A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 78. Liberation

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While we were waiting to jump the railway cars, which would be the same time that the allies attacked the city, we got word that everything was cancelled. The total surrender of the troops occupying Holland was signed in the city of Wageningen. Here in Amersfoort, the local commander of "DER DEUTZEN WHERMACHT", handed the reign over to the captain - our captain of the resistance, even before the Canadians entered the city.

It sure was a strange sight to see the boys of the Underground with their blue coveralls, rifles on their shoulders, guarding HOTEL DE WITTE, where the surrender took place. Not a single German was visible on the streets. It seemed like a lull before the storm. And indeed the storm did come soon.

On a beautiful spring day in the beginning of May 1945, the Canadian army came rolling into Amersfoort. Five years of oppression, murder, injustice, hate and hunger had come to an end.

At the sound of the first motorized columns of liberators, the people came streaming out of their houses, basements and hiding places to welcome the so long awaited armies, who fought so hard to give us back our precious freedom lost so long ago.

Spring flowers, hugs and kisses could not nearly express the feeling that was in the heart of the living. And with the liberators, came food - the most valued commodity on earth at this time for the hungry. The first thing we got was a tin called SPAM containing wieners. It tasted like angel food. What did angel food taste like? We didn't know or care - all we knew was it was unbelievably tasty, right out of the tin.


Related resources:

On 17 April, 1945, the Canadian lead tanks roll into Apeldoorn, loudly cheered by relieved residents - image from http://www.bouwman.com/netherlands/Liberation.html
17 April 1945 Canadian lead tanks roll into Apeldoorn
Photo from bouwman.com
On May 5th, 1945 in the Hotel 'De Wereld' in Wageningen the surrender terms of the German forces in the Netherlands were negotiated. Image from http://www.wageningen1940-1945.nl/Capitulatie/Wageningen%205%20mei%201945_bestanden/image002.jpg
5 May 1945 Hotel 'De Wereld' in Wageningen, Netherlands
Photo from wageningen1940-1945.nl
 
Member of the NSB and moffenmeiden being rounded up. Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kaalgeschoren_moffenmeiden.jpg
Member of the NSB and moffenmeiden being rounded up
Photo from en.wikipedia.org
Moffenmeiden Google image from http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4021/4481719096_92b15a8b93.jpg
Moffenmeiden shamed after Liberation 1945
Photo from farm5.static.flickr.com

Amersfoort concentration camp from Wikipedia. "Amersfoort was a transit camp, where prisoners were sent to places like Buchenwald, Mauthausen and Neuengamme. It was on July 15, 1942 that the Germans began deporting Dutch Jews from Amersfoort, Vught and Westerbork to concentration camps and death camps such as Auschwitz, Sobibor and Theresienstadt . . . The facility remained in operation under the auspices of the [Dutch] Red Cross until May 7, [1945] when Canadian soldiers of the First Canadian Army arrived to officially liberate the camp. Soldiers of I Canadian Corps fighting north from Arnhem were halted about a mile from Amersfoort before the end of the war, and liberation came on the day the German forces laid down their arms in the Netherlands."

History of the National Committee Commemoration Capitulations 1945 Wageningen (NCHC)."On May 5th, 1945 in the Hotel 'De Wereld' in Wageningen the surrender terms of the German forces in the Netherlands were negotiated. On the German side there were among others General Blazkowitz and on the Allied side there was Lieutenant-General C. Foulkes of the 1st Canadian Army, all in the presence of his royal highness Prince Bernhard. On May 6th, 1945 in the auditorium of the Agricultural College (next to Hotel "De Wereld") the capitulation was signed."

The Liberation of the Netherlands. "On 17 April, 1945, the Canadian lead tanks roll into Apeldoorn, loudly cheered by relieved residents. The Liberation of the Netherlands was completed on May 5, 1945 by the First Canadian Army.

Liberation from Wikipedia. "After crossing the Rhine at Wesel and Rees, Canadian forces entered the Netherlands from the east, liberating the eastern and northern provinces. The western provinces, where the situation was worst, however, had to wait until the surrender of German forces in the Netherlands was negotiated on the eve of May 5, 1945 (three days before the general capitulation of Germany), in the Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen."

The National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands. (Dutch: Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging in Nederland, NSB) was a Dutch fascist and later national socialist political party. "After the German signing of surrender on May 6, 1945, the NSB was outlawed. Mussert was arrested the following day. Many of the members of the NSB were arrested, but only a few were convicted. Mussert was executed on May 7, 1946."

Dutch Helper List. WW II Netherlands Escape Lines. Researching the aid given to downed Allied airmen by the Resistance during World War II in The Netherlands, Belgium, and France.

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