This is my second year taking part in these memorial occasions. I still find it overwhelming to think that the Dutch people had to endure five years of occupation and all the horror that comes with it. My knowledge of world history around this period of time is fairly good, but I have always seen it through British eyes. Seeing it through an occupied people's eyes, however, changes the perspective greatly. I think about how there was no food. Anywhere. At least in Britain, the food that was grown could be kept and used at home, or sent to the armed forces. In occupied Europe, all the food went to the occupiers. This was the case in Germany too: all the food went the Wehrmacht.
I make a point about the food because it occurred to me that while one would feel utter outrage and indignation at being occupied, it is in fact when you become hungry that you feel the real grasp of war.
|Flight Sgt Barham, 22, Wireless Operator RAF|
It is heartbreaking to read how young they all were. Nineteen, twenty-one, twenty-two. Boys, really. The German, French, and American soldiers have all been repatriated, but much like the fields in France and Belgium, the other Allied forces decided to let them lay in peace. There are boys from the RAF, shot down near the island. Royal Navy boys too, drowned in the icy waters of the North Sea. Australian, Polish, and New Zealand Air Forces. They all are there together.
|Commemoration Wreaths - Terschelling|
|Memorial - Terschelling|