Mooy transports WWII artifacts to Holland - July 20, 2017
BY DENNY SCOTT
Blyth’s Herman and Marlene Mooy recently travelled to the Netherlands to see belongings of Herman’s late aunt, Dutch World War II hero Emmy Van Taack (nee Vroege), returned to her home country.
The Mooys made the trip to the Netherlands to mark several special occasions including Remembrance and Liberation Days, and to see that Herman’s aunt’s belongings made their way home.
Herman said that a story about his aunt in The Citizen late last year contributed to the items being brought back home. He said sharing the story with some people in the Netherlands put him in touch with a World War II archive that would provide a good home for the artifacts.
The trip, which served both as a vacation for the Mooys and as a final trip across the Atlantic for Van Taack’s goods, saw the couple gone for 34 days in April and May.
While there, the Mooys observed Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, which falls on May 4, and Liberation Day, on May 5, which marks the end of the occupation of the country by Nazi Germany in 1945.
Remembrance Day is a solemn occasion, Herman said, saying people gather and go to cemeteries, walking from town centres while church bells toll. He said wreaths are laid for both Jewish people and soldiers and even this year, which isn’t an anniversary year, the moment is still recognized.
Marlene went to a special ceremony in a bush near Herman’s family home where eight British Royal Air Force officers were killed in a plane crash. Herman spoke of the site when relaying Van Taack’s tale, though he said now the site has become a recognized memorial.
“There were eight pyramid cedars planted there for the pilots and a plaque by the engineer who found the crash site during the war,” he said. “The trees are huge now, and there is still shrapnel and trees shorn off that show where it went down. Over the last number of years, you could walk there and there was just a simple white cross on a post to mark the location.”
Marlene said the site was opened this year, with people able to drive to it. Between 150 and 200 people there for Remembrance Day.
Van Taack’s goods were delivered to a municipal hall that serves as a museum and archive for World War II in a location called Gemeente Nunspeet. Herman explained the items were immediately photographed for digital availability to make sure that, even if the items themselves are loaned out, people can always see them.
Included among the items donated to the museum were Van Taack’sjacket, medal and fake and real war-time identification cards.
“They were thrilled to have everything,” Herman said. “They loved it.”
He said he didn’t know what will happen with the items once they are identified and properly catalogued, but he said the collection is definitely appreciated by the archive.
TULIP FIELDS, EVENT
The Mooys’ trip also allowed Herman and Marlene to visit several horticulture-related events in the country, which he shared with the Friends of the Village gardening group via social media when he got home.
He visited a polder, an area reclaimed from the sea to expand an area, which was filled with tulip bulbs to be sent throughout the world.
“It was a kaleidoscope of colour,” Herman said. “It’s amazing to see. There are no fences, only ditches which both separate the crops and keep the water level below the crops. There were red, pink, white and yellow tulips in giant fields.”
Herman and Marlene also went to a tulip exposition at Keukenhof Gardens, a special event for bulb growers in the Netherlands.
The event allows the growers to publically display their works. Each producer is given a plot and they are able to make arrangements the way they want, Herman said.
The day included the Canada Tulip, which is called the Happy Generation Tulip in the Netherlands.
The event really shows how connected the Netherlands is to Canada, he said, and represents a good relationship. He pointed to several different types of tulips named after areas in Canada, such as the Calgary Tulip.
The site features eight million tulip bulbs and welcomes more than one million visitors to the site during the two-week event.