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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

The other side of the Bersiap

Title: De andere kant van de bersiap: Een reconstructie van de interneringen in en de evacuaties uit de republikeinse kampen op Java, oktober 1945-mei 1947

Author: Mary van Delden

Publisher: Walburgpers, Zutphen, 2024

ISBN: 9789464561760


Title: De republikeinse kampen in Nederlands-Indië oktober 1945 – mei 1947: orde in de chaos?

Author: Mary van Delden

Publisher: Mary van Delden, Kockengen, 2007

ISBN: 9789081184519

For decades, the media, publications and websites have talked – without any nuance – about violent, undisciplined, brainwashed and disorganized Indonesian youth who, after the Japanese capitulation – under the name of pemoeda – roamed through Java killing and looting. In the process, tens of thousands were reportedly killed. The reconstruction of the internments in and evacuations from the so-called republican camps shows that by no means all pemoeda were violent. “The other side of the bersiap” is that pemoeda in the majority responded to Sukarno’s call for all threatened Dutch (and Ambonese and Menadonese) men and older boys to be interned in republican camps between Oct. 11 and 19, 1945, to prevent bloodshed. Women and children followed from late October to mid-December.


To produce this study, Mary van Delden interviewed more than one hundred eyewitnesses and Indonesian veterans. In 2007, Van Delden already acquired her PhD on this same subject. Her dissertation can be found online.


Also see this conversation between interviewer Michal Citroen and Van Delden about her thesis from OVT (VPRO).

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

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 

Broken promise [Verbroken belofte]: 70 years of Moluccans in the Netherlands

Link to interviews
Mijn Stad Mijn Dorp


Verbroken belofte

Ditta op den Dries



The book was self-published.

Ordering can be done by sending an email to: dwllatupeirissa[at]

The book Verbroken Belofte is an initiative of the 70 Years of Moluccans in Overijssel Foundation [Stichting 70 jaar Molukkers in Overijssel]. The personal interviews with Moluccans of the first, second and third generation were conducted by journalist Ditta op den Dries. The oral history stories give a picture of how Moluccans in Overijssel – 70 years after – look at their history and how they have found their way in Dutch society.

In addition to the personal stories, the book includes sketches of the seven places in Overijssel with Moluccan neighborhoods: Zwolle, Deventer, Staphorst, Almelo, Wierden, Rijssen and Nijverdal. At the official book presentation in Nijverdal, Moluccans from all seven municipalities gathered for the first time for a day of remembrance.

The pain of their history is still palpably present in all generations of Moluccans. The fact that younger generations in the Netherlands do not know Moluccan history is perceived as very distressing. There is little or nothing written about “the Moluccan issue” in educational books. In order to learn from history, the Moluccan story must be told permanently.

Slavery and Overijssel

Overijssel en slavernij

Martin van der Linden, Esther van Velden, Marco Krijnsen

WBooks, 2023



Although little is known about the involvement of Overijssel and its people in colonialism and slavery, traces of the slavery past can be found in the province. We can think of Overijsselian plantation owners, administrators of the VOC and WIC, companies and industries with colonial ties, the presence of black people in the province, as well as Overijsselians who spoke out against the system of slavery.


Martin van der Linde, Esther van Velden and Marco Krijnsen researched this history and wrote a book about it. As part of their research, 5 interviews were held with descendants of enslaved people.

The war never passes: Overijssel 1940-1945

The 17 mini documentaries on youtube



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.

Lessons for the future

Bommel, M.A.J. van, fotograaf - Afbeelding van Willem Bley achter zijn fruitkar in de Koningstraat te Utrecht. - Utrechts Archief - 823256

The Volksbuurtmuseum feels it is important to record the stories of working-class Utrecht residents from the period after World War II to the 1970s as well. The interview project is broader than just Wijk C; residents of the ‘new’ neighbourhoods such as Kanaleneiland and Overvecht are also interviewed.
The original Utrechters, but certainly also the new Dutch will have their say, the guest workers, as they were called at the time.
What was it like to come here and how are they doing now? They tell about life in the working-class neighbourhood between 1945 and 1990. One hundred and one people were interviewed about their lives, their work and their neighbourhood. How do they look at it and what ideas do they want to pass on to (young) people for the future?

Het leven in de volksbuurt, 1945-1990

Adrianne Dercksen, Ingeborg Hornsveld

Nederlands Volksbuurtmuseum
Uitgeverij Betelgeuze
ISBN: 9789087081010


Het leven in een volksbuurt




The book and podcast series focus on the history of Utrecht’s working-class neighbourhoods and their residents. More than a hundred working-class neighbourhood residents were interviewed about their lives and how things used to be.


The book

The book tells the story of the lives of people from Utrecht’s working-class neighbourhoods from 1945 to around 1990. They tell about their childhood, their parents, school, dating, sexuality, work, the neighbourhood, the city, their own families. Stories about poverty and working hard to get ahead. About togetherness in family and neighbourhood, but also about drunkenness and domestic violence. How were migrants received and how did they find a place in society?
Each time, the question is how people look back on their lives. On the opportunities they got at school and at work. What obstacles did they encounter in life and how did they overcome them? How do they think about destiny and personal responsibility? What do they want to give young people of today based on their own life experiences?
The book ‘Life in the working-class neighbourhood’ was written by Adrianne Dercksen and Ingeborg Hornsveld and is on sale in the museum shop or through Betelgeuze publishers.


The podcast series

In this series, you will hear excerpts from the interviews. Popular neighbourhood residents share their memories, teach us lessons and tell stories about life in the popular neighbourhood. The podcast series was created by Jaap Hoeve and Bart Verbeek.


Bantoe vissers

Congo gained independence from Belgium on 30 June 1960. David van Reybrouck examined Congo’s tumultuous one-and-a-half century of history. A mixture of more than 100 oral history interviews and the usual historiography based on written sources.


Featured here are the people and events that influenced Congo’s development – from the slave trade to the ivory and rubber boom; from the arrival of Henry Morton Stanley to the tragic reign of King Leopold II; from global outrage to Belgian colonialism; from the independence struggle to Mobutu’s brutal rule; and from the world-famous Rumble in the Jungle to the civil war over natural resources that began in 1996 and is still raging today.


Van Reybrouck interweaves his own family’s history with the voices of a wide variety of individuals – charismatic dictators, warlords fighting, child soldiers, the elderly, female merchant smugglers and many in the African diaspora in Europe and China – to offer a very human approach to political history, focusing on the Congolese perspective and giving a country’s history back to its people.


Revolusi – Indonesië en het ontstaan van de moderne wereld
David Van Reybrouck

De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam 2020

The independence process on the road to revolusi. That is the period Van Reybrouck is concerned with, and of which the very last eyewitnesses are still alive. Van Reybrouck interviews a whole army of over-90s.

They bring history to life. No detail is too small, no quotation superfluous: ‘Witnesses who think they have nothing to tell are often the most interesting’, writes Van Reybrouck.


Van Reybrouck finds the most remarkable witnesses in the unlikeliest places and succeeds in getting people to talk, even about the greatest filth they have committed or suffered. He speaks to conscientious objector Piet van Staveren, as well as volunteer Goderd van Heek, Indonesian veterans, forced laborers, comfort women, very elderly Gurkhas, Japanese veterans and even Sukarno’s Japanese widow Dewi. He performs Brits, French, Japanese, Germans and Americans, for the revolusi was not only man-made, but was emphatically embedded in a larger, international event: there are more than two sides to this story.


© Beeld Nationaal Archief/Collectie SPAA