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Oral history interview with Cornelus De Vreede

Oral History | Accession Number: 1992.A.0124.12 | RG Number: RG-50.028.0012

Cornelus de Vreede, born April 24, 1916 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, discusses his family, including his two brothers and three sisters; his father sold his greengrocery store in the 1930s and went into the flower bulb business in Lisse, the Netherlands; being age ten when his family moved to Lisse; leaving school and working in the bulb business; how many people in Holland joined the NSB (Dutch Nazi party) and how his own boss was an NSB sympathizer; becoming a Jehovah's Witness (JW) and being baptized in 1937 in Heemstede, the Netherlands; becoming a full time pioneer and buying a boat which he used for his ministry; how during the 1940 German invasion of Holland, the boat was near an airport, near Alkmaar, the Netherlands, and the crew was accused by the Dutch of using the ship's lights for signaling to the Germans; being detained because he was subject to military service; being interrogated and imprisoned in a military prison; being transferred to a police station and set free; going to Zuurdyk in Groningen, the Netherlands; distributing The Watchtower and continuing Bible education; being arrested during a JW meeting in March 1941; being transported to a prison in Assen, the Netherlands, where he stayed for three months; being taken to a prison in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and then to Berlin, Germany; being sent to Sachsenhausen; how in the beginning there were 300 JWs in one block; building the camp’s water purification system; his uniform (he shows it in the video); refusing to renounce his faith; how many inmates had bibles; daily routines in the camp; mistreatment in the camp; being batman to the head commander of the camp, Adolf
Gustav Schorke; being sent on a death march starting April 20, 1945 with 230 JWs; going through Berlin before a heavy bombardment; using their plates to dig for water; being liberated by American troops; returning to Holland and working in a sanatorium; getting married; working in a textile factory; and receiving restitution from the Dutch government.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
de Vreede, Cornelus
Buckley, Robert
interview:  1991 May 27
2 videocassettes (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..