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De Vergeten Duitser

The dramatic life of the Dutch German Richard Bauer. “Der Russe hat wieder einen Angriff gemacht. Heute am 7. Hochzeitstag und ich bin nicht zu Hause.” (Diary Eastern Front 1943) Much has been written about World War II. From various perspectives: the cause, the military history, the victims, the outcome. Because of the celebration of 75 years of liberation, interest revived. Documentaries, publications and books appeared, often with new and more objective insights. Less from the good/bad approach. But there is still a white area in historiography. Do we have a clear picture of the role of “the Germans” in the Netherlands in and around this war? It was not only German soldiers who stayed in the Netherlands after the invasion in May 1940. About 100,000 Germans had been living here since the early 1930s as migrant workers or Jewish refugees. Some of them married Dutch people and had children here. They were not welcomed with open arms by our then government and after the war all of them were declared enemies. Richard Bauer was one of those Germans. By means of his life story Bert Hinnen makes clear how Richard’s life took dramatic turns. Especially in the period from 1930 to 1950 in the Netherlands (Almelo, Amersfoort, Ommen), Germany and Russia. The book reads like a family history, factual account, time document and indictment all at the same time. Bauer became a plaything of war, politics and arbitrariness. The author tries to give a face to this forgotten group of Germans, many of whom have already settled in the Netherlands, and to do justice to what happened to them and their families.