Audrey, Arnhem, Netherlands discussed on Veterans Radio
From Germany into the middle of the Netherlands. So I mean, it's, it's prime real estate and, and that's where Audrey began war, and began occupation that age eleven okay, so she, she moves ended she moved in with relatives. I'm not going to try and pronounce. All these, these Dutch names, let you do it for you. Okay. That's great. Because I it was his everything was really long. You know. Because obviously the country's been around for a long, long time. So. When she moved back to where did she live? She lived with her mother and one of her half brothers in an apartment called on yawns Bennett single, which is one of the main drags in downtown Arnhem Arnhem central so they lived there, that's where they watched the German troops marching from this third Florida -partment window, and, you know, at age eleven Audrey was only scared because a lot of the adults around her were scared. She was just, you know, it was kind of a spectacle for her. And she said that after the occupation began, you know, life, went pretty much back to normal. Germans were there. But it wasn't oppressive in any way and had she already stand started her studies in dance by then. No, she started her study right after the occupation began, and in the fall of nineteen forty she began ballet lessons, just really late start, you know, for a ballerina to start at age eleven but that when she got her start and she was on the fast track because she loved it so much within a couple of years, she was arms most famous ballerina. I mean. She ate wreath and slept dance. So she, she turns twelve she does her first recital her first recital, which was a big dark secret for the rest of her life within the Fairmont time in Arnhem, which was this, this concert hall that the German army bear mocked over for its own use. So she danced, her first recital was for a packed audience of German soldiers. Right. Yeah. I can understand why she didn't want everybody to know about that. But was because of her her mom or mother, getting involved in or mother planning, this whole thing. Not her mother planning the whole thing. But that's where the that's where the aren't ham should Don school had its first recital was in the Mark time there were two places. It could have been could have been the Schober the city theatre could have been in Vermont time, and it just happened to be there. But yes, it at that time, Adrianna mother elephant hamster was a leading. Patron of the arts patron of the arts in Arnhem, and definitely. Pro-nazi. That's, that's all right. Let's jump forward as the occupation becomes less friendly. Quickly to didn't it? Yeah. Because that's why Dale you have to put some history. And because you have to give context to what happens in the Beverly, which is greatly influenced by the incursion, the German army invasion of Russia. So when they need in front opens up, and they send massive amounts of troops. They sent whole armies east into Russia. The squeezed got put on the Dutch people, you know, the food supply, dwindled, coal dwindle petrol be paid non existent. And, and from nineteen forty two on it got worse and worse and worse for the Dutch people. And that was because of Hitler's eastern front. I don't think any of us really were were aware of how terrible in dire. The situations were in places like the Netherlands during World War Two, and this, this is what this book really pointed out to me, and we're talking with Robert Matson, author of Dutch, girl, Audrey Hepburn. During World War Two. Well, so as soon as the Germans started cracking down on the on the people of Netherlands, the resistant movement, started up didn't it probably started. Germans were there. Yeah. Took a while for the Dutch organized. And, you know, they had some, you know, it was kind of they were hapless in the beginning, but they picked up steam, and that's why Audrey uncle, uncle Otto, count von Limburg theorem was arrested, as one of south leading Dutch citizens. He was a district attorney in Arnhem, and he was arrested by the s s and all of the leading citizens of the Netherlands from everywhere, in the Netherlands, were rounded up and put into basically a prison. And they were called death hostages. And the idea was if the Dutch resistance in any way acted up wherever they acted up the people from that area, we're going to be taken out and shot. That was the way the SS was going to handle any interaction. Oh, I guess I have to give this away a little bit. How, how did they, they choose her uncle to be one of the people that were were killed down when he was executed? He was singled out because one of the leading Dutch Nazi had a had had a conflict with him. He was he was a really true blue guy. And he, he was very pro Iran. Yeah. You know, pro- Dutch ruling house, so he would not buckle under and do think the Nazi way you know, he would not enforce Nazi law because it wasn't Dutch law. And so that led to help them at arrest rest, and that led to this old beef led to him being one of the first five were executed on fifteen August nineteen forty two four a train that had been blown up by the Dutch resistance in Rotterdam. And that's just, you know, one of the first examples of Audrey being at being probably aware of what was really going on around her. Oh, yeah, I was turning point, not only for Audrey but for her mother elephant, hamster, the pro formerly pro-nazi, you know, and patroness of the art all of a sudden, she banded together with the rest of her family with so auto with Mary to LS sister. Okay, measure. And so Ella actually moved in, and Audrey actually moved in with measure after the execution and bay spent the rest of the war together and really Ella was a very if, if, if this was if she was alive today elephant hamster would be considered like gone, she would be like counterculture, you know, okay, that's the way she was. And so she was out there. She wasn't really a normal person. And so what her sister was very, very traditional Dutch aristocracy, and she's the one that became like a defacto mother. To Audrey during the war years. The let-let's jump ahead. So there under the control of Germans for two three years, and you in, in the book, it's a, it's a great story about this operation marketplace at Montgomery, you know, sold Eisenhower, you know, we'll just drop all these per to present people. Oh, welcome us with open arms and will walk our ways into Germany. Well, didn't quite go that way. Did it? It did not leading up to market garden. There was for Audrey. She becomes a teenager. Now she's thirteen. She's fourteen years old, when she fourteen she made a doctor in the little town, they had moved to, to be with measure after the execution of auto, and it was called the belt. And that was where Audrey spent the rest of her war. And she met this doctor who was a leader in the Dutch resistance. And he started to rely on Audrey to do these resistance activities on his behalf and super cool guy like this wash buckling guy had been an Olympic athlete. And so, I started to she became his it's like volunteer assistance, if doctor and she would deliver messages for the resistance, she would take food and messages to downed allied airmen, like the one I talked about who make an down through another. She was doing that. She was delivering Iran. You Krahn which was the Dutch resistance newspaper, and she began to dance for the resistance, and all of this was before market garden. So it was while Arnim was still relatively at peace. She was dancing for the resistance to raise money for. Jews in hiding for Dutch soldiers in hiding and they were all over the place and the Netherlands. I mean, then the Dutch people are really clever. And with the Germans at every turn, and Audrey was helping to supply these people with food and clothing, and then came Montgomery's grand idea to drop ten thousand British airborne on Arnhem to secure the our number bridge, part of this big operation where they US eighty second and one, oh, one was going to come. We're going to capture bridges south of Barnum, and it was all going to come together and do this grand scheme. Well, of course it was a disaster. And it it changed, everything for the people of Arnhem when market garden lapsed and the two German Panzer divisions just happened to be an ornament that time that the paratroopers dropped. And so here are these lightly armed paratroopers against two Panzer divisions. You know, f Panzer divisions and. It was a bloodbath, and Audrey was right there. Four. Right in the middle of it. She in the book you mentioned that they thought that they were being liberated and everybody was put their flags out and started celebrating. And then it didn't quite work out the way that should have. And then the Germans kind of, you know, retaliated, of course, and captured so many of these English young men in the you mentioned that in Audrey house, or in her aunt's house. They kept a an English pilot in the house for months. And he was actually he wasn't a pilot. He was one of the British airborne. He was one of the Rendell of I British airborne, and they after the battle after the, the route all of these Red Devils, were were scattered through help and the doctor I just talked about with responsible for allocating them into safe houses, and he had thirteen of them in the rafters of his own garage, and one of them, or perhaps, to I couldn't get story. Exactly right. We're put at villa book-aholic which was fun, hamster home, Andres home, and it became like one of the proudest moments of her life that, she got to participate in sheltering one of these British airborne troops. Well, the retaliation after that, and the extension of the war, did not do the Dutch any good of food supplies, as you mentioned were already minimum, but they dropped even more along with no electricity. No water. No anything. And yeah. It, it just what happened. What happened next was that, that there was a railway strike coinciding with operation market garden between those two events. And the way the German saw the Dutch embracing the liberators, the British Americans. They cut off the food supply to the entire Netherlands, the Germans cut off the food supply complete and that created what they called the hunger. Winter of nineteen forty four forty five and Audrey was in the middle of that. And I had heard conflicting stories, you know, it wasn't so bad in Veld. It wasn't you know as bad invalid as it was an Amsterdam. So I took that information which I had gotten from this young historian, just on one particular day, and I was involved in Arnhem, and then I went to talk to some survivors, who had lived through the war with Audrey no side by side with Audrey. And I said, well, I heard that there really wasn't, you know, the famine wasn't so bad here in felt and boy the looks. I got, you know, I mean, the touch people can give you a withering look and, and they told me stories of exactly how bad it was all the kids had Dima, Audrey headed Dima. She talked about having stretch marks on her ankles, her life from, from the swelling in her ankles, in her knees from Dima. She, she was weeks away from dying when the famine finally was broken by Swedish ships coming in with food. So I mean it was really bad for about three months after the battle of Arnhem. It's a it's a harrowing tale. That's for sure about a young girl, growing up in, you know, in Holland during World War, Two, the book is Dutch, girl, Audrey Hepburn in World War Two, and we're talking with Robert Matson. And she took all these lessons that she learned there in unfortunately, we don't have time to get into the whole thing, which, of course, we want people to arrive by the book, and I encourage them to buy the book because it's, it's a great read. It's. I don't know. It's, it's just such a history lesson that I think, so many of us need to be aware of that these things occur during war, and that we're not even aware of what happened during that because most it's not something that you study in, you know, in US history in high school. But so she took this lessons, and I have to be honest, I just finished the book today. And she, she was she ended her life, you know, trying to help starving children around the world. In addition to being of course, a great actress in an just an amazing talented woman, but she, she ended her life, you know, working for starving children in Africa. Could you talk about that just a little? Yeah. Well, after the experience of the hunger, winter in belt the town where she was things got really bad. She went from famine into being on the front lines of the final assault of Canadian troops to liberate the Netherlands, and how there was house-to-house fighting there were, there were bombing straight things, and she was in the middle of all of that. And, and that is what made her dedicated decades later to helping children specifically in war-torn territory. And so when she got involved with UNICEF. That was her mission. She remembered exactly what it was like to be a young person in the middle of a war started by adult and she wanted to help children who were now in that situation that same situation. And so, you know, I was neutral, Audrey Hepburn when I started. And when I ended I was like, you know, this woman was a Saint, she really was for her last trip to Somalia, the one that ultimately help to kill her. It was another war torn seeing like she had lived through in Belgium, in Mogadishu in Somalia, but it was much much much much worse, and it broke her spirit to see the devastation and the dead children, hundreds of thousands of children, buried here and there or on the surface dead. She came back and tried to tell the world about it, but she was so sick. I mean she got so sick so fast..