WWII commemorated after this years AGM

The Wellington Dutch Society remembered the people who died in the Netherlands during WWII by hanging orange ribbons around a tree that was planted in Avalon 50 years after the war ended.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch victims of World War II are commemorated on 4 May. Many died because they rebelled during the German occupation of the Netherlands. Others were killed by war or exhaustion at labour camps, both in Europe and Southeast Asia. Above all, multitudes were killed by deliberate and systematic persecution and murder by the Nazis. Among them Jews, Sinti and Roma and other groups the Nazis deemed inferior.

In May 1995, 50 years after the end of the war, the local Dutch community planted a pohutukawa tree in Avalon Park just along from the Dutch clubhouse (which stands in the park with its iconic windmill on top). Ten years later in 2005, club members returned to the tree to remember and to hang some orange, blue, white and red ribbons, symbolising the Dutch flag and the House of Orange. This week, 70 years ago since the end of WWII, Dutch residents revisited the tree and saw that some of those ribbons are still hanging (even if they are quite faded in colour). They took a moment to remember those who lost their lives and to hang some more orange ribbons from the branches. 

“Many Dutch people came to Wellington and the Hutt Valley immediately after the horrors of World War II, said Dutch Club co-president Jeltsje Keizer. This tree is a small ongoing reminder, not just of the people who died seventy years ago but of our new peaceful beginnings here in the Hutt Valley.”

Attached - photos of the new ribbons attached to the tree by members of the club and Jeltsje Keizer and longstanding Dutch Club member and immediate past president, Kees Dorresteijn who was there for the planting of the tree in 1995.