The stories that in and around Arnhem, hardly any resistance existed in those days, as many historians after WW2 have described, are not true.
The resistance was so smoothly organised that relatives and acquaintances, even long after the war, did not knew from each others part in the same actions from the resistance.
This is the result of an examination of historian Tim Streefkerk from the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek. The museum started the research in 2015, when a donation showed that Dutch teenagers had formed an active resistance group. The results of the research are shown in the new exhibition ‘The Network’ in the Airbornemuseum.
“We discovered that there were a lot of linkages between the various resistance groups. People knew each other already before the war from the boy scouts, freemasonry, or work. The former Algemene Kunstzijde Unie AKU (later akzo nobel) was a stronghold of resistance.”
“Some groups were nationally controlled by the National armed resistance groups or the Domestic armed Forces. Separately the groups committed smaller acts of resistance, which, together, led to major actions in a large area.” says Sarah Heijse, director of the Airborne Museum.
An armed resistance group blew up the railway lines around Arnhem. Done by a nationwide injunction. One day later, the Battle for Arnhem started. A group from the AKU spied on the German airfield at Deelen.
After the battle failed, hundreds of allied soldiers still were in the area, occupied by the Germans. Through all kinds of channels, the resistance movement managed to hide them and to take care of them. After a month they smuggled the allies on British command over the Rhine to liberated territory.
This action, Operation Berlin, is known as one of the largest military escape operations in the Second world War.
‘The Network’ is part of the Year of Resistance, started this week by the Platform WW2, the network of all major warship and memorial organisations.
Everywhere in the country, on radio and TV there will be extra attention for the role of the resistance during WW2. The exposition ‘The Network’ is to e seen till the 27th of October 2019 in the Airborne Museum. The exhibition is extended with the diaries of Major Tony Hibbert who was helped by the resistance during the Battle of Arnhem and managed to escape durin Operation Pegasus I.