World War II

The Dutch were victims of the Nazi regime during WWII as was most of Europe. The Dutch did not (and still don't) have much of an army to resist the onslaught of Hitler's military machine. Hitler was very succinct in dealing with the Dutch. He didn't want to waste his military muscle on the Dutch (he was saving that for elsewhere) so he demanded their surrender. When the Dutch refused, his bombers reduced the port city of Rotterdam to ashes. He again asked the Dutch to surrender. This time he warned them that Amsterdam would be next. The Dutch surrendered. But they didn't exactly give in to the Nazis.

Yes there were some collaborators, after all the Dutch viewed Germany as their ancestoral home (unbelievably, their national anthem still makes reference to their German heritage). But many fought back and others hid those being persecuted by the Nazis. Anne Frank was just one of thousands sheltered by the Dutch at great peril. Hundreds of thousands of Dutch citizens (jews and others) were exterminated in German run concentration camps. Another 30,000 are estimated to have died of malnutrition in Holland because the Germans stole all the Dutch produce to feed their army. Tens of thousands more Dutch men were taken to Germany to work in factories for the war machine.

Although the Queen fled Holland to England (taking her vast fortune with her), most Dutch were loyal throughout the war, and many fought the Germans anyway they could. As a result the Dutch can still be seen harrassing Germans whenever possible by giving them wrong directions, pretending not to understand German, or just ignoring them.

Note: The bombing of Rotterdam, the forced labor of hundreds of thousands, and the death of many thousands more in concentration camps is something the Dutch remember all too well.



World War II
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