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Tragedy & Betrayal in the Dutch Resistance (ePub)

WWII Military

By Samuel de Korte
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 29.4 MB (.epub)
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9781526784995
eBook Released: 13th May 2021


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On the night of 31 March 1945, five men were woken and taken from their cells in the city of Zwolle, in The Netherlands. They were put in a vehicle and escorted by the German occupying forces to a street nearby, where all five were lined up and executed. The corpses were left behind as the Germans left the scene. Whether by accident or betrayal, these men had fallen in to the clutches of the Sicherheitsdienst, the Nazi intelligence service. Although the liberation was at hand (Zwolle would be freed less than two weeks later), these men did not live to see it.

This book not only reveals what the men had done and the reasons behind their execution, but also the experiences of their wives, who had tried to obtain their husbands' release, while other women were deported to concentration camps. Attention is also paid to the execution and the process leading up to it.

Combining interviews with descendants, eyewitnesses, acquaintances, archival research, historical books and newspapers, family member and history student Samuel de Korte recreates an image of the executed men on that fateful morning and the families they left behind. Using a number of rare and well-known photographs, the condemned are portrayed as resistance fighters as well as fathers and husbands. The book examines not only the consequences of the men and their actions, but also the grief of the women who were left behind.

De Kortes book helps to ensure their sacrifices can be learnt about by a wider international audience.

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Recollections of WWII

Article: Book about Zwolle resistance heroes translated into English: 'The whole world can now take note of this' as featured by

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RTV Oost

Article: 'Book about executions Meppelerstraatweg has been translated as featured by

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Article: ‘Book about men executed in Zwolle during the Second World War translated into English’ as featured by

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Destentor.nl and Tubantia.nl

This book is a unique perspective on the resistance, the book focuses on five men and their accomplices, and their execution shortly before the liberation. The book contains unpublished photographs of the men and women involved, helping to shape the individuals into human beings. These men would commit crimes and subversions to just generally disrupt German occupation of the area like all good resistance people would. The book goes in to the ways these men who were caught were treated and what happened to their wives and families, or the loss they would face. This book is written by a descendant of one of the men captured and certainly makes for an interesting read throughout this volume.

I really enjoyed this story and the way it was written and laid out in the book, which made it so easy to read and good to understand. An excellent book, that is very detailed and with him being related with probably seen the greatest detail available. The book gives and excellent portrayal of everyone involved including the women of the town. The book gives us an image of a tragic period of this time, but also shows how the Dutch people with nothing still stood up to their oppressors. A fascinating read, something you don’t find many books written on, definitely recommended.

5 stars

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UK Historian

De Korte's book is a volume that serves as a testament to the great sacrifice of 5 men (and many others) in order not to bow to a ferocious occupation and to resist for the ideas of freedom and tolerance.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

About Samuel de Korte

Samuel de Korte is a graduate student of Utrecht University, where he studied an MA in the Cultural History of Modern Europe, and in his spare time enjoys researching or writing articles about popular history. He wrote his Master's thesis about the representation of black Americans during the Second World War in contemporary media, indicating that although they formed a substantial part of the American armed forces, they don't receive an equal share in the representation. His research provided the starting point for this book.

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