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Growing Up In Occupied Holland 1940-1945

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#76 LongJohn


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Posted 06 April 2004 - 10:09 AM

Bart ... and you too, Morgy,

Thanks so much for sharing with us totally unique documentation of the opening moments of the German occupation of Holland.

Combined with Morgy's superb documentation of family records from the occupation of Belgium, any - and every - young person from any and every country can read the two files here in WBG and vicariously learn a great deal about the war, and the oppressive occupation that affected your families.

Thank God it is possible to learn and experience vicariously vis a vis directly.



#77 Irishmaam


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Posted 06 April 2004 - 11:23 AM

Thank you for your kind words, Sis! I really have to make time to continue with my fathers story (by the way, he has grey hair nowadays  :D I'll post a picture of them a.s.a.p. in this topic). About your question: I don't think that people appreciate the churchbells more... because the majority of people were born after the war and are just as spoiled as I am.

Well then Bart , we will have to do our best to teach them. I cant wait to see a photo of your Dad, thank you.
Love Sis

#78 Bart


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Posted 09 April 2004 - 06:46 AM

Part 15

Radio Orange (Radio Oranje)

Some say that the Royal Family and Dutch government shouldn't have fled to England in May 1940, when Germany invaded Holland. I personally believe that they did the right thing. Although their influence during the waryears might have been of minor importance for the total war effort, two good things came out of it.

1. Radio Orange... the voice of "Free Holland", broadcasted from London.
2. The Princess Irene Brigade... formed by Dutchmen who escaped from occupied Holland to England. They were trained by the British and later participated in the liberation of Holland and Belgium.

Both Radio Orange as The Princess Irene Brigade were initiated and made possible by the Royal Family and Dutch Government in exile.

Radio Orange

In 1943 radio´s were confiscated. About 1.100.00 radios were collected by the Nazis. Only 55.000 privileged were exempted from the order to turn in their radios.

In 1943 our radio's were confisquated by the German authorities. Hiding a radio, let alone, listening to an "English station" was strictly forbidden. The words "spying for the enemy" were easily used by the Germans and that could result in a trip to prison or even worse concentrationcamp. Nevertheless, a lot of people took that risk and hide their radio's in their homes. My father too (he had given an old, useless radio to the authorities, but kept a good one at home).

Listening to "London" was exciting business. Dutchmen who managed to escape to England let the people back home know that they arrived safely, by broadcasting code-messages at the end of every radioshow. Those messages could be very strange like: "The bear has been shot", "The cow has given birth", "Hoorn is a village near Enkhuizen" etc.

Of course, the same kind of code-messages were used by "London" to inform or instruct certain groups of the Dutch resistance. About scheduled droppings for instance.

When it was time for "Radio Orange", my father brought the radio to the room and we all literally put our ears as close as possible to it... carefull to make as little noise as possible.

Posted Image Many Dutch listened with their hidden radios to the Dutch broadcasts of "Radio Oranje" from England . The BBC was also very popular.

The openingstune was always the same: the first tones of Beethovens Fifth symphony: in morse-code: . . . - (pam pam pam pááám, pam pam pam pááám).

The openingstune was directly followed by an old Dutch song about 16th century Dutch patriots who fought against the Spanish: "In naam van Oranje doe open de poort, de watergeus staat voor Den Brielle" (In the name of Orange, open the gates! The patriots have arrived in Den Brielle"). As the music faded, we then heard a voice saying: "This is Radio Orange..." --- followed by the latest news.

Posted Image
Now and then, there was a special broadcast, when the radiohost introduced our Queen Wilhelmina with the words: "Her Majesty the Queen will speak now". Then a short silence. And then the firm voice of our Queen. After her speech, the national hymne (Wilhelmus) was played. I am not ashamed saying this but those were always very emotional moments for me.

Listening to the radio became more and more dangerous later in the war. That's why my father took the radio out of the house and placed it in the factory. In a carseat production room. From that day on, we didn't listen to "Radio Orange" together... too risky. My father was the only one who used the radio and he informed us afterwards.

"Radio Orange" became extra important for us after D-Day. It was our only source of information about the Alllied advance. We used the radio till December teh 3rd 1944, when our house was hit by a shell and burned down completely. More about that later.

Edited by Bart, 09 April 2004 - 08:33 AM.

#79 birdman


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Posted 09 April 2004 - 07:55 AM

Thanks for the new chapter Bart, keep them coming!

Wouter :D

#80 Irishmaam


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Posted 09 April 2004 - 08:33 AM

Thank you Bart for continuing. I hope you & Morgy don't mind I am printing these, for myself so I can read them to my Dad, and for my youngest son. He will be teaching History when he gets out of the Army. I know he will find these very interesting as he likes to use all different aspects of history, not just one side so to speak. He graduates college in a month, and could be teaching next semester but decided he needed to "do his part" and serve his country first. He also said he would rather have lived some history before teaching it. First hand knowledge I suppose can be a good thing.

Love ya Sis

Edited by Irishmaam, 09 April 2004 - 08:35 AM.

#81 Bart


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Posted 09 April 2004 - 08:38 AM

I hope you don't mind I am printing these, for myself so I can read them to my Dad, and for my youngest son.

This is so great to hear... thanks Sis!!!!! My father will be delighted. If you or your son have any questions about whatsoever, please ask... my father is alive and kicking and always ready to answer questions that are related to this story.

#82 PaulV



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Posted 09 April 2004 - 10:06 AM

This is a treasure trove of information. This is especially interesting to me as I recently saw a family tree one of my uncles put together showing ancestry in the Netherlands dating back to the 1600s. My paternal grandparents came to the US in the 1920s leaving much family behind. Thank you for taking the time to translate your father's memoirs.

#83 Bart


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Posted 11 April 2004 - 01:16 PM

I would love it if you had photo of him to saher also. I have an imaginary picture of him in my head as I read his writings....

Posted Image

My father and author of this topic as a 13-year old in 1941.

Posted Image

My father today (age 74)

Enlarged photo's in here:

Edited by Bart, 11 April 2004 - 01:20 PM.

#84 homefront41



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Posted 11 April 2004 - 01:26 PM

Thanks, Bart. It's great to have a face in mind. It's quite an incredible story, as I've told you before. Some youth that young man had! And he's a fine looking oldie too. BK

#85 VAT69


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Posted 11 April 2004 - 05:15 PM

Great stuff, Bart!

Please thank your Dad for writing down all his memories, in that way history is preserved.

And thank you for sharing it here with us!


#86 Irishmaam


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Posted 11 April 2004 - 10:32 PM

Thanks Bart...See I was right he had dark brown hair...and was also a cutie! I knew him before I laid eyes upon him...Thanks Bart & Dad
Love ya Sis

#87 appell8



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Posted 11 April 2004 - 10:56 PM

Bart, amen. Your father's recollections join the category of the content that makes this site special. Thanks very much for telling us about it. y.o.s., Doug

#88 Bart


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Posted 13 April 2004 - 08:53 AM


Crazy Tuesday (Dolle Dinsdag)

The invasion took place on June the 6th 1944. We didn’t hear much about the allied successes because the Germans had – for obvious reasons - no reason to publish or broadcast about it. Besides that… Normandy was a distant-battle for us. The little information we had, came from the (illegal) English radio.

From the first day of the war on, my father daily wrote in a diary. (Very unfortunally, this diary was burned when our house was hit by a shell in december 1944). After the allied invasion of Normandy, my father also used a map on which he showed us the allied advance day by day and in great detail. In the first months after the invasion, the allies didn’t make as much progress as we hoped for. But then there was “Crazy Tuesday”!

With “Crazy Tuesday” we mean Tuesday, September the 5th, 1944. The allied advance was at full speed and the Germans (and pro-German Dutchmen) in Holland really started to panic. They stole and used everything with wheels (carts, bicylces, trucks, cars, etc) and fled to the east, to Germany. They all ran away from the approaching frontline and tried to reach “Der Heimat”, their homeland in Germany.

We all thought that liberation was near. None of us knew that it would take so many months more before the war was over.

That “Crazy Tuesday” was a beautiful, sunny day at the end of the summer. With other boys, I went to the towncenter to watch te retreating Germans. We walked of course, because we know that riding a bicycle wasn’t very wise that day. We saw large numbers of cars, loaded with all kinds of stuff… even dead pigs! I walked further and near the hospital, I saw a lot of busses with wounded Germans in it. German army doctors were going in and out those busses. From their gestures I could understand that they didn’t know how to handle the many wounded. I came closer and could see the blood on the hands of those doctors. I assume those busses came right from the frontline. I could come really close without being pushed away. I even looked in the busses and saw the wounded lying, sitting and hanging in their missery.

After Crazy Tuesday

The panic and dis-organisation lasted for a couple of days. But slowly, the Germans started to organize themselves again and their panic disappeared. They started working on defensive-structures (anti-tank). Meters wide and many kilometers long, parallel to the Maas (Meusse) river. They forced Dutchmen to help them… not a safe situation for healthy adults or teenagers like myself.

My brother Wim, the sons of our neighbour and myself (we were all 14/15 years of age) hide ourself in the large garden behind our house during the nights in an attempt not to get caught by the Germans. We also spent many hours in the cornfields when we heard Germans nearby. We heard the German voices at a distance of not less then 100 meters, one time we even heard some shooting. A lot of men and teenagers in our town were taken away for forced labour. The Germans never found us, fortunally.

I also remember a telephone conversation between my uncle Piet from Sittard (a town in the south, near the Belgian and German border) and my father. That uncle worked at the postoffice and he saw German troops passing by… in the direction of the Belgian Ardennes. “Large numbers of troops, trucks and armymaterials are passing by all day long”, he said. “I didn’t expect they had so many of them left… it’s very demoralizing… we all thought the war would be over, but now I see all those Germans on their way to the south, it seems that it can take many moths more”.

He was right and wrong at the same time. Because his town, Sittard, was liberated not long after. Our town had to wait for the liberation a few months longer, till March 1945.

Edited by Bart, 13 April 2004 - 09:54 AM.

#89 rabbit



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Posted 14 April 2004 - 08:06 PM

this is fantastic reading, and I look forward to the remaining chapters

great thought to put this in the must-read forum

#90 Irishmaam


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Posted 27 April 2004 - 11:05 PM

Bart I am thinking its been a few days since you put another chapter. So what do ya think? chapter 17 soon? Hugs bro

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