The Netherlands / Story

The bakery of the Rembertus family




One of the last German positions around the municipality of Groningen where there is still fierce fighting is in Noorderhoogebrug. Behind the bakery of Rembertus Perdok are trenches. The family, consisting of the baker, his wife and the two daughters Aagt and Trienie, takes shelter in the nearby mill.

“We didn't have a cellar, so we had to,” says Trienie Perdok (1923-2019). Rembertus Perdok's father is also a baker, but due to an accident he is no longer able to bake bread. He earns a meager income with a bread run, he walks past the houses with a pushcart full of bread. His son is fourteen years old when he leaves school in 1901 and he also walks around the houses with the pushcart. He works hard, saves money and in 1920 he sets up shop as an independent baker in Noorderhoogebrug. He bakes bread for the residents of Zuidwolde, but also delivers in the Korrewegwijk and De Hoogte.

He starts baking at nine o'clock in the evening and works until the early hours. Then he rides his bicycle to his customers. He comes home around noon and only then does he go to bed. In 1918 his rhythm changes, because then comes the ban on night work. Everyone knows Perdok and everyone knows his bread.

“When we came out of the mill, the bakery was completely gone,” says Trienie Perdok. “The house stood between the Canadians and the Germans. Everything was burned and we lost everything. We found another piece of gold. My father had put on his smart suit before we went to the mill. My mother told him not to do that. His suit would only get dirty. So he hung his suit on the coat rack. His gold watch was in one of the pockets. Our engagement rings were later made from the watch.”

The homeless family is allocated the home of an NSB family who has been evicted from their home. “My father had to walk with bread again. There was no money to start a bakery again. He kept doing that for the rest of his life.”

Molenstreek 2-7 9738 AC Groningen