Fred Landman

F.C.M. (Fred) Landman *1939

Through our website we received a message from Mr Fred Landman:

l am a survivor of the Amsterdam Massacre. I have information. I am now a resident in Australia.
When WWII ended, a large celebratory gathering took place in front of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. The mood was happy and exciting following 5 years of German occupation.
As a little boy of 6yrs old, I was there with my nanny and 2 older sisters.
Suddenly and without warning, rapid gunfire was heard, the crowd became restless and panic ensued, people were screaming trying to get away; some tripped over and were trampled by the now hysterical crowd.
I became separated from my family and ran crying up a side street where I was picked up by a Salvation Army officer.
When my sisters and the nanny had returned home without me, my father went out to look for me amongst the bodies and injured.

It was later found that German officers were still sequestered in the building [red.: Groote Club] next to the Palace, a machine gun was also found to have been used.
The Salvation Army officer returned me home once the ‘all clear’ was given as he recognised my surname and knew of the Landman family.

The Landman family lived at the Nieuwendijk 142, father Tjitte Folkert (1908-1968) was a pastry chef in the famous bakery which his father Folkert Tjitte (1883-1957) reopened in spring 1921.

Renewed business
These days is at the Nieuwendijk the bakery of mister Landman reopened, formerly company de Jong. The shop is totally renewed and, in all perspectives, tastefully modernised. Painted in cream colour with golden ornaments and with bleu tapestry, it has acquired a certain dignified appearance. With the creation of this beautiful and ornate décor, is been taken care of the highest hygienic standards. Neat showcases give the clients the opportunity to choose out of the offered delicacies, in which this company for years owes its reputation for.

Picture:  Bakery F.Tj. Landman, Rijksmuseum
Fred: As far as l can tell, the gentleman behind the counter was my grandfather. I only knew him when l was very young and he was quite an old man.

We read in the newspaper from 1935: “Since time immemorial, there has been a pastry shop at number 142 on Nieuwendijk. This is where the pastry shop is of F.Tj. Landman. Years ago, this company was already famous for its butter sprits [botersprits]. Landman’s macaroons [bitterkoekjes] are known throughout the country. These have been awarded several times at exhibitions. Behind the beautiful old-fashioned shop is the bakery, which is an example of hygiene and beautiful décor. We have rarely seen a more hygienic and mare comfortably furnished bakery. An electric oven prevents spilling coal. All ingredients for the preparation of chocolate, cakes and pastries are stored in practical drawers. This company is always looking to increase sales by having a large collection of items in stock. For the coming St Nicholas weeks she has new marzipan in stock and chocolate letters. Of these, 3 sizes are from Droste, 3 from Ringers and 2 from Union. Furthermore, musket letters of own manufacture.”

This picture (Copyright: Dutch Photomuseum) from 1944 shows the black market in front of the shop.

Fred:
I was only a young child during the war and therefore my recollection of that time is limited. However, some significant events have remained with me. We were fortunate because of the bakery to have a plentiful supply of flour, sugar, and butter but with the absence of meat and fresh vegetables the “menu” was pretty boring.

I do recall German soldiers knocking on doors and in some cases dragging people out of their homes and putting them on trucks, and were not seen again. I remember people stealing the wooden blocks between the tram lines for heating and times when the air raid sirens sounded, my sisters and I would all rush downstairs to stay in the cellar under the shop, as children we were “brainwashed” into pretending my father was not home if the Germans came as they were picking up any able-bodied men to work in their factories.

When the war ostensibly ended, my parents decided that my two eldest sisters, Coby and Jeanette {both deceased} and myself could join the celebrations, with our nanny Juffrouw Jet to take care of us. We joined the crowd that had gathered in front of the palace, everyone was happy and cheerful until suddenly gunfire was heard and the mood changed dramatically, it was a question of survival, people pushing, shoving, yelling and screaming desperate to get away. “Nanny” was elderly and unable to keep us together in the crush and I broke away and ran down Damrak, I can’t recall if I was crying but was determined to get back to the bakery- Home. I ran down a side street and was grabbed by someone and taken to a house which was crowded with people, some were obviously distraught, others were simply holding and hugging each other. After several hours had passed, they took me home where my mother almost smothered me in a bear hug. My father had gone back to the Dam after the Nanny and my sisters returned without me, desperately looking for me amongst the dead and injured, he had returned and told the family that he could not find little Freddie. I was later told by my sister that the people that had taken care of me and returned me home were Salvation Army Officers.

Shortly after the war officially ended, we witnessed a parade celebrating a visit from Winston Churchill, I proudly wore a red, white and blue sash and cheered wildly as the great man was driven past in an open car. Our shop reopened shortly afterwards.

When the shop was reopened after the war. @Family Archive Landman

In response to your question regarding lasting effects of my experiences, I am pleased to say I suffered no physical or mental disability, though wouldn’t mind a return visit to the well-known restaurant the Five Flies. After the war in 1945 l went off to boarding school namely St Louis at Oudenbosch. I did particularly well and as a reward my parents used to take me to the Five Flies. So when l took my family overseas in 1977 l took my wife Lorraine to the Five Flies and what a night. My Nanny looked after the children, she was well into her 80’s and just loved it. We visited our old shop and was made most welcome by the new owner Mr Kroon.

Me with the expectation l would follow in my father’s footsteps. l chose to do law instead.
@Family Archive Landman

Family Landman emigrated to Australia in May 1951.

Illustration: Landman family archive

July 2022

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1 Comment

  1. Pauline Wesselink

    Wat een mooie bijdrage met foto’s van Fred Landman. Gelukkig is 7 mei 1945 voor hem goed afgelopen.

    Reply

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