Today I was glued to the live all-morning broadcast of celebrations in Wageningen, the Netherlands, commemorating Victory in Europe – called VE Day. May 5th, 1945 was the day that Canadian forces stormed and defeated the Nazi troops at the heather stretch among the adjoining towns of Ede and Wageningen. It became very emotional for me to look at this for several reasons. The Lord reminded me of ways he introduced approximately one great coincidence after the opposite concerning my circle of relatives in the course of the conflict!
Born in 1940, I grew up in the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, besides the better-recognized sister island of Aruba. I do no longer recollect a whole lot about the struggle except that at night time no lighting fixtures were lit. My father, who becomes in the rate of the Home Defence League, defined that this became so that the enemy planes and boats could not locate the island. Of route, I could not recognize any of that on the time.
Approximately twenty years later, my first process came about to be at the Department of National Defence department in Prescott, Ontario, Canada. As a very unforeseen twist of fate could have it, Mr. J. Sidney Barrick, the Director (I do now not remember his exact name) told me how he had included me and my family at some stage in the battle! OMG, I just googled, and observed out that he became on the minesweeper: HMCS Suderoy VI – J05! When he observed that I had lived in Curacao, Mr. Barrick advised me that after he becomes in the Navy in the course of the conflict, they patrolled all round Curacao and Aruba watching for and torpedoing German u-boats that sought to cut off resources to the islands. What are the possibilities that I would ever have met one of the team, and found out about this reality!
Not much grows on these islands as they are rocky with very little rainfall. Truly, we should have starved if it weren’t for the Canadian Forces! I become so surprised to pay attention that the struggle came that far – reputedly out of the manner of where the combating turned into, or that the Germans could even care approximately tiny islands like ours! I do bear in mind, my mom, telling me that we ate numerous rice and spinach. I additionally recollect dancing on the road with tune and laughter anywhere and people shouting: “the warfare is over; we are loose!” Then it turned into packing time. My mom despatched many containers of canned food, soap, and other necessities to own family individuals in Holland.
Meanwhile, in Holland – it turned into not but referred to as The Netherlands at that time – my Auntie Ann and grandmother ultimately returned to their ancestral domestic in Ede, which had been occupied by means of Nazi commanders. It became situated in a strategic area overlooking a bit park which continued right into an avenue culminating at the street linking Ede and Wageningen. At the top of that avenue nevertheless are the beautiful heather fields where the allies landed, and for weeks on quit persevered to “rain” down luggage of food and provision. Is it an accident that the Germans, 5 years after taking over the residence, could actually see their enemies swoop down on them? I don’t know, but would now not be amazed that the commander in Auntie Ann’s domestic became through coincidence might be the very person who signed the agreement to cease the struggle at Hotel De Wereld down the road in Wageningen – as I noticed on the reportage this morning!
Our own family spent six months in Holland in 1946, and once more in 1951. Although I was touched to the core seeing all the town and harbor of Rotterdam in general ruins, as well as many other ravages, I most effective remember how everybody changed into glad, warm-hearted and jovial. Virtually nobody spoke about the warfare and what they’d suffered. Only years later a cousin informed me how the Nazis had taken over their farm and slaughtered all their farm animals for their very own consumption, whilst they were ravenous to the point that they ate rats to survive! In college, I examine and heard of how many Dutch people concealed their Jewish neighbors and pals. I became, in particular, struck via this love and brush aside for their very own protection after I visited the Anne Frank domestic in Amsterdam, and heard approximately Corrie ten Boom’s family’s outreach to the Jewish community and next imprisonment themselves.
Auntie Ann told me the story of ways a younger German soldier grabbed her bike from her. She truly had tears in her eyes as she related: “ach, he becomes so very young; he could not have been more than 16!” This was near the end of the conflict when they enlisted even the very younger. She, in reality, felt sorry for the youngster, who have been so misdirected and merely obeying orders.
It became some time after VE day – at which era the struggle was nevertheless raging in Japan and the East – that my mom’s brother and circle of relatives back to Holland. They had been residing in Indonesia – which was then the Dutch East Indies. We recognize that they have been interred in a Japanese concentration camp. From records and books, I even have studied, I recognize that situations in these camps were atrocious. However, even when prodded, they refused to ever say one word about what they’d persevered. They have been usually very jovial and warm at heart.
Talking about coincidences, I can not but be amazed that the allies landed on “my” liked heather. I just loved going there, and smelling the bright crimson plants. It is like something stunning has blanketed the pain and worry – truly like the poppies in Flanders’ Fields now not a ways away in neighboring Belgium. When speaking with a shepherd on the heather in Ede on certainly one of my journeys, I found that, if it were not for the sheep grazing there, the heather could overgrow into unmanageable timber! It paints a lovely photo of sheep – the symbol of peace and humility – fortunately following the shepherd, unwittingly supporting to restore and hold beauty and dignity!