War - Elly Hurkmans


“The house in the picture was at that time my original home in Wilhelminastraat in Aalst-Waalre. I have drawn a house search. The Germans seized the radio and papers, and they took my father with them. They also said that his best friend had betrayed him. During the day, two days later he was released. The German who interrogated him was, just like my father, a manufacturer by trade. My father was born in Germany, but had Dutch parents. My mother was pregnant. The third point was given as the reason for his release.

Although this was the official reason, my Catholic father has another version. He swore that if Mary watched over his release and allowed him to return home, he would cycle to Our Dear Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouw) at ’t Zand in Roermond on the first Sunday in the month of May [about 50km/30miles distance]. The result was from that day on was that we as children, with our friends, got up at 5 o’clock in the morning to cycle to Roermond. On our arrival the reward was a piece of Lindbergh’s flan. We were enthusiastic on the way there. The way back was not so easy. We did it for years. The people who did it with us got less and less over the years. People dropped off, which is understandable. Hopefully we still managed to honour my father’s promise.” - Elly Hurkmans


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