21 Mar 2017

Kaunos

Dalyan in Turkey is not a typical holiday resort. The city is located at a river which connects a lake with the river delta. For that reason a lot goes by boat. Rumour has it that parts of the movie ‘African Queen’ with Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart has been shot here. Of course you can also go by a rowing boat to the other side of that river. But it’s no Hades over there. Up in the rocks you see enormous sculptured tombs. That starts to make curious. But the tombs are not easy to climb and it’s forbidden nowadays. Fortunately there is another ruin city to visit: Kaunos. Ruins usually mean that tourists run around between stones and buy souvenirs. But here things are different.

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This book is the result of more than a year and a half of research and tells of three things: first the history of two courageous men, Ernst and Walter Proehl, a banker, art collector and his son, during the First and Second World War. These two German bankers, who were naturalized in the Netherlands, were sandwiched in an unprecedented manner in the Second World War by their former fatherland as well as by the Netherlands, bureaucratically and un-bureaucratically.

The Germans saw the two as ‘friends of Jews’. In fact they were. And both they were suspected of a direct and indirect role in the resistance. At the end of the Second World War, the Dutch government put a spoke in their wheel by providing ‘anti-aid’ in the recovery of paintings and art objects. Secondly the book shows a picture of the financial world under the pressure of German aggression and oppression during the Second World War.

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