Trees’ Diary about ‘Market Garden’
From the collection of the National Liberation Museum 1944-1945, Groesbeek
h 22 cm x w 17 cm
Trees Schretlen wrote on 18 September 1944: ‘The battle for Nijmegen has begun.’ The Americans and British have arrived to liberate the city. Trees kept a diary in the high school agenda she purchased for her junior year. Given all the schools had been closed, she no longer needed it for her classes. She drew a radio in the margin with the caption ‘Forward to the final victory.’
Her diary describes, from a teenage girl’s point of view. the trying days of the war when Nijmegen suddenly became a city on the front line. On 20 September, Trees mentioned the bombing and fighting: ‘Spent the entire night in a bomb shelter in the woods on the Waalheuvel Estate: amongst screaming babies, sleeping children and broken-hearted fathers and mothers conversing. Many are from Nijmegen and had to flee burning houses riddled with bullets.’ Trees received all kinds of small hand-outs from the Allied soldiers who liberated Nijmegen, including cloth emblems and chewing gum. She used the gum wrappers and badges to decorate her diary.