Sunday, May 20, 2012

R.I.P. Julien van Praag - Erudite Student of Life

Just received word that my Belgian cousin Julien van Praag (83) died this past night. We never met in real life, but we conducted an extensive email correspondence that started last September. Julien had been looking online for information about his father Jacques, whose ship was torpedoed in 1942, when he happened upon the material I posted about my father's younger brother on a page of the Community Platform hosted by the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. Eventually he connected with me thanks to Justine Pardoen. She's the co-owner/ editor of the Dutch online parental magazine Ouders Online, for which I wrote a column. Why show all these links?

Cousins, who hardly knew about one an other's existence, connect thanks to the Internet.

Between September 12, 2011 and May 4, 2012 we sent at least 150 emails to each other. I feel privileged to have known this gentleman, if only through our correspondence. He was one of the most open minded and empathic people I've come across. We shared many interests and I'm grateful he made the effort to connect with me and my husband Gary. For Julien paid attention to both of us, sending special links he thought might be of interest to the mate of his so much younger cousin.
We will miss him, and remember him. Our thoughts go out to his wife, son and daughter.

R.I.P. Julien you are remembered fondly couz, and with respect for all you've accomplished.

Julien was an avid gardener

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
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