The Foundation received from Mrs.Mathilda van Bentum-Hofker a detailed report of her memories as a 9 year old young girl over the period 1939-1946.
She lived in the Zeeheldenbuurt with her parents, three older brothers, a sister and a younger brother of 16. One day her eldest brother came home in an uniform and
told us that the war has begun; her parents knew what that meant; they already had experienced World War I.
She writes about the hardships in the war, the hunger, risking their lives by stealing potatoes from a train, the unemployment, but also what a farmer did to her and other young girls when they were lodged at the Veluwe, and the loss of her baby brother, early 1945.
Her brothers had to work in Germany and the Ukraine. Her sister followed her husband to Germany. Their father was temporarily exempt because he had a (homemade) wound at his feet, later he still had to work. They all survived the War.
About May 7 and the shooting at the Dam, Mrs.Van Bentum-Hofker writes:
“At last pamphlets were spread from a plane above Holland, that Germany had lost the War and that liberation was a fact. Everyone was cheering on the streets, the Germans
flee from the country because they were scared to be killed. All Amsterdam citizen went to the Dam, to celebrate, I stood also in the midst of the crowd, when suddenly the
shooting started from a building, a girl-friend who was with her mother at the Dam was killed by a shot, terrible for those parents, she was their only child.
Panic broke out and everyone ran into the Nieuwendijk or the Kalverstraat, many people fell and were overrun. It seems that there were still Germans in a building, they
had been shooting at the crowd. It was a day that is etched in my memory…….”
It turned out of research that the girl was Rika Overdijk, she died at the age of 12.
Als de dag van gisteren kan ik Mathilda Hofker, die dag herinneren.
Met angst en zorg zie ik dat er nog steeds rassen haat is, Het waarom begrijp ik nog steeds niet, ieder mens wordt naakt geboren en is sterfelijk. waar je op deze aarde geboren wordt en of je arm bent of rijk. je gaat.