Two books that have recently been released may more or less be seen as a pendant of each other: The faces of Margraten and In the service of the Nazi’s. The first book is about the Americans who did not return from the war, the second about Dutch people who often violently helped the occupying forces.
“A monument on paper” the published calls The faces of Margraten. The approximately 200 life stories recorded in it reflect the 10,023 casualties buried in the American cemetary. Like Charles L. Summers, the first American to die in Europe when his plane was shot down over the North Sea on April 1, 1942. Or Dorothy Jane Burdge, a Red Cross nurse who died on 1 May 1945 in a pleasure flight in a captured aircraft. A book in which too many young faces stare back at you on every page, unsuspecting of the fate that would befall them.
Paul van de Water delved into eleven lives of often violent collaborators. Sometimes fervent Nazi’s, otherwise naive profiteers or perhaps opportunistic sadists. Two Dutch teenage girls who ended up as guards in Auschwitz; an SD executioner so unscrupulous that his colleagues considered killing him; a Jewish woman who relentlessly brought in fellow sufferers. Van de Water reconstructs how they got on the wrong side of history and how they dealt with their past after the war. From lives that slowly derailed, to people who blindly chose evil.