During the Second World War, more than eighty people in hiding hid in the Soerelse forrest. The place offered refuge to more than 80 people, including British airman and Jews. To keep their accommodation secret, the refugees had built nine well-camouflaged and partly underground huts. The Hidden Village, near the town of Vierhouten on the Veluwe, was founded in the spring of 1943 and was in use until the fatal Sunday in October 1944.
"Actually we have experienced the war twice", the two older hikers say at one of the huts. The war is indelibly etched in their memories. They come from the village of Rhenen and - just like us - are curious about the secret village. "At the beginning of the war, there was heavy fighting in our area and much broke. At the end of the war, another heavy battle was fought in our area." The woman's parental home has been bombed. "But luckily I am still alive", laughs the vital woman.
The original Hidden Village no longer exists. However, three recreated huts can be visited and give an idea of how the huts looked like. And how oppressive it must have been to live here with so many people.
You also get a picture of the camouflage. Apart from the entrance, the huts are completely immersed in the forest. At the time, all walkways were carefully planted and the forest was much denser.
Stories from the war always impress me. When I see my 2 young children laughing and running around on a beautiful summer day, I wonder how it was here during the war in winter? Cold. Wet. Always have to be quiet to not to betray the group. Boredom, hunger and the ever-present fear of being discovered. But also everyday things like housekeeping or a birthday. How strong and courageous you must be to survive here. But also risking your own life as a villager to provide help. If you start thinking about these things, this place impresses me even more.