The last installment of this story told how the Dutch Saints raised 67 tons of potatoes and shipped them to the German Saints in 1947, in what might almost be called a miraculous act of brotherhood following the starvation imposed on the Dutch nation by Germany by the end of World War II. This installment will be short, because there really isn’t much to tell: The Dutch Saints did it again in 1948 – this photograph shows one Dutch branch at harvest time, with men, women, and children turning out to plow up and pick up the crop, knowing that every last potato was destined to go to someone else.
Only instead of 67 tons of potatoes, they grew 90 tons.
And even that wasn’t enough to satisfy their desire to help their German brothers and sisters.
While most of us today suffer from the too-easy availability of protein and fat, the opposite condition existed in much of Europe following the war. Meat was virtually non-existent, and fats of all kinds were in desperately short supply.
There wasn’t much the Dutch Saints could do to produce protein and fat in the odd lots and roadside strips they used to grow their vegetables, but there was one thing they could do. Even in the poverty of the post-war years, those Saints reached deep into their pockets and contributed what cash they found to a fund to buy herring for shipment to Germany. Herring was chosen especially for its high fat content, as well as its general abundance in the seas off the Dutch coast.
They bought nine tons of herring, enough barrels of fish to fill an entire train car. The packed fish passed strict Dutch government inspection standards – even in those years of need, the Dutch government would allow only the finest fish to be exported; anything less might have damaged their reputation and postponed economic recovery.
That fish and all those potatoes, in their bags and barrels, was loaded by missionary labor onto six train cars. The loaders had miscalculated the number of sacks they had, though, and they badly overloaded the sixth car in order to get all the potatoes on their way. The car was so overweight that it broke down – fortunately while still in Holland where other cars could be found. The sacks were divided between two new train cars, and those cars trailed the rest of the shipment into Germany a few days later.
Dutch Mission President Cornelius Zappey arranges for the purchase of herring with funds raised by the Dutch Saints.
Dutch members contributed enough cash to purchase nine tons of herring.
Loading the box cars with sacked potatoes, raised by the Dutch Saints wherever they could obtain plots of ground for their Welfare project.
Missionaries who contributed their labor – lots of it! – to load 90 tons of potatoes and 9 tons of fish onto train cars.
President Zappey watches a customs official seal the train cars of Welfare supplies bound for Germany.
(To be continued: How the German Saints responded)