The effects of Operation Market Garden are still being felt today.


Operation Market Garden started on September 17 1944. It was supposed to end the war in the Netherlands.But the operation failed, as a result the war was prolonged for several months,compounded with one of the severest winters on record it resulted in a famine for the northern provinces.


But there was more,as a form of reprisal the Germans started stealing everything valuable they could find. although Market Garden failed the Germans knew the war was coming to an end and they would be on the losing side.

Dr J.H. Smidt van Gelder, the director of the children’s hospital in Arnhem, stored 6 works of art in a bank vault for safekeeping during the Second World War.


One of the pieces was a painting called The Oyster Meal by Jacob Ochtervelt The paintings were looted in January 1945, when the Nazis plundered the town.Although the instructions were given not to loot the banks a German officer called Temmler paid no attention to those instructions.

Even Himmler had warned about Temmler, he said he would bring disrespect to the Nazi party, killing millions was okay, but stealing art was disrespectful.

The painting then made a bit of a mysterious journey. In 1971 was acquired by the property  Harold Samuel,  it had  painting reappeared on the Swiss art market ,a few decades after the war, where Harold Samuel bought it

Harold Samuel  bequeathed the painting to the City of London Corporation in 1987, on condition that they be shown permanently in Mansion House.

The Commission for Looted Art in Europe uncovered the history of the painting and discovered the rightful owners. Samuel’s daughters agreed to waive the condition so that The Oyster Meal could be returned to Charlotte Bischoff van Heemskerck, the daughter of Dr van Gelder,she is now aged 97.

It was returned to her in November 2017.

The painting went  on auction at Sotheby’s in July 2018, and was sold for estimated value 1.6 Million Pounds Sterling.

oyster meal




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  1. Jan Brouwer says:

    Goedenavond Mr. De Klein,

    Ik neem aan dat de tekst in het Nederlands mag.

    Het doel van operatie market Garden was niet de bevrijding van Nederland, maar het vestigen van een sterk bruggenhoofd tussen Arnhem en Nunspeet (IJsselmeer) met het front naar het oosten en diepe uitlopers over de IJssel.

    De evacuatie van Arnhemmers had niets te maken met operatie MG. Was er ieder geval geen gevolg van. De Duitsers vreesden 23 september 1944 voor een nieuw geallieerd offensief; na de luchtlandingen bij Overasselt en de aanval op Bemmel en Elst. Bovendien kon de in Nijmegen gearriveerde geallieerde artillerie Arnhem bereiken. Van 23 tot 25 september moesten de inwoners van zuid naar noord de stad verlaten.

    Daarna konden de Duitsers de stad plunderen.

    Vriendelijke groeten,

    Jan Brouwer


    1. dirkdeklein says:

      Geachte Heer Brouwer, het kan in Nederlands. In de blog zeg ik ook niet dat het doel was om Nederland te bevrijden maar om een voorspoedig einde aan de oorlog te brengen. Het ging me in principe meer in het blog om de gestolen kunstwerken. Maar ik dank U voor uw feedback. Groetjes,Dirk


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