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Antonius C. G. M. Robben

Thousands of people died in Rotterdam during the Second World War in more than 300 German and Allied bombardments. Civil defence measures had been taken before the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and these efforts were intensified during the country’s occupation as Allied bombers attacked Rotterdam’s port, factories, dry docks and oil terminals. Residential neighbourhoods were also hit through imprecise targeting and by misfired flak grenades. Inadequate air raid shelters and people’s reluctance to enter them caused many casualties. The condition of the corpses and their post-mortem treatment was thus co-constituted by the relationship between the victims and their material circumstances. This article concludes that an understanding of the treatment of the dead after war, genocide and mass violence must pay systematic attention to the materiality of death because the condition, collection and handling of human remains is affected by the material means that impacted on the victims.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Robert Mackay

shelters, tired, cramped, and aching from six hours sitting on hard benches.’62 CHAP2.p65 70 16/09/02, 09:24 WAR EXPERIENCED: 1939–41 71 But total breakdown rarely occurred. Most people, miraculously, did adjust to the disturbance – apparently getting better at it with practice. Air raid shelters, whether communal shelters, street shelters or domestic shelters all suffered from the same basic defect: they were designed to provide short-term cover in daytime. Most of the strains associated with shelters arose from the fact that the pattern of air raids required them

in Half the battle
Open Access (free)
Nicholas Atkin

the men lived under glass with no nearby air-raid shelters,61 became so obvious that 380 of the officers were moved to the Bedford, Imperial and Royal Hotels in Bloomsbury.62 Subsequently, 240 of the men, plus 10 officers, were transferred north to the Wavertree Blind School and placed in the care of Ministry of Health Officials and Liverpool Corporation. Their numbers, however, were dwarfed by the final contingent of servicemen: the large quantities of sailors from the French navy, 341 officers and 6,206 sailors of other ranks.63 These men fell under the aegis of

in The forgotten French