The Hunger Winter: Occupied Holland 1944-1945


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The Hunger Winter: Occupied Holland 1944-1945

Germany invaded the Netherlands in the spring of 1940. Life in occupied Holland was hideous enough, but for the Dutch the worst was yet to come. After the Western Allies lost the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944, the Dutch provinces north of the Rhine and Waal Rivers were in the hands of the Germans, and to the south fighting raged for months. In the winter of 1944–45, just as other parts of Europe were being liberated, the Dutch seemed forsaken by the Allies, who bypassed Holland on their drive to Berlin.

That last winter of the war, with its severe food and fuel shortages, was a terrible one for the Dutch people, who also suffered from episodes of Nazi terrorism. In some provinces there was nothing to eat but tulip bulbs and sugar beets, and eighteen thousand Dutch civilians actually starved to death. Henri van der Zee, who was ten years old that winter, remembers what happened to his people.

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European Theater Hitler & Third Reich Holland The Hunger Winter: Occupied Holland 1944-1945
Germany invaded the Netherlands in the spring of 1940. Life in occupied Holland was hideous enough, but for the Dutch the worst was yet to come. After the Western Allies lost the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944, the Dutch provinces north of the Rhine and Waal Rivers were in the hands of the Germans, and to the south fighting raged for months. In the winter of 1944–45, just as other parts of Europe were being liberated, the Dutch seemed forsaken by the Allies, who bypassed Holland on their drive to Berlin.

That last winter of the war, with its severe food and fuel shortages, was a terrible one for the Dutch people, who also suffered from episodes of Nazi terrorism. In some provinces there was nothing to eat but tulip bulbs and sugar beets, and eighteen thousand Dutch civilians actually starved to death. Henri van der Zee, who was ten years old that winter, remembers what happened to his people.

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