Why this motto ?
The contextual translation of “Nunquam Non Paratus” from Latin into English is ‘Never Not Ready’ or ‘Never Unprepared’.
I wanted to use this motto as it sums up how I aim to live, to never be caught unprepared, in a battle sense of way and in a peaceful way to never be not ready to see the beauty around you.
I chose the outline of star fort Bourtange (est. 1593) as a visual presentation of our motto Nunquam Non Paratus. And because while visiting ‘Bourtange’ it was the last time my entire family was physically together in one place.
Last week I had contact with a gentleman from Israel and although we’ve never met (yet) I knew that I was talking to a Brother. We spoke about knives (duh…) and when I came upon his last post on his Instagram page I saw an image that was so strong, that it ‘sat’ in my head for days.
*This is Chief Instructor Ron Engelman’s post on his IG account:
@ronengelman – My grandmother started to crying a moment after this picture was taken. My mother thought it had upset her. But she explained that the opposite was true. As a survivor of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp who lost her parents and family in World War 2, holding my rifle was a meaningful experience for her. She understood that me, my rifle and my brothers and sisters who serve in the Israeli Defense Force alongside me are a guarantee that our people will never suffer a similar fate again. She cried as she said a quick prayer of thanks. When people ask me why I risk my life and take on the hardships that go with serving in a combat unit in the IDF, I say that its a privilege. One that our grandparents didn’t have. Even today we are surrounded by nations who would like to exterminate us, and perhaps we always will be. But today we have the means to fight back and protect ourselves. Ron Engelman Chief Instructor KMDI. #neveragain #kravmaga #kmdi #ww2 #yadvashem #israel #family #peace #idf #brotherhood #honor #inspiration #motivation #survival #vivtory #love #hope #faith #military #soldier #sheepdog #army
This post stuck with me for days and made me think of my years in the Netherlands. In school I had to learn about our country that was overrun and surrendered to Germany in 4 days in WWII , while our ‘Royal Family’ fled to England.
One summer day as my family was visiting star fort Bourtange we were seated close to a very nicely restored building. We learned later that this was the old synagogue of Bourtange. While my family was enjoying a cool drink and conversation, my eye catches this plaque on the building and my attention.
A plaque with all these names, and a variety of ages of people – I had to get up and take a closer look. I so vividly remember the sinking feeling, realizing that on the same place we were enjoying our freedom, it was the same place as al these people were rounded up for transport to the death camps in Germany in WWII.
Where the story of fort Bourtange has always intrigued me as to its strength and clever design to withstand attacks for so many years – it was clearly not up to protect against the modern warfare of the early 1940’s.
Note: *When you live in Holland you’ll find these plaques in random places, to help you remember where Jewish people, or people that fought back were either arrested or executed. And this is only a generation and a half up from us ! Our grandparents definitely were suffering throughout the war, while many of my generations parents were born just before or in the war. (Listen to them – and learn!)
I still read the names on the plaque out loud at times, as I feel as long as I still read them they are not forgotten!
“You think Anne Frank would have liked to have the opportunity to put a round or two in the traitor that gave up her family, or the SS-Oberscharführer Karl Silberbauer that rounded them up on that fateful morning of August 4th 1944? I think yes is the answer…” – yours truly, your knifemaker…
It cemented a feeling that I feel very strong about – FREEDOM… And the lengths I would go to to protect it.
Freedom to live in peace, freedom to be equipped to protect that peace.
Now I had to look at my (former) country through foreign eyes, as I’ve lived in several other countries for many years. I learned that there was a tremendous shift in the Netherlands after WWI to disarm its population. The people were told by the government to ‘trust’ the police and military to be the only ones armed (remember it took less than a week to capitulate, and the Dutch police was used by the occupying German army to disarm and round up the Romani and Jewish people in WWII)
It is because of the stories of my grandparents that passed on the knowledge to fear an oppressive regime, the stories of my dad that was fed flowerbulbs as a child to survive, and stories of my mom that remembered her fear of the groups of soldiers marching through their streets going door to door to pick out the people they deemed had to go.
This is the reason why I live by and believe in Nunquam Non Paratus !
And as my (very) Dutch last name – Achterhuis – translates to “the annex” it was used as a title for Anne Frank’s diary when it was published in the Dutch language. It refers to the last part of the house, where Anne and her family was hiding from the Germans. So from an early age I was made aware of the additional heritage given to my last name. A heritage given by this young girl that wrote her diary.
”In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever aproaching thunder, which will distroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up to the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquillity will return again.”
Anne Frank – (age 14 at the time of writing this) , The Diary of a Young Girl / the secret annex – aka – Het Achterhuis
I am stunned that at more than double her age I am not even half the person this little girl was. The trust and compassion shown could be blamed on her tender age – but nonetheless is something to aspire to !
Thank you Anne for your legacy, thank you Ron, and thank you Ron’s grandmother (Freda) that made me realize how lucky we are and how hard we have to fight to keep it like this. #trustbutverify #bekind #nunquamnonparatus
**if you stuck with me till here pls do me this favor: read the names – so that they will not be forgotten!
I wish you a safe and happy RED Friday * Remember Everyone Deployed !