On May 10th 1940 the Dutch woke up by brutal military actions of the invading German forces. The island of Goeree-Overflakkee, though far away from the German border, was confronted with acts of war on this, for the Netherlands, very first day of what would become the Second World War. In the air a Dutch biplane was attacked by fighter planes with their distinctive black crosses, the later so dreaded swastikas. The biplane had to make an emergency landing. Later that day an aircraft of the Royal Air Force followed this fate. In this way the people of Goeree-Overflakkee were confronted with the terrors of war. At first it all seemed an adventure and the people even ran outside when something seemed to be going on. How different would things become the next five, dark years.
Now, after more then 65 years, the memories of this period in our history are slowly fading away. Many of the inhabitants who lived on the island during those years have left us. Those who are still alive today have forgotten most about the dark times of the Second World War, or do not want to be reminded of those dreadful years. Materials from this period also got lost. They were thrown away after they had been found in a forgotten corner of an attic or a barn, people not knowing their historical value. At school the Second World War has to compete with other seemingly more important facts and figures. As a result the youth only know of the Second World War by means of their computer games, in which they have hundreds of lives.
In July 2008 a few local volunteers decided to do something about the loss of memories and materials from this period. This was the birth of the foundation WO2GO, the Dutch abbreviation for “Second World War on Goeree-Overflakkee”.
The formal goal of the foundation is to collect, restore and display local historical objects from the war years 1940-1945 and record and call to mind the sufferings of the people during these dark days.
Some of the activities of the foundation are:
■ historical research into events of the Second World War on Goeree-Overflakkee
■ to solve questions that in many cases still exist, such as those concerning airmen and aircraft lost in action.
■ to present the data and stories on our website
■ to organise lectures, presentations en exhibitions
■ to publish information bulletins, articles and other material
■ to erect and maintain monuments and information panels
■ to search for and saveguard historical objects
■ to erect and preserve monuments
■ to give guided tours and to create informative routes
■ to give support to the annual Dutch Remembrance on Mai 4th, the National Day of Liberation and other occasions and meetings
■ to search for and keep contact with survivors and/or their families
■ to exchange information with other foundations
■ to advice authorities and others
We want to give our youth some special attention. To reach the younger generation/people, we present/publish much of our information on the internet by means of our website www.wo2go.nl .The board members and volunteers of our foundation will give lectures and other forms of education at local schools. In doing so we try to preserve the memories of WW2 on our island. The best way of presenting our work and the most valued items, is by creating a permanent exposition in the near future.
Lest we forget……
All of these activities involve a lot of time and money. Our foundation is therefore always in search of support from volunteers, especially from those who live outside the Netherlands. A local contact in a foreign country is of great value in our search for relatives, family and other related data. So, please contact us if you support our work, or if you think you can help us in any way. Your help is most welcome and much appreciated.
Foundation WO2 Goeree- Overflakkee
Adress: Molenzicht 114, 3247 VA Dirksland. (The Netherlands)