A few weeks ago, Hollerado frontman, Menno Versteeg, came out with a documentary for ‘So It Goes’ from the band’s most recent album, White Paint. The song, written soon after his grandfather’s death, recounts the late Versteeg’s time in Holland during WWII. Versteeg’s grandfather was a young man living in Rotterdam during the German occupation of Holland. He had joined the Dutch Resistance and pretended to be a veterinarian to undermine the Nazi presence in his country. Eventually, he was found out and was at the mercy of a Nazi soldier who was planning to kill him but, in a moment of heroic empathy, decided to give him two years of solitary confinement. That same understanding was returned when the Nazi soldier was on trial after the war and was facing a similar fate for his involvement during the war. Menno Versteeg’s grandfather went to the trial and testified on the soldier’s behalf, and was instrumental in saving his life. This circle was completed through Menno Versteeg’s short documentary, which chronicles his meeting with the German soldier’s grandson.
In the Spring, Hollerado went to Rotterdam to film the music video for ‘So It Goes’, but also made a pit stop in Germany to meet up with Versteeg’s German counterpart. When they met, those two strangers linked by a powerful and defining shared history seemed to rush right into conversation, learning about each other and the existence each owed the other’s grandfather. At the end of the meeting they both said goodbye and expressed their gratitude for that moment and the one that preceded it nearly half a century earlier.
So, why should we care about this now?
For starters it’s an amazing story and the song that corresponds is surprisingly upbeat and invigorating for a topic so bleak. As the summer comes to close, the story carries a good reminder to usher us into the year’s final third. As the beginning of new academic year and busier work seasons come about, many of us find ourselves making Fall resolutions – perhaps reiterations of the ones made eight months earlier. This probably one of the toughest times of the year – many of us, or at least those with a procrastination tendency, are trying to fit in the goals we’ve been meaning to get to year ’round. Whatever you’ve been meaning to get around to, as pleasant as finally taking that week off for vacation or getting ready to rake leaves is, remember this: be empathetic, be brave and remember, “Oh so it goes, / Can’t tell the wind / Which way to blow.”