A loft in Long Island, New York contains a large collection of documents relating to the Dutch resistance. According to American administrator John Tepper Marlin, it includes dozens of letters with personal stories about the war, for example from the immediate family of resistance fighter Walraven van Hall, a well-known ‘banker of the resistance’, and from as yet unknown Dutch resistance women.
The newspaper found the archive in an investigation into women’s resistance to illegal activities Faith. It is about the collection of letters of Dutch-British author Hilda van Stockham, who died in 2006. He is well known in America but not in his native Netherlands. Notable because he received an important children’s book prize in America, where he lived for a long time. The New York Times Published A neurological About her.
Research holidays in the Netherlands
He wrote children’s books in English, including two about the Dutch Resistance. Before that, he did research on holidays in the Netherlands and corresponded with the opposition and family acquaintances, says his son, archive manager Marlin. Van Stockham’s mother came from a well-known anti-Boisvain family.
Walraven Van Hall, about whom a film came out in 2018, is his cousin. His mother and father-in-law sent several letters to America. The author corresponded with various Dutch protest women. In total, according to Marlin, there are about three hundred letters in the archive, at least a hundred of which have historical value.
We are talking about donating the archive
“These are well-known names from the resistance,” replies Gertjan Dicken, who acquires the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD). “So it looks special, but I don’t think it’s special until I see it.” Neot van Stockum’s son John Tepper has been discussing the donation with Marlin for some time.
Faith I was able to see two long letters from protesting women (somewhat) from Lena van Rijnbach from Amsterdam who worked illegally. Faith, and Elisabeth Voorhoeven-de Beuss. Both unknown protest women who later received an award for their illegal work of participating in armed resistance and assisting those in hiding.
Ode to brave Dutch mothers
According to Marlin, a former professor whose mother is currently researching the facts on which her books are based, these two letters inspired her mother to write her most famous book: Wing Guard (Wing GuardAbout Children in Resistance has sold about 210,000 copies and has been translated into three languages.
It’s about two Dutch boys who live in a windmill and help the resistance. Notably, Hilda van Stockum closes the book with a hymn to brave Dutch mothers who were ‘underrecognised’ for what they did during the war. Marlene sees this as a nod to the protesting women her mother has come into contact with.
Women’s voice of protest is low
Evidence of women talking about their protest experiences is rare, says historian Maart van de Wiel, who led a study of protest women in the Noord-Hollands archive. In recent years, as interest in protesting women has grown, she finds that more are being seen.
“Resistance women are often unnecessary to describe what they did during the war. In the end, it was mainly men who rejected their modesty and wrote or published their memoirs,” says van de Wiel. She thinks that more information about women resistance can be found in private archives, which are often (still) not public.
He finds Hilda von Stockum’s archive promising. “It can provide a lot of new insights or give a plot twist to a well-known story like Walraven Van Hal or Boisvains. It’s special that new sources are still available eighty years later. This archive shows that history is never finished.”
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