Memories of the War
In Elim Village, Chilliwack, where we are now living, there are a number of residents of Dutch background. Some of them lived through the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WW2. At a Nov., 2019 social gathering one of these residents told her story about this occupation. Her experiences as a teenager included enduring 5 years of the war in the Netherlands.
In my chats with her in preparation for the story, several issues became clear. The occupation happened swiftly, apparently in 5 days in most places. There were Nazi sympathizers in the Netherlands who helped make that happen. Bombing that may have originally been intended for England, levelled much of Rotterdam. Soldiers took over public buildings and forced homes to house and feed some of the men. Food became scarce. Education for students was severely curtailed. Some soldiers were not unkind to their hosts, others sexually abused girls. Others who lived through the war may have a different experience but this was hers.
One major event was agreed upon by the majority. Canadians were a major factor in the liberation of the Netherlands. Huge crowds lined the streets when victory came and freedom was restored.
We are grateful that Canada did not end up succumbing to the same ordeal of wartime occupation by the enemy. Such stories should spur us to be thankful.