I was born just before the Second World War and still have some memories of that time; Jewish people being hidden by my parents, my farther coming back from a concentration camp and the fighting and liberation in April 1945 of my native town in the North part of Holland by the Canadian Army.
I believe that my interest in the history of the Second World War started in my youth when collecting documents and material of that period.
I joined the Dutch Army in 1960 as a member of the Royal Signals and between 1970 and 1974; I travelled with a large Second World War exhibition, giving presentations to conscripted soldiers. Since then, I've been continually involved in presenting informational stands about WW2 and military museums at Army, Air Force and Naval Open Days.
In 1974 I became a member of the Board of the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek and was responsible for the organisation of the museum and its dioramas following the move from its original location at Doorwerth Castle, to the Hartenstein Hotel in 1978. I've also been involved in a number of other military museums, including the Museum of Royal Signals, Dutch Command's and the Harskamp Training Ground Museum, besides guiding battlefield tours of Arnhem for the Army and the Airborne Museum.
You could say that my 36 years of service in the military has been a hobby as well as a career. After retiring in 1991 as Warrant Officer, I spent the next 14 years as a Volunteer Director of the Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek and was responsible for the complete renovation of the museum in time for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.
I continue to guide battlefield tours on Market Garden, (specialising on the 1st British Airborne division, Polish Independent Parachute Brigade, and the 101 and 82 US Airborne divisions), Normandy, Ardennes, the French SAS participation in Operation Amherst in April 1945 and the Airborne Operations during the Rhine Crossing in March 1945.
I am a Board Member of the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum and proud to have been awarded with the Medal to the Order of Oranje Nassau in silver with swords, Knight of the Order of Oranje Nassau, as well as the Order of the British Empire.