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1944 Discovered and arrested
Nederland, Bergeijk. Gliders in lucht met molen op voorgrond.© Imperial War Museum

Hélène Egger - ‘The end of the war was in sight’

‘The end of the war was in sight. Around Vorstenbosch and especially Veghel, there was heavy fighting. I wasn’t afraid of anything because I wasn’t alone anymore. More and more people stayed at the house. People who had fled from the fighting. It didn’t matter to ‘my family’ everyone was welcome. At one time there were twenty five people living on the small farm. After the liberation of the south in September 1944, I was allowed to go to school with the other children. Mother Betje made a suit for me from an old blanket which she had dyed. Underneath I wore a blouse made from parachute silk. On my head I wore a beret and I wore real clogs. I was queen in my new outfit. I was one of them. I was a member of the family.

I had become used to country habits – chickens had their necks pulled and dead pigs were hung up on ladders – and began to love my surroundings. It was as if I had always lived there.

On 5 May 1945 the west of the country was liberated. Grandfather and grandmother will also have been liberated now, I thought when I heard the news. I didn’t think anymore about it. One thing was certain: I didn’t want anything else to change in my life. I wanted to stay in Vorstenbosch forever with my new family and friend Jo.’


Source: Extract from Ik ben er nog. Het verhaal van mijn moeder Hélène Egger. In cooperation with the author Debby Petter and Uitgeverij Thomas Rap.

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On 4 May 1945 the German army in Western Europe – and also in the Netherlands – surrenders to the Allies. All fighting ceases on 5 May. The capitulation in the Netherlands is signed on 5 May and this day is known as Liberation Day. In the following days British and Canadian troops enter the western region of the country. The southern region of the country; Brabant, Limburg and Zeeland had already been liberated in the last months of 1944 and the eastern and northern parts since March 1945.

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1938 Many Jewish refugees after Kristallnacht

Many Jewish refugees flee to the Netherlands after Kristallnacht. Princess Juliana also feels connected to the Jewish community. But while more attention is drawn to the admittance of more Jews, NSB members threaten more intervention.

1940 Amsterdam occupied

Nothing changes too much for the Frank family in the beginning. Opekta moves to the Prinsengracht. During air raids bombs cause death and injury in Amsterdam.

1940  Amsterdam occupied

1941 Jews allowed to do and less

It starts with a cinema ban but rapidly Jews are banned from virtually all public places. Jewish children must attend separate schools. This also applies to Anne and Margot Frank.

1941  Jews allowed to do and less

1942 It becomes more dangerous for Jews

On her thirteenth birthday Anne Frank receives a diary. A few days later she writes about the situation in Amsterdam. The introduction of the Jewish star and the raids. In July the Frank family goes into hiding.

1942  It becomes more dangerous for Jews

1943 Deportations and attacks

While the Frank family is in hiding thousands of Jews are deported from Amsterdam. The resistance tries to hinder the deportations by attacks including one on the Public Registry. It doesn’t stop them.

1943  Deportations and attacks

1944 Discovered and arrested

On 4 August the people in hiding in the secret annex are discovered and arrested. From Westerbork they are taken to Auschwitz. When the Allies land in the south of the Netherlands there is hope that the country will be liberated. German soldiers and NSB members flee the country after Dolle Dinsdag (‘Mad Tuesday’).

1944  Discovered and arrested

1945 Joy and sadness

A celebration at the Dam on 7 May is ruined when people are killed after German soldiers shoot at the crowd. On 8 May Amsterdam is officially liberated. Otto Frank returns. He knows that Edith is dead. He only hears later that his two daughters have not survived.

1945  Joy and sadness

1946 Slowly the threads are picked up again

On 3 May 1946 the first official commemoration for those who died during the war is held. Anne Frank’s diary is published on 25 June 1947. Life in Amsterdam slowly gets back to normal. Of the 70,000 Jews who lived in the city in 1940 only 10,000 have survived the war.

1950 Lasting memory

Even five years after the liberation the reverberations from the war are still clearly noticeable. The Jewish community thanks Amsterdam for the help given to Jews with a monument.

1950  Lasting memory
  • 1950
  • To those who protected the Dutch Jews during the years of the occupation. Protected by your love. Encouraged by your resistance. Mourning with you.

    Part of the citation on the monument ‘Jewish Gratitude’
  • picture:Once a year, two minutes silence

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