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April 8th 1940,

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

April 8th 1940, Dear Diary, Life is the same as usual in Rotterdam. My wife, Lisa and son Jack, are doing fine and my job at the harbour is going well. However a new threat seems to be lurking in the distance, one we have not had to deal with for a long time...war. It is now just over a year since the Germans took their first victim, Czechoslovakia in March 1939. Since then I have heard that the German war machine has churned its way through Poland, Denmark and Norway and as nobody has yet succeeded in stopping them, I fear places like Holland, Belgium and France are next. However, we have not taken sides, Holland is a neutral country and up to now we have been living peacefully under good-old Dutch rule. May 13th 1940 Dear diary, My worst fears have come true. I heard this morning on the wireless that Germany officially declared war 3 days ago. Rumour has it that German planes are currently flying over Holland full of bombs and troops, sweeping through Holland at a terrifying rate. I myself have not yet been directly affected but I know it's only a matter of time and so I am taking no chances. My family and I are making preparations to leave Rotterdam tomorrow. We will head for the country and hopefully find refuge in my brother Frank's, farm in Arnhem. I've told Jack that we are going to visit his uncle just like we used to do, for I cannot bear to tell him the truth. I plan to stay with Frank until I feel it is safe to move back into Rotterdam. ...read more.

Middle

To me and to everyone else, this looked like a retreat from the Germans. We had heard that the Allies were doing well in France, and "now" we thought "It was our turn." We paraded onto the street, holding anything we could find that was orange and brandishing it at the Germans. We were expecting the allied troops to come marching through the streets and many people waited outside to greet them. But nobody came. We waited hours and hours, too na�ve to realise that there was a chance that the Germans had not retreated at all. Hours passed while people continued to parade, but at around 5 o'clock it was announced on the wireless that the Germans had not retreated, they had merely taken up a new position in Holland, and were preparing to fight the allies. We all felt stupid and disappointed, yet hope remains in our hearts, that although the liberation of Holland may not have occurred today, I feel the it is imminent, and all we have to do is be patient. September 25th 1944 Eight days ago I was listening to the wireless when an interesting report caught my attention. "Operation Market Garden, the plan to liberate Holland" I heard. Apparently, a huge operation was taking place that day, one that would end the war if it succeeded. I was told that the plan was still going ahead and that it was taking place in the region near Nijmegen and Arnhem. The reporter said that troops were landing in that region, but the details of the plan are still unknown. I remembered that my Brother lived in Arnhem and I called him to ask what was going on. ...read more.

Conclusion

Greedy hands were already snatching things out of the crate and it was already half empty. I too began to grab what ever I could get my hands on, and used the clothes I was wearing as a bag to take it home in. Once I was sure I could carry no more, I set off back home, to find my wife and son crying with joy. I handed them both an apple and a slice of bread and they ate it with relish. We ate and ate, taking at first small bites and then larger and larger. For dinner my wife even decided to cook the food and we ate our boiled potatoes with beans together at the table. It was the first decent meal we had had since the start of the winter, and I ate with tears of joy. God bless the allies!! May 5th 1945 Freedom at last!! The Nazi scum, who have occupied and corrupted our land for so long, subjecting it to brutal conditions, exploiting its resources and people, destroying its infra-structure and bringing death and suffering, have finally been driven out and defeated. After almost five years under German rule, the Dutch nation and its people are free once more. Restoring Holland to its previous state may seem like an insurmountable task, but one way or another, with the help of the sheer determination of the Dutch people, it shall be done. The Third Reich has fallen, good as inevitably triumphed over evil and peace has been restored in Europe and the rest of the world. This day marks the end of the Second World War and the beginning of a what I hope will be, a new and better life. ...read more.

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