Upload

Loading icon Loading...

This video is unavailable.

Year Round -- "Dancing In Bomb Shelters" -- League City And Beyond

Sign in to YouTube

Sign in with your Google Account (YouTube, Google+, Gmail, Orkut, Picasa, or Chrome) to like Eddie Harper's video.

Sign in to YouTube

Sign in with your Google Account (YouTube, Google+, Gmail, Orkut, Picasa, or Chrome) to dislike Eddie Harper's video.

Sign in to YouTube

Sign in with your Google Account (YouTube, Google+, Gmail, Orkut, Picasa, or Chrome) to add Eddie Harper's video to your playlist.

Uploaded on Sep 4, 2010

Whether you are a history buff or not, if you spend any time visiting with Johanna Wycoff you will want to read her book recalling experiences that she and her family went through during the invasion of Holland. Dancing In Bomb Shelters, is the published name for the diary that Johanna kept during the 5 years that Germany occupied Holland. Similar to Anne Frank's diary, it tells about the hardship of living through a horrible war, from the perspective of a young, feisty 14 year old girl. It is filled with humor, sadness, teenager pranks, flirtations with young boys, war atrocities, life, death and of course dancing. 

Throughout the five years of German occupation, Johanna was encouraged by her father, a journalist himself, to keep a diary...for the sake of history. After the war, it took more than 60 years for Johanna to bring the diary out of it's safe keeping. Even then as she translated from Dutch to English, it brought back tears, laughter and many, many memories.

Listen in to Talk of the Bay as we visit with Johanna Wycoff. Johanna left Holland in 1952, while visiting her sister in Canada she met and married her husband. The couple had 4 children and now Johanna lives in League City. She is a member of the Galveston County Historic Commission and a proud volunteer for the Butler Longhorn Museum, where her daughter Jennifer Wycoff is the curator. 

A footnote taken from April 21, 1943: (Johanna was 17 at the time) I had to take care of the central telephone system in the bomb shelter. It was important, as it was the only connection with the outside world. It took more than an hour before the safety signal was given and the bombers and fighter planes has passed. People were starting to leave the shelter to return to work when handsome Koos de Jeger asked me to wait for a few minutes. When everyone had left, he produced a record player and asked me to dance. At first I thought, he is shell-shocked, but at the same time, it was interesting. He said, "Let's pretend we are on a fantastic, warm island, far away from war, noise and people, and we are in love and dancing, and nothing else matters". He played the record, "Blue Moon," and we danced on the cement floor of the bomb shelter while he whispered sweet nothings in my ear. It was a beautiful, magical moment -- out of this world -- until the sound of an explosion brought us back to the ugly reality of war. The spell was broken, and we both went back to our offices, promising each other we would pretend again. 

Dedicating her book to the honorable men and women of the 82 Airborne, Johanna writes... "To General James Gavin and the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, who first liberated us"

Just as one cannot forget their first love, I will never forget the landing in Nijmegen of the first American paratroopers on September 17, 1944. They were dropped prematurely in the middle of the German-occupied territory of Nijmegen and surroundings and were later recognized by the population as our greatest heroes. They were our first liberators, who belonged to the 82nd Airborne Division under the command of General James Gavin. He landed with his parachute in a potato field at Groesbeek, just outside Nijmegen. These brave men fought to save the bridges over the Rivers Maas, Waal, and some canals, all heavily guarded by the Germans. They fought their way through narrow streets and parks in Nijmegen until the British Grenadier Guards joined them. Together, like brothers at arms, under heavy losses, they rid the area of the enemy and prepared for the Guards Armored Division. They were the ones who gave us our first thrill of freedom. Thank you so very much!

Johanna Wycoff will be speaking at the Helen Hall Library, in League City on Thursday, September 9 at 10:30 am. For more information please visit DancingInBombShelters.com.

Loading icon Loading...

Loading icon Loading...

Loading icon Loading...

The interactive transcript could not be loaded.

Loading icon Loading...

Loading icon Loading...

Ratings have been disabled for this video.
Rating is available when the video has been rented.
This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.

Loading icon Loading...

Loading...
Working...
to add this to Watch Later

Add to