blog | werkgroep caraïbische letteren

In Memoriam – Eva Abraham-Van der Mark

06-12-1934 – 07-01-2024

door Rita Mendes-Flohr 

I am terribly sad to share the news that my dear friend, Eva Abraham – van der Mark has left us, in her old age. I felt her frailty and sadness after her beloved Julian had died, when I visited her last February in Amsterdam, and was afraid it would be the last time I would see her. She was a beautiful flower that withered after a magnificent, long, bloom.

For years, I have always visited Eva and Julian in their magical townhouse near the Concert Gebouw in Amsterdam’s Old South, on my 12-hour stopovers between my flight from Curaçao to the one back to Israel. We would always sit at the long dining table in their large, comfortable kitchen on the bottom floor – their main living space – full of slow-moving cats that seemed part of the furnishings. We would talk for hours, catching up about our children and grandchildren, about Eva’s sociological research, and most of all, about the horrors of the Israeli occupation, and my little efforts to oppose it, that interested her immensely. Both Eva and Julian were extremely well informed about Israel – I cannot say the same about my knowledge of Dutch politics.

Eva van der Mark

Just last week, I thought of calling her, as I often do, to wish her “een Gelukkig Niew Jaar”, a happy New Year, but then I thought that she might be too frail to answer, and, on the other hand, should she still be as sharp as she always was, I would not be able to justify myself to her, for staying in a country with its total destruction of Gaza, even though I am certain she would have been utterly horrified by the massacre of October 7, as she always had a warm heart for the Jewish people, having lived through the German Occupation of Holland.

At times I would spend the night in the lovely bedroom under the roof of that narrow four-story old house that still held their children’s toys, or were they antique toys from Eva’s own childhood?

I was completely taken by the crocodile skeleton in the elegant living room with the gilded mirror and large, floor-length windows on the second floor – a skeleton that Eva and Julian had managed to bring, intact, all the way from Brazil. On my last visit in February 2023, I rested on the couch in that room, and took some photos.

Most of all, the magic spell of that house was epitomized by the Dama di Nochi – the Queen of the Night cactus – that they brought back from Curaçao – or was it Bonaire? – as Julian was from a Lebanese family that settled on that island a few generations ago. Unfortunately, I never had the fortune to see it bloom during my short visits.

This is what I think of, when I remember Eva, what characterizes her beautiful, gentle spirit: how she told me she would stay up all night when the Dama di Nochi was blooming, as if standing guard over it, shielding it from harm, while she herself was transported into another, enchanted world.

May she rest in peace.

Ontleend aan de Facebookpagina van Rita Mendes-Flohr

Your comment please...

  • RSS
  • Facebook
  • Twitter