J. G. Salm

Sent in by J.G. Salm to the Oud-Amsterdammer:
februari 2014

I had just turned 3 and my mother wanted to go see the Canadians. My father didn’t feel like going. She went into town with an elderly neighbor who also wanted to witness the events and I was in the baby carriage. The Dam was terribly crowded and we were at the Dam somewhere near the Nieuwendijk and Damrak and it felt to me like we were there for a very long time.

Suddenly people were shouting that the Canadians were not coming because they had supposedly been stopped by the Germans at the Berlagebrug (a bridge across the Amstel).

People got restless and suddenly the windows and doors were opened at the Groote Club and we saw people in the windows.

Plotseling verschenen de Duitsers op het balkon van de Groote Club
Then, all of a sudden, a volley of gunshots, panic broke out and everybody fell down on the street. I remember very distinctly that a young man fell on top of me, his whole face was bleeding and blood was pouring out of his ears and mouth and still they were shooting. Then an elderly man pulled me out from under the young man but my mother yelled: “Give me my child!”

Somehow we ended up in Hotel-Restaurant De Roode Leeuw and there, with a lot of other people, we sat under the billiard table for a long long time. Everybody was really scared, because bullets were also fired into the restaurant. At 7 pm we could finally leave. There was a man with a horse and carriage and for 25 guilders a person he took us and some others to the Berlagebrug where we had to get off. My mother carried me to our house in the Vrolikstraat because my carriage had gotten lost in the melee. The neighbor brought it back later.

According to the news back then there were 46 dead.

Lost articles from the Dam were displayed in the Zuiderkerk for a couple of days; my mother had lost a shoe but it was never found.

I remember all this very clearly even though I was just a little boy and I never forgot this horrible event. I still avoid large crowds, I’d rather take a longer route.

 

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