An upcoming documentary on Global BC honouring the 75th anniversary of Canadian soldiers helping to liberate the Netherlands during World War II will feature a familiar face for many longtime Kitimat residents.
Fred Rodrigo immigrated to Vancouver, and subsequently to Kitimat, from the Netherlands in the years following World War II, and he lived in Kitimat until 1990. Rodrigo was 11-years-old when the war began, and said he remembers the first nights after the Netherlands were liberated
“The first night the Canadian troops were in town, I could hear music. I leaned out my window and they were playing music we hadn’t heard for years,” Rodrigo said in a press release. “And I thought – boy, we are free.”
The documentary, 75 Years Later: The Sounds of Freedom, will tell Rodrigo’s story, along with stories from other Dutch people who were liberated and Canadian soldiers who were involved. A gala concert in Vancouver had originally be planned to celebrate the anniversary, but the plans had to be adapted into a documentary due to COVID-19.
More than 160,000 Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen fought to free the Netherlands from Nazi occupation between early September 1944 and May 5, 1945, the day Germany surrendered to Canadians and Allied forces. The wartime graves of 7,600 Canadians who died liberating the Netherlands are tended by Dutch students to this day.
The documentary is airing on Global BC at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 7. Read the November 12 edition of the Kitimat Northern Sentinel to hear more from Rodrigo and his experience coming to Kitimat and with the documentary.