In the lead up to Remembrance Day and Liberation Day on 4 and 5 May, a number of new memorials and informational plaques commemorating people and events that played a significant role in the Second World War were unveiled across Leeuwarden this weekend.
Translation by Traci White
Omrop Fryslan reports that a plaque was unveiled in the Vossepark telling the story of the first ten Jewish war casualties from the city. On the night of 10 April 1942, signs forbidding Jewish citizens from entering the park were removed. In response, members of the German Sicherheidsdienst (the intelligence agency of the SS) abducted 10 prominent men from the Jewish community from their homes and transported them to a camp in Amersfoort.
It turned out that a young boy had stolen the signs and claimed it was a prank, but the German authorities kept the men in their custody. Leeuwarden’s Chief Rabbi at the time, Abraham Salomon Levisson, pleaded for their release, but none of the ten survived the war: two died in Amersfoort and eight others died in Auschwitz.
In the Vrijheidswijk (Freedom Neighbourhood) of Leeuwarden, which has many streets named after Frisians who played an important part in the war, plans which were announced in November to rename several more landmarks became a reality. Omrop Fryslan writes that the neighbourhood is now home to the Harm en Annie Kingmaplantsoen, the Tiny Mulderplantsoen and the Gerben IJpmastraat.
Met het Harm en Annie Kingmaplantsoen, het Tiny Mulderplantsoen en de Gerben IJpmaweg is de Vrijheidswijk drie verzetshelden rijker. De straatnaamborden van deze helden uit de Tweede Wereldoorlog zijn vanmorgen onthuld door nabestaanden en oud-wethouder @henkdeinum. pic.twitter.com/GlpWtHGzjB
— Gemeente Leeuwarden (@Gemeente_Lwd) April 28, 2019
Harm and Annie Kingma owned a wood manufacturing factor in the neighbourhood near the small park which now bears their name. The couple also owned a wood mill at the Dokkumer Ie, which served as a hiding place for Jewish people during the war.
Tiny Mulder was a female member of the resistance and went on to become a journalist, writer and poet. Gerben IJpma was also a resistance member and a local supervisor for the Landelijke Organisatie, a group which provided assistance to people in hiding during the war. He was killed at age 23 in Koudum.
|Remembrance Day and Liberation Day
On 4 May, the Netherlands remembers the victims of war throughout its history. At 8 p.m., the entire country observes two minutes of silence, and all of the largest cities across The Netherlands host memorial ceremonies. Camp Westerbork, which was a detention camp for thousands of Jewish citizens during the Second World War, also hosts a large commemoration ceremony. For the Dutch, this sombre holiday, which is marked by a two-minute national moment of silence, poetry readings and laying of wreaths, is an opportunity reflect on their freedoms.
The next day – 5 May – is Liberation Day, which celebrates the official national capitulation of Nazi Germany in the Netherlands. Liberation Day is celebrated on a grand scale with free, open air Liberation Day festivals in Amsterdam and in the twelve provincial capitals. A number of popular Dutch performers also serve as the “helicopter acts” at the various festivals, flying from one venue to the next. The 2019 acts are Sam Feldt, Kraantje Pappie and Maan.
Photo source: Municipality of Leeuwarden/Twitter