A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 55. Rough Going

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Iron ore slag from the smelters was used for road building, and me being from the neighborhood where the roads had to be built, they sent me to truck the slag to the different jobs.

In Holland, the rule, and law, is traffic from the right has the right of way, unless it is a highway, which is clearly marked.

The slag was shipped to the harbor in Amersfoort where we picked it up. Early one morning around 7 a.m. with my first load high above the sideboard, I came puttering through the city and neared the Langestraat. Here at one of the busiest streets, I blew the horn because the houses were so close to the corner one couldn't see if anything was coming.

I did not hear anything, so I shifted into a lower gear and made it half way across. Half way was right - that’s where I was when it hit me. A German diesel with a big square radiator towing a semi, ploughed into my side and pushed me against the tower of the city wall. Then everything was very still. I did not look through the window of the door, it was not there any more. It shattered and cut my hand which required some stitches, otherwise, no personal damage.

When I looked at the Diesel with its nose into my truck, I thought this looked like a war picture. Steam was rising up from the crunched rad and it was covered with slag from my load.

When I walked back from the hospital, a crowd of people were around the scene. I became one of them to find out was happening. Very entertaining what they saw and said. “Yah, the driver of that dump truck is dead.” “No, he's not dead, where is he?” “Oh, they took him to the hospital,” etc.

How did it happen? The other driver knew the rules. What I figure happened was this: he with his big transport was on the main street and was planning to go through the port which was only a meter wider than his transport. He carefully aimed for the opening, and his diesel being very noisy, he never heard my horn.

When the mess was cleared away, a cop came over and asked, "You have any brakes?" "Yes, I have." “Let's try.” He stood on the running board while I drove and slammed on the binders. He said "Okay."

The truck was still driveable so I delivered the load, then went in for repairs. The boss rushed over when he found out. I was cleared of any wrong doing. Apparently he was very pleased with my driving because he asked me shortly after if I was willing to start driving tour buses for him.

Yes, I was willing, but that never came to pass. He had asked me on Wednesday but on Friday of the same week, war started in our land.


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