The speaker as one of a group whose task it was to examine the civilians in Occupied Europe in an attempt to evaluate their state of health at the conclusion of the German Occupation. Most work done in Western Holland; some in the Brussels region of Belgium. Comments on France based upon reports of other groups. The impossibility of describing all features of life under Nazi Occupation for the various population groups in Western Europe. One aspect selected for discussion: the issue of food; how much food did these people get; how much harm did lack of food do to them? The variation in the degree of hardships occasioned by lack of food over an area as large as Western Europe. The three main factors involved by lack of food under the Nazi regime: the amount of food which the Germans moved back into their own country for their own population; the shortage of manpower for planting and harvesting crops; the breakdown in transport, resulting in food being left in the areas where it was grown rather than being transported to the areas where it was ordinarily consumed. The result of this last factor being that the people in the agricultural areas of Western Europe were probably as well off as they had ever been. Three relatively clearcut grades of nutritional deficiencies existing in the population of Western Europe under the German occupation, the first being that which occurred in the large European centres, in France and Belgium. A discussion of the situation in Brussels follows. Records accessible to the group. Details of the nutritional deficiencies experienced. What happened to the people of Brussels on this food ration. Quotes from the Public Health records for the blackest winter of 1941-42. Details of hunger and the results of hunger; the cold, the hunger, the fatigue, the loss of weight; the tendency toward developing infectious diseases. The role of the black market. The results of the black market and inflation as to the ability of people to buy food. Three different ways in which people became involved in the black market; how it worked and the size of it. The second kind of malnutrition to be discussed, which occurred in Western Holland. Details of how Western Holland usually obtained its food. Their situation in comparison to that in Brussels; the black market in Western Holland. The sudden deterioration in the Fall of 1944 due to two factors: a change in the attitude of the occupying Germans who decided to withdraw to the border of their own country, taking with them all the materials which might conceivably assist them in withstanding siege within their own land, including the Dutch barges which effectively cut off any means of transporting food from agricultural areas to the large urban centres and secondly, the attempted invasion at Arnheim in September of 1944 when the B.B.B. broadcast asked the Dutch people to sabotage their railways so the Germans would not have the benefit of their railway system. Ways in which the Dutch Government and the people themselves took steps to increase the intake of food. A description of what life was like for the Dutch during this time. Setbacks endured. Results of an inadequate diet, illustrated with slides. Cases of famine oedema in Western Holland during this time. Some summation figures. Some words about the Concentration Camps, especially Belsen, the political concentration camp. A description of the camp, treatment in those in the camp, who was there. The results of starvation of the people in the camps. Treatment of the survivors. This description accompanied by slides.
The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.