|The orange wasn't used that much during the war. |
But once liberation came: it was everywhere!
During the past week I have seen several documentaries, films and memorial services about the Second World War. Every time equally impressive, thought provoking and at times even scary. The diaries and letters written by Heinrich Himmler were of the latter variety. They were chilling in their 'niceness'.
Today I saw the VE* 70 celebration on the BBC. Very impressive to see all those veterans come past. They fought for the freedom in Europe. The only problem I had was when at one point, one of the commentators stated that the British do the 'remembering' the best of all of Europe. As if it were a contest (I am writing this a bit out of context, but it marred).
|Male farm labourers were not sent to Germany to work as much as other professions.|
The veterans who came past were about the same age my grandparents would have been. My grandparents who lived in a 'neutral' country that had been overrun by the Germans anyway and were suffering. The winter of 1944/5 was especially hard. The Germans had taken revenge on the people of the Netherlands for the help they had given the Americans near Arnhem (Operation Market Garden, a failed operation) and had cut food rations even further. People were eating tulip bulbs to stay alive, but still a lot of people died due to hunger and cold.
My paternal grandparents lived on a farm in the North of the country and weren't so affected by the food shortages. It is in fact quite probable that hordes of people from (especially) the West would come past to get some food to survive. My maternal grandmother however, was far worse off. She was a maid and lived and worked in the house of a notary. And even though she never went hungry, she did suffer the cold. What my maternal grandfather did at that time is a mystery. We don't know whether he worked in the Netherlands or in Germany as a forced labourer as many young men from occupied countries were. Or perhaps he was hidden somewhere and/or working for the resistance.
|The millwhips were used to send out messages during the war.|
My maternal grandmother wrote me a letter for a school project in 1983. Some of you have read it before, others may be new to it, but it is certainly worth reading again. Here is the link. I wish though that I had asked more questions while my grandparents were still alive. Unfortunately I didn't and now the chance is gone (they have all passed away).
*VE stands for Victory in Europe. VJ would be Victory Japan which happened in August 1945, three months later.