HOLTEN CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY

At this cemetery for the past 70 years, officials of the Dutch Government, a member of the Dutch Royal family along with the citizens of the town of Holten have gathered on The Day of the Dead – May 4th. Also in attendance are officials from Canada and our Canadian veterans but 2015 may have been the last time our veterans will have been in attendance.

For years our Men of Honour have come to visit their pals of so long ago and when they do they are pained because they remember what they endured and what the peoples of Holland endured but they also remember their comrades and for a short period they are young men again. You would have seen the tears and the shaking hand as they paused at a gravesite.

Another tradition has been the children of the area place a bouquet of tulips at each of the 1,396 Canadian headstones on May 4th and when they do so they pause and bow their heads because they know and understand it was these young men who liberated their country in 1944-45. As well on Christmas Eve the whole of the town go to Holten Canadian War Cemetery and on this night they place wind resistant candles in front of each grave and they light them. In the darkness all one is able to see is the glow of 1,396 candles. The people do not and will not forget our Men of Honour.

We would like to share with you the brochure displayed below, which is based on material compiled by Terry Copp and Mike Bechthold. "The Canadian Battlefields in Northwest Europe 1944-45: A Visitor’s Guide (2005)" was a joint project of the Canadian Battlefields Foundation and Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

For additional information, you may contact the authors at www.canadianmilitaryhistory.ca or www.canadianbattleofnormadyfoundation.ca.  The authors gratefully acknowlege the assistance of the Directorate of Public Policy and the Directorate of History and Heritage, National Defence Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada in developing this historic document. Front and back cover photos are by Evert Stieber.

To view the full document in a pdf format, click here.