Mindert And Trudy DeVries


Q - Question
A1 - Answer 1 (Mindert)
A2 - Answer 2 (Trudy)

Q – How old were you when the war started?

A1 – I was 12 years old when it started.

A2 – I was 14 years old when it started.

Q1 – Where did you live?

A1 – I lived with my sister (because my parents had died before the war started) in St. Parochi, Freisland in the country.

A2 – I lived with my family in Heendeland, Holland in the country beside a railroad.

Q – Did you have to move for any reason? (due to fighting, poverty, high shortage, etc)

A1 – No.

A2 – No.

Q – What did you do during the war?

A1 – When it started I went to school. When I was done school I worked on a farm.

A2 – I started to work in a candy factory.

Q – How did your life change because of the war?

A1 – At first it didn’t change but by the end of the war it did start to change in a more noticeable way.

  • After a year – rations on food, clothes, shoes and bikes
  • After a year – curfew (12 a.m.-6a.m.)
  • Close to the end – curfew (8 p.m.-6a.m.)
  • Even with these curfews people would sneak out.

A2- Same.

Q – What do you think is important for young people to remember from this time?

A1 – To be thankful for the freedom we have here.

A2 – Same.

Q – What did you learn form this time?

A1 – Thankful for the freedom I have. I really realized this after our freedom was taken away.

A2 – Same.

Q – How did you see God’s faithfulness during this time?

A1 – He protected most of the people. Personally God protected me and my family.

A2 – That he protect my family and that the Germans didn’t hurt us.

Q – What kind of rations were there?

A1 – They were on coffee, all food, clothing, and especially in the last years of the war coal and wood.

A2 – In the last years they were on food, tea, coffee, clothing, coals and wood.

Q – Were you afraid of the Germans?

A1 – In the beginning no, but later on a little bit.

A2 – Yes, but we always made fun of the Germans and those who agreed with them.

Q – Did the Germans ever talk to you or search your heart?

A1 – No, they never searched our house.

A2 – Yes, my dad hide in the barn and they searched it and stuck their bayonets in the haystack but they never caught him.

Q - Did you every talk to the Germans?

A1 – No.

A2 – No ,but we sang songs about them and stopped as soon as they saw them.

Q- What was the thing you ate in the war?

A1- We ate regular food. We owned a farm so we had grain, oats all sorts of food. But during the last winter there was lots of hunger in the North Holland and the big city (lots died.) People would come from the city to farmers for food but sometimes on the way back the Germans would take it right away.

A2- We ate a lot of grain mashed up. We would mashed grain to make flour. There were lots of deaths from hunger.

Q- When did the Canadians/ English come?

A1- At the end the Canadians came and liberated us. They brought food, coffee, chocolate…everything we needed. We were so happy to see them.

A2- Same

Q - Do you have any stories you’d like to share?

A1- At the end of the war the Canadians rounded up all the pro-Germans and to all the girls they shaved all of their heads. The Germans went to court and they had to pay a big fine. The Farmer I had to work for had to pay $20, 000 guilders (which is about $6-7000 in Canadian) and he had to go to prison for 1 ½ years.

The odd time I went through the field to my friend’s house. I had to be really careful because there were Germans patrols and they would shot you if they were caught.

In my town families with boys eighteen and older had to do to Germany and work. If they didn’t want to they would have to hide in a different town. They would transport them in bales or lose hay.

The Germans would either shot people in the resistance or send them to concentration camps.

My brother worked on a farm in Germany for four years other men would work in mines, factories etc.

You would have an office that would give out the coupons for clothes and food. People who were in hiding weren’t able to receive these cards so at night they resistance would break in and steal coupons so those who were hiding the people would have enough food to feed them.

The mayor of our district lived in a beautiful house. He wasn’t cooperating with the Germans so they were going to pick him up. He got a tip that they were going to pick him up so he left before they came. Then one afternoon the Germans came with jerry cans full of gas and burnt his house down. If the Germans knew they were hiding they would have come and burnt the house down with all the people hiding in it.

About two weeks before Germany surrendered, the girlfriend of the German commander betrayed some people also. So the under ground killed her. In order to get revenge the commander took 12 people from the resistance to a bridge outside the city and shot them. 11 died, and then because it was the end of the war there were British planes in the air and kept the highways clear. Because they heard the plans coming they were in a hurry to shot the last man. Close by there was a house and the man of the house saw the Germans shot them. When the Germans left he went and checked on the victims and 1 was still alive. He took him to his house, got a doctor and bandages him up. He didn’t die because he was not shot in the heart but in the shoulder.

A2- During the war some people hid in big bales of hay so they could get place to place.

During the war I had to get my appendix removed. I went to a hospital and on a But when I was in the hospital there was a bombing and the bombing took down a bridge. I could hear it from the hospital. Later in the day a lady was brought in and she had been hurt from the bombing. All night and all day she cried because no one could find her son. I didn’t get and sleep that night. Monday I went back home.

When boys were only 8 they were sent to work in the war. One boy didn’t want to so they made it so that he could hid under the flooring of the house. They put a carpet on top of the hole. The boy only came up at night but if the Germans were near he wouldn’t come up at all.

We had to cover all our windows at night because if the Germans saw the light they would get in big trouble. They couldn’t let any light outside.

People made little shelters to hid in. Once a boy called to his mom to try out the new cellar. The mom went and while she was in the cellar looking at it, a plane came and bombed their house. When they got out of the cellar, about half of their house was completely gone!

Interview conducted by Tanya and Erin.

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