No, it wasn’t me that lady behind the lamp post, I was laying behind the right kiosk. Your picture of the shooting on the Dam on May 7 1945 brought the memories back of that day.
I was just going to work on the Damrak, were we heard that the company would close because of the liberation. I went with a few colleagues immediately to the Dam. It was cold but sunny.
There were no festivities, you just walked there enjoying the freedom, an indescribable feeling, it’s something I still can feel.
Suddenly a tank drove on the Dam. I still don’t know from which nationality it was and by whom it was manned. I know that I climbed on it just like many others. It was high and scary. Some colleague saw me and called: “The Koning, there is the Koning” (my last name), some bystanders looked strange.
When the shooting started, a deafening sound, I walked on the Dam, seen from the Dam just behind the right kiosk. We duck behind the kiosk and made ourselves as little as possible. Because I had never experienced anything like this, I didn’t know from which side they shot, but I understood that it was not right. I was terrified and furious at the same time : it will not happen to me, five years of occupation alive and now being shot by the Germans. I didn’t dare to look around the kiosk but heard the screaming of the people and saw them fled.
For a moment there was a break during the shooting. Left from the Rokin came a group of Domestic Armed Forces, in their blue overalls, marching in file in the direction of the Dam.
I thought, now I can go, away from the Dam. I ran to the other side and went into the alley behind Peek and Cloppenburg. Halfway the alley the shooting started again. There were no porches to hide myself, so I pushed myself against the wall.
Next to me stood a man who did the same. It seems to be a China man.
You didn’t saw many Chinese people in those days in Amsterdam, only the peanut man. The man saw the fear in my eyes and said twice to me: “Stay calm, lady”.
And it worked, I relaxed.
When the shooting stopped I walked through the Kalverstraat to my home.
I had to walk for at least an hour because there was no public transport for a long time.
The next day I stood on the Apollolaan cheering the Canadians. Skinny, hungry but very happy.
C.Woudsma – de Koning