 Advisory vote in Holland my mother of us and he said she cried almost every day because my left my brother behind so and that was in September he arrived in Holland in September September 8th. I remember and I have a 1946 and I have never seen my father cry on that day. He cried because they were playing the but it's not know a national anthem that that's natural Anthem and I kind of looked at him and I said to him you crying. Yeah, I never thought that I would see Holland back again.

19:47 Talk to Indonesia. They meant also screwed up story because it all comes on my mind. And then we all need to learn Dutch for my father Indonesian and her dialect is just so I was raised with three languages.

20:21 And I might have took Indonesian all the time, but my mother cried almost every day, and then suddenly we got a telegram from the company that my father used to wear at the Shell and it said we happy few son.

20:37 And in December December 3rd, he came. I remember that and it was snowing and we had never seen snow and you met this and you said to me hey Katrine they call me Catrin in Holland. This is it is what it is a cotton cotton cotton rain. What do you mean? Look you have never seen then let us know you have never seen snow and we call it cut them today so weak vehicle live with my aunt because everybody that comes to all and after the war has no houses. There's no place to go. So they put your his family's and I was pleased with my house the submarine vehicle not nearly enough.

21:33 So be good until we have to save his around and it was throat and it was winter time and it was frozen into Indonesian little kids. Don't know what Isis and what's know I always am I on didn't have skates for her. She has her only skate. So my brother get the left part and I'm the right back and we skate it on the on the water on the canal you went to school. You didn't get any houses. They put the same family and the two cuz she is so finally they found the house for us and BK in the northern part of Amsterdam. So and I was five you behind of school so I had to head to

22:27 Excel tutoring that don't work so good. Anyway, because five years is a long time that is taken away from you from school. So whatever I could but whatever we could learn we learn.

22:41 And that I was in high school and he was a great higher than me and that is when I met over.

22:52 But then I was not in love I but I know him already and I was going to the market to my mother and I see him walking and I said hey you go home. So I'm not going home. I go home at 5 I said but how about your mother your mother will miss you. I don't have a mother he said and that hitch me. So I went back to the market and I came home and I said my father listen boy just has no mother and he eats bread and butter. I think I don't know what he's doing. But can we take him home? My father says, what do you mean you said yesterday? You bought a chicken home from your neighbor?

23:39 And the two days before you had a cat you even going to bring people my whole he has no mother and bf a mother and we have all the stuff and this is how he came to my house just for you are 17 years old.

23:58 And with your version when you met Ma.

24:03 Young School

24:05 I was seeing if I was the only Indonesian girl in school and I brought out a little bit sometimes.

24:27 And then what no. No, I knew you I said to you when I finish talking to my mother and father. I'm in back with my bike looking for you in March Lane. And I said do you like to come to my house to have some lemonade cookies and you know, yes or no, and that's how you came to her house and that's when you stay and that's been my life started letting you learned a little bit of Indonesian word listening to her mom talked to on the phone with Mama.

25:03 And she said shut the lights in Indonesian and then Mom got up and shut the light and that's how you learn.

25:12 We have we had a really tough time in Indonesia.

25:19 Because when I think about it, I have still music for my mother because my mother seems a lot of songs Bible songs. My mother was fetty Christian people ate a lot and I still play the songs and then I start crying because the memory says I have is because I was already am kind of very sensitive about whatever was happening. I couldn't understand why the must have wore one thing that I never do I used to ask my mother I said, why is that I wonder how come here at 4 and my mother used to say that people that are not have fevers that life. That was the only thing she could tell me.

26:04 Nepal you also when did you start the merchant marines after you graduated school or High School know he meant first after the high school he went to the Marines School engineering school really 50 shakes and he graduated in a sniffies of you or something like that.

26:55 Did you turn 18 that was your first for the first thing that you went on a little ship out of us? Not the shipping parcel Embark that goes to deliver on the merchant in the Merchant Marine. What did you do you talk about that what you did in the

27:15 Well, I'm a service in the an internet in the engine room.

27:20 So I was partly responsible for the engines.

27:25 Turn off old hinges one big six thousand horsepower main engine.

27:32 Business like this

27:35 And then there are three smaller and just about 800 900 horsepower each for generous or electricity, especially when the ship is loading and unloading all this deck equipment all these crazy need electrician in electricity.

27:53 And

27:56 So am I from you do tickets for hours on and eight hours off just like this like a man on the bridge 4 hours working 8 hours a day look like sick 8 hours work a day and then it comes maintenance repairs and stuff like that than that. That's 2 hours to it. Then the ship is at Sea usually.

28:21 So usually your birthday is 10 hours.

28:26 Huh? That's that's about it. As far as that's goes.

28:30 Another another thing that's that's comes to my mind that I now it says Amsterdam thousands upon thousands of Jewish people that lived in Amsterdam for years and all day breakfast Claiborne and ever seen them, but they was Jewish but also Ducks they had bets nationalities both of arduous.

28:56 And a lot of those been picked up by the gym has arrested and sent it to him and he and burn.

29:05 Killed and burned at some time since I've got so many of them and then blew the right direction and the buildings are dead bodies in there and Germany you smell BBQ in Amsterdam.

29:21 I want to tell something.

29:28 I want to tell something. I want to go back for a little while back to my Camp life. I remember that my mother has two.

29:38 Come to an Japanese officer.

29:43 My mother had to come to an Japanese officer because the Japanese officer I might have us Indonesian and they want to know why she by day they put her in Camp because she was married to a Dutchman.

29:58 And then you are Maddie to Dutchman. You have to go in Camp to and they they ordered my mother to go to to the officer and officer. By the way. I cannot really got the distance.

30:15 Go the Distance is so I think how a mile in my mother came back and my mother's whole feet. They pulled her earring off and a goat's thing to Jazz around tooth. They took that off and but thank God we had papaya leaves growing papaya tree growing in front of papaya Leaf. I could make some bandages and put it together and wet it and put it around my mother's feet. So that was that was that was another fairytale time for me and that took a lot for me to see my mother suffer like that even Dana she was overweight and she came out. She was Nineteen ninety-five pounds.

31:07 Because whatever she is safe for food to give that to us.

31:17 Afterpay.

31:19 Trains going back to me when you guys got married. And then when did you know he decided not to go. He said this is ridiculous, you know each other but we were we wanted to be married you wanted to be Maddie. I didn't like that you wouldn't Maddie but that's okay. Okay by 19 in 1962 in 1962. He know before death three years before that show 30 to 60 1960. He decides to go to immigrate to America because efficient America when he was in the merging money you visit America.

32:07 And he says that's a good country to go and I didn't want to go because I didn't want to leave my mother caught my attention when I first came to America is a crew member on the ship that people tend to help each other too much much more than Europe.

32:32 Sauces are they got a point that I'd like to live there 1962 you came and I cannot come with you because I had to wait 3 months because I couldn't prove that diverse European but later find out that my grandfather first Portuguese didn't know the name because later on I asked my mother. What is Opus name? My mother says, oh I forgot, but then you were gone with the plane in 1962.

33:10 My mother said, oh, I remember your grandfather's name the silver then I could go with over I could go with case to her to America. Well now you stay with me for a couple months.

33:30 I came alone. Oh, yeah The Beatles.

33:41 No death was no that's not why I came in nineteen. Oh, I came in 1963 and then my mother got sick and my mother was dying and my my phone says I didn't have money Heist bonuses as I pay your tickets and you stay with your mother a whole month and that's how I stayed with her mother and in 1964. I flew back in the Beatles such a thing in back of me and I didn't know and I'm I'm looking and I'll go over those people and yelling and screaming some of crying for that. This was my yeah. Yeah a little bit confused.

34:42 But you know that is shirts and sinks it comes up and then I don't want to cry because it's Petty if I think about it, sometimes I do think about something and then he doesn't the June 2nd.

34:58 It never left me.

35:04 The weather in America be adopted two children.

35:09 Amanda and Luella and see verse the first in 1965 and a 1987 BMW 205 feature and fifty years ago. Nobody want to adopt multiracial children and specially not orientals because they had too many for you know, how many nationalities in the mail because you had malaria.

35:48 That because you had the coin I that it made you.

35:55 Night night in Indonesia. People wants to get an abortion. They drink very strong cry 90. It's better than

36:08 So that's why I couldn't get the Allure you had got pregnant.

36:18 But I said to the people I said the minister that we go to church told us that we can adopt children in America.

36:27 And that's how he even with the minister to hopefully the mothers.

36:33 And there is this is this is how we got our children.

36:37 And they were little babies and I have never never you know, I just go to children, but I try to raise them as good as I can.

36:47 And we did it and I also don't understand the city size population is about 1 million people.

36:56 But a lot of those they have a special neighborhood just call the Jewish neighborhood in Jewish and if it all killed by the Germans and I brought in a little while out of the city into the country and I fired them all up and then all of all of Amsterdam smell like a big barbecue.

37:29 Do you have to cover these Society kid that you said that?

37:38 Cuz me.

37:40 Yeah America with Mom and you decided to start a family.

37:46 How did you feel when you became a dad?

37:50 Then I became.

37:58 I felt very good. I was very happy to have took two kids.

38:03 I'm still happy that the

38:07 We didn't mind if it was a boy or a girl. We just took what they because if you give birth to her children yourself, you have no choice either.

38:18 HIPAA when you came here to go when you came to America

38:26 Is your your career path? You didn't really like how did you choose who won the big ship at the hands and everything and that the first thing I found here was his job as a mechanic in a maintenance mechanic in a blessed company plastic bags company American cellophane and Plastic Bag Company.

38:56 And then that are you went to wear let me find an ad in the paper and it says Polaroid.

39:07 There's my yoga like me. I have no idea.

39:19 Polaroid yeah, I help you build and you make you made the boxes because you came home visit and you told me how to make the boxes and I said then we held each other the boxes for the film the sign for the film you designed it and then you design a safety safety things for the machines. So I got the one guy avidan what is handiness and you can yell don't put your hand in it is going to cut your fingers that he didn't listen and he cut his hand and they make your day did the sign that you made for the safety for the machine. They made the app and it was your design.

40:07 Used to take used to use me as your model for pictures me and Luella used to take pictures of of us with the cameras and put the special.

40:26 You have to finish do you love me?

40:33 How can I not love you? I hate you. I love you. I love you into a lot of pain and we went to a lot of crying but we made it to say. I always say we're what we're very strange family because what so many nationalities bre Avianca.

41:02 But the it last year, so I hope they must be must have done something, right.

41:22 I'm so