Pieternella (Nel) Bos-Verwaal 1952

The "Vrouwebrug" was demolished in 1961 see image Google further down this page

The reason concerning the photo and the story behind it

My father Gerrit Bos (1921-2004) once told me a story about his forced "labor obligation" or the "Arbeitseinsatz" that he had to work on a farm in France with several young men who also came from Zeist (his birthplace) which by the way was more relaxed than what he experienced after they were all moved from France, around July / August 1944, to Germany, but that is another story.
They stayed around spring 1944 also on the Channel Island of Jersey for a couple of weeks to do some work there too, my father told me, that was limited to some construction work, but one thing was clear they had it good in terms of food etc. but they had that also in France, after a few weeks they returned to France.

Gouda 1943.

My father also said that he was on leave in Gouda in the year 1943, now I do not know exactly whether this was before or after their marriage on July 3, 1943, at least they were walking along the Kleiweg in Gouda (see images further on this page) and my father saw a German conscript soldier throwing out half a cigarette on which my father said in a somewhat louder voice "yes they have enough to smoke and we can pick up the leftovers", the German soldier heard that and he turned around and my mother got the "nerves" since you never knew how they would react, but this German soldier turned to my father and, to his surprise, gave a new pack of cigarettes.

This German soldier, who by the way spoke reasonably Dutch, due to the fact that he had just been born across the Dutch border, he told my father with a softer voice that he was not like that, as he called it "Verbrecher der SS" and that he was only a conscript soldier who had been stationed in Gouda for a few months.
My father talked a little to him and after thanking them for that pack of cigarettes, he told him to return to France the next day and they said goodbye.
So the next day my father went to the train station in Gouda where they had to report to go on transport again, he just wanted to walk further when he was tapped on his shoulder and to his surprise he saw the German soldier from the day before on the Kleiweg (see picture below) and this soldier gave my father 3 packs of cigarettes and wished him a good trip, my father told me that these were one of the few who still showed some respect for humans, also France in general was not too bad, because they came to visit that farmer's farm once a week to pick up vegetables etc. that were also paid for.

My mother's photo on the Vrouwebrug

This story, written above, was the result of this photo of my mother from 1952 on the Vrouwebrug in Gouda, incidentally, this original color photo had been folded in two and has been in a box for years until I discovered it and I have this photo as well as possible tried to restore what was reasonably successful.
My mother had picked up rolls of wallpaper and was on her way home, they were still living at the Varkenmarkt number 16 in Gouda (see image elsewhere on this page) right across the "Livestock market" site which was once, in the 30s a Military Barracks and where the annual fair was held, so say barely a few meters from your front door, they have been able to experience that for a number of years, I myself have actually received little or nothing from it, but we stray.
Who would have taken this picture of my mother on that bridge in Gouda in 1952? now that it turned out to have been a German gentleman and he had promised my mother that he would send that photo as soon as it was developed and he asked my mother for the home address, after a few weeks or perhaps a few months in view of my father's statement at the time when my mother asked if she would ever get that picture of that German gentleman again, now 1952 was only 7 years after the liberation in 1945, so my father's reaction was understandable at the time when he said "Germans ?, you can forget that photo" but he was mistaken because barely a week later an envelope came through the letterbox.

It said "do not fold" in German (nicht folden) my mother was curious what would be in this envelope, she opened it carefully and yes there was appeared the picture that was taken on that "Bridge", she was somewhat surprised but also happy as she said at the time and according to my father, that this "unreliable" German had kept his word.

Then I asked my father this question "wouldn't it have been by chance the German soldier who gave you those packs of cigarettes at the station?" because the letter did contain a few Dutch words, which is no coincidence, but as my father told me "it might be true, but he probably no longer knows that your mother was the same person he also saw on the Kleiweg in 1943", they also asked this question in their answer to the photographer, but they never heard from him again, it is in view of the time that a German visited the Netherlands so reasonably shortly after the war, therefore, specifically Gouda that can hardly be a coincidence, you must have had the courage to do so because most Dutch people were not that friendly to German tourists at the time or Germans in general.

Now it was true that "tourists" from Germany were not very welcome so relatively shortly after the war years, they were looked at with suspicion, the wounds were not completely healed and it is also apparent from various newspaper reports from that time that people placed self-written signs at Elten, for example, a very well-known border crossing, on those signs there were written texts on it that did not lie about it, it says that Germans were not really wanted here in the Netherlands, you can no longer imagine it but it really happened , the Dutch government was not "Amused" about this and offenders were arrested but after a hefty reprimand they were allowed to go again.
If this photographer had indeed been the conscript German soldier (we can't ask the man anymore) then we can say that he survived the war unscathed and many of his comrades absolutely cannot say that!

Further on this page some more pictures of the Vrouwebrug and the Varkenmarkt area from days gone by

Gouda Turfmarkt with a view of the Vrouwebrug
Demolition of the Vrouwebrug in the year 1961
The Vrouwebrug in 2016, strongly widened and made entirely of stone and concrete, once again a piece of nostalgia disappeared from Gouda.
At that time there was still a public swimming pool in the Blekersingel, you can still see its dimensions in this KLM aerial photo.
Photo from the late 60s of the Varkenmarkt area, the house or rather the "hovel" where we lived, I think is still on the picture with a pointed roof, but everything you see here is demolished, today is at this location a real shopping mall, nothing is too recognize what was once there except the old "Veemarkt restaurant" which was converted into the Arcade cinema, but that too is now a thing of the past and it has been transformed into Apartments.
English translation and editing by the
The Ancestor Company
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Thanks to various archive institutions for making certain images and facts available.
among others former employee Firma van Staveren & Versluijs
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