- Coordinating Hunger: The Evacuation of Children During the Dutch Food Crisis, 1945
- War & Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 35 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
The evacuation of Dutch children during the so-called ‘Hunger Winter’ of 1944/1945 is one of the canonized stories of the German occupation of the Netherlands. In the most common version of the story, a Dutch interdenominational organization managed to evacuate 40,000 to 50,000 starving children from the urbanized and famished west to the agrarian north-east region of the country, whilst being constantly obstructed by German and Dutch National Socialist authorities. This article challenges this well-known representation of the child evacuations, arguing that it was largely a narrative constructed in the post-war period. Contrary to popular beliefs, this article demonstrates that the evacuations were in fact supported by the German occupier. Most important for the success of the evacuations, however, was the co-operation of tens of thousands of ordinary Dutch citizens, regardless of their religious or political views. These two observations not only challenge Dutch historiography, but also international literature on the presumed causes and effects of the Dutch food crisis.
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