Johanna Louisa de Beer Thaxton
WWII Civilian

Joanna was born in The Hague, Netherlands, as the daughter of a brick mason. She recalls the German occupation of her hometown, and how the soldiers confiscated from residents radios, silverware, bicycles, vacuum cleaners, and other items. The occupation force set up a curfew and cut electricity and gas to less than half a day of use. By 1943, her home had no electricity or gas. Food was rationed as well. A central kitchen supplied each person with half a loaf of bread a week, and about a pint of soup, which she says she called, "water with weeds in it." Joanna says she lost nearly all her teeth from malnourishment. She also reports that people demolished parts of their houses for wood to burn. They also burned books for cooking and warmth. It was especially dangerous to serve in the underground. The German occupiers sent many citizens to work camp, including captured partisans to work camps. Her father, brother, and brother-in-law were also sent to camps. When her father was released, she recalls going with him by bicycle to the eastern part of Holland where they bought vegetables. Germans caught them and took their food and the bicycle. "I think 1944 was undoubtedly the worst year we had," she recalls. After the war, she met Frank at a dance. They married at City Hall in The Hague on March 6, 1946.