H. van der Burgt

On May 7 1945 I was 12 years old. I lived at the Hoogstraat, in line of the Dam, across the Zuiderkerk. We knew that there was a lot to do at the Dam because of the liberation, the mayor would speak and, as a child, I was of course very curious about the things that would take place. My mother stayed at home and I went alone. it was very crowded.
Ijskar bij hoek Nieuwendijk, Dam
I stood next to the ice-cream cart at the Nieuwendijk, you can see that on different photos, at one moment I heard the shots. We were told that Germans entered the Grote Club. The Dutch went jeering them, as a result of that, they were in a foul mood and started to shoot. When the shots fellt, a woman pressed me to the ground. She said to me “don’t come up”. Next to me I saw that several people were shot dead. When it was quiet, we got up, the lady and I walked to the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. One moment a truck with Germans arrived, and because we were scared, we duck into a doorway, nothing happened. Then we seperated, I went home via the Nieuwendijk, Zeedijk and Kloveniersburgwal.

My mother was of course happy to see me. She had heard of the shots, but the only thing she could do, was wait and see. Once at home we looked out of the window and saw handcarts with dead bodies on it. There were blankets over it, but the arms and legs fell out. They were brought into the Zuiderkerk.

I remember the terrible smell. Afterwards I heard that the bodies were treated with extinguishing lime and that smells awfull. The chaos on and around the Dam is something I could never forget. Everywhere you saw dead people, people who ran away and even a abandoned pram. It was awful. Every time when I read about it, it makes me emotional and the initiative for a memorial is very good.

Source: sent in by H. van der Burgt to Oud Amsterdammer, published March 4 2014

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