‘Registration Bureau, War Volunteers’
From the collection of the Achterhoeks Museum, Hengelo
h 43 cm x w 90 cm
There were youngsters in the liberated south of the Netherlands who were eager to join the armed struggle. On 1 October 1944 the exiled Dutch government in London reached the Oorlogsvrijwilligersbesluit (Lit. War Volunteers Decision): allowing Dutch males, ages 18 to 36 years, to volunteer for deployment in Europe or in the Dutch East Indies, which was occupied by the Japanese.
This was followed the first registration bureau opening its doors in the Dutch city of Eindhoven. The response was wildly enthusiastic. Sometimes all the members of a Resistance group enlisted together. In two months time, at the thirteen locations that had opened by then, 18,000 men signed up. They were inspired by the idea of ??‘doing something for the Netherlands’ and were also willing to go to the Far East if necessary. The first question that almost everybody asked was: ‘When do we leave?’ They wanted to play their part – sooner rather than later.
This signboard, originally made and used by the occupier, served a two-fold function. From 1942 it was used to recruit Dutch men as SS-volunteers. After the liberation of the southern part of the Netherlands, a piece of the board was sawed off and used to enlist volunteers for the Dutch war effort.