At first glance, they look like ordinary, carefree holiday snaps, but tragic stories are hidden behind the photos taken in 'De Terrorist' on Ameland. After the Second World War, relatives of resistance victims came to this holiday home to escape their worries. Their stories are central to an exhibition that can be seen in the Frisian Resistance Museum from 2023.
'In the bedrooms the children lie, tanned heads on the white pillow. They no longer have a father. He has been taken away from the house, or a message has come, which made the most fearful fears come true. He has fallen by the hand of the enemy. The children grow up; the memory fades. But in the cozy hall are widows. In her hearts, the memory never fades. […] These women can and will never forget.' -Hendrik Algra, Friesch Dagblad, 20 August 1947
paradise in the dunes
De Terrorist is located in the dunes of Ameland, 20 meters from the beach. After the war, the 'left relatives' of fallen resistance fighters can enjoy a free holiday here. These are widows, children and parents of resistance victims, but also families that are still complete, but have suffered greatly psychologically or physically from the war. There is room for 25 people at a time, two weeks per group, from May to September. The guests mostly come from Friesland, but also from other parts of the country such as Rotterdam or Groningen. The holiday home is an initiative of the Stichting Oud-KP, an association for former members of the armed resistance, the Knokploegen (KPs). With some help from the mayor of Ameland, former resistance fighter Roel Walda, volunteers can refurbish an old German barrack and convert it into a cozy holiday resort in five weeks.
There are bedrooms, a common room and a large playroom for the children. Under leadership of the former couriers Ans, Truus and Jannie and handyman 'Grandpa' Ben de Vries, the guests are pampered for two weeks. Getting up, eating and drinking happens at fixed times, but otherwise the guests are free to do what they want. Fully enjoying and relaxing after all the tensions that the occupation has brought with it. Yet the loss of the men is widely felt. In the common room, after the children have been put to bed, memories of the occupation time are often reminisced.
After the war, the surviving relatives were financially cared for by the Friesland 1940-1945 Foundation and the Sneek 1940-1945 Foundation. The foundations were set up during the war by resistance fighters, who agreed to take care of the families of fallen comrades. Families from which the breadwinner has been ripped away should be able to continue to live at the same level of prosperity as before the war, is believed. This is a moral obligation of the survivors. In 1946 there were 158 widows, 320 children, 7 people who had become incapacitated for work due to their resistance work and 35 parents of breadwinners. They receive a lifelong benefit and receive regular visits from board members. The children can get an interest-free student loan and there are trips and holidays, such as to the Terrorist.
Sj. Van der Schaaf, The promise kept. History of the Frisian Foundations 1940-1945 (Leeuwarden, 1985)
Archive Maarten van Duin, secretary Stichting Oud-KP, collection Tresoar
Photo album De Terrorist, collection Frisian Resistance Museum
Guest book De Terrorist, collection Frisian Resistance Museum
'Fakansjehûs 'The Terrorist', Omrop Fryslân, 2 May 1999
Photo from one of the photo albums of 'De Terrorist'. The name of the holiday home refers to the epithet used by the German occupiers for resistance fighters: 'Terrorists'. After the war, the name was used as a nickname by the former resistance.
The film images in the exhibition were made by Ale Hesselink.
This exhibition is made possible by Vfonds, Stichting Sneek 1940-1945, Stichting Friesland 1940-1945 and Stichting Fries Verzetsmuseum.
The Frisian Resistance Museum is part of the Frisian Museum.
The Fries Museum is co-financed by the Province of Fryslân, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Municipality of Leeuwarden, the VriendenLoterij, the Ir. Abe Bonnema Foundation and the Friends of the Fries Museum.