Holandia / Historia

Praying in the cellar




On Sunday, April 15, you can still hear the studded boots of the Germans on the Grote Markt, when a large part of the city has already been liberated. Betty Kloosterhuis is then thirteen and helps her mother with the preparations for the fighting. “She first went to the drug store on Friday afternoon to buy bandages and plasters.”

“We hid in the basement of the store. It was called 'Boterweg' and was on the corner with Poelestraat. It was a men's and women's fashion store and we also sold equipment for emigrants to the Dutch East Indies.'

From 5 p.m. it is quiet on the street. "The Germans threatened to shoot anyone who was still walking on the street after that hour. My father wanted to walk the dog, but was threatened with a gun by a soldier. We sat in the basement and listened to the English radio. We sat there from Friday evening to Sunday evening. My mother had made a big pot of soup. We had laid out mattresses to sit on. We were under it during the shelling. Occasionally my brother would go to the first floor to look outside. He told how the north side of the Grote Markt was on fire. The Germans had set up mortars in the hallway of our house.”

Outside they hear the sounds of war: grenades hitting and bullets flying around. "We really didn't think we were going to survive this. We prayed together in silence and we also said goodbye to each other.” But they survive. “The houses near our store were almost all destroyed. The fire kept the walls warm for a long time.” They will live another ten years among the rubble. “And when it was finally cleared, our house had to be demolished, because of the municipality's new construction plans!”