19.02.2018 - Adema & Groeneveld: The Paper Trail

(RPSL/RvS-AIJP) ‘The Paper Trail: World War II in Holland and its Colonies as Seen through Mail and Documents’, written by Kees Adema RDP FRPSL and Jeffrey Groeneveld tells the story of the postal history of Holland and its Colonies during World War II in a fresh and compelling way. The book is not intended to cover historical or philatelic ground that has already been well trodden, but to weave together the evidence of mail and other documents – letters, cards, diaries, cards, photographs, personal memorabilia and the like – into a distinctive narrative. The focus is on the lives and experiences of ordinary people, individually and collectively, and the impact upon them of occupation, unprovoked and accidental bombing, famine (at times), and in many cases persecution, forcible removal and, at worst, extermination in the concentration camps. The authors have drawn material both from their own extensive collections and also from other collectors and institutions who have generously shared their holdings. A myriad of correspondence has been unearthed from family records and, through this book, brought to a wider public for the first time.
The war in Europe profoundly affected the Dutch people in many ways. Less familiar to many is the experience of the Dutch East Indies, which was occupied by the Japanese for over three years and endured horrendous suffering. (The Dutch Colonies in the western hemisphere, Suriname and the Antilles, were not occupied and are therefore only lightly touched upon in this account.)
The authors’ approach is broadly chronological – starting with the events leading up to war, the severing of postal connections within and beyond Europe, the entry into the war of the USA, the refugee camps and the ghettos, censorship and control over mail by the occupying powers, and later liberation and eventual adjustment to post-war conditions..
Kees Adema and Jeffrey Groeneveld, both members of the Dutch Academy for philately, are ideally equipped to undertake a project on this scale. Kees has four books to his credit, including the “Times of Turmoil” trilogy on the Napoleonic Wars, for which he received the Society’s Crawford Medal, and has written countless articles on postal history. Jeffrey Groeneveld has written extensively about World War II, is a contributing columnist to the Dutch monthly Filatelie, and, as does Kees, regularly gives presentations about the subject. World War II is very personal to both authors. While Kees’s family lived in Arnhem during Operation Market Garden, Jeffrey’s was in the Dutch East Indies during the Japanese occupation. Their family backgrounds add a strong element of poignancy to their story, which will not escape the reader.
Published by the Royal Philatelic Society London, February 2018. 702p. ISBN 978-Q-900631-92-4. American letter size hardback with dust jacket. Price £70 retail, £63 to members.

The Paper Trail will be officially presented on 30 March at the (first) Regional Meeting of the Royal Philatelic Society of London (RPSL) in the Netherlands ('De Mammoet', Calslaan 101, 2801 Gouda, from 13 until 16 h.). Co-author Kees Adema (who lives in the United States) will be present at this event.