Wageningen Students’ Lives During World War II

You’re studying in Wageningen when the German Army invades. Under occupation, how do you continue? Hear first degree eyewitness accounts of impossible choices. What would you do in their shoes?

Organisator Studium Generale

di 14 mei 2019 19:30 tot 22:00

Locatie Hotel de Wereld
Zaal/kamer Capitulatie Zaal
Prijsomschrijving Free Entrance

You are a student busy studying in Wageningen when the country is invaded by the German Army. Before long, WWII is determining your future in ways you had never imagined. Under occupation, how do you continue? Studium Generale invites you to hear first degree eyewitness accounts of what it was like to be a student in Wageningen during World War II, as we trace the lives of various individuals who were studying at the time. Hear how university students everywhere were forced to sign a declaration of loyalty to the German occupiers. What dilemmas surrounded the decision to (not) sign this declaration and what were the consequences thereafter? Bob Kernkamp (Wageningen City Archive) has sifted through the archives of CERES, Unitas and KSV. He reconstructs the context of student life and shares how the war impacted Wageningen and its inhabitants. Philippe Puylaert (WUR) shares excerpts from the letters his grandfather, Wageningen student Etienne Puylaert, sent to his family whilst forced to work in Germany. With unique photos, Ben Puylaert traces his father’s life in forced labour camps. Hear diary entries from Wageningen student Fons Crijns, who kept a journal of everything that students were experiencing whilst he laboured in various camps. Don't miss the opportunity to tour this gripping history in a monumental setting. With the 100 years Wageningen celebrations and the liberation festival fresh in our memory, Studium Generale presents the story behind the parties of recent past through the eyes of people in the prime of their lives caught up in the mess of war.

About Bob Kernkamp

Bob Kernkamp is the city archivist of Wageningen. He is co-editor and one of the authors of ‘Geschiedenis van Wageningen’ (History of Wageningen) which was published in honour of the commemoration of 750 years of Wageningen’s official ‘city rights’ in 2013. He also co-wrote a book on the history of the buildings of the WUR from 1876: ‘Van clusters tot campus’, published in 2018.
The city archives not only hold the records of Wageningen municipality, but also the archives of many kinds of organisations, businesses, churches and private persons. Among them the archives of students associations Ceres and Unitas; Bob made the inventory of the oldest part of the Ceres archives: 1878-1942.
He is also one of the two masters of ceremony during the annual Remembrance Day in Wageningen on the 4th of May.

About Ben Puylaert

Ben Puylaert began to discover what his father Etienne Puylaert ( WU student) had experienced during World War II, five years after his father’s death when letters and pictures were discovered tucked away in an attic shoe box. Those letters set him on a journey to discover more about his father. Besides the discovery that a close war-time friend and a couple of his fathers’ fellow students were still alive, Ben began to put the puzzle pieces together towards a better understanding of what these young people had been through - but never talked about.... He shares these discoveries with us and will read from the diary of a fellow student who accompanied his father during their time together in forced labour camps deep inside Germany and their heroic journey back home.

About Philippe Puylaert

Philippe Puylaert’s grandfather Etienne Puylaert studied in Wageningen during WWII.
Philippe now teaches at the WUR, and works with students the same age as his grandfather when the World War II radically changed his life. Having to endure forced labour from deep inside enemy territory, Etienne wrote letters to his family back home. Philippe, joins his father in Hotel de Wereld and will read from the personal letters and share his grandfather’s voice as a witness on the inside of the war giving an impression of how he and a group of friends survived.