The Hartenstein Hotel

Just an hour outside of Amsterdam is the town of Arnhem, famous for the stand of the outnumbered British forces during the period of 17-25 September 1944. A few kilometres down the road is the town of Oosterbeek, where the British headquarters were set up, in what is now the Hartenstein Hotel museum. There is a calm here today, a peacefulness which couldn’t be more diametrically opposed to the horrors that took place here over 70 years ago.

DSC_0021There is a plaque outside the museum which, I have no shame in admitting, always brings a tear to my eye when I read it.

DSC_0001As an ex para it is beholden on me to go and pay rememberance to my forebears whenever I’m in Holland and the recent trip to the Dutch capital was no exception.

Every time I come I see changes, the walk through part of the museum has been well improved.

DSC_0019It can never give any idea of just how terrifying those days must have been, even for those who have experienced similar things would have no real idea of how it would have felt, knowing the enemy completely encircled your position and that your intended help wasn’t going to arrive due to terrible logistical problems,

DSC_0018but it does seek to show some of the horrors of that time, one photo in particular always sends a shiver down my spine.

106398For an ex soldier, you only have to look at the angle of that tube to know how close the enemy were, its frightening.

DSC_0007This woman was a heroine, no other word for her. Over the years at various reunions I have been priveleged to meet men who fought at Arnhem and Oosterbeek, and those that met Kate Ter Horst to a man describe her as an angel. There were many brave citizens who carried out many incredible actions to assist the British forces during those terrible nine days, but Ms Ter Horst is a name that is held in the highest of high regard by the survivors of Operation Market Garden.

I am always deeply humbled when I visit this part of Holland, the people of the city have never ever forgotten that the British came. Even though they bought with them nothing but pain, death and destruction, the reply is always the same, “but you came and you tried.”

Every year on the anniversary of Operation Market Garden what seems to be the entire city turns out to pay their respects to the fallen, to see a young child placing a flower on the grave of a fallen soldier is, again, something that never fails to make my eyes leak.

 

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About bobleponge216

Elderly rotund toothless male seeks wilderness to travel to.
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2 Responses to The Hartenstein Hotel

  1. Nikki says:

    I never fail to be moved by your tradition of honoring those involved in Operation Market Garden, as well as those who have come after and keep the memories of such sacrifice alive. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

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