Czech RAF-veterans visit the Netherlands
In November a delegation of Czech RAF-veterans will visit the Netherlands. They will take part in a big international veterans’ week and commemorative service at the Monument of Tolerance in Haelen.
Together with veterans from Canada, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Great-Britain they will remember their fallen comrades here.
The Monument of Tolerance is the very first monument which remembers former enemies and liberators together. It is the first time that a Czech delegation participates in this commemorative service. The war story of the Czech RAF-veterans is a very special story. After the German occupation they escaped to England in various ways to join the Allied Army. Many finally joined the British Air Force. In the end there were various bomber and fighter Squadrons, almost completely consisting of Czechs.
The Czech RAF-Squadrons were very successful, but still dozens of Czech planes crashed in the Netherlands. More than 70 Czechs are buried in Dutch soil.
In the years after the war many returned to their fatherland. After the Communist coup d’ etat in 1948 there were seen as political enemies and prosecuted because of their ties with the RAF. Once more they had to flee. Between 1948 and 1950 more than 250 former RAF-Czechs left their fatherland for the second time.
The participation of Czech volunteers in our liberation is rather unknown. With this visit the Committee ‘Herdenkingsmonument Militairen’ hopes to give a face to these ‘unknown liberators’.
For more information you can mail the organizer of this visit, Roel Rijks on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.leudalmonument.nl .
Updated: September 10, 2010