Martin Roemers


Peter Witteveen (born 1938 in the Netherlands) was blinded during the Second World War (WWII). 'The war was a wonderful time. Life was a big adventure then. I was part of a street gang with eleven or twelve boys from my neighbourhood in Soest. Actually, we were more like an army. I was the youngest and always had to walk at the back. I wore a German helmet that hung down below my ears. We would let the air out of the tyres of the German vehicles and we'd move the barbed wire that they had put up. Naturally, the Germans were our enemies but they were far more polite and well disciplined than the Canadians who came later. We were scared of the Canadians because they were rough and frequently drunk. They left all kinds of munitions lying around that we would go looking for. We also made a fire in a chamber pot, chucked some cartridges in and ducked out of the way. The explosion turned the chamber pot into a sieve. Once I came home with a sten gun, a small machine gun, which I'd found in the woods. My mother was so shocked that she almost fell off her chair. In November 1945, my sister Ria found some ammunition in the a hedge near school. I was always in charge so I took it from her. I was familiar with all kinds of ammunition but not with this one. When I tried to prise it open with a nail, it exploded in my hands. My left hand was gone, my kneecap was shattered and there were open wounds on my face. Because of all the blood, nobody realised that I was also blind. This was only discovered later. The war was an exciting adventure and I still have good memories of it. But then I was still able to see.

Object Name
Martin Roemers
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