Martin Roemers


Gerard Tieman (b. 1926 in the Netherlands) was blinded during the Second World War (WWII). 'In 1943, I was training to be a chemical analyst while also working as an assistant at the university laboratory in Utrecht. At the lab I was secretly making highly combustible substances. A resistance group in Amsterdam was going to use them to set fire to buildings like the municipal record office. I was given the formulae and created flammable compounds from nitrates, chlorates, red phosphorus and aluminium powder. One day, while I was working on these substances once again, I noticed that something wasn't quite right about the mixture in the test beaker. Seconds later, it exploded in my face. I couldn't see anything but I thought that they would be able to fix me up in the hospital. When I heard that I was not going to regain my sight, I quickly accepted my fate. After a couple of weeks in the hospital, I was already singing in bed. You just have to make the best of it. It's only now, that I experience blindness as being a real handicap. I'm caring for my disabled, eighty-nine-year-old wife and it's difficult to know what she's getting up to. She turns on the washing machine without putting the washing in; she forgets to take her medication and walks around the house at night. Blindness is a real problem here. My wife is the nurse who gave me morphine on the day of the accident. We've been married for sixty-two years.

Object Name
Martin Roemers
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