Holandia / Miejsce zainteresowania

Hunger trips to Herwijnen




By the end of 1944, the south of the Netherlands was liberated, but the west and north remained occupied. To stop the German army, the Dutch Railways went on strike, which meant that food could hardly be transported to the west until the liberation. In the harsh winter of 1944/1945, there was almost nothing left to eat in many cities and the population suffered from famine. That is why this winter was called the 'hungerwinter'.

In the Betuwe countryside, people hardly knew food shortage during the war. However, people in the West of the country did. Therefore, people who could physically bear it, walked dozens of kilometres with a handcart, bicycle, wheelbarrow or pram to the countryside to exchange valuables for food. Money was not worth much and because there was little to buy the black market flourished on the countryside.

People from the West, who often suffered famine, passed farms in Herwijnen in search for food. The Liefhebber family for instance, came from the town of Slikkerveer and received a plate of soup and a place to sleep from the Van Zee family in the "De Vossenhol" farm.

Another family, from Rotterdam, swapped food in Herwijnen: 'Dad and brother Kees went on the bike to a farm and came back with half a bag of potatoes, exchanged at a farm in Herwijnen for some tobacco!'

On 29 April 1945, Operation Manna began, with planes flying low over major cities in the West of the country and dropping food via parachutes. 535 tonnes of food were thrown out in eight days. Many Dutch people were saved from starvation thanks to the food drops.