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The tragedy of Oxerhof

Title: Spionage, arrestaties en moord aan de IJssel. Een speurtocht naar het duistere oorlogsverleden van Oxerhof en de activiteiten van het SD-Kommando Deventer 1943-1945

Author: Huub van Sabben

Publisher: Flying Pencil NL, Utrecht, 2020

ISBN: 9789081870269

The beautifully situated Oxerhof estate, under the smoke of Deventer, harbors a dark and well-hidden wartime past, only fragments of which have become common knowledge over time. The estate was requisitioned by the occupying forces in 1943, officially it was a hospital for SS soldiers, but in reality it was school for secret agents who had to gather information in Allied territory. A spy school. From November 1944, the Oxerhof became an SD prison where resistance fighters and deserters were incarcerated. In total, there were around two hundred prisoners and more than a hundred did not survive the war. The last 10 prisoners in the Oxerhof, a few hours before liberation by Canadians, were gruesomely murdered.

 

Around 2009, Huub van Sabben conducted fourteen interviews on this topic with different people on this topic. These interviews concern the period 1943-1945. For forty years Van Sabben worked on his magnus opus about the Oxerhof, a book called Spionage, arrestaties en moord aan de IJssel. Van Sabben dug through mountains of primary sources to create this book.

In this video Van Sabben speaks about his book and the Oxerhof.

 

The interviews can be found on in the archives of Collectie Overijssel

Put to work by the Arbeitseinsatz

Title: Tewerkgesteld: Getuigenissen van de Arbeitseinsatz

Author: Renske Krimp-Schraven

Publisher: Boom, Amsterdam, 2024

ISBN: 9789024464913

Very little is known about the fate of the Arbeitseinsatz. They were put to work in Germany. They returned from “the enemy’s country” with the most varied experiences. One had been undernourished doing heavy digging work in the freezing cold and spoke of “working like a slave. Another recalled that he ‘wouldn’t have wanted to miss it for anything’. Many men experienced heavy bombing and were terrified in the shelters.

 

What memories did the men pass on and what did they prefer to keep quiet about? Renske Krimp-Schraven spoke to dozens of workers and read hundreds of diaries and memoirs. In the end, she conducted a total of 51 interviews. In her book Tewerkgesteld she brings the experiences of the Arbeitseinsatz to life and makes clear how Dutch society and the men themselves dealt with this painful history.

 

Renske Krimp-Schraven is a historian and is working as a researcher on a joint research project of the National Committee for May 4 and 5 and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies on the memory of Dutchmen who were put to work as part of the Arbeitseinsatz.

 

See the presentation of her book

And an interview from the NPO with the author

The war never passes: Overijssel 1940-1945

The 17 mini documentaries on youtube

LINK to the PLAYLIST

 

Page RTV oost with the 17 interviews 

Link to RTV Oost

 

De oorlog gaat nooit voorbij
Marco Krijnsen, Ewout van der Horst, Martin van der Linde
Uitgeverij WBooks, 2020

ISBN 9789462583771 

From April 1 to 17, 2020, RTV Oost will be ‘In the footsteps of the liberators’ with a series of mini-documentaries with background articles. It will then be exactly 75 years since Allied troops passed through Overijssel to liberate its inhabitants from German occupation. The mini-documentaries are based on personal stories and tell the story of the Second World War in 17 different ways. The production was created in close cooperation with the Historical Center Overijssel.

 

A book was also published based on the interviews: The War Never Goes Over. This contains 25 interviews. The mini-documentaries and the stories in the book partially overlap; there are 4 mini-documentaries not included in the book, and 12 stories for which no mini-docs were made.

Soldiers’ boots and chewing gum

Soepbedeling door Winterhulp tijdens WOII - © Heemkring van Achel

The project deals with the globalisation heritage of World War II in the Limburg Kempen region. This heritage was created during and after World War II by foreign influences on the local, conservative and rather closed society in northern Limburg.

 

One of the aims is to collect and map intangible heritage -the stories of the last witnesses- and movable heritage; with a special focus on globalisation heritage.

The five themes were:

  • Flee or stay behind? the start of the war, May 1940
  • Playing and learning between the bombs: children’s daily lives and leisure activities
  • On the ticket? Livelihoods and material culture
  • Strangers in my village: a hodgepodge of nationalities
  • Liberated at last? September 1944

A total of 45 interviews were conducted by both individual volunteers and local history circles. By collecting stories, and taking stock of photos, letters, the aim is to gain insight into what impact this had on the local, fairly closed and rural community. The focus is not on the feats of arms but on people’s experiences.

 

Ten North Limburg municipalities united in the project association Erfgoed Limburgse Kempen, namely Bocholt, Bree, Hamont-Achel, Hechtel-Eksel, Leopoldsburg, Lommel, Meeuwen-Gruitrode, Neerpelt, Overpelt and Peer.

The last witnesses

De laatste getuigen. Vlamingen over hun Tweede Wereldoorlog.

Jens Franssen

Publisher: WPG Uitgevers BE, 2005
ISBN: 9789022319086

 

Het archief.be

 

In 2004, Jens Franssen achieved success with his radio series The Last Witnesses, featuring 30 interviews of ordinary Flemings about the occupation, later published as : The Last Witnesses. Flemings about their Second World War.

 

In De laatste getuigen, Flemings tell about their unique experiences during the Second World War: Belgian soldiers who were overrun by the Eighteen-Day Campaign in May 1940, men and women who chose collaboration or resistance out of conviction, Jews who were deported to extermination camps, political prisoners who were imprisoned in German concentration camps, civilians who were bombed, compatriots who helped with the Normandy landings and the liberation of Belgium in 1944, country traitors who were presented with the bill during the repression. ..Before the war, they were ordinary people.

 

De verzetsmensen 1940-1945. Cegesoma

Back on the scene

Oude vrouw en kinderen, concentratiekamp Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bundesarchiv Bild 183-74237-004

Terug van weggeweest – Getuigenissen over en uit joods Groningen in de jaren dertig en veertig plus razzia-lijsten met 3064 namen

Johan van Gelder
Publisher: Van Gorcum, 1993
ISBN: 9789080146518

Publicist Johan van Gelder came into possession of the original German raid lists used to round up Groningen Jews. The municipality of Groningen had an important part in compiling the lists, as did the national government.
Groningen, like many municipalities, was purged of its Jewish inhabitants. Without a fight, most of its Jewish inhabitants were expelled for good during the Second World War.

In ‘Back from Away’, survivors in the Netherlands, Israel and the United States – who returned due to a curious coincidence – as well as non-Jews testify about Jewish Groningen with an emphasis on the 1930s and 1940s. Those years were so characteristic because, on the one hand, there was a thriving Jewish community, which also had its problems – which, on the other, was destroyed by a reign of terror in a relatively short time.

 

In this oral history Van Gelder hears the stories of the people themselves. Letting former Groningers who lived through it tell their stories. Van Gelder went to the people with his tape recorder and typed out and edited all their stories.

My war, our memory

 

The War and Information Centre Drenthe (OICD) has captured the stories surrounding the war memorials in Drenthe in six documentaries. The OICD wants to keep the memory of the Second World War alive in Drenthe.
With the oral history project Mien Oorlog, oeze naogedachtis, the OICD recorded stories about war monuments in each of the former 34 municipalities of Drenthe.
Longer versions were made. Unclear whether these are still available anywhere.

 

 

The six documentaries, each lasting 10 minutes, were made based on Oral History: the testimony of those involved and memories of people who lived through the war and can still report on it. The starting point is the war memorials of the former municipalities of Drenthe. There are special stories behind each monument. These are the stories below:

 

Roeli Roelfsema
Surgeon and gynaecologist Johan Roelfsema from Meppel was a victim of the Silbertane murder and was shot dead near Ruinen on 29 September 1943. His wife was just pregnant at the time. It is a son, Roeli. A son Johan Roelfsema will never know.

 

 

Johannes Post
Johannes Post, Drenthe resistance hero. He distributed illegal literature. Collected distribution vouchers, forged identity cards, sheltered Jews and resistance fighters and offered armed resistance. His children recount their experiences during the war.

 

 

Coba van der Helm
Jan and Annechien van der Helm’s farm in Nieuwlande housed three Jewish people in hiding for many years; the Lelie family and the lawyer Maurits Levie. Coba’s sister would later marry their Dutch absconder Andries van Grondelle.

 

 

Bouke de Jonge
Three Drenthe boys from Eeserveen are killed by exploded German ammunition in the woods of Odoorn after the liberation. Bouke de Jonge and another friend survive the disaster.

 

 

Piet Pomp
Piet Pomp still sees it happening, The endless aerial battles in the skies above Nieuw-Dordrecht. On life and death, because all too often planes crashed. Just like that time his house almost burned down.

 

 

Floor Aukema
Floor’s father, Evert Aukema, was picked up as a resistance fighter in 1944 and never returned. Died in Neuengamme concentration camp. Floor still has several memories of his father.

 

Proud of Darp

Darp is in 1948 opnieuw opgebouwd (foto: archief Oud Meppel)

The Drenthe village of Darp has an eventful history closely linked to the Second World War. The old village was evacuated during the war and the houses were demolished in connection with the construction of a German airfield, and it was not until 1948 that houses reappeared.

Wim van der Wijk wrote a book about it in 2018 together with some fellow villagers, entitled Proud of Darp. “The inhabitants received a letter from the municipal administration that everyone had to be gone by six o’clock on 25 July 1944. The population was dispersed. They ended up in Ruinerwold, Havelte and Steenwijk, for example. Cattle were also dispersed. People just had to leave.” A total of 33 houses were demolished, destroying the village.

Every day anxiety

Hundreds of testimonials

18,000 dead. That’s how many casualties the thousands of V1s and V2s launched by the Germans on Belgium and England claimed. More than 8,000 died in our country. On top of that came the more than 20,000 prisoners who perished in the underground concentration camp Dora, where the V weapons were manufactured. Elke dag angst, their story and that of the witnesses who did survive.

 

Several years ago, Pieter Serrien’s search for testimonies about the V terror on Belgium began. He listened to hundreds of haunting stories about a life in constant fear. During the writing process, dozens more witnesses were added: Dora’s camp prisoners who found the courage to write down their experiences after the war, the allied soldiers who remember the difficult time in faraway Belgium and the German perpetrators who broke the taboo and also shared their stories. The latter were especially important to Pieter Serrien: to also give the word to those who launched the V1s and V2s. Only in this way could he paint the fullest possible picture of the V terror.

 

Antwerp and Liege

In total, an estimated 9,000 Vs fell on Belgium. Most were aimed at Antwerp or Liege, the two cities that were the biggest victims of the terror. Both cities get a prominent place in the book. Other affected municipalities also get their place. For instance, witnesses recount the dozens of accidents involving downed V1s caused by the anti-aircraft belt around Antwerp.

This is what our war was like

Zo was onze oorlog
Getuigenissen over de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Belgie
Pieter Serrien
ISBN: 9789022330937
Manteau, 2014

 

 

Almost 800 witnesses recount their personal experiences during World War II. This book is the result of a unique school project, which sent a thousand young people out to interview their grandparents’ generation about the war in their youth, seventy years ago. These penetrating and intimate stories of ordinary people in particularly unusual circumstances leave no one unmoved. Pieter Serrien masterfully weaves hundreds of stories into a haunting history of the Second World War, letting the witnesses themselves speak as much as possible.

 

Since 2010 Pieters youth project Zo was onze oorlog gives young students the opportunity to interview witnesses of WWII. Five years later almost 1500 students participated. This gigantic archive of more than 1000 witness stories was the inspiration for Pieters thirds book Zo was onze oorlog (That was our war, Manteau, 2014) about the daily life under occupation from 1939-1945.