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Artist as soldier

NOS 75 years of liberation
There is a remarkable amount of art stories in the 48th issue of our newsletter. We also recap the unimaginable survival story of three sailors who survived for 83 days floating on a raft. And we have news: there will be a book with our most compelling stories.
A German flare goes up – Alex Colville
A German flare goes up – Alex Colville
No other conflict up to that time was covered by modern media as the Second World War was. Film cameras captured Nazi mass meetings, radio reports brought the Blitz-attacks on London into people’s homes, even in Auschwitz pictures were made to document the crimes commited.
Nevertheless countries systematically send out painters to capture the battle. “War artists” like the Canadian Alex Colville captured something a camera could not, the tension before battle, the determined camaraderie, tranquil ruines. The Netherlands became acquainted with Colville and his colleagues’ work shortly after the war. In an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Documentary works in which a deeper layer of war shines through. 
Messerschmitt 109 in the snow, Holland – Alex Colville
Messerschmitt 109 in the snow, Holland – Alex Colville
Colville would grow to be a respected artist in Canada. Critics who called his work “detached” usually made a connection with the horrors that he had witnessed during the war. For example the mass graves in Bergen-Belsen that he captured in paint (which can be found in our article). “Colville the artist is Colville the soldier”, is what a critic once said. “ His paintings, prints and drawings wrestle with the question of what it is to be human and what it means to live in this world, questions he asked as he saw and drew the bodies in the pit.“
Alex Coville working in Germany
Alex Coville working in Germany
Han van Meegeren also spend the war painting. But he used his work to defraud people, it was discovered after the war. Because the penalty on fraud was less harsh then the one on collaboration he confessed that a Vermeer that he sold to the Nazi’s was actually one of his own. The world of art was shocked. Many did not want to believe him until he reproduced a new Vermeer. He was sentenced to a year in jail but died aged 58 before he went to jail.
Van Meegeren working on his new “Vermeer”
Van Meegeren working on his new “Vermeer”
Mor lowbrow Culture is discussed in the booklet that the US releases in our country. It discusses the most important movies, developments, and gossip from Hollywood these last few years.
One of the movies people got really exited about was Gone with the Wind. Copies of the movie were said to be already in the Netherlands in 1940 when the Germans invaded, which caused the opening night to be canceled. However not everyone was happy with the movie after the war: themes as American slavery and the naked capitalism were sensitive topics. The movie did not premier here until 1955, a decade and a half after America.
In Potsdam there is no time for culture, here Stalin, Churchill and Truman discuss the future of Germany. It still takes some getting used to seeing Truman with the Big Three, replacing the recently deceased Roosevelt. Even before the conference would end Churchill had to leave too, because the people of England would elect Clement Attlee.
The decision that is made here will determine the fate of millions of Allied soldiers that are waiting to go home. The work for the Irenebrigade is done; this army division is dismissed.
The foster child from Delft that we have been following for the last couple of months Aadje, has also arrived home. He has regained his strength, knows a little Frisian and misses his foster parents and friends from Noordbergum. It goes both ways: “Aadje left a void.”
For forty families from Rotterdam the journey has only just begun. They were marked ‘antisocial’ and are send to reeducation camps in Drenthe. Also (alleged) NSB members in Surinam are not free yet: it would take a few years before they are released. 
It was not until Juli 1946 that camp Jodensavanne was closed and the alleged NSB members were sent back to the Netherlands. Some sued the Dutch government because they were locked up for years without any form of trail or evidence. They demanded a compensation, which they never received.
The man involved with the death of some prisoners, Jan Meyer, was send back to the Dutch-East-Indies and promoted. During the war he would be awarded the Willemsorde there. He immigrated to the United States and became an American citizen. He never made a statement on the death of the two prisoners. The offspring was given money.
War reports
Other messages this week:
The three saved men
The three saved men
Ever since the first issue of our newsletter subscribers have been asking us whether we could put the stories that we upload daily in a book. And we will! In October, when the entire project comes to an end, we will put the best stories in the book 75 jaar bevrijding.
As a reader of the newsletter you can already order yourself up for a copy with a discount! You can find it in a local bookstore, or online via this link.
Not on the site
In 1990 the former Canadian officer Bligh reported to the Dutch Bank what happened to the treasure of Almelo. Bligh had handed over the objects to the branch of the Dutch Bank in Almelo back in April 1945.
Because the bank did not have an answer to the whole situation former police commissioner Nordholt was asked to preform research in 1998. He came to the conclusion that the treasure had quickly been split in two. The religious objects that came from the synagogue of Arnhem were brought back to the rightful owner by the Dutch Bank. In October 1945 the Dutch-Israeli congregation of Arnhem took them back. The other objects where handed over to the police of Arnhem, who tried to return the objects to their rightful owners via organized seek days.
Next week Otto Frank will receive his daughter’s journal because it has become clear that she will not return. Also, a special tour for scouts’ through our country and the first film being made about Market Garden.
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See you next week, in the meantime please follow You can also follow our Instagram-account 75 years liberation for more photo’s and video’s.