What is it like to be a child caught up in adults’ wars? How does a childhood of “forever years” growing up in wartime effect who one becomes as an adult? Heather/ Gerda van Wieringen spent her childhood years in her native country of Holland during World War Two. Heather, who now lives in New Zealand, shares her “child’s eye view” of Holland occupied by the Nazis and the civilian Dutch response to the end of the war. As we come up to ANZAC Day, we remember the many men and women who lost their lives in war and children whose “Forever Years” were changed, forever, by their experiences.
Heather/ Gerda van Wieringen was born in Holland and immigrated to New Zealand in 1957. Heather has three adult children and grandchildren. She enjoys travelling, Classical Studies (Greek and Roman history, art and literature), researching her genealogy, being involved in her church and community and cups of tea or coffee with friends. Heather was just two years old at the start of World War Two and seven years old at the end of the war, so many of her early childhood memories are of Holland under occupation by Hitler’s forces.
The following childhood memory piece by Heather/ Gerda van Wieringen, appeared in Growing Up In Wartime: Recollections from Children and Adolescents of the 1940s, compiled by Isobel Veitch, edited by Mervyn Palmer and published in 2009 (ISBN: 978-0-473-15535-3). Profits from the sale of this book went to benefit a charity in Dunedin, New Zealand. We at “The Forever…
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