A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 14: Brick Roads

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Most streets were paved with bricks, laid in the ground just like bricks in a wall, except that no cement was used. The wagons with wooden and steel wheels were very hard on them. So every year, sections had to be dug up and replaced with new bricks.

The old bricks were sold to farmers and people who wanted to improve their property or backyard. The new bricks came from a factory on the river Rijn and were picked up and delivered by horses and wagons.

When the wagons came to the place of delivery, they stacked them up neatly alongside the road about a meter high. For us, this was a new adventure. We climbed up on one end then walked or ran to the other end without falling off. If nobody was watching us, we took them nice clean beautiful bricks and built houses and castles and bridges. The streetmakers, usually the Snijders from Amersfoort weren't very happy when we made a mess of their wall of bricks.

For us, it was fascinating to see them lay the bricks. They would be on their knees in the road; in the right hand, a stonemason's hammer would go up and down without stopping. He would make a little furrow in the sand, then his left hand would drop a brick into it and his right would hammer it into place. The same would happen with the next brick, and the next, and the next. I wondered if his hand kept on hammering at night while he was sleeping.

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