Annual report 2017

Annual report 2017

Stichting Onderduikersmuseum De Duikelaar was established on the 15th May 2017.

The reason for this was the planned sale of the Reformed church in Nieuwlande and the death of Mr.Schonewille which left the collection of his private museum “Nieuwlande, a village that kept silent” unattended. The plan was to preserve the church as a monument for the village and establish a museum inside it. The church was at the very heart of the resistance during the Second World War. With this plan the collection Schonewille would remain accessible for the public. The museum would serve as a place of remembrance and meeting centre while also having an educational function for school children from the region. On the 29th of March the church was advertised on the real estate website Funda and the public bidding was planned to take place the 16th of May. This span of time proved too short to arrange the finances to hand in an unconditional offer. A request to the Board of the Church to explain our plans, in order to get more time for financing, fell on deaf ears. Although the final decision had not yet been taken by end of December, the church was not to be awarded to us.

Thanks to the vast support of villagers and even people far away as witnessed by the Facebook reactions, we became convinced of our plans to establish a museum. Also, the regional printed media showed great interest in our plans.

Meanwhile we contacted the municipal administration, the Board of Camp Westerbork and the Embassy of the State of Israel. We received support from everyone and wherever possible cooperation was promised. These promises were also put into deeds.

While awaiting the final housing we temporarily took up residence in the old primary school “De Hoeksteen” at the Julianalaan. This gives us the chance to start working.

In September we participated in the Smederij verkiezingen (smithy-elections) and although we had nothing to report yet, we received so many votes for our plans that we received 800 Euros to be put towards the purchase of a computer and a beamer. 

Mid December we got notice that the plan we submitted to Kern met Pit (subsidy fund of Koninklijke Nederlandsche Heidemaatschappij) is one of the chosen projects for 2018.

We have also been busy when it comes to aspects of content. To preserve and to pass along the special history of the village we started interviewing the people that are still alive and that lived through the war in Nieuwlande. First-hand stories will be recorded and used for future exhibitions.

A highlight in the short history of Stichting Onderduikersmuseum de Duikelaar was the reception of the families Gans and Davids, the offspring of boys Peter and Herman who were in hiding under the floor of the Reformed church for 9 months. A son and granddaughter of Lou Gans were looking for traces of their father/grandfather. Their request to see the old museum resulted in a visit of all the children and grandchildren of the Davids and Gans family and their partners to Nieuwlande. We compiled an afternoon programme that contained a visit to the church, the underground hide-out in the woods, and the old Schonewille museum