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Everything was cleaned out.

Heroes Remember

Everything was cleaned out.

We lived in the town, it was a town or a city, what you'd call it now, and we have an alley-way between the two houses. And the Germans were across the channel and they were keeping the fire through the channel so we couldn't get out of the house. The kind of alley-way, you know, what we want was in the house. And we know that these other paratroopers coming down and the planes coming down. I saw that all. And then five days later they bombed Rotterdam so badly it took the whole inner-city out, and that made it . . .see, Holland didn't have a big enough army for that kind of project, you know. The tanks and stuff that was around at that time, you know, by the time Germans came in. Well you couldn't get out of the house later on in the last few years, as soon as I was in the age that they'd pick you up and ship you off to Germany. So I slept for nine months between the ceiling. See in the old houses, the ceiling . . . between the floor and the ceiling there was about three feet space and six of us, we slept there for nine months. And one day, we were, I was in the house, at home from the neighbours and the Germans came in and to pick me up and my mother up and put us both in jail. And my dad was not home and they waited for him and they picked him up too and put him into jail too. And he was locked up for six seeks. Mother and I, we stayed for two weeks and at five o'clock they told us to go home. And we have to walk home and that's, might be seven, eight kilometres. I never run as fast as I can that night. But then we were scared, mother and I, to go home so we went to the neighbours. We came home the next day, checked the house, everything was cleaned out. The furniture was there, but the food, and there was a bin full of coal . . . everything was cleaned out. Dad has trucks, they were gone. I met some of them old guys up, we were in the trucking business that time, that we, at the factories, you know and you talked to them. I have guys spoken, he says "We don't want it. We want to go home, we want to go home." But they can do nothing, there's nothing to say, you know. But the SS was the biggest problem. Oh they, if you did something wrong, they was "Poot" and you got shot dead. I know guys in our neighbourhood, they were in the underground, sent to pick them up and they took them down to (inaudible) to shot them all. You keep your mouth shut and don't say nothing. Don't say nothing to one of them guys or it was ball game over. They shot everybody what, what, that didn't suited. And you were in a car, you couldn't go out the house you know. It was all limited.

Mr. Beukema offers some perspectives on the occupation of his home town by the Germans

Laurens Beukema

Mr. Beukema was born in Forbruk, Holland, in 1927. He and his family lived through the hardships caused by the German occupation and the subsequent joy of liberation by the Canadian army. After serving overseas for three years in the Dutch Army, Mr. Beukema and his wife moved to Canada. Although he visits Holland often, Mr. Beukema is proud to claim Canada as his home.

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Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Laurens Beukema
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War

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