Freedom at last-Liberation Day-May 5,1945

The Netherlands had been occupied by the Nazis between May 15th 1940,after the Dutch forces surrendered, and May 1945. Although many parts had already been liberated by autumn 1944.

The official liberation day was set on May 5,1945. The Netherlands had a population at the time of about 8.8 million. During the 5 years of occupation approximately 210,000 Dutch men and women had died of war-related causes. Of that number , 6,700 were military casualties. One number that stands out though is that of the Jews, who were either Dutch or were refugees. It is estimated that between 104,000 and 107,000 of the 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust, which makes it about 75% of the Jewish population. It is the highest number per capita in Europe. This is one of the most shameful part of Dutch history. Many Dutch and especially the Dutch civil service and the administrative infrastructure, aided the Nazi occupiers. Eichmann was once quoted as saying “The transports run so smoothly that it is a pleasure to see.”

About 18,000 Dutch citizens died during the famine of 1944/45, caused by the hunger winter. Additionally to the deaths in the Netherlands there were another 30,000 deaths in the Dutch East Indies, now called Indonesia, either while fighting the Japanese or in camps as Japanese POWs. Dutch civilians were also held in these camps.

The Netherlands had the highest per capita death rate of all Nazi-occupied countries in Western Europe (2.36%).

At least 2 of my family died. My uncle, my mother’s brother, Johannes Jager died on December 6,1944. He did see the liberation of my hometown Geleen on September 18,1994, but the strain of the war and his ill health proved too much. My Father’s dad ,Jan de Klein died on May 12 1942, he was 47 at the time. He had been in the Dutch Army when the Nazis invaded, he was executed but the reasons why are still unknown to me. I have resigned myself to the fact that I probably will never find out.

The Netheralnds was liberated by Canadian forces, British infantry divisions, the British I Corps, the 1st Polish Armoured Division, American, Belgian, Dutch and Czechoslovak troops. Parts of the country, in particular the south-east, were liberated by the British Second Army which also included American and Polish airborne forces . On 5 May 1945, at Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen, Canadian Corps commander Lieutenant-General Charles Foulkes and Oberbefehlshaber Niederlande commander-in-chief General oberst Johannes Blaskowitz reached an agreement on the capitulation of all German forces in the Netherlands.

The capitulation document was signed the next day (no typewriter had been available the previous day ) in the auditorium of Wageningen Agricultural University, located next door to the Hotel.

Initially liberation day was celebrated on August 31,1945 to coincide with Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday ,However in 1946 the Dutch government decided to celebrate the liberation on the 5th of May.

Initially Liberation Day was celebrated every five years. In 1990 the day was declared a national holiday when liberation would be remembered and celebrated every year. Festivals are held in most places in the Netherlands with parades of veterans and musical festivals throughout the whole country.

A friend of mine once said “Freedom isn’t free” not only did many Dutch pay the price for this freedom. There were many others who paid an equally high price. Many men and women who fought to liberate the country. They fought although they were strangers, they recognized that evil should never be tolerated.

Sources

https://web.archive.org/web/20100915150604/http://www.wageningen1940-1945.nl/Capitulatie/Wageningen%205%20mei%201945.htm

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May 4 Remembering the dead

May 4 is the designated day in the Netherlands to remember all those who died in WWII and other conflicts.

At 8PM , 2 minutes of silence will be observed across the country. A few yeas ago I saw a picture that really touched me , It was of a pizza delivery boy getting of his bike at 8 and stopped 2 minutes to remember the dead. It still brings tears to me eyes today, not out of sadness but out of joy. It is good to know that the younger generations still know the value of respect. Especially for those who died for them as they did for me.

So many have died, in concentration camps, in battle in Europe and in the pacific, resistance fighters there are just too many to name. It is a task impossible for any one person to do.

I will remember all those millions who died during WWII. They died because of some evil men wanted their ideologies spread all over the world. I say ideologies but they were really idiocrasies.

I will remember them via a few names of brave men who are buried in ‘The Netherlands American Cemetery’ in Margraten.

10,022 names are connected to the cemetery. 8301 who are buried there, the other names are of those who are remembered and whose bodies weren’t found or were returned home. There is one name there that is special to me, Pierre de Klein, my dad. He did not die in WWII, he died in 2015 but he always had wanted to be a professional soldier. He did fulfill his military service, but his mother discouraged him of becoming a full time soldier like his Father before him, his Father was killed in WWII when my dad was only 5. The management of The Netherlands American Cemetery were so kind to allow his to scatter my Father’s ashes at the Cemetery making his remains to be 8302.

Remembering.

Aldy Willie D. Technician Fourth Grade 34139177 U.S. Army World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Mississippi 10th Tank Battalion, 5th Armored Division.

Alston Tullos Private 38416283 U.S. Army World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Texas 2nd Quartermaster Battalion

Zuidema John A. Technical Sergeant 36704981 U.S. Army World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Illinois 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division

Youngblood Eugene P. Corporal 35600074 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Ohio 316th Fighter Control Squadron

Wright Richard D. Second Lieutenant O-808209 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Massachusetts 367th Bomber Squadron, 306th Bomber Group, Heavy

Wright Richard J. Second Lieutenant O2060633 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Michigan 78th Squadron, 435th Troop Carrier Group

Winters Clinton First Lieutenant O-751514 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Missouri 506th Fighter Squadron, 404th Fighter Group

Winton Merbell C. Technician Fifth Grade 12034147 U.S. Army World War II Netherlands American Cemetery New Jersey 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division

Winzey Patrick M. Staff Sergeant 32983248 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery New York 615th Bomber Squadron, 401st Bomber Group, Heavy

Alexander George S. Second Lieutenant O-869037 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery Texas 714th Bomber Squadron, 448th Bomber Group, Heavy

Alexander Harry N. First Lieutenant O-767721 U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Netherlands American Cemetery California 566th Bomber Squadron, 389th Bomber Group, Heavy

They gave their today for our tomorrow.

Our tomorrow was sacred to them.

They gave their today for our tomorrow..

Sacrificing their own lives for those they would never meet.

They gave their today for our tomorrow..

A tomorrow which we should cherish even more.

They gave their today for our tomorrow.

Their bravery should forever be remembered and ingrained in our hearts.

They gave their today for our tomorrow.

To those who gave their today for my tomorrow, I bow humbly and respectfully and hope I was worth your sacrifice.

SOURCE

https://www.abmc.gov/Netherlands

Cycling in WWII-The story of 2 cyclists, one hero, one traitor.

German troops invaded the Netherland in May 1940. The Nazi regime stayed in power in the the Netherlands until May 1945. Although the southern provinces had already been liberated in the autumn of 1944.

Despite the occupation, for many life went ahead as usual, at least to an extend. Sporting events were still allowed by the Nazi occupiers. I have often wondered why that was, but of course sports were ideal for propaganda purposes. It created an illusion to show the citizens that the Nazis weren’t all that bad. Also sports functioned as a distraction.

Cycling has always been popular in the Netherlands. Many Dutch still use the bicycle as their preferred means of transport. But also in a sporting sense it has always been popular and there have been many successful Dutch cyclists throughout the decades.

It is no wonder therefor that the Dutch continued to organizes cycling events like the Cauberg Criterium, which was an annual race in the most south Eastern part of the Netherlands , the province of Limburg, in the town of Valkenburg.

Two cyclists who would have competed in these races were Jan van Hout and Cor Wals.

Jan van Hout was a professional cyclist between 1933 and 1940. He was born in Valkenburg on October 17,1908.

He made quite a good living as a cyclist. With the money he earned as a cyclist he was able to but a pub in Eindhoven. When the Nazis occupied the Netherlands he closed his pub, he did not want to serve any drinks to the Nazis. He was a fervent anti Nazi. After he closed the pub Jan and his wife Anneke decided to join the Dutch resistance. They were involved in providing aid to refugees and people in hiding.

A few months before liberation Jan was arrested during a raid. He was sent to Neuengamme concentration camp where he died on February 22nd 1945.

Cor Wals was a Dutch cyclist, born February 26, 1911 in The Hague.

As early as 1931 Cor got contracts for the six-day races in Chicago and New York and made a name for himself as a six-day driver in the following years. Because of his unparalleled sense of balance, which stopped him from falling of the bike , he was nicknamed “Slingerplant” (Dutch: creeper). He took part in 39 races, of which he won seven, five of them with Jan Pijnenburg . In addition, he was three times Dutch master of the stayers(aka The pacemaker race, an endurance discipline of track cycling)

He was a fan favourite. However on July 21, 1941 during one of those stayers races, he took off his jacket and to the shock of the spectators ,they saw he was wearing a shirt with the SS symbol. He also gave the Hitler salute.

After winning the championship, he was whistled and booed during his lap of honor and cushions were thrown at him. He decided after that not to race again and to focus on a military career with the SS.

Initially he fought at the eastern front but he ended up working as a guard in several concentration camps. There was a rumour that he worked in Neuengamme when Jan van Hout was there, but this has never been verified.

After the war he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but he was released in 1952.

He opened up a clothes shop in Eindhoven . One day Anneke van Hout-Louwers walked into the shop to buy some clothes for her son, Cor chatted with Anneke and cupid struck. The couple got married. Anneke van Hout-Louwers was the widow of Jan van Hout, there was a public outrage about the newly married couple. People were disgusted that Anneke married a traitor. The couple moved to Belgium soon after, they returned to the Netherlands in 1981.

sources

https://www.nu.nl/sport/2415527/sser-won-nk.html

https://amp.de.googl-info.com/5381126/1/jan-van-hout.html

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Vortex-Open the Gate- Probably the worst Rock song ever, yet I still love it.

It is 1986 you get ready for your weekly dose of Heavy Metal on Sky’s Monsters of Rock. presented by Mick Wall.

You hear the opening theme ” Ice 9″ by Joe Satriani from his Epic album “Surfing with the Alien”

You sit back relax and get ready for an onslaught of Rock and Metal. Mick juts finished playing “Gonna get close to you” Queensryche’s cover version of a Dalbello song, one of those rare occasions where the cover is better then the original.

Then Mick announces a band from the Netherlands, called Vortex, the Dutch are not known for the abundance of Rock bands, So I have high hopes. ‘Vortex, who are they?’ I never heard of them, but they are on Monsters of Rock an international Rock show. They must be good.

Mick tell me the track is called “Open the gate” it is a bit of a cliché title, but hey I am willing to give it the benefit of doubt.

Four minutes of pure brutality follows, a brutal assault on my delicate ears. Would there perhaps by naked women in the clip, to soften the blow? No, just a few men and some dude singing into a bone, a character mash up between Mad Max and the Last of the Mohicans.

No redeeming features whatsoever.

Fast forward to 2021. I listen to the song again. It is just bad, in fact it is so bad it is good, I love it despite the lack of quality it did bring me back to that Sunday night in 1986.


World War 2 in the Netherlands.

The Dutch were surprised that the Germans did not honour the neutrality of the Netherlands, why I don’t know because there were indications that the Germans had plans to invade the Netherlands.

On the other hand the Germans expected to be welcomed with open arms. They had envisaged like the anschluß in Austria.

Both nations were wrong. These are just some impressions of World War 2 in the Netherlands. They say a picture paints a thousand words.

source

https://www.niod.nl/nl/beeldbank-wo2

The other side of WWII

World War 2 wasn’t only death and destruction, there were a few occasions where there was some reprieve. Sports remained very important during the war , to keep up the morale . The above picture is of Private Leonardo Rodriguez of Cartaro, Arizona, roping a calf during the American Red Cross rodeo and “Wild West” show staged in Foggia Stadium in Southern Italy, July 4, 5 and 6, 1944. The steers were furnished by Italian veterans of the last war. All participants in the events were soldiers of the Allied Fifth Army in Italy or Allied flyers based in Italy.

Some Canadian soldiers checking out their ice skates.

Dutch KNIL(Royal Dutch Indies Army) playing volleyball in Australia on a military base.

Until September 1944 most sports were still allowed in the Netherlands by the occupying Nazis.

A race between two 8s rowing teams on the river Amstel in Amsterdam, the race was held in May 1941.

Fanny Blankers-Koen was a Dutch track and field athlete, best known for winning four gold medals at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. She competed there as a 30-year-old mother of two, earning her the nickname “the flying housewife”, and was the most successful athlete at the event.

During the war, domestic competition in sports continued in German-occupied Holland, and Blankers-Koen set six new world records between 1942 and 1944. Here pictured in 1943 surrounded by admirers.

Allowing sports to continue was also a tool of propaganda of course.

source

https://beeldbankwo2.nl/nl/

Donation

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Happy Birthday Patricia Paay

For the majority of people the name Patricia Paay will mean very little. However in the Netherlands she is a mega star. She is a Dutch singer, radio host, glamour model and television personality. In the Netherlands, she is well known for her musical career, which spans over four decades. She is also regularly featured on Dutch television and in Dutch tabloid media. Singer Yvonne Keeley is her sister.

She was married to Adam Curry, and American-Dutch radio presenter, MTV VJ, business man and also the nephew of former CIA official and United States Ambassador to Korea, Donald Gregg. The couple were married between 1989 and 2009. They have a daughter ,Christina Curry.

In 1984, Paay was the first glamour model in the Dutch edition of Playboy. In 2009, Paay posed for the December issue of the Dutch version of the magazine at age 60, still stunning. She is 71 today.

What most people outside of the Netherlands don’t know is that more then likely will have heard Patricia Paay. In the 1980’s Dutch produced came up with the concept of Stars on 45. This was novelty pop act which was briefly very popular throughout Europe, and in the United States, and Australia. They recorded medleys from the Beatles and other bands. Patricia Paay was one of the backing singers. A spin off was The Star Sisters together with her sister Yvonne Keeley and another singer Sylvana van Veen . they performed as The Andrews Sisters in a medley that charted internationally in 1984.

Patricia Paay Solo

Patricia Paay & Golden Earring – One Huge Road

Patricia Paay in Dutch, 1967

When you come back to school, and your classmates are gone.

The last year has been a strange year for a great number of countries across the world, especially when it comes to education. There is no doubt that the Covid 19 pandemic will have consequences down the line for many students.

However most of them when they go back to school, they will still see their fellow school friend and students.

During the Holocaust a great number Jewish children were killed. In the Netherlands 75 % of all Hews were murdered. Yet the Nazis still get the illusion going that life was reasonably ‘normal’ for the Jews. Jewish children were still going to school, although their curriculum was greatly reduced. Even extra curricular activities were still encouraged.

This to me is one of the more sickening of the Nazi occupation, they gave people false hope. I have said this before that the Nazis had never been abled to succeed with their final solution plans without the help of other. The bureaucrats, the civil servants, the public transport staff and also other citizens who thought they could benefit from the removal of their Jewish neighbours, this wasn’t only the case in the Netherlands but all of occupied Europe. The one main difference with the Netherlands compared to many of the other countries, the Dutch had an extremely efficient public service, which was used to its full capacity by the Nazis.

I sometimes wonder how distressing it must have been for those poor children to see that every time they came back to school from a break, or after the weekend, some of their classmates were gone. What questions would have gone through their minds?

Any nation that kills their children kills its own future. Most of the children in the pictures in this blog would have been murdered during the Holocaust. I don’t know their names, where they lived, what age they were. But that is not important, all I know that none of them deserved to be treated like subhuman, none of them deserved the be murdered, none of their futures should have been stolen from them. What they deserve now is to be remembered and for all is us to work hard to avoid something like the Holocaust happening again.

Source

Happy Birthday Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh ( 30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who posthumously became one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterised by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. He was not commercially successful, and his suicide at 37 came after years of mental illness, depression and poverty.

On his birthday lets have a look at his lesser known works.

Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette

Still Life with Open Bible, Extinguished Candle and Novel

Drawbridge in Nieuw-Amsterdam.

Happy Birthday Leonard Samuel van Esso

Dr. Maria Montessori once said “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

The picture above is of a Montessori school in Amsterdam, it was taken in 1937.

Leonard Samuel van Esso was one if that school’s pupils. He was born 20 March 1936 in Amsterdam. He would have been 85 today, but he didn’t even get to celebrate his 7th birthday because he was murdered 15 days short of that day. He was murdered in Sobibor on March 5 1943, alongside his parents and older sister.

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

The regime that sent him to Sobibor did not see him as a human being, nor did they gave him the respect he was due by reason of his innocence and greater possibility of his future.

It would be easy for me to say it was the Germans who murdered him, and I wouldn’t be wrong, but as in many other crimes there were accomplices and enablers. They made not have been in uniform, they could have been behind a desk, getting the paper work ready.

No respect was shown to any of 1.5 million children who were brutally murdered. Leonard’s ‘crime’ is that he was Jewish. According to the Nazi ideology the blood of the Jews was impure, yet they didn’t mind using the blood taken from Jews in Auschwitz and I presume other camps , for blood transfusions for the wounded soldiers .

Another quote by Maria Montessori is “The child is endowed with unknown powers, which can guide us to a radiant future. If what we really want is a new world, then education must take as its aim the development of these hidden possibilities.”

Whoever got the paperwork ready for Leonard, whoever put him on the train, the drivers who transported him to Sobibor, whoever murdered him , did not only deny Leonard his future , they also denied themselves of a world of hidden possibilities.

There is no pictures I could find of Leonard. The artist Willem Volkersz, created a series of suitcases in memory of holocaust victims. This is Leonard’s suit case.

Dear Leonard wherever you are I hope you have a happy birthday. This article is my present to you. It is there to ensure your name will not be forgotten.

Some of my fellow country men may have forsaken you. I will not.

Source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/169231/leonard-samuel-van-esso