WILHELMINA HENDRICA E. KLYN [nee ROOMER] 1940 - 1945 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY A WINNIPEG MANITOBA MOTHER VISITING HOLLAND AS HITLER'S ARMIES INVADE AND OCCUPY THE NETHERLANDS TRAPPING THEIR VISITOR
HOLLAND NETHERLANDS UTRECHT WINNIPEG CANADA 1940 Good
On offer is a superb, original manuscript diary of a 64 year old woman, Wilhelmina Hendrica E. Klyn [nee Roomer], a Dutch mother from Winnipeg Canada who began a visit to Holland just as the second World War broke out and she became trapped - a prisoner of the Third Reich's occupation of the Netherlands! Mrs. Klyn writes in specifics, a quite densely written and detailed record of everything that she saw, heard, read and gossiped with her family and friends to document her experience in Holland during the Occupation. Historians and researchers of this horrible time will be hard pressed to find so extensive a detailed telling: over 200 leaves approximately and the diary has a scrapbook like quality given the profusion of ephemera including documents, letters, clippings and photos making for 260 pages or so of daily entries in a pair of large 10.5 x 8 inch notepads. The ephemera includes: Red Cross letters; news clippings, postcards; real photos, tickets, passes and documents give depth and breadth to this very intelligent and keenly observant woman of the German occupation of Holland. Beginning right at the beginning on May 10th 1940 Mrs Klyn writes until May 26th 1945 and leaves nothing unwritten from family matters, travels, attacks, bombings, shootings and her fellow citizens and their behavior for good and bad. This is a 'street level' view from a practical mother from Canada of Dutch background - charmingly, her daily entries are peppered with information she hears on the wireless about Canada mostly, the World and always notes on hockey scores in Canada and the USA. Hockey is very important to her as if her sole lifeline to the life she had back in Canada. That said, she does consider herself a 'Nederlander'. Every page could be quoted but here are some snippets: May 13, 1940 - "about the same but in the early morning of 14 May at about 5 o'clock, plenty of planes were going overhead and were shot at, people came out doors to look at them and oh! the noise. Went to city to see what was going on and when I came back Mrs. Nos told me we had to leave. When we came outside a soldier motor with drum came rushing through the street, we almost fell back in the hall. June 10th - "Cafeteria: there is a bunch of Dutch and German soldiers, they are laughing their heads off. Spoke just now to a man from Amsterdam., said they were not bombed, but oh! the sirens in the night to warn them for airplanes. Just now a large truck full of German soldiers stop in front. I wonder where they will go to. It is funny to see so many boys and girls (big ones) hanging around those soldiers, they seem to be the best of friends. You will think your old mother very talkative eh! oh yes I get to know people now. I am sitting in a corner so can look things over. 5 Germans came to the table beside me so I was really in a corner. I said to a big one, 'ich bin niet bang; he said 'Ich bin nich bang.' 'I am not afraid.' Went to the bank but was told I would have to wait for the money (one check) till the war was over, where some of the others went I don't know, ah well I will get slenderer yet. June 15th - "Going to market and cafeteria, see if something is going on, it is funny to see some people, including myself walking for everybody else is on a bike and Netherlander of 6 years who cannot ride a bike is out(?). Going home, went for bread, but no bread, everybody has taken a lot of it, for from the 17th we will only get so much on ticket; Ernest! Don't be afraid I will get too fat, I am slender as a pole. Aug. 2nd - Woke up at half past 7 with a start, thought someone jumped on the roof, then I heard voices saying, bombs, bombs, somewhere a bomb must have been exploded. Peter, Ko, and Leo are working for the defense on one of the airports, rather dangerous just now we are always glad when they are home at evening. At 10 o'clock in the morning shooting shooting. At about 3 o'clock 5 large planes flew over the house. 6 o'clock, Ko just came in, he said 5 little? Bombs, about 1/2 yard long, were dropped on the place he is working, killing 5 men, awful, and this is only done as a warning. Nov. 3rd - "listened to English concert for the oversea soldiers, the Canadians and Americans could say a few words to friends and then they all shouted - "so long everybody," and one shouted - "hallow Mom." I began to cry and said, that could be Ernest. Jan 14, 1941 - "went to office at 8 o'clock in the morning, pits dark, had to hold onto Peter, not nice a city in darkness, only little red lights on autos and bikes. At nine, houses were visible and at ten I was in the cafeteria for cup coffee. 3 young G. doctors are having something nice to eat, they are strange her, poor kids. You know boys, I see behind those fellows their mother, they don't know where their boys are, perhaps killed. More G. soldiers are here, they behave nice but still we will be glad when they go. Doctors putting on their revolvers. Wicked. 9-10 July, 1941 - "oh the swarm of planes that went over, a great noise, so how many people will be killed or wounded, even we in Rotterdam, den Helde, and other places get it. WE have such a good radio we listen to Moskow (in Dutch) (forbidden). I listen to Canada and we listen to England (forbidden). All clubs are forbidden, medals, flags - large or small, royal familie taken out of schools and other places (bad). Feb 4, 1942 - "Martial law called in Amsterdam, people have to be in at 8 o'clock, jews arrested, so perhaps we will get it some day. It is worse in Rotterdam, bombs and shooting fighting and son on, people killed: in The Hague also trouble: you sould see the snow we have here, there have never been so much, they fear there will be a flood. Sports news; St. James and Gartk still on top of hocket. Some place a fight with hockey fans, referee hurt, police called, well well Willie! I have read a book called Son of Canada, by Mrs. Humphry Ward. It was about the C.P.R. I traveled all across Canada, Rockies and Selkirks, but what are the Selkirks? It was great all those places we have visited. Selkirks mean Rogers pass. June 6, 1944 - At about 1 o'lcok in the morning, I could not get to sleep thinking about you boys when I heard bombing somewhere, the house shook, the windows rattled and Ernest's picture near it was rattling also. I went out of bed but could see nothing, but when we got up in the morning, all Utrecht was excited for the Invasion had begun in France and Belgie. In the paper it said the landing troops were American, Br. and Canadians / Canadians are dear to me: I hope this war will now soon be over. Went for potatoes, but no, we could only get head lettuce and endive. I bought an 18 ct. Loaf for 2 gulden, we have to eat. On Monday and Tuesday we cannot get any meat, so you see with all this, or rather without all this we get shinny. It is cold and raining so things cannot grow very fast; how is your garden Willie? Do you have all sorts of vegetables? I suppose Ernest or Verna comes over once in a while to take some home? Yes! give the flowers to the living. I told the people here, I don't want flowers when I am dead. Jan 14, 1945 - "Sunday and the G. have come to torment us, they are everywhere to take men and girls to work (where), we slept uneasy for fear the boys should be lifted from their bed, so for some days they will have to stay in. They cannot go out for food or chop down trees to burn, so Mien and another girl will go for perhaps 100 or more miles on bike, through cold and danger, for food. They will have to sleep in farmhouses and haystacks? Or stable, is it not awful? We were warned the G. would come to get men from 16 to 40 so the boys went under the bed in the wall. 2 soldiers came in and stood right in front of it, we were reading? They asked, no young men here? We said no, so they smiled and left. Jan 24-25: "In the night 5 large G. trucks stood in front of our hose, some of the fellows jumped out and began sliding over the snow and had great fun, they put all the anti air machines in their places again, so we will have all sorts of fun? But still they are nice fellows, for our Mien, Peters Mien and a woman went to ask for bread and they give it and told them to come again. Say Wille! I am going to have these books printed and sold, and you can say your mother was the author of it. Believe it or not. Oh Ernest! I do hope you nor Willie are in this horrible war, all the poor men dead or wounded for a handful big shots. The long Red Cross trains going by, it is dreadful." The ephemera includes: Red Cross letters; news clippings, postcards; real photos, tickets, passes and documents give depth and breadth to this very intelligent and keenly observant woman of the German occupation of Holland. Beginning right at the beginning on May 10th 1940 Miss Klyn writes until May 26th 1945 and leaves nothing unwritten from family matters, travels, attacks, bombings, shootings and her fellow citizens and their behavior for good and bad. This is a 'street level' view from a practical mother from Canada of Dutch background - charmingly, her daily entries are peppered with information she hears on the wireless about Canada mostly, the World and always notes on hockey scores in Canada and the USA. Hockey is very important to her as if her sole lifeline to the life she had back in Canada. That said, she does consider herself a 'Nederlander'. Every page could be quoted but here is a snippet which gets to the heart of the person and the times perfectly: May 2nd 1945 "Children shouted 'Papa! Papa! Look planes are throwing out food, see how low they are, and yes we could see large planes circling over, so perhaps we will get something nice to eat. Thank God. Boys, oh boys, perhaps 50 large 4 motor planes came over our neighbourhood, we could see the star on their wings, children shouting, people crying and laughing and whatnot. Peter went in and had a good cry. I would have liked to do the same."May 2nd 1945 "Children shouted 'Papa! Papa! Look planes are throwing out food, see how low they are, and yes we could see large planes circling over, so perhaps we will get something nice to eat. Thank God. Boys, oh boys, perhaps 50 large 4 motor planes came over our neighbourhood, we could see the star on their wings, children shouting, people crying and laughing and whatnot. Peter went in and had a good cry. I would have liked to do the same." This is an incredible, original relic of World War II and a moving record of the Dutch experience at the hands of the Nazis; the unfortunate elements of society that helped the Germans; the deprivations of the 'everyman' in Holland and the hopes, wishes and innermost thoughts of a woman captive to the events of the War heartbreakingly separated from her husband and children 4000 miles away. G+.