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Persoonlijke brief voor veteraan
vrijdag 11 maart 2016

'Ik vind het heel bijzonder dat ik door de inzet van de soldaten die tijdens Market Garden gevochten hebben in vrijheid kan leven en daarom heb ik een brief geschreven'. Het museum ontving onlangs deze mail, met daarbij de vraag hoe de brief bij een van de veteranen terecht zou kunnen komen. De schrijfster van de brief is 25 jaar en woont vlak bij de John Frost brug.

Wij vinden dit een bijzonder mooi initiatief. Twee medewerkers van het museum hebben kort geleden een bezoek gebracht aan de Poolse veteraan Jozef Wojciechowski in Engeland voor een interview. Jozef vocht tijdens de Slag om Arnhem en is één van de nog maar 10 levende Poolse parachutisten. Hij heeft de brief ontvangen die hij leest op de foto.

Dear mister Jozef Wojciechowski,

It feels strange to write you, because I never have met you before. But when I realize that you have fought in countries where you didn’t know anybody, this letter isn’t so bad after all. Maybe you’re surprised by the fact that I write you this letter. Well let me explain myself and hopefully you will understand why I write this letter.

I’m a 25 year old girl from The Netherlands. I life next to the John Frost Bridge in Arnhem. Every day I see the bridge and I live in freedom in the neighbourhood. A place that wasn’t always this peaceful as it is today. 76 to 71 years ago it wasn’t possible for the citizens to live the way that we do know. My way of life, the freedom, the choices I'm able to make and all the other possibilities, I owe that to you, and to every men who fought in the WOII against Hitler. 

Even after reading a lot about the WOII, it feels unbelievable that so many men give their lives for a free Europe. So many young guy’s who joined the army to fight for the freedom of their country and for many more. At the beginning nobody would have known how long it will take, how dangerous it would be and how many men will die in this war. I don’t know your personal reasons, but you did decide to join the army. 

I’m convinced that the decision to join the army have changed your life for good. You survived the war, but you saw the darkest side of humanity. You saw what evil can do, saw your brothers get hurt, saw dead at work… After going through all of this, your life must have been changed. Maybe you didn’t expect this, maybe if you had knew this before you would decided something else… or not. I don’t know, but what I do know is that I respect you and your men a lot. The circumstances, the risks, the fear, unknowing when it ends and whether you will survive or not. You faced it all. For a free Europe. For a free Poland. For a life in freedom for me today. 

Every day I can live in freedom because of your decision and the decision of so many men to stand up and fight. Without your strength, courage and faith I could never live like I do today. When I watch the John Frost Bridge, I see the goodness in people. Even when a mission fail, it doesn’t meant that evil will win. You took a risk, that went out wrong, but at the end won the good. All the people who lost their lives or survived at the Battle of Arnhem, and anywhere in Europe, are heroes.

I wrote this letter to thank you. Thank you for your decision to join the army. Thank you that you have risked your life for freedom. To write this feels so small, so unimportant, not to compare with the things you have done. But I want you to know that what you and your brothers have done, will never be forgotten. For me, you are one of the angels God created for this world.

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