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1945 De afrekening

75 years after the liberation, looking back on the year 1945: 1945 was the year of liberation, of the festive entry of the allied troops, of the unbridled joy in the Dutch streets. Still, it was not a jubilant year, for there was too much to grieve over. Thousands had died in the west of the country as a result of the famine, and countless families were in mourning because of the ruthless reprisals by the Nazis. Above all, waiting in vain for loved ones who would not return caused much grief. In May, the realisation gradually dawned that 102,000 innocent people from the Jewish community had been murdered in the extermination camps on account of their background.

A black cloud hung over the liberation. It took place in an atmosphere of chaos. Hundreds of people were killed in shootings during the power vacuum in those early days in May. NSB members were dragged through the streets to the camps, and the so-called ‘collaborator girls’ were publicly humiliated and had their heads shaved. It took some time before the Netherlands began to look like an orderly society again. There was hardly any transport, the devastation was extensive, and there was no sign of economic recovery. Finally, a new problem arose in the Dutch East Indies: nationalists proclaimed the independent Republic of Indonesia, and violent revolution broke out in the cities.

The country had been liberated, but during the year in which the Netherlands regained its freedom, the problems continued to increase.

This volume on the last year of the war completes the series of Life in the Occupied Netherlands. 

About the author

Ad van Liempt (1949) is a journalist, author, and TV broadcaster. As one of the founders of the Dutch TV programme Andere Tijden (‘Those were the days’), Ad Van Liempt drew on various television documentaries about the occupation of the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies for this publication.

Six-part series

1945. The Reckoning is the last part of the six-volume series about the Netherlands during the Second World War. The series has been realised by Spectrum Publishers together with NIOD, Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. From 2015, 75 years after the occupation of the Netherlands, a book was published every year that accurately described the events of one year of the war. Previously published:

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