I’m sharing (from Bangladesh old photo archive) the life sketch of W.A.S. Ouderland, Bir Pratik!
While I’m sharing; here is another life altering story of Nazi occupied Holland
A great Dutchman who fought with us, on Bangladesh liberation war 1971.
I salute you and honor you by spreading this inspiring article to the world; especially to the Netherlands!! So any of my Dutch buds please forward this….
Mr W A S Ouderland was born in December 1917 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
He started work with the Bata Shoe Company.
He was called up to serve as a sergeant in the Dutch Royal Signals Corps on the eve of Nazi invasion in 1940.
He was taken prisoner by the Nazis, but he soon escaped from the POW camp and joined the Dutch resistance. He spoke fluent German, which helped him keep the resistance as well as the Allied forces abreast of German movements.
Following the end of the World War II, he returned to work for Bata. He was posted as the CEO of Bata operation in the then East Pakistan on the eve of our War of Liberation. Brutal repression and occupation of unarmed Bangladeshis by the Pakistani occupation army reminded him of the similar brutalities perpetrated by the Nazis in occupied Europe. He fully appreciated the legitimacy of Bangladeshi resistance against the brute forces of occupation.
He felt the acute need to make the world aware of the extent of genocide. As he was able to move freely as a foreigner, he took photographs of the atrocities committed by Pakistanis and their agents. He then passed these photographs to the world press.
As CEO of a major multinational, he enjoyed close access to higher echelon of the occupation forces. Indeed, he had close personal relationship with Gens Tikka Khan and Niazi. He maintained the appearance of friendship to the Pakistani top brass in order to avail sensitive information. He then passed these vital information on to the Mukti Bahini (Bangla guerrilla regiment of ‘71).
As the War progressed, he secretly began to train and assist local youths around the Tongi area in the art of guerilla resistance. He sent his family away from occupied Bangladesh so that he could turn his residence into a safe haven for our freedom fighters and their weapons.
He was awarded gallantry award Bir Protik for his contribution to our War of Liberation!!
Mr Ouderland remained in Bangladesh untill 1978 and was transferred to Australia thereafter. He later settled in Australia and died after prolonged ailment at the age of 84 in a hospital at the Western Australian city of Perth on 18 May 2001. His love and concern for Bangladesh was undiminished until his last days.
Rest In Peace Mr W A S Ouderland ! You will be always in our heart and i will make sure to light candle for you in my church!