everybody´s free choice to attend schools with different
religious beliefs and faiths.
Since the second world war, we try to safeguard these
freedoms and solidify these in international agreements
and conventions , in our constitution, the bill of
rights and freedom and other laws. But above all, these
liberties are anchored in our hearts. Those who attack
these liberties, effect everyone on earth, who treasures
freedom, peace and democracy deeply. Let us remember and
not take our freedom and democracy for granted. Let us
find solace in the fact that the longest lasting
friendships have developed between different people
during difficult times.
Thank you for our liberation.
Marie van Rossen , Mayor of the city of Alkmaar
Young men who put their lives at stake to liberate us
from a ruthless regime.
Assen, 13 April 2005, liberated for 60 years.
On Wednesday, April 13th, 2005, we dwelt upon the fact
that 60 years ago we were liberated by the French, the
Poles and the Canadians.
On that day I was invited to open an exhibition
featuring the work of Truus Menger, a former resistance
fighter, now 81 years old. Her works bear testimony to
the war years between 1940 and 1945, a period which may
never be forgotten.
Although she was just a young girl when she went on such
dangerous missions, among which to liquidate Germans,
she has always advocated peace and tolerance. This
symbolism is reflected in her works of art.
April 13th made us think of those young men from the
free world who literally put their lives at stake to
liberate us from a ruthless regime.
The text and pictures in the issue entitled "Memories of
April 13th, 1945" of Assen's Historical Periodical,
illustrate the delight felt on that day as well as the
fear. Young soldiers like Clem Irvine, Earl Thompson and
Ray Knight are quoted. Earl, who visits a Dutch family
and falls asleep. His buddy wakes him up with the news
that they have to advance towards Groningen. And so the
liberators move on to end the war.
Sixty years after the liberation there are still many
people in Assen who can remember meeting the Canadians
as if it were yesterday. A picture of Assen on April
13th taken by Jan Otter and printed elsewhere in this
paper gives a good idea of the joy felt in front of the
town hall in Assen.
“Tulips 2005” is a fantastic initiative. It demonstrates
that commitment to peace and safety is timeless. The
in force, considering the many hotbeds across the world,
but Assen and Canada are inextricably bound up with each
Thank you all.
Dineke van As- Kleijwegt, Mayor of Assen
Soon we would be free again
Canadian Liberator Freeman of Deventer
Memories of the final year of war. Names and events:
Zutphen, Gorssel, de Schipbeek, de Gestapo-jail on the
Oxerhof, Bahtmen, Colmschate, Lettele, Okkenbroek,
Diepenveen, Schalkhaar, the anti-tankcanal at
Brinkgreven, and finally the warm welcome in Deventer.
Many Dutch people remember the names of the men from the
General Ron Keeflers troups. All of them together they
gave us back one of the most precious gifts of life: Our
Deventer was liberated by the 7th Brigade from General
Gibson between April 7th and April 10th 1945. This
brigade was part of the third Canadian Division and
after the liberation moved eastwards along the River
IJssel to the North. On April 11th 1945, the first
Canadian Division (secretly transported to Holland from
Italy, where they fought a fierce battle) had to line
up. Their attack over the river IJssel between Gorssel
and Wilp was the beginning of the end of the war in The
Netherlands. Soon we would be free again. Main target of
this attack was Apeldoorn. During this process, the 48th
Highlanders of Canada from Toronto, conquered ‘de Hoven’.
By the end of the afternoon of April 12th, the whole
city of Deventer was FREE again.
A Canadian Military Administration was installed.
Vincent O. MacDonald was installed as Townmajor. He was
succeeded by Captain S.A. Heatherington in July of that
year. In the summer of 1945 British Royal Engineers came
to Deventer to reconstruct the railway bridge, which was
completely destroyed during the war. Nowadays this
bridge has been replaced but on both sides of the banks
of the IJssel remains of the bridge are still to be seen
and bring back memories of that time.
General T.Greame Gibson was appointed to be freeman of
Deventer on April 22th, 1945. His name was registered in
the ‘Gulden Boek’ of the city. He was the first person
to have this honour. Citizens, companies and
institutions that have proved Deventer a good service
are mentioned in this book. The freedom after General
Gibson, has been granted only to mayors of Deventer at
the moment of their
The people of Deventer are still very grateful for what
you did for us, so they gladly like to say again and
again: THANK YOU CANADA!!
“Then she would still be alive..."
The following is an account written by Wil Cornelissen,
a remarkable Jew from Zwolle who was granted the medal
of honour of the city. He is also story-teller par
excellence at elementary schools in Zwolle, relating
accounts of the Second World War. This one is about the
liberation of Zwolle on April 14, 1945. As you know,
Zwolle was liberated by the Canadians. Our first
Canadian liberator, Mr. Leo Major, was appointed
honorary citizen of Zwolle on April 14th, 2005.
Years after the war, my mother's doorbell rang. It was
the 14th of April, the date on which Zwolle, my town of
birth and place of residence, was liberated.
Coincidence? Ah, well, the rabbis say there is no such
thing as coincidence. Let's just keep it at that.
It was Tonny who stood on the doorstep. Years before the
war he had been engaged to my Jewish cousin, Elly. They
had even already given notice of their intended
marriage. But they never did get married.
Tonny had been very fond of my mother. And the feelings
were mutual. He called my mother Auntie Truus.
Seeing each other again after so many years, brought
tears to their eyes. Tonny was the living memory of the
part of our family that had perished. Of Granddad and
Grandma, Uncle Jochem, Nanny, Lily, and all the others.
And of Elly, too. They had all been transported east and
never made it out of Auschwitz, Sobibor and
He told us that for quite a while after the war he had
worked as an interpreter for the Canadian troops. Did he
know it was Zwolle's liberation day today? No, he had no
Tonny had a big problem. His relationship with Elly had
broken up at the time. "But what if the wedding had
taken place? Then Elly would have been saved. It would
have been a mixed marriage, just like Auntie Truus'. And
then she would not have been sent to an extermination
camp. And if the marriage later turned out to be a
mistake, then they could simply have got a divorce,
right? Then she would still be alive..."
My mother and Tonny talked for hours. They embraced for
many minutes when he left. As if it was only then that
Tonny actually bid his goodbyes to the family and to