ARNHEM – In the presence of Frits Gies, among others, the Warnsveld holiday home was recently officially opened at the Dutch Open Air Museum in Arnhem. Jess still has vivid childhood memories of his family’s vacation home.
Warnsveld is a holiday home built in 1936 by the Gies family from Zutphen and is the setting for a story about everyday life in the period leading up to World War II, from three different points of view. Stories about flight and resistance.
Among the then owners – the Gies family – we show the personal impact of the (threatening) war and how members of the family became involved in various ways in receiving refugees from Nazi Germany and in the resistance. The story of a Jewish family who stayed temporarily in the holiday home in Warnsveld is discussed; The Urbach family is from Leipzig. The Staring Family also has their say. They used the house for which it was originally built to spend their holidays.
Keeping history alive
Coordinator Tim Smits: “We tell these stories because we believe it is important to keep history alive. Despite the impending war, daily life continued as usual, but many Dutch people faced dilemmas. Would you help refugees or not? Would you revolt against the German occupation or would you choose from “For your safety? War leaves deep marks in human lives, past and present. The stories we tell in our Warnsveld holiday home are still relevant decades later.”
The view at the Warnsveld holiday home is innovative and very different from the other sites in the museum. The visitor chooses an object and then walks around the different rooms, as if you can hear the walls talking.
Jace’s family and the resistance
In 1936 the Gies family from Zutphen built a holiday home in the Warnsveld forests. The family then consists of grandfather Frederik Karel (Frits 1) and grandmother Rebecca, father Frederik Karel (Frits 2) Jess, mother Annie and children Frits (3) and Anki.
The run-up to World War II is not a carefree period, things have been brewing in the Netherlands. There is a lot of unemployment and Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany come to the Dutch border, where they are simply no longer accepted. The socialist-oriented Gies family was well aware of this problem. Holiday home Warnsveld is a place where Gies and his friends, like-minded socialists and liberals, meet and discuss the situation.
In 1938 and 1939, Father Jess decided to help refugees on their journey to Holland with his father. They do this by registering Jewish refugees at both addresses in Zutphen. In this way, refugees can prove that they live in the Netherlands and have not been stopped at the border. The Dutch-German border was largely closed for fear of large groups of Jewish refugees from Germany. From May 1938, Jewish refugees in the Netherlands were declared illegal. A number of these refugees spent time at the Warrensfield holiday home.
Safe stop for Jewish refugees
In Warnsveld, the museum tells the story of a family helped by the Gies in the years leading up to World War II; The Urbach family is from Leipzig. Sali Urbach, his wife Gussie, and daughter Ilse fled from Leipzig to Zandvoort and then to Zutphen. They also spent time at the Warnsveld holiday home. They also – probably – made plans from here for a trip (excursion) through Belgium and France to Switzerland. They ultimately fail to complete their journey (the journey). Sally and his wife were murdered at Auschwitz. Their daughter made it safely to Australia and her grandchildren have told us their story.
Warnsveld holiday home as it was intended
The Staring family from The Hague is one of the first renters of the holiday home, back in 1938. This family enjoyed a relatively carefree holiday in the countryside. They loved it so much that they returned regularly after 1938. The family has their own, very interesting memories of “our cabin on the prairie,” Easter eggs being hunted and rocked on the swing in front of the house. Concerns about impending war were in the background. From the perspective of the Staring family, we take a closer look at questions such as: “How was development in Europe remarkable in everyday life? Could you still go on holiday in those days?”
New interactive way of viewing
At the Warnsveld holiday home, the open-air museum presents the stories in a new and innovative way that differs from other locations. When you enter, you choose an object, a memory object and take it with you through the different rooms.
The memory “talks” to you, telling the story from the perspective of the person it is associated with. For example, you can take Daddy Jess’ bag, Mommy Jess’s shopping bag or Fritz’s little teddy bear. There’s a gentleman’s hat by Sali Urbach and a suitcase by Henk Staring. The space responds to the object of memory and in this way tells a personal story.
Cautions during World War II
The hut was in the forest, and there was nothing around. Jess’ family bought eggs and milk from a nearby farm. The family did their shopping in Warnsveld or along the road in Zutphen. The visitor is taken into the ins and outs of family at the holiday home run by Annie Jess. This gives the visitor an idea of daily life in the Dutch countryside at the time, which was on the verge of being completely reformed.
Because on the night of May 10 to May 11, 1940, Warrensfeld was also drawn into the war. People left Zutphen, a camp of tents appeared in the quiet woods near the holiday home, while fierce fighting took place in and around the village. After surrendering, peace returned to the jungle, but again nothing changed. In the holiday home you will find more information about how different heroes perform in war.
New Basrand sub-region
Warnsveld Holiday Home is part of a newly developed area of the Open Air Museum: Bosrand. This area has been open to the public since December 14th. Here the open air museum is interested in the history of recreation in the Netherlands. There are three holiday homes in Bosrand. Next to the Warnsveld holiday home, the classic Pemberton mobile home from Nunspeet and the Rietveld holiday home have been moved from Markelo to Bosrand.
Watch the build timelapse of Warnsveld, the vacation home with a story: www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-Do0PDYE0I