Freed from oblivion: Give every war victim a face

On May 4, the Tilburg Regional Archives will launch a project to provide a biography of Tilburg's war victims from the Second World War and give them a face. Although it is more than 75 years ago since the end of the Second World War, it remains important to remember the victims. By telling their story, memories of them stay alive. All Tilburg war victims are included in the Wiki Midden-Brabant and the archive strives to include a biography and photograph of each and every victim. For some, only limited or no information is known, except for name and date of death. Who was the person behind the name?

752 war victims

The Second World War cost many lives. The Wiki Midden-Brabant now contains 752 names of persons who lost their lives in Tilburg and the surrounding area. This list is based on research done by archive employee Gerrit Kobes a few decades ago. The group of war victims is very diverse. 132 Jewish people from Tilburg were murdered in concentration and extermination camps like Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Sobibor. The list also includes people who died in Germany while working for the Arbeitseinsatz. Among the victims are soldiers, both Dutch and allied: Australian, English and Polish (mostly young) men found their final resting place in Tilburg.

Among the victims are also people from the resistance, who died in concentration camps, at an execution site or during an act of resistance. One resistance member died in a peculiar way: he was shot by his own comrades because they did not trust him anymore.

There were also countless women, men, and children (sometimes only babies) who did not survive the bombing and shooting, such as the Stalpers-Van der Velden family. They were killed during the bombing of 12 May 1940 in the Noordstraat. Also policemen, who refused to cooperate with the German police, are listed. 

They were often arrested and deported. And sometimes there are victims who died by an unfortunate twist of fate, such as fifteen-year-old Wilhelmus van Ooijen, who on September 5, 1944 (Mad Monday in Tilburg) was standing on the Kanaaldijk and was hit by a warning shot from a policeman who wanted to stop a looting crowd. It is noteworthy that most of the war casualties occurred after the official liberation of Tilburg, by bombings, shelling and rockets.

Will you help write the life stories of these people?

The Tilburg Regional Archives need help to record these life stories by completing missing information with stories or photographs. If you are able to complete the data of the archive, please send your response to info@regionaalarchieftilburg.nl, stating "Wiki War Victims". The project runs from May 4 until October 27, the liberation day of Tilburg. On www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl and the socials of the archive there will be regular updates on the progress of the project. Check out the Wiki Midden-Brabant for the Tilburg war victims. Go to Pinterest for the photos of the war victims that the archive already has.

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