Temporary exhibitions

Temporary exhibition ‘Freedom Child’


In the exhibition ‘Freedom Child’, which runs until February 2022, personal stories of children from the province of Gelderland and the German border region of the past are connected with stories of today. They have experienced that freedom is not self-evident and they want to tell others about it. Stories from 75 years ago are supplemented with post-war stories, so that then and now are connected so that people can start a conversation about the importance of freedom and our democracy.

The exhibition is part of the cross-border regional program Gelderland Herdenkt, where the central exhibition can also be seen. The mobile, ‘traveling’ exhibition can be seen in participating Dutch and German municipalities in the border region.

The exhibition Freedom Child has three themes with nine main characters from Gelderland and Germany who talk about the value of freedom and how they pass it on: Where am I at home, Scars remain and Me and the Other.


In the theme ‘Where am I at home’, Joseph Tetelepta (1948) tells his story. He came to the Netherlands in 1951, as a son of a Moluccan KNIL soldier, after the bloody war in the Dutch East Indies with his parents. Rudi Ostermann (1940), was transferred as a child with his parents and sisters after the liberation because of their German nationality. Ate Meijer (2003) grew up in peace, made two world trips with her parents and learned that freedom is experienced differently in other parts of the world.


The second theme is ‘Scars remain’, here Dik de Boef (1940) tells his story. As a little boy he experienced the bombing of Arnhem. He was covered in rubble for hours before he was rescued. Hubert Meenen (1936), son of a fallen front soldier, experienced that his home town Emmerich was destroyed for 92% by bombardments. Ghassan Aleleiwi (2007) from Dinxperlo consciously experienced the flight from war-torn Syria with his wealthy family. They had to leave everything behind and experienced an eventful flight by boat.


Theme three is ‘Me and the other’, in which Sallo van Gelder (1937) from Aalten tells about his rescue as a Jewish boy during transport to Westerbork by a resistance woman dressed as a nun. Ruth Humberg (1938) tells about her Jewish family, who live in the middle of society in Dingden, Germany, until the Kristallnacht puts an abrupt end to this and the family has to flee. Monique B. (1965) from Rotterdam was called a ‘mof’ (‘kraut’) when she was a little girl, because she had a German grandmother and grandfather. It touched her very being and made her aware of the superficial judgment about right and wrong, nationality and identity.

The central exhibition can be visited in the Nationaal Onderduikmuseum in Aalten, where local stories have also been added. Artists Maron Hilverda, Dienke Groenhout and Karel Kindermans give the themes extra depth and thus connect the personal stories in the exhibition.