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Lest we forget: Stories from Brabant, Netherlands

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, the region of Brabant in the Netherlands has published 75 personal stories from the area, including occupation, resistance, battle and freedom.




The region of Brabant in the Netherlands has its own special way of remembering the end of the Second World War. Brabant Remembers connects 75 stories of 75 experiences that are relevant to the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Southern Netherlands.


These are personal stories that paint a different, but more complete, picture of the war - more than just the well-known facts from the history books.


The stories are brought up to date by placing the dilemmas from the stories into the present day. They are also made visible by marking the locations geographically where they happened within Brabant. This is how Brabant Remembers ensures that the many stories from the war are shared with a new generation.


Visit www.brabantremembers.com and choose a story based on theme or geographic location, such as the examples below.


One For All, All For One

The Derks family, comprising sixteen children, eight boys and eight girls, lived in ’t Hout in the town of Geldrop. The family was not well off and the sons sold potatoes to make a living. They showed a lot of dislike for the German occupiers during the war. But eighteen- year-old Riek, one of the daughters, had different feelings as she was in love with a German Feldwebel (sergeant). The fact that he was married with two children did not deter her. Their sister’s behaviour was a point of contention for the brothers Henk (35), Gerard (24), Theo (?) and Christ (22). Read the whole story


Love Your Enemy

Resistance movements were established in many places in West Brabant during the period of occupation. When the Landelijke Organisatie voor Onderduikers (National Organisation for Fugitives) started organising itself in 1943, the town of Rucphen was part of the Roosendaal district. One of the places where people could hide underground was at the ‘Gerda Hoeve’ farm in the district of Rucphen, part of the parish of Nispen. An unexpected encounter took place there just before liberation.

Read the rest of the story.


When I Saw the War Through his Eyes

Simon van Adelberg was secretly in love with his aunt Maaltje, and particularly loved her red hair. Aunt Maaltje van Adelberg-Hartog and her sister Betje Hartog were both childless. Simon and his brother Louis were spoilt rotten; the aunts had a cupboard full of toys. The sisters ran a tobacco shop in Tilburg. Read the whole story



Be transported back in time



Brabant Remembers has also launched a living history app in which 30 actors bring ten stories from the Second World War to life, in places in Brabant that are reminders of the war.


With this augmented reality app, Brabant reveals the impact of the war in a contemporary way, and shows how new generations could face the same dilemmas if they were to happen today. The app is free to download for Iphone and Android devices.





More WWII 75th anniversary features:


Exclusive interview with 99-year-old veteran, Colonel John Waddy, who was a young captain when he was parachuted into the Netherlands as part of Operation Market Garden. Wounded three times, he was captured and sent as a POW to Bavaria. After the war he was the military advisor on the David Attenborough film A Bridge too Far.


Read his story






Europe Remembers and Liberation Route Europe are two initiatives designed to remember the stories of WWII. Why and how were they established?

"Twenty nine years earlier, Nicholas de Mol had knocked on the same door but in a very different state. Starving and nearly freezing to death, he had escaped three days earlier from a labour camp in Hamburg" Read the whole story





This article was first published in the Spring 2019 edition of Timeless Travels magazine.


A digital edition of the magazine is available to buy for just £3.95.


Find out more about the content of the Spring 2019 issue.