Netherland Commemorates the Victims of War

Every year on 4 May, the Netherlands commemorates the victims of war....

 

Timelapse 4 mei 2014

 

THE NATIONAL COMMEMORATION OF REMEMBRANCE DAY ON 4 MAY AND THE CELEBRATION OF LIBERATION DAY ON 5 MAY IN THE NETHERLANDS

Every year on 4 May, the Netherlands commemorates the victims of war. On 5 May we celebrate the fact that we were liberated. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will once again be present during the national commemoration of Remembrance Day this year in Amsterdam on 4 May. They will lay the first wreath at the National Monument on Dam Square that evening, just before the two minutes of silence at eight o'clock observed in commemoration of all Dutch victims of war on Remembrance Day. Prime Minister Mark Rutte will be present during the national celebration of Liberation Day on 5 May. He will light the Liberation Day torch at the Liberation Festival in Assen. 4 and 5 May are inextricably connected with each other. The inherent connection between 4 and 5 May is once again reflected in this year's programme for both days.

National commemoration of Remembrance Day
The Mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, will give a speech at the commemoration ceremony on Dam Square. Nienke Woltmeijer, the winner of the secondary-school poetry contest in honour of 4 May, will recite her poem 'Silent witness'. Prior to the commemoration ceremony on Dam Square there will be a commemorative event in De Nieuwe Kerk, where former statesman and writer Jan Terlouw will deliver the Fourth of May Address. Over 1700 invited guests will attend that event, including some of the first generation of those who were affected by the war, often accompanied to De Nieuwe Kerk by their grandchildren.

Who do we commemorate
People experienced the Second World War in very different ways, depending on who they were, what they stood for, what they did or where they lived. All those different experiences are reflected in the different commemoration ceremonies throughout the years. During the national commemoration of Remembrance Day on 4 May, those various experiences come together and the dead are jointly remembered. Indeed, the memorandum that sets out who we commemorate on 4 May was deliberately formulated in general terms to ensure the inclusion of all the different (groups of) Dutch victims of war. Indeed, all those who remained behind experienced great personal grief for the loved ones they lost.

‘During the national commemoration of Remembrance Day we remember all those – civilians and soldiers – who have been killed or murdered in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world in war situations or during peace-keeping operations since the outbreak of the Second World War.’ (Memorandum 2010)

The word ‘murdered’ was added in 2010. In doing so, the committee wanted to respond expressly to the call from within the Jewish community to explicitly mention the unique character of the Shoah.

During the national commemoration of Remembrance Day, wreaths will be laid for all Dutch victims of war. The first wreath will be laid by the Dutch head of state on behalf of the population of the Netherlands. Subsequently, five wreaths will be laid by survivors of the war on behalf of the various groups of victims of war. Those will be followed by the laying of wreaths by the Dutch authorities for all Dutch citizens who lost their lives in Europa or Asia during or directly after the Second World War due to their involvement in the resistance, due to the violence of war, internment or exhaustion, or due to their having been excluded, persecuted and murdered in concentration and extermination camps simply because of who they were. Other wreaths will be laid for all military and merchant-marine personnel who died in the service of the Kingdom of the Netherlands during the Second World War, or afterwards, in war situations and in peacekeeping operations.

National celebration of Liberation Day
Each year, the Fifth of May Lecture is held in a different province. This year the honour falls to Drenthe. The day will start with a morning programme at which the former president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, will hold the traditional Fifth of May Lecture. In 2014, for the first time, a child will also give a speech at this event, in this case 12-year-old Hammoude Al-Cheikh.

Liberation festivals and festivities
At 1pm on 5 May, Prime Minister Rutte will light the Liberation Day torch at the Liberation Festival in Drenthe. In doing so, he will give the start signal for all the various festivities that will be taking place around the country that day, including 14 Liberation Festivals. Together, the 14 Liberation Festivals on 5 May draw about a million visitors, forming the largest single-day cultural event in the Netherlands. The specially appointed ‘Ambassadors of Freedom’ will visit the various festivals: Gers Pardoel, Kensington and Douwe Bob. With helicopters provided by the Royal Air Force, they will fly to each one of the 14 festivals.

Conclusion of 4 and 5 May
Each year, Liberation Day is brought to a festive close in the capital city of Amsterdam with the Fifth of May Concert on the River Amstel. Each year, a different orchestra performs on a beautiful stage against the lovely backdrop of the Amstel. This year, the Philharmonie Zuidnederland will give the Fifth of May Concert, which will also be attended by King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Beatrix.

 

 

Sikh troops disembarkimg from ships into Malaya. Courtesy IWM. (446K)
Sikh troops disembarkimg from ships into Malaya. Courtesy IWM.
Sikhs Soldiers  Parading at Van Mook Line, Java,dividing Dutch& Indonesia in 1946. (212K)
Sikhs Soldiers Parading at Van Mook Line, Java, dividing Dutch & Indonesia in 1946.


Recognition of the contribution of Sikh soldiers in National Committee (NC) Magazine page 52-53 - National Committee 4 & 5 May, Voorjaar 2015.

By: Dr. Esther Captain, a Dutch Historian *3

Liberated by the Sikhs

A Contribution of the British Indian Army for freedom
By: Dr. Esther Captain, a Dutch Historian *3

Did you know that Ben Bot, former Minister of Foreign Affairs who was kept prison, being a boy of eight years old in Tjideng camp, was liberated by the Sikhs?

Every year on the National Commemoration day, they are present on the Dam, men originating from India with their strong colored Orange Turban. Few people know that Sikhs played an important role during the liberation of Europe and the former Dutch Indonesia says Bhupinder Singh Holland, since 1973 living in the Netherlands working as an Accounting analyst for IBM.

Sikhs were part of the Colonial British- Indian Army. In 1849, the British army occupied the Punjab. Many Sikhs enlisted in the British army and so the Sikh military soldiers set foot in various parts of the British Empire. During the First and Second World War over four hundred- thousand Sikhs fought along the British. They were known for warlike and bravery and used their own traditional weapons like Daggers and Sabers (Kirpan)

Liberation

In the Second World War, Sikhs were part of the Allied Forces and were deployed in the Battle against Japan in the former Dutch Indonesia. After the capitulation of Japan in August 15th 1945, the British were given the Command over Java. Few European Military men were readily available: one battalion of Scottish Highlanders. Although 45.000 British-Indian troops landed in Java.

According to Bert Immerzeel, a Dutch Historian wrote on his weblog Java Post: '' their deployment could have turned out in a negative way. They were soldiers of a country, who itself was fighting for Independence. Their sympathy could have gone out to the Indonesians. But no alternate was available1. Active support for the Indonesians took place on a very limited scale.

Turban

Trix Meijer-Olivier witnessed, as a girl of nineteen years old the Japanese occupation and the following struggle for independence at Amabarawa ( in the middle of Java), She was deployed to help the wounded at the medical ward. She remembers: A Sikh got a shell splinter in his belly. He was on the drip and got wild. Even in bed Sikhs wear their turban, because you are not allowed to see their hair. He started to move wildly and the danger arised that the needle might go out of his arm. I stayed around to guard the arm because the man was strong like a bear. Such events you do not forget. He had very beautiful eyes2.

In total 83.000 Sikhs were killed in action during the First and Second World War and 109.045 wounded. Sikhs use " Singh" as their last name as you can see at the "Menen Gate" at Ieper in Belgium where the last post since 1926 is blown every day to honor the 54.896 soldiers and officers of the Commonwealth missing in action.

In the Netherlands, the Sikhs community counts about 12.000 people. It is the fifth religion in the world with about 25 million adherents. Sikhism was established by Guru Nanak (1469-1539) who was born in the Punjab. Most Sikhs today live in the northern state of Punjab. The word Sikh comes from Shishya, Sanskrit for disciple. A Sikh who lives according to his religious rules is a vegetarian, drinks no alcohol and prays three times a day.

Further readings:

  • Sardar Bhupinder Singh Holland, Sikhs in World War I. Replika Press: 2013.
  • Sardar Bhupinder Singh Holland, Sikhs in World War II. Thomson Press: 2014
  • Please contact the publisher "Wisdom Collection - an imprint of GS Distribution " at [email protected]

References:
1http://javapost.nl/2014/03/21/van-het-slagveld-naar-de-rechtbank/
2E. Captain en A. Olivier, Indië, een verre oorlog van dichtbij. Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1995.
*3 Dr. Esther Captain is a historian who works as a senior researcher for the Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei in Amsterdam. She is also associated with the Centre for the Humanities of Utrecht University. She specializes in the heritage of the Second World War in the overseas territories and multiple, post-colonial memories and histories. The works she has written include Oorlogserfgoed overzee. De erfenis van de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Aruba, Curaçao, Indonesië enSuriname [Overseas War Legacy: The Legacy of World War II in the Former Dutch Colonies] (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2010).

 

IMG_2964 (290K)
Ranjodh Singh in Rotterdam 12-04-2015 (260K)
S. Ranjodh Singh, publisher of "Sikhs in World War 1 & 2 of GS Distribution, Inc, Ludhiana., Author, S Bhupinder Singh Holland., Committee members of Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sahib, Rotterdam- S. Sukhwant Singh, S. Lakhwinder Singh, S. Sadhu Singh, S. Jasbinder Singh, S. Saroop Singh. dated 12-04-2015. Place " Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Rotterdam. The Netherlands.

Add a Comment