The Dutch Sinterklaas got help from the Canadian Army in December 1944. They were stationed in The Netherlands in those parts who weren’t still occupied by the Germans.
The images were made by the Canadian Army and mainly meant to be shown at the home front.
Canadian cooks fixed all kinds of nice and sweet things to eat. Al the military helped preparing and bring the goods to the children. Escorted by soldiers on motorcycles Sinterklaas was driven around by army truck or an armoured transport vehicle.
Amerigo, the white horse which is Sinterklaas his normal transportation was, probably for safety reasons, still in Spain were they live. This, for the Canadian unknown tradition in The Netherlands was considered to be very important for the Dutch people in wartime. So they all just gave a hand to make the children happy.
The children usually leave a carrot in their shoe before they go to bed for the horse Amerigo, as Sinterklaas brings his presents by night as they are sound asleep. But in 1944, it might have been better to put oil in their shoes!
Candy and presents
The Canadian general Harry Crerar was present during the festivities and seemed to have had just as much fun as the children did. The little ones were helped by the soldiers and it made them think of home, where they had little ones walking around themselves. So it felt a bit like home. Thanks to all the rations, there was enough candy to give to the children.
Sinterklaas brought his Big Book. In there everything is written about the children, especially if they have been good or bad! Surprisingly, all of the kids had been good. So that meant there were presents too. By the look of it, all the presents were provided by the Canadian Army too.
Canadian Army Newsreal, No 51, ‘XMas Party in Holland’ starts at 08:15