2. Alex Citroen




During the war I managed to get a job as junior storeman with a company called Alex Citroen. This was a company based on the *Singel 324, selling wholesale wall paper and material for curtains and furniture. *The Singel is another street in Amsterdam in the heart of town.

The owner Mr Citroen had disappeared and was in hiding somewhere in Bussum and the business was run by a German.. I got that job thanks to a friend of mine who recommended I should go and apply for a job there. I managed to get extra food because we were trading pre-war materials for bags with grain, potatoes and coal for the fire and luckily the staffs were given some of it.

For a boy growing up this was a welcome bonus as it was compensating the meagre meals I was getting at home. For my work I was spending a lot of time out in the streets of Amsterdam delivering and picking up. On one of those trips I saw the German occupiers shoot a young man in Dam Square, the centre of town. I saw how these Germans just stood there and looked at the suffering man until a car arrived to take him away.

A little later I saw, near the Central Railway Station, how two soldiers shot a man who was fleeing from the occupiers.

It was these events and the hunger that fuelled my ever growing hatred towards the Germans.

I had the feeling that my job with Alex Citroen would prevent me from being called up by the Germans to go to Germany. I was wrong and on my 18th birthday I received a letter from the German authorities calling me for duty. I decided against it and went into hiding. Of all places to hide I decided to hide under their noses in the attic of my employer Alex Citroen and my German employer never knew. I was fortunate that he did not live there.

-- vervolg --