© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015
Wasser Schloß - Münster - Westfalen
The next holiday involves a trip to Holland - not Pete's favourite country - and a visit to the Friedags, in their home city of Münster - where we learn just a little more about this enigmatic family.

Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of the
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
For some reason John Crawford had a 'hankering' to go the Holland, and the obvious place was Amsterdam.
As an odd aside, there had been a ridiculous song entitled 'Tulips from Amsterdam', by the English entertainer Max Bygaves, released by Decca in 1958. A song of no consequence, it had such an unfortunately catchy tune that once it got into your head - it would go round and round, sending the unfortunate victim quite crazy - so if you follow the link, you have been warned. Notice that the record was released on a 78rpm shellac disk !
Now at the beginning of the sixties Amsterdam was not the seedy city, with a reputation for 'dirty weekends', sex and drugs that it is today.
Then it was a very 'staid' destination.
Stadt Wappen Münster
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017
A respectable location for museums and historical sites, with its 'quaint' canals, windmills and gabled houses.
In fact, for Pete, it was a bit too 'staid', and definitely too 'flat'.
After the Bavarian Alps, Pete had a desire to see the mountains once again, or at least some rugged scenery – and not the flat-lands of Holland.
However, he had no choice in the matter, and the holiday was arranged.
There was, though, a more interesting aspect to this trip.
Jane and John had decide to take a few days to cross the border into West Germnay – to Westfalen - in order to visit the Friedags, in their home city of Münster.
Jane didn't like flying (maybe the flight to France, some years before, had put her off) - so, despite living very close to what was then known as 'London Airport' (now Heathrow Airport), and catching a 'plane just down the road, there was a long journey to Harwich, and then an evening boat trip across the North Sea.
But Pete always enjoyed the crossing by sea.
It was definitely 'romantic'.
The smell of the marine diesel, the salty sea air, the bustle on the quay-side in the fading light of the early evening, with the bright lights, and the cranes swinging.
To Pete, all this meant adventure.
It was summer, the sea was calm, the air was warm and it was a pleasant night to be crossing - even if it was the North Sea.
There was a stroll round the decks with John, and then the inevitable fine meal.
Not something taken in an uncomfortable cafeteria, as one would find today, but a full, four course, evening meal, with a waiter service - starched tablecloths and napkins and that subtle, restful ambiance that now seems to have disappeared from the world.
An then to a cabin and a restful sleep under the dim blue safety light, with the gentle hum of the engines far below.

Centraal Station van Amsterdam
Centraal Station van Amsterdam
Cooked breakfast, of course, was taken on the ship, despite the fact that the ferry was already docked, and then disembarkation - a quick perusal of the passports by some intimidating, pistol toting Dutch border guards, and then on to a train for the short trip to Amsterdam. 
Pete was amazed by the Centraal Station in Amsterdam.
It was not only huge, very clean and very ornate, but it also had the largest chandeliers that Pete had ever seen in his life.
Wappen Amsterdam
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2017

And so to - not a hotel - but a guest house.
After Rhupolding, John wanted to live with a Continental family, this time Dutch.
The guest house was a large building, with a typical Amsterdam style Dutch gable, overlooking the Prinzengracht canal.
Peter had his own, large room, overflowing with potted plants.
On the Continent potted house plants were very popular, particularly in Holland and Germany, but the fashion was not well known in the UK, apart from the proverbial, Victorian Aspidistra.
And - just as in Austria and Germany - coffee was the 'order of the day', although Pete was not particularly 'taken' with most Dutch cooking, unlike the venison, and the paprika and goulash that he had enjoyed so much in Austria and Germany the previous year.
John wanted to see Amsterdam, but also the Hague (den Hagg) and the coast, so there would not be much time, as the bulk of the holiday was to be spent in Münster.
John, being well read, and well educated, particularly in matters historical, was always keen to visit museums. - (Pete still had not entirely pleasant memories of a long afternoon in the Festung Hohe Salzburg museum with John from the previous year.)
This time it would be the Rijksmuseum, in the centre of Amsterdam.

The Rijksmuseum - (State Museum) is a Netherlands national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw.
The Rijksmuseum was founded in den Hagg in 1800, and moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first located in the Royal Palace and later in the Trippenhuis. The current main building was designed by Pierre Cuypers and first opened its doors in 1885.
The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The museum also has a small Asian collection which is on display in the Asian pavilion. The director at the time of Peter's visit was the newly appointed Arthur van Schendel.

So John spent a whole morning with Pete, wandering round the Rijksmuseum, while Jane did some shopping for souvenirs.
Now the Rijksmuseum is full of paintings by the neurotically introspective Rembrandt, sloppy, 'flashy' Frans Hals, and Vermeer - not very exciting for a young boy.
Pete got very bored, and was put off the art of the 'Low Countries' for the rest of his life (particularly Rembrandt), although later he came to appreciate the genius of some of Vermeer's art - his depiction of light and space.
In fact, Peter's main impression of his trip to Amsterdam was endlessly trudging round dusty, dark museums, looking at dusty, dreary exhibits and paintings.

Amsterdam Canal Trip
In the afternoon, however, things lightened up a little with a trip down the canals - but still not very exciting - as you can probably see from the image on the left.
By then it was time to start the journey to Münster.
The trip from Amsterdam to Münster was not long, as Münster was very close to the German border, and although Amsterdam was on the coast, Holland was a very small country - almost claustrophobic one could say.
The first surprise was the stunningly modern Hauptbahnhof (main station), recently completely demolished by British bombs, and miraculously rebuilt in just a few years in the most modern (and faintly 'Festival of Britain') style.
Münster Hauptbahnhof
Now although Pete did not know it at the time the whole of the centre of Münster had been reduced to piles of rubble by British bombing in the last few years of the Second world War.
The blitz on London was nothing compared to the destruction that had been visited on almost all the major cities of the Reich - and only the bombing of Coventry approached the severity of the Allied bombing.
Münster  - Ariel View
As the war came to an end the American Air Force would bomb during the day, and the RAF would bomb during the night, and at that point the Germans were virtually defenceless.
Lamberti-Kirche - Zentrale Markt - Münster - 1945
Münster was last bombed 1945-03-25 in daylight by a force of heavy bombers including Halifax aircraft of No. 466 Squadron RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force)
Some time before this visit to Münster, Pete had stayed in London.
At that time (the end of the Fifties) London was still scarred by many 'bomb-sites' - and very little rebuilding had been undertaken.
Even close to Pete's home there were some burnt out houses - probably the result of incendiaries, which were only demolished a year or two before Pete moved to the new home, and even then, no rebuilding took place.
What was odd about Münster was that there was no evidence that a war had ever taken place - let alone the destruction caused by 'fire-storms' and 'carpet-bombing'.
Even the Friedag's home was brand new although, like most of the rebuilding in Münster, it was in the traditional style - a style, incidentally, much favoured by Hitler.
Not only was there no evidence of the war in the environment - that is in regard to buildings and suchlike, but there was no evidence of the war in people's attitudes or talk - neither the most recent war, or the Great War, (World War One which the Germans officially referred to as 'Der Große Krieg' - 'the Great War').

It was about fourteen years since the war in Europe had ended, but German memories seemed to skip the years of the 'Third Reich', (and most of the Twenties), an also much of the period after the Year '0' (Zero - 1945), and concentrated only on the recent fifties.
It was as if the past was a 'land' that did not exist.
The only two people, up until that time, who had spoken of the war - and then so briefly - were 'Tante' Agness, when she explained that her husband had died in the first war, and the Austrian taxi driver, who had described how he had fought on the Russian front.
Other than that - was was a 'land' that did not exist !

Sentruper Str. 181 - Münster
The Friedags lived in an area of Münster known as Sentrup, close to the Aasee - a small lake close, to the centre of the city.
To be precise the family lived at Sentruper Str. 181.
It was a nice house - but not a big house, set in a small plot of land, with a small lawn at the front, a tree shaded back-garden, and a small vegetable garden to one side.
At the rear there were French windows and a small stone patio.
It was definitely not a style of house that one would find anywhere in Hounslow, or probably in the British Isles, for that matter - and it was brand new.
Later, Pete discovered that it had been designed by Onkel Bernd,  an architect, and Gerhard's older, and seemingly more successful older brother - after all he owned a new, silver Mercedes Benz.
It was a small house, but very sumptuous, with much expensive woodwork, and a magnificent wood and glass front door, and marble window sills !
The roof was very steeply pitched (because of the heavy winter snow falls - hence the skis kept in the basement) - a style not to be found in Hounslow - but oddly enough on the first floor (second floor American style), there was accommodation for a young family - a married couple and young child, whom Pete never saw.
Also, on the first floor was a small bedroom for Karen, the daughter of the Friedag family.
One thing that Pete noticed about the 'continent' was that far more people than in England lived in apartments - known to the English as 'flats'.
Germany in the late Fifties, and then for much longer, was an 'occupied' country, with the Americans in the south, and the British in the North (the French were perhaps somewhere - but not an important part of the equation).
The British grandly called themselves 'The British Army of the Rhine (BOAR)', well remembered by the constant references to 'BOAR' on 'Two Way Family Favourites'.

Successor to the wartime show 'Forces Favourites', 'Family Favourites' (remembered by its later name 'Two-Way Family Favourites') was broadcast at Sunday lunchtimes on the BBC Light Programme, BBC Radio 2 and the 'British Forces Broadcasting Service' until 1980. It was a request programme designed to link families at home in the UK with British Forces serving in what was then termed 'West Germany', or elsewhere overseas. It was a big success, and had the memorable signature tune "With a Song in My Heart" (original played by Andre Kostelanetz and his Orchestra - "With a Song in My Heart" is a show tune from the 1929 Rodgers and Hart musical 'Spring Is Here') .The program was presented by a variety of well-known radio personalities including, most famously, Cliff Michelmore, Jean Metcalfe.
The British Army of the Rhine was formed on 25 August 1945 from the British Liberation Army. Its original function was to control the corps districts which were running the military government of the British zone of occupied Germany. After the assumption of government by civilians, it became the command formation for the troops in Germany only, rather than being responsible for administration as well.

As the potential threat of Soviet invasion across the North German Plain into West Germany increased, BAOR became more responsible for the defence of West Germany than its occupation. It became the primary formation controlling the British contribution to NATO after the formation of the alliance in 1949. Its primary combat formation was British I Corps. From 1952 the commander-in-chief of the BAOR was also the commander of NATO's Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) in the event of a general war with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The BAOR was formerly armed with tactical nuclear weapons. In 1967, the force was reduced in strength to 53,000 soldiers.
 Jean Metcalfe and Cliff Michelmore
The following British Army Barracks were situated in Münster: 'Buller Barracks', served as a Royal Army Service Corps barracks since 1956 and then as an infantry barracks from 1968. 'Oxford Barracks' (see left), served as an infantry barracks since 1945. 'Swinton Barracks', served as a 'cavalry' and tank regiment barracks since 1952. 'Waterloo Barracks',  served as an artillery barracks since 1952 and then as in infantry barracks from 1962. 'York Barracks', was home to 20th Armoured Brigade during the 1950s, home to 6th Infantry Brigade during the 1960s.
For some reason John and Jane always listened to 'Family Favourites' every Sunday, without fail, even although they had no family or friends in the British Army on the Rhine - or did they ? - this, after all, was a family with many secrets.
Friedag Family -  Sentruper Strasse - Münster
L to R: Gerd - Gerhard - Ursula - Karen
Regardless, the Friedag family proudly posed in front of their magnificent carved wood and glass front door on the sunny afternoon when Jane, John and Pete arrived in Sentrup, Münster.

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