Willem de Leeuw – Wim

* Amsterdam May 5 1931
† Amsterdam May 7 1945

wim-de-leeuw-voor-001Wim de Leeuw died on May 7, 1945 at 3.15 in the afternoon after having been shot at Dam Square. It was shortly before his 14th birthday. He was buried at the Noorderbegraafplaats. His grave is no longer there.

His parents, Izak de Leeuw (1898-1978) and Willemina Helena Kempe (1901-1973), came from Middelburg where they were married in 1921. His sister Helena Maria (Leni) was born there. In 1928 the family came to Amsterdam, where Wim was born. As of April 1944 they lived in the Van der Pekstraat 60-I.

 

 

 

Mrs. Piper-Stuurop, Wim’s niece:

“I was only 2 ½ years old at the time, so what I know is from stories told by my mother, Wim’s sister. She didn’t talk about it a lot, it was too painful to remember. Wim’s death was a big loss.

My grandparents, Wim’s parents, were born in Middelburg where they got married and where my mother was born. There was no work there so my grandfather who was a metal worker traveled to Amsterdam and was very lucky to find both a job – at the shipyard ADM – and an apartment. Now he could have his wife and daughter join him. Wim was born, 9 years after my mother.

It was liberation day, everybody went to Dam Square. My grandmother got the family together to join in the festivities but Wim didn’t want to go. He preferred to do something more serious, he studied at the HBS and played the piano. His mother persuaded him: your friends will be there, come let’s go and have some fun’.

Wim was walking in front of his mother and she saw how the blood poured out all over his back. Wim had been hit by bullets and died.  His mother felt guilty the rest of her life, both about coming to Amsterdam and about persuading Wim to go to Dam Square which resulted in the death of her youngest child. The word IF is only two letters long, but it has an important meaning. What if they had not left Middelburg, what if she hadn’t talked him into going to Dam Square, what if … she kept tolling it around in her head, became mentally ill and died from grief.

My father had to identify him; where that was I don’t know. Somehow my grandfather found some wood and made the coffin for his own son.

My mother was now an only child, without her little brother, she missed him dearly. Every year on May 7 at 3.15, she sat down in her chair and just stared into the distance, quietly, it was a moment for remembrance.”

“I am pleasantly surprised that the Foundation is putting so much effort in finding the names of all the victims. The idea of including the names of all the victims in a Memorial is wonderful. As a family member I appreciate this very much and support it wholeheartedly”.

January 2014
Ludmilla van Santen, projectgroup
Foundation Memorial 2015 for victims of Dam Shooting May 7 1945

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