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Joost van den Vondel
Lou Lichtveld (1903–1996) was a Dutch-Suriname politician, writer, playwright, and a member of the resistance in the Second World War, he was a descendant of the coloured elite of Suriname and partly of Native Indian descent.
His debut as a writer was in 1926 under the pseudonym Albert Helman with the novel ‘Zuid-Zuid-West’ [South-South-West] about Suriname and the neglect and exploitation by Dutch colonisation, followed by a book on a similar theme, ‘De Stille Plantage’ [The Silent Plantation]. Many novels, essays and poems would follow. Also he engaged in filmmaking, in 1929 he composed the music for Joris Ivens’ ‘Regen’ [Rain].
In 1932 Helman moved to Spain and fought on the republican side in the Spanish Civil War. For newspapers such as NRC Handelsblad and de Groene Amsterdammer he wrote accounts on the struggle for survival by the republic against the fascists of general Francisco Franco. In 1937 he fled the country, after heavy intimidation on account of his articles. He travelled through France to the Netherlands, from where he departed for Mexico. In 1939 he returned in the Netherlands. Here he was struck by/was attracted to the fat of the Jewish immigrants coming from Germany to the Netherlands. For the ‘Comité voor Bijzondere Joodse Belangen’ [Committee for Special Jewish Interests] he wrote the book ‘Millioenen-leed’ [Suffering of Millions].
At the beginning of the war, Helman had to go in to hiding, he was a known anti-fascist, and could no longer appear in public. He remained active in the resistance and falsified identity papers, published resistance poetry, and protested against State Commissionary Seyss-Inquart and the founding of the so-called ‘Kultuurkamer’ [Chamber of Culture] forcing all artists to become a member. He wrote in the illegal journal ‘Vrije Kunstenaar’ and, after sculptor and member of the resistance Gerrit van der Veen was arrested in 1944, he became his successor as editor. In wartimes he used many pseudonyms such as Joost van den Vondel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hypertonides en Nico Slob. He was a member of the ‘Grote Raad van de Illegaliteit’ [the great council of illegality].
Lichtveld wrote also together with his wife Leni Mengelberg several cookbooks under the pseudonym Marion Bekker, such as ‘Lekker koken voor weinig geld: honderd goedkope recepten’ [tasty cooking for little money: a hundred cheap recipes] and ‘Kook eens iets anders!, een kuur van buitenlandsche recepten’ [cook differently! a variety of foreign recipes].
See also Leni Mengelberg.
‘Albert Helman’, Wikipedia, retrieved 30 July 2013
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