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Behind the last bridge

Schilderij van David Shepherd, "Arnhem Bridge, 5pm, the second day"

Achter de laatste brug – Gevangen in  het land tussen Arnhem en de Grebbelinie

Jan Blokker

Querido, 2012

ISBN: 9789021442396

Historian Jan Blokker, in Behind the Last Bridge. Gevangen in het land tussen Arnhem en de Grebbelinie gives an impression of daily life in wartime. The subject of this book is not the battle for the Grebbelinie in May 1940 or Operation Market Garden in September 1944, but the experiences of the Dutch civilians who were eyewitnesses to the military violence in the Gelderland valley and around Arnhem, and of those who experienced its consequences first-hand. Essentially, they were hostages to the violence of war. Oral history gives meaning to the experiences of ‘ordinary’ people’. Of course, memory is a problematic resource. Seventy years on, Blokker records the memories of elderly people who were children at the time. But that does not make the testimonies any less poignant. The memories are simultaneously solidified and still alive. Recording them adds a quality: the memory becomes indelible.