H.J. Mekkelholt

H.J. Mekkelholt (*1921)

Two days after the liberation there is a liberation party at the Dam that results in a blood massacre.For Mr. Mekkelholt this day gets eventually a positive turn.
As so many young men he receives an appeal in 1943 to be examined for Germany. That happened at the Leidseplein, near the Leidse Bosje. You could choose between Berlin or Rostock. I chose Rostock, by the Ost Sea. In Rostock I slept the first 6 weeks in a barrack. Afterwards I could rent a room with three other Dutch guys in a mansion. Several times I experience bombardments from houses in the surrounding. Often there was air-raid warnings, every time we had to leave our bed to take shelter in the basement. I worked at the office from Heinkel Airplanes. Thousands of people worked there. For getting that job I had to hand over my MULO certificate, they never returned it to me. Actually I had a good life there. Every day we had a hot meal with music. After 10 months I received a ticket for a trip to Amsterdam. I had a week leave, but I never returned, that was August 1944. A new episode. I got into hiding by an aunt and uncle of mine at the Droogbak, nearby the Central Station. I lived in their annex and they never found me. Perhaps I returned twice to my home but that was to dangerous. I only saw my aunt and uncle. I hardly came outside. Sometimes I walked in the neighbourhood. It wasn’t easy, I had no radio. Information about the progress of the war I heard from my aunt. I heard about the landing of the Yankees on D-Day. In Amsterdam the situation got worse, although it was clear that liberation was a fact. At last capitulation. To celebrate this I went to the Dam on Monday May 7. Thousands of people gathered to welcome the Canadian liberators who were expected that day. There was a celebrating mood and the weather was beautiful. Suddenly shots sounded.German soldiers shot from the Grote Club at us. Panic arose under the people and everybody try to fled or try to hide. Everybody wanted to leave at the same time. When it was over, I stood beside a girl that was crying. She lost her girl-friend and didn’t know how to get home. I told her that she could come with me. We went to my place, I took my bicycle and brought her home. This meeting was the beginning of our courtship. We married pretty quick. We lived together in that same annex at the Droogbak for 18 months and moved afterwards to the Helmerstraat. We were married for 62 years and got 3 children. The celebration at the Dam ended in a blood massacre. In the end there were 40 deceased and more then 100 wounded persons. But for me this unexpected meeting was a new start in my life. The war was over, I could walk around free and it was the beginning of a beautiful life with my wife and our family.

Source: ‘de Lettertuin‘,  a magazine from nursing home Amstelring, location De Drie Hoven, by Annelies den Dulk


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