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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

An oral history of the Groningen gas extraction

The Eyewitnesses of Gas Extraction project will record the stories of at least 100 people on video over the next two years (from April 2024). In this way, recent history will be told through personal stories in a unique way. Many stories have already been collected in recent years. But never before have the testimonies of residents and those involved in gas extraction been recorded in a systematic and scientific way. This initiative is being led by researcher Nienke Busscher and counselor Marjo van Bergen. The first interviews are expected to be recorded starting April 2024. So you can still participate in this project!

 

Here you may find more information concerning this project.

And here you may contact the project and participate in the interviews.

Here you may find an NPO interview with the leaders of this project.

 

Ooggetuigen van de Gaswinning is an initiative of nine organizations with roots in Groningen based on an idea by Diepduik Media. Each party contributes its own expertise, guaranteeing (scientific) quality. A foundation is being set up especially for this project. In this way, independence is guaranteed and the proceeds of the project can be properly and carefully managed.

Brabantia Nostra

Title: Brabantia Nostra: een gewestelijke beweging voor fierheid en ‘schoner’ leven 1935-1951

Author: Jan van Ousheusden

Publisher: Stichting Zuidelijk Historisch Contact, Tilburg, 1990

ISBN: 9070641348

Also available online

For his dissertation, Jan van Oudheusden interviewed ten founders and members of Brabantia Nostra between 1987-1989. Brabantia Nostra (=our Brabant) was a Dutch socio-cultural magazine that existed from 1935 to 1951. The magazine devoted itself to the development of  the culture of (North) Brabant, which was onspired by, among other things, the Roman Catholic Church and the ‘Burgondian Lifestyle’.

 

The following individuals were interviewed:

  • P. Dorenbosch
  • J. Heerkens
  • L. van Hoek
  • P. Mutsaers
  • J. Naaijkens
  • C. Ruygers-Smulders
  • C. Slootmans
  • F. van der ven
  • A. Willemse
  • B. Wijffels-Smulders

 

You may find the transcriptions here 

Textile workers in Enschede

 

In the late 1970s, a textile museum was opened in the former Jannink textile factory on Haaksbergerstraat in Enschede. To gain insight into how people lived and (co)-resided in the working-class houses of Textielstad Enschede in the period from around 1900/1920 to the 1960s, a number of interviews with elderly textile workers were held in 1982 and 1983. The main theme was the three Ws: Living, Working and Welfare. Based on the descriptions, themed rooms were set up in the museum . The interviews were conducted by Carla Bruynel, museum educator at the time, and by Mieke Grobbink, who was an intern at the new museum. The interviews can be found on the Erfgoed Enschede website.

 

The interviews focus on the home and home furnishings, facilities such as water and light and cover issues like the large families, having fun together, poverty, alcohol consumption and violence.

 

 

Ordinary then, extraordinary afterwards

Mevrouw Van der Hoop tachtig jaar, 3 november 1959. Zij zit in het midden, omringd door familie, pachters en personeel

Toen gewoon, achteraf bijzonder

Henny van Harten-Boers

Publisher: Stichting landgoed Fraeylemaborg, Slochteren

ISBN: 9789080484603

The oral history of the Fraeylemaborg estate in Slochteren. The Fraeylemaborg was privately occupied until
1972, after which it became a museum.
Therefore, for a long time there were still people who could tell from their own experience about life on this historic estate. Henny van Harten spoke with members of the family, chambermaids, tenants and local residents. The memories of these people are vivid and detailed and cover the period from 1920 to 1970.

 

The title of the book is taken from a quote by Louise Thomassen à Thuessink van der Hoop van Slochteren (1915-2008): “We always thought it was quite ordinary, but afterwards you realize: well, that was quite special after all!”

Indonesian portraits

Elderly Indonesians and Chinese-Indonesians in Yogyakarta

The art project Indonesian Portraits by Martin van den Oever, Petra Timmer and Jos Janssen was created as part of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies’ research programme From India to Indonesia. It consists of two parts. This part consists of interviews with elderly Indonesians in Yogyakarta, who learned Dutch during the colonial period.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1920s – 2006.
They mainly talk about the Netherlands and Indonesia. Themes include World War II, Japanese occupation, fear, connection with the Dutch language and the Netherlands, youth, Indonesian revolution, schooling, Japanese language.

The collection is of limited public availability. If interested, please contact Jos Janssen.
The collection is on DV tapes. To preserve the interviews permanently for the future, digitisation and transfer to an e-depot is desirable.

The female hero

Wendy Janssen . De vrouwelijke held. In Wim Willems & Jaap de Moor (red.), Het Einde van Indië: Indische Nederlanders tijdens de Japanse bezetting en de dekolonisatie.
Sdu Uitgeverij, 1995

 

PhD research on identification processes in a postcolonial context; a study of intergenerational transmission among three generations of women of Indian background.

 

Wendy Janssen was a PhD student at the Belle van Zuylen Institute for Multicultural Gender Studies where Selma Leydessdorff was director. She wanted to investigate how narratives are passed on within families, and how different generations view their families’ reception in the Netherlands and their place in society over the years. Questions included: How are you seen? How do you see yourself? And how do you deal with that?

 

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1920s – 1996.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include World War II, Indonesian revolution, arrival and reception in the Netherlands, identity, Dutch society, positioning, adaptation.

 

Management: The collection is managed by Wendy Janssen.
Preservation: The collection is on cassette tapes. To preserve the interviews permanently for the future digitisation and transfer to an e-depot is desirable.

Veterans

Een uitzinnige menigte begroet de binnenrijdende voertuigen van de Prinses Irene Brigade te Den Haag, op de vroege avond van 8 mei 1945. Collectie Menno Huizinga, NIOD - 216947
 

Sub-study 4: ‘Veterans’
Currently in progress by the Netherlands Veterans Institute (NLVi)

 

This study asks different generations within veteran families about the memories, stories and images of the Second World War that live with them, and how they themselves experience freedom and unfreedom. It examines how memories of the war past of the (grand)parent (veteran) carry over to subsequent generations and how the collective social awareness and handling of a particular war past influences the memories of different generations.

With the Veterans sub-study, the Netherlands Veterans Institute contributes to the multi-year research of the National Committee 4 and 5 May, in which other remembrance communities are also surveyed.

 

The research project ‘War and freedom in three generations’ runs from 2021 to 2025. One or two sub-studies will be carried out each year. Each substudy focuses on a different memory community within which five families are interviewed each time. The interviews cover three different generations; in addition to the war generation itself, representatives from the second and third generations are also spoken to separately.

With this study, the committee aims to investigate how memories of (grand)parents’ wartime past carry over to subsequent generations and how family stories form in practice.

Does social awareness and collective handling of a particular war past (e.g. recognition, denial, concealment or disinterest) influence the memories of the different generations and the family stories that are passed on? Do these war memories influence views on or perceptions of freedom? And how do younger generations position themselves within this memory landscape?

 

Sub-studies

Sub-study 1: ‘Labour deployment
Sub-study 2: ‘Dutch East Indies/Indonesia’
Currently in progress

Sub-study 3: ‘Roma and Sinti
Currently in progress

Sub-study 5: ‘Jewish families
Currently in preparation

Guest speakers from the National Support Centre WWII – Present

For many years, the focus at Memorial Centre Camp Westerbork was on the period 1939 – 1934 and the transition to the camp as an internment camp. At the end of the 1990s, a change takes place. The starting point becomes the entire history of the site. Among other things, more attention is paid to the Indonesian period 1950 – 1951 and the Moluccan period 1951 – 1971. The support point Guest Speakers (financed by the Ministry of
VWS) will be housed at the Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre. Some guest speakers were interned or prisoners of war during World War II in Indonesia. Some of them have donated objects used in various camps to Remembrance Centre Kamp Westerbork. Following those donations, they were interviewed about the use of the objects and their life stories.

 

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1940s – 1950s.
They mainly discuss Indonesia, Sulawesi, the Netherlands and New Guinea. Themes include World War II, Indonesian revolution, life story, processing art, internment camp, repatriation camp, goose board, chamois leather.

 

Management: The collection is managed by Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork.
Access: The collection is of limited public access. Permission to use the interviews for research and educational purposes must be applied for in advance from the Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre.

Transcripts can be sent. The interviews can only be listened to on location.

Preservation: The collection has been digitised and partly stored permanently at an e-depot.

Database/inventory: Under development, accessible to the public in 2025
Sound carrier: Digital audio files, from 2010 video files

Historical ecology of the Limburg Kempen

Bijdrage tot de historische ecologie van de Limburgse Kempen (1910-1950) : tweehonderd gesprekken samengevat

Uitgever: Stichting Natuurpublicaties Limburg
ISBN: 9789074508087

In the Belgian-Limburg Kempen region, Joël Burny asked older residents about how they interacted with their landscape in the first half of the 20th century. His research shows that traditional insights often do not hold true for this specific area. The new insights should provide more guidance in determining the current form of management, which should be based much more on historically accurate references.

 

The book is a summary of a large series of interviews conducted with 96 elderly residents in the Belgian-Limburg Kempen region. These interviews covered the traditional use of heathland and stream valley grasslands, providing a picture of how the landscape functioned in the early 20th century. This is the period before the mechanisation of agriculture and before the large-scale use of nitrogen-rich manure.

The interviews revealed details of the historical use of the landscape that would otherwise have been lost. These include work done by farmers in the first half of the 20th century related to watercourses, stream valley grasslands, liquid meadows, dry and wet heaths and fish ponds.