Hannie Rem-Bakker

I am from the generation after the war, the baby-boomers. Maybe my story doesn’t belong here. I wasn’t even born yet. But I’m shaped by it and touched. Every year the liberation will be commemorated, and by that the story of the ‘liberation party’ at the Dam comes up. My father never spoke about the war but my mother told it to us every year after the two minutes’ silence on May 4.
How she, when the shooting started, ran in the direction of the Grote Club, the wrong way, because she thought that the shooting came from the other side.
My father dragged her and pulled her to the ground, at which they lay down behind a fat man, he lay on top of his grandchild, to protect him. It made deep impression on her.

Thinking that you are free and still not save. Experience such a massacre.

The antipathy towards the Germans was the story of my life.  If we were in a restaurant or at the beach and there were Germans in our neighborhood, we left.
My father was picked up in the war during a razzia in Zaandam and brought to a camp in Amersfoort. My grandfather who operated by the resistance released him out of the camp.
In a closet in the hallway I found letters that were written during those days, but amongst it, things from the war, a whip, a torch, a rifle, a gun and a box with bullets (from the war?). From the view of a child I thought it was normal. It was there for our safety. I played with it and one night when I took care of my little sister, and I heard something downstairs, I took the gun, I loaded it on my way, and sneaked to the door. Ready to defend myself. Thank God it was false alarm.
In 1983 my father collapsed mentally. In the meantime, the foundation 1940-1945 offered for help. Help that wasn’t available immediately after the war. After his dead, by tidy up his house, we didn’t found the things from the war. Only some drawings from the camp in Amersfoort.
I still keep searching for photos and images of documentaries, maybe I see my parents at the Dam square. They didn’t die there or where being hurt, but damaged instinctive in being safe.

December 2015


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