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The IngeBorg Lariby Biography

Posted 19 Jul 2011 at 09:35 AM by Culto


The life-story of INGEBORG LARIBY (42), the Dutch 9/11 victim.

by Gerlof Leistra, Elsevier Magazine, September 6th 2006.

Tuesday morning September 11th 2001. From her office on the 93rd floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York IngeBorg Lariby calls her parents in Malaga, Spain at 8.55 local time.
They just wake up from their siesta. "Don't panic. A plane flew against the North Tower. I am okay."
In their luxury apartment with view on the Mediterranean Sea Claude and Bettina immediately switch on the television. On CNN they see that the North Tower is in flames. They are shocked, just like everybody. But IngeBorg is safe, thank God.
Eight minutes later something dark moves on the screen. A fly? A helicopter circling around the Twin Towers? Suddenly a huge inferno of flames rises up from the South Tower. They panic. IngeBorg will never come out of it again, if she isn't able to get away in time!
In shock, her parents keep watching until deep in the night. A repeting scene from a horror-movie.

The next day Claude and Bettina hope against the odds that their daughter is in a hospital, wounded. An unknown victim with loss of memory. Bettina expects a phone-call any time:"Hi mom. I'm okay!"
For a moment it seems like a bad dream. The World Trade Center Survivor Database reports September 12th at 14.27 on IngeBorg Lariby: "fine!" However, Claude doesn't believe it when he reads the name of another 'survivor': Osama Bin Bush.
Because she doesn't call, the truth gradually appears: IngeBorg is dead. A woman in the power of her life. Attractive. Full of life. And entirely at her place in New York. Of all cities IngeBorg lived - Amsterdam, Milan, London, Vienna, Brussels, Casablanca, Santiago and Sao Paulo - New York is her favorite. For its global image and, as she writes in an essay about her addiction to New York, "because nobody cares whether you're 20, 40, gay or seperated."

IngeBorg has been renting flexible office space as a Center Manager for Regus Business Corporation in the WTC to companies all over the world since March 2001. She is well-qualified for that function. Apart from English and Dutch IngeBorg speaks fluently German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. She enjoys her job and the thrilling life in The Big Apple.
The only thing lacking after her divorce in 1997 is a regular partner. As a joke she enters her profile, with some friends, at a dating-site in July 2001:

"Adventerous, independant and well-traveled: I am an European woman who has had a colourful life in multiple countries. I speak my languages, I've got a succesful career which already brought me to many cities, but Manhattan is now my home. I've got high demands, though I'm not a snob, I am full of confidence but not arrogant, love the good things in life, but it doesn't need to have an expensive price-tag. I love the open air, enjoy being in the mountains (skiing) or at sea (sailing). But first of all I am an urban person, love culture, movies, art or just as simple dinner with an excellent glass of wine in the Village or Tribeca. I like it to be fit, but I'm not obsessed. I appreciate my independance, but also believe I can share my life with someone with the same attitude and who is looking for more than superficial dates at popular places and in noisy bars."

Between all reactions there is only one which really attracts her: Gerald 'Gerry' Mackenzie, journalist, half Cuban, half Canadian. Big and blond. Sloppy clothes, but spiritual. From early August on they date intensively. In the first weeks IngeBorg is still a bit cautious. For she had made a wrong choice before. But they match and she is very happy. IngeBorg even tells friends early September she is thinking about children.

IngeBorg Astrid Desiree Lariby was born in New York in Doctors Hospital , Manhattan on Sunday July 5th 1959. Because her parents are Dutch, she gets dual citizenship. Just like her three years older sister Sacha. Because of their father“s high positions at a Dutch bank - ABN AMRO - the family needs to relocate regularly. From 1962-1965 the family lives in Maroc. IngeBorg goes to the French school in Casablanca and picks up the French language rapidly.
She spends her young years, from her sixth to her fourteenth, in Amsterdam-South. A blond girl with the image of a princess. She goes to ballet and she walks upright.
Paul Vinken - son of former Elsevier-CEO Pierre Vinken - remembers his classmate of the Openluchtschool in the Cliostraat as a 'blond beauty.' All the boys were in love with her. "IngeBorg was a cosmopolitan girl: with her family she had seen a lot of the world. IngeBorg had seen any movie three months before. The same applied for new toys and books. But she didn't boast about her life style."
At school she was motivated, but not oustandingly smart. "Typical middle-of-the road. IngeBorg quickly understood you had to work hard to achieve something in life. Already as the eleven, twelve years old girl she had the attitude of an entrepreneur."
She's got that perseverance from her father, everybody says. In Milan, where the family has been living since 1973, IngeBorg , fourteen years old, goes to a model agency all by herself. She is still too young for the real work, but returns home proudly with professional photos.
The full blond Lariby sisters - the name is supposedly of Scandinavian descent - are popular among the Italian boys. The house is full of people during parties and they listen to Italian pop-music.
Their education is dedicated to culture. The girls, in evening dresses, go with their parents to an opera in the Scala once every two, three weeks. Through the bank father Lariby has his own four seats-loge. Thanks to him IngeBorg learns to appreciate classical music. He plays the piano after his work daily for an hour or so and they regularly visit classic concerts together.

Travelling is her thing and IngeBorg loves adventure. Together with Sacha and an Italian friend she backpacks through America and Mexico for two months in 1977. After the International School in Milan IngeBorg announces to everyone's surpise that she will study in London. She achieves a bachelor in Business Administration and she feels at home in London. She lives together with a Scottish friend she met during a ski-holiday. Right in front of her apartment she parks her pride and joy: a Morris Mini.
Right after her graduation - in the early eighties - IngeBorg travels around the world for a year, including Hawaii and Australia. On the way she has cleaning-jobs or rents herself as baby-sit in order to obtain sufficient money. According to one of her friends, Briton Matthew Fuller:
" IngeBorg was glamorous even with a backpack. " He met her in a swimming-pool in Darwin, Australia in 1985. "We matched and we became friends for life." IngeBorg has the social gift to make friends easily from her mother.

After the relationship with her Scottish boyfriend ends, IngeBorg packs her suitcases and lives at her parents' home temporarily, who recently moved from Milan to Brussels.
In 1987 IngeBorg becomes the public relations-manager of the Sheraton. After that she works as personal assistent of Mark Dixon, the British founder of Regus Business Corporation, a world-wide providor of flexible office facilities.
She replaces the Morris Mini for a small red sportscar. She prefers to spend the weekends in De Ardennen: canoeing, walking, camping outside. But she also enjoys the Brussels nightlife: movies, concerts, restaurants. During a night out like that she meets Andrew, a real Briton. He works at the finance department of Procter & Gamble. They live togther five years and then decide to marry. Their marriage - in February 1995 - is celebrated at the wine-farm of friends of Andrew near Cape Town, South Africa. According to friends the bride's list was the most expensive they had ever seen.

When Andrew has to move to Chile for his job, IngeBorg resigns from Regus and she moves with him to Santiago. Because the Chilean government doesn't allow her to have a paid job, she gets involved in volunteer activities: the introduction and assisting of newcomers.
It doesn't take long before IngeBorg is the thriving centre of an international club of friends: El Club Del Fin Del Mundo (the Club of the End of the World.) In this mixed group of people there are latin playboys and married couples, cowgirls from Colorado and New York yups. Among them there are early birds who are playing tennis in Central Parc on Saturday mornings at 7.00 already and night owls who only wake up in the afternoon for tapas in Madrid. The 'members' share the urge to see each other as much as possible. Founded in Chile, the first gathering of El Club El Fin Del Mundo is in Acapulco, Mexico. After that more meetings are scheduled in New York, Amsterdam, Guadeloupe, Madrid, Vienna and Brazil.

Her mariage with Andrew ends early 1997 and IngeBorg moves to New York. She can return at Regus and she opens an office at Park Avenue. Because of her experience and language-skills she is regularly transferred to other places to open branches and train staff. Thus she lives and works in for instance: Panama, Sao Paulo, Madrid and Vienna for a couple of months.

For Regus she opens a second office in the WTC in March 2001.
Her father has mixed feelings about that location and he refers to the 1993 bombing. The evacuation was a disaster. But IngeBorg laughs away his fear: "Oh, dad!"
At Regus IngeBorg earns about 100,000 dollar a year. Enough for a vibrant life on her own. Her life slogan is carpe diem: seize the day! She likes sports, skiing, sailing, jogging, skeeling in Central Parc. With friends she visits museums, movies and concerts: Lenny Kravitz and Crowded House, but also Luciano Pavaroti, Placido Domingo and Josč Carreras. She likes to eat in small exotic restaurants - IngeBorg always knows about a good Vietnamese - and she likes designer clothes. But neither does she avoid a rough journey through Alaska, together with her friend Patricia Schaafsma, a Dutch lawyer.

Through email and phone IngeBorg keeps in intensive contact with her international circle of friends. Schaafsma: "Her warmth and interest in her friends' wherabouts did't know any borders or time zones. She was very loyal and has a big heart."
Her apartment in East Village - model shoebox , 3000 dollar a month - is open for anyone. A pregnant friend can sleep in her bed: IngeBorg sleeps on the sofa in the living room. She daily chats with her aged neighbour Doris. Doris gets her key.
She organizes a dinner or a party on a regular basis. Her birthday on July 5th every time is a happening. First The Fourth of July - the national holiday - , then enjoying the fireworks in the New York sky and at midnight: Happy Birthday!

IngeBorg reads a lot and she is a regular customer of bookshop Barnes & Noble. A couple of times a year she brings some of the newest books to her parents. She has talent for writing travel stories. Enthusiastically she follows a writing course non-fiction. Thanks to Regus the students have a top rank location for a bargain: in the WTC.
March 2001 IngeBorg writes an essay about her New York Addiction: "New York is my hurt lover. He brings a rollercoaster of emotions to me. One day is full of passion, my heart beating of excitement; the next day is full of intense hate. [...] Regularly I look for the peace of exotic places, far away. But I don't persevere long, soon enough I am longing for my return - like a junkie."

New York, with its excellent flight-connections, is the perfect travel point for IngeBorg. She visits friends all around the world and is capable of calling from New York on Thursday night to suggest she drops by in Malaga travelling to Milan or Madrid in the weekend. Or she visits her sister Sacha and her Italian partner Guido in Brussels.
Also at her parents home she is very active. In the early morning she runs across the luxury suburb in Malaga downhill to jog along the boulevard. Headphones on. And she talks with everybody in the apartment complex for rich seniors.
The English Gerry and his Danish wife Bente tell her that they will come to New York in May 2001. IngeBorg instantly gives them three email addresses. "A golden girl! We thought she wouldn't have time for us, but on the very first night we were already having dinner with her in a great pizzaria near Central Station. She 'forced' us to move from our hotel on Long Island to a much better address in Manhattan and she adviced us what to do. "Go to Empire State Building at 9.00 AM, then there won't be any queues. She had just opened her new office and she proudly showed us around."

On July 4th 2001 IngeBorg hosts a great party on the roof of her apartment with the slogan: "life works!" There are friends of many nationalities. IngeBorg laughs a lot and she starts feeling happy again after her divorce. She has a boyfriend every now and then , but more and more she feels the need for a steady relationship. A friend summarizes: "IngeBorg could get anyone, but she couldn't find him. "
Finally she found a soulmate in the blond Cuban Canadian Gerry Mackenzie.

In the early morning of September 11th 2001, like every working day, IngeBorg Lariby walks from her apartment in East Village to the South Tower of the WTC in 45 minutes. Forty blocks. Headphones on.
Her ex-husband Andrew, with whom she has been in contact again recently, wants to visit that day to check out the possibilties for a video-conference in the WTC. Regus facilitates these.
On the 93rd floor she speaks enthusiastically with Carlos de la Torre, one of her 'clients', about her coming holiday to Cuba. She has got a ticket for Saturday September, 15th. Just after that, at 8.46, a huge quantity of paper flatters past the window. A bit later De la Torre sees smoke and detects a pungent burning smell. Together with a colleague he decides to leave the tower immediately, from the 93rd floor to the lobby. Despite his insistence IngeBorg stays at her position: first she wants to be sure that all of her clients are safe.
As soon as she hears the North Tower was hit by a plane, she makes a phone call to her boss Mark Dixon, among others, and she mails a worried friend who wasn't able to contact her: "I'm okay!" She calls her parents in Malaga at 8.55.
Exactly eight minutes later flight 175 of United Airlines hits the South Tower. The impact is between the 78th and the 84th floor, a number of floors beneath IngeBorg's office.
After the impact in the North Tower IngeBorg still could have run downstairs, but she stays at her position. The captain is always the last one to leave the ship. Furthermore there is this warning: "stay were you are!"

Because the South Tower was hit lower than the North Tower, thus more weight is pressing on the damaged floors, this one collapses earlier, at 9.59. The North Tower collapses at 10.28. About 200 people die at the South Tower impact. More than 600 people above the impact zone have no way to go. The elevators don't function, the stairways are blocked. After all, it turns out that stairway A was still open, but almost nobody knew about it." The ones who stayed behind weren't informed about that escape route", Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn write in their detailed reconstruction: 102 minutes. The struggle to survive in the World Trade Center through the eyes of the ones in the Towers.
The information that the stairway was still intact doesn't reach the firefighter-commanders, nor the 911 emergency-center, nor the tv-news, "thus neither the location where it would have been of life interest. Just like the Titanic's lifeboats sailed away half-empty, stairway A was used only scarcely."

From his near apartment, where he's just having a yoga-lesson, her boyfriend Gerry Mackenzie witnesses everything right before his eyes. Where is IngeBorg?! He wants to leave a message on her voicemail, but it is full already. In between the more than forty messages there is also one from her mother.
Her friends hope she was able to escape from the fires. IngeBorg is a sporty girl: she runs down those 93 floors easily!
When they don't hear anything from her, they visit all hospitals. in order to determine her DNA, her friend Martijn de Pee, with whom she had dinner only monday evening, goes to her apartment and he asks Doris for the key. In her apartment he takes IngeBorg's hair from a comb. And he goes to her dentist for her dental records.
But silence remains. September 21 Claude and Bettina Lariby authorize by fax one of Claude's former employees to retrieve valuable objects from her apartment.
They give up hope one week later: IngeBorg is dead. They publish a death-announcement in De Telegraaf of September 29th:

After long uncertainty, to our deep sadness we inform you, that during the tragic event of September 11th in New York, perished our intensely loved daughter, sister and sister-in-law

Centre Manager Regus
World Trade Center, South Tower, 93 fl., New York

A month later, October 27th, her parents organize a memorial for IngeBorg in Malaga and New York simultaneously. Sacha and Guido are in New York to take care of the issues there and to empty IngeBorg's apartment. Neighbour Doris is richly endowed. Sacha only takes away the personal belongings.

The time-interval between 8.55 - the last call to her parents - and the moment the South Tower collapses, a bit more than one hour later, is one black hole. How IngeBorg died, nobody knows exactly. Was her death due to the flames? Or due to the smoke?
Father Claude hopes she was unconscious instantly by the explosion and the toxic vapors.
"But I don't want to think of it. What's the purpose of that? She was cremated. Atomized."

About a year and a half after the attack they receive a transparent plastic bag from the New York City Police Department. In it there are four creditcards with IngeBorg's name on it: one of Diners Club International, a bankcard of Citibank, a card of Cigna Health Care and a Membership Card of Blockbuster. The cards look dusty and dented.
This is all what left behind of IngeBorg. Murdered and burnt in the city she loved so much. On September 11th 2001.
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