Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Liberation Day

Seventy years ago today, the Germans capitulated in hotel De Wereld [The World] in Wageningen and the Netherlands became free after five years of occupation. I thought I would dedicate this post to all the people who made that possible. Our country was liberated by allied forces from the UK, US, Poland, Canada, Australia and many other countries around the world.

They cared.

They cared enough about their fellow human beings in Europe risk their own lives.

In the Netherlands, we were liberated. Had we lived today, had the color of our skin been different, had we lived south of the Sahara, would anyone have cared enough to liberate us? We don't have any oil, so would the world have bothered?

Still, five years was too long for the hundreds of thousands of Jews, gypsies, gays, resistance workers and citizens who were killed: murdered, bombed or starved to death. Most of my friend Chawwa's relatives were murdered. Finding her a cousin who survived the Holocaust, when she thought everyone had been killed, will always be my proudest moment as a genealogist. Her other cousin, too young to get his picture taken, was old enough to be put on the train to the extermination camps.

Many soldiers gave their lives for our freedom. My great-aunt Riet fell in love with a Polish soldier, who promised to come back for her but never did. My aunt never knew that he had been killed in action. So many lives, cut short.

Yesterday, we commemorated the victims. Today, we celebrate our liberty.

Allied soldier hugged by girls. Source: Collection Anefo, Nationaal Archief.


  1. A beautiful and moving tribute, Yvette. Thank you.

  2. Thank you. This took my breath away.

  3. An evocative tribute and you are rightly proud to have "liberated" your friend's surviving cousin and brought him back to the family. As a young adult I had Dutch friends who had been in the Netherlands until their 30s and through the war. he had been conscripted to the labour camps in Germany but escaped and was hidden in a farmer's barn for a couple of years. She was involved withe the resistance. I remember a story she told of food supplies being parachuted into a Dutch city at liberation. Sadly one landed on the head of a person who was killed.


Hello, thanks for leaving a comment on the World Wide Genealogy Blog. All comments are moderated because of pesky spammers!

Best wishes
World Wide Genealogy Team