Dutch veterans tell their stories on-line
The Veteraneninstituut has published the stories of hundreds of veterans of Dutch military missions since May 1940 in – among others - Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Cambodia.
Researcher Stef Scagliola says the Veteraneninstituut recorded thousands of interviews over a four-year period, a selection of which were published on Thursday. “Hearing a story directly from the mouth of a veteran has a completely different impact from, for instance, reading a report. It paints a clear picture of what it was like for the soldiers.”
The Veteraneninstituut says it’s important to preserve the memories of veterans. “These stories are a mixture of the veterans’ experiences, how they have affected them over the years and historical facts. “They cannot be used as an exclusive source, but are extremely valuable.”
The researchers had no problems finding veterans willing to contribute to the project. “In particular the older veterans were wildly enthusiastic. It does not happen often to them that they can talk about their experiences for 2.5 hours with an interested person.”
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