On our plane to Amsterdam were a group of US World War II veterans going to the Netherlands, where they had been part of the liberation from the Germans 75 years ago.
In Meppel, this plaque was on the wall of the Grote de Mariakerk
Geknecht…Verdrukt…Doch nooit gebukt
Noch ooit de strijd gemeden
Met bronzen klank aan God de dank
en aan wat helden deden
(Enslaved, oppressed, but never stooped, nor ever the battle avoided
With brazen sound to God the thanks and to what heroes did)
The Netherlands was occupied by Germany for five years during World War II, and nearly a quarter-million Dutch died, including an estimated ten to twenty thousand by starvation in the last year of the war.
May 4 is a Memorial Day for all victims of war, and May 5 is Liberation Day, celebrating freedom. The Allied troops who liberated the Netherlands were mostly Canadian, but the Dutch remember and are grateful to all the Allies, including the US. All of the Dutch we talked to mentioned the liberation and our role, and Hannie Huigsloot, who we met later in Venlo, told us how her mother went every year to her home town for the Liberation Day celebration.
This is a film on the occupation and resistance from the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) in Amsterdam.