Wonderful that Jo Schonewille’s impressive collection has been preserved. Thanks to the work of the Onderduikersmuseum de Duikerlaar the many appealing objects and photos can now be seen. The museum is appealing to both young and old. A visit to the Duikelaar is certainly recommended and I challenge you to go and experience their motto: “The village that maintained silence now has a lot to tell.”Karel Loohuis
Hooghalen en Nieuwlande. Both places in Drenthe are about 25 km apart, but the contrast is great; one place was in the years ’40-’45 a transit camp for 107,000 Jews, Roma and Sinti. The other was a safe haven for more than a hundred Jews and others who needed to hide in order to avoid persecution.
Memorial centre Camp Westerbork stresses the importance of Museum de Duikelaar in keeping alive the stories of “the village that maintained silence.”
Furthermore, I am very pleased with our cooperation which this year resulted in the exhibition “Never show anyone the door” which since 6th April has been open to a broader public. Camp Westerbork and Nieuwlande are unique in the history of Europe and the Netherlands, and therefore also of Drenthe. For this reason they deserve a special place in the story line of Drenthe, so that justice is done to the meaning of these historic places.
Nieuwlande, a small village with a great history
Twenty-five years ago I first became acquainted with Nieuwlande. Shortly before, the Post family had agreed with my proposal to write a biography of their father, the great resistance fighter Johannes Post. Then Hilda Eikelboom-Post, the eldest child of Johannes, found it essential that, before beginning, I should pay a visit to her birthplace Nieuwlande.
On a sunny spring day she and her husband collected me and we travelled to Drenthe. It was an unforgettable day. I must admit that my first impressions were not exactly great: a long straight road with farms on both sides and round a bend about half way, a little reformed church, a few shops, a school and some houses. But exactly at that point I found a modern work of art with a document behind glass, in which it was announced that the village of Nieuwlande as a community had been decorated by Yad Vashem, the International Holocaust Memorial Centre in Jerusalem for the help its residents provided to several hundred Jewish people in hiding. Furthermore, 202 residents were personally recognised by Yad Vashem in 1985 as “the righteous among the nations” In this the village is unique, since only the French village of Le Chambon sur Lignon was to be given the same honour.
The rest of the day was spent in this theme: we visited the location where the Post farmhouse had stood, the farm of his brother Jan, the reformed church and the dilapidated hiding hole opposite Post’s farm. I met people who had known the Posts well and we made a tour of all the places associated with Johannes Post, his family and the little resistance movement he organised. The memories of that day and the hundreds of photos I took were a great help in writing Johannes biography, which was published in 1995. Since then I have maintained an unbreakable bond with the Post family and with Nieuwlande and its residents. I find it splendid that a group of residents has been active for years in gaining acknowledgment for the village’s resistance history and have so far succeeded in the restoration of the hiding hole and the opening of the museum de Duikelaar in 2018. I sincerely hope that these efforts will be rewarded with growing interest at home and abroad for this little village with its great and unique history.Geert C. Hovingh