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Dedication

'Oorlogshelden? We moeten meer opkijken tegen iemand die eraan dood is gegaan dan tegen hen het hebben overleefd.'

'War heroes? We should look up more to someone who died in the process than to those who survived.'

Siebren Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema (1917-2007) in a television interview, 1995

L to R: Military Order of William War Commemorative Cross Airman's Cross Cross of Merit Resistance Memorial Cross Distinguished Flying Cross 1939-1945 Star Air Crew Europe Star France and Germany Star War Medal 1939-1945

Siebren Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema RMWO, DFC (3 April 1917 – 26 September 2007) was a Dutch writer who became a resistance fighter and RAF pilot during the Second World War. Near the end of the war he was Adjudant (assistant) to Queen Wilhelmina. He was made Knight 4th class of the Military William Order. He is perhaps best known for his book Soldaat van Oranje (Soldier of Orange) which described his experiences in World War II. His book was later made into a film.


'A nation that does not care to hear the stories of those who come home from War, does not deserve to be able to send troops to War.'

Prof. Dr. Ronald Plasterk, Minister van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap, television interview, 27-07-2008

This study is also dedicated to Jean François Philips (1894-1946), my grandfather, who served in the Belgian Army throughout the First World War. In the Postal Regiment, and that meant pigeons. He would cherish the peace birds throughout his life.


He died before I was born, and I know almost nothing of him. Besides his picture and War decorations, he left a small diary in French steno, that I cannot read. This knowing nothing, and the evaporation of lives into nothingness, became themes in my life, and this study is one of the efforts to do something about that.


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