5:58 | Henk Duinhoven was in church with his family when the sounds of bombing started. The Allies had arrived in Holland. At first, there was jubilation, but that turned to fear as he hid in his basement for a week while the battle raged for Arnhem.
Keywords : Henk Duinhoven Oosterbeek Holland Netherlands Operation Market Garden Arnhem tank German British collaborator Schutzstaffel (SS) Dutch
In the small Dutch town of Oosterbeek, near Arnhem, a young Henk Duinhoven watched as the skies filled with German planes. Soon, German soldiers were in the streets and at every doorstep. At first, they were friendly, trying to win hearts and minds. This did not last.
All of a sudden, two children from his class were missing. Henk Duinhoven did not discuss it with his teacher because it was Nazi occupied Holland and the children were Jewish. His father had warned him to not talk about any of it.
His father was in a protected profession, so he was safe. His brother hated the German occupiers so much, he struck one in public and then fled. Henk Duinhoven relates how his brother made his way from his home in Holland to England to fight with the Allied forces.
Henk Duinhoven was sitting on a fence with two playmates. It was Oosterbeek in occupied Holland and the children were minding their own business when, suddenly, a German paratrooper approached them with ill intent.
The Germans would go door-to-door, rounding up men for labor. In the Dutch village of Oosterbeek, they also came to Henk Duinhoven's house looking for radios. His mother was trembling in fear they would find the one that was hidden away.
There were rumors of British and Canadians occupying Dutch towns. Some of the collaborators began leaving their homes. Then, Henk Duinhoven watched as the skies filled with Allied planes and paratroopers. Operation Market Garden had begun.
Near the end of the war, the food supply in Holland had been disrupted and there was widespread hunger. Henk Duinhoven was lucky to be in the countryside, where gardens had been harvested. When he heard the sound of Canadian tanks, he knew that liberation was finally at hand.
Henk Duinhoven and his family returned from the countryside after Holland was liberated and found their house damaged and dirty, but still intact. Then there was great joy when a rumor came around that his brother had been spotted in town, the brother who had escaped and joined the Allied commandos.