Last week the Netherlands celebrated both Liberation Day and Remembrance Day. These two days are closely tied as the 5th of May 1945 was when the Germans surrendered in the Netherlands.
The second World War was a very difficult time in the Netherlands as in all Nazi occupied areas. Personal valuables were traded for food, furniture and houses were dismantled for fuel and many thousands died of starvation.
Possibly one of the best known atrocities of the war was the Holocaust and the killing of up to 6 million Jews. About 75% of the Jewish population in the Netherlands were deported and sent to concentration camps. This number is significantly higher than other countries because of the well kept Dutch records and the compliance by the Dutch authorities. On 5th of March 1942, all the Jewish citizens of Alkmaar were rounded up and deported. Approximately 200 Alkmaarder Jews were sent to concentration camps and only a handful returned after the war.
To remember the Alkmaarder Jewish citizens, special remembrance stones have been placed in the ground outside some of their former homes. Over the last couple of weeks, the city of Alkmaar increased its number of remembrance stones and there are some new ones dotted around the city. These Alkmaarders were forced to leave their homes and lost their lives, but they are remembered and not forgotten.
To view a map of where the remembrance stones are, please click here. Please note that this site has not been updated with the new stone locations.
If you would like to read more about the liberation of the Netherlands, please visit Veterans Affairs Canada .
Alkmaar Tours offers top rated Private and Small Group Tours of Alkmaar’s medieval centre and the famous Alkmaar Cheese Market! For more information on the different tours, please visit the Alkmaar Tours Website.