Dear Sir, Madam,

During the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944 Oosterbeek was largely laid in ruins. Many Airborne soldiers lost their lives in this attempt at further liberating the Netherlands. They have been laid to rest at the War Cemetery in Oosterbeek, where a commemoration service is being held in September each year. Furthermore in and around Oosterbeek you’ll find some twenty-six smaller monuments and commemoration sites for allied soldiers.

In those fierce war days the people of Oosterbeek had to go into hiding or leave their homes; many lost their lives or became traumatised for the rest of their lives. Until today a monument is missing for those people, all civilians from Oosterbeek. The Stichting Opdat Wij Niet Vergeten-Oosterbekers (Foundation Lest We Forget People of Oosterbeek) is asking your support to realise this monument.

Civilian casualties
We would like to realise a memorial monument for more then 80  civilian casualties in Oosterbeek, who died between 17 September and 9 October 1944. In those hectic war days there was no time to bid farewell to the dead with proper ceremony; many were hastily and temporarily buried in gardens. Inhabitants were evacuated in masses and, once returned, they mostly found their homes looted and ruined. This short explosion of violence has had a profound impact on those affected.

Regard and acknowledgment
Although the Battle of Arnhem took place 77 years ago, the annual tradition of commemoration is still very much alive. Next to all military monuments and rituals there is remarkably little attention for the pain and suffering of the civilian population. That’s why we have committed ourselves to build a memorial, acknowledging and honouring the memory of those who have lost their lives, their families and relatives. And we have to be quick, because time is running out.

Children of the time
War children then are seventy and eighty years old now. They are the last to pass on their stories to future generations. Names that will appear on this monument-to-be will bring back memories and offer them  consolation and  reconciliation. We have not forgotten them.

Location and costs
We believe this monument deserves to be located in a central and historic spot in Oosterbeek along the route of the traditional Airborne Walk, held annually. We trust we will find this spot. We estimate the costs of this lasting and durable monument at some €60.000,-

We are asking your support
We believe we can realise this missing monument with your support. We are a foundation without profit motive so you may rest assured that any donation will be well spent. All income and expenses will be accounted for completely and transparantly. We hope your organisation will contribute to this initiative. Any donations can be transferred to our bank account. IBAN: NL32 RABO 0372 2569 61 in the name of Stichting Opdat Wij Niet Vergeten.

We thank you for your trust and your contribution!
Shall we meet at a future commemoration in Oosterbeek?

Hans Ariens,
Chairman of Stichting Opdat Wij Niet Vergeten-Oosterbekers

Any questions? You can mail us at opdatwijnietvergeten@oosterbekers.nl
Appendix : Dreaming of a monument

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