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Mieke Kirkels

author in Cadier en Keer Netherlands

Mieke Kirkels (Nederweert 1947) studied Labor Market Policy & HRM, was lobbyist for Equal Rights for Women at the labormarket, Conference Developer and Communication Consultant for politicians. Lived in the City of Rotterdam since 1968 but returned to Limburg 10 years ago. In 2008/2009 she conducted an oral history project on the Establishment of the American War Cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands in 1944. As a result of the oral history project she wrote: Else Hanover, War Years in Maastricht (2009), co-authored From Farm Field to Soldiers Cemetery (2009) and her latest work From Alabama to Margraten in 2014. Another oral history project was “Portrait of a building” after the Architecture School of TUDelft burned down. Next oral history project: “Children of African American Liberators” just started. The heart of it are narratives of people of color, 70 years now, born in a complete white, catholic region of the Netherlands. Their biological fathers are Africvan American Liberators. Eyewitness stories about the QMS units that worked in the Southern Region of the Netherlands from the end of 1944 are included. Results will be a new book and a documentary by filmmaker Hans Heynen.
ps. I don't hold a smart phone

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Digging for History

BY MIEKE KIRKELS
@ VOL 27 ON NOV 23, 2015

"... an African proverb he taught me: 'If the lions don't survive to tell their stories, the hunters get all the credit.' He wanted to tell the story of 260 men in his unit. He was the only one still alive."

In Digging for History from PechaKucha Night Maastricht Vol. 27, Mieke Kirkels tells the story of the segregated US Army in Margraten, Netherlands, and specifically the cemetary where many of the fallen WWII soldiers bodies now rest. As she dug further into the story of the graves, she learned about the nearly 1 million African-American soldiers who depsite helping to liberate Europe from Nazi Germany, go unrecognized in most history books. One of these few remaining living soldiers shared his story with her. 

Kirkels believes that it is important to listen to people's stories, to listen with our ears and with our heart. Because history is about lives. Let's listen and read behind the lines...

This was "PechaKucha of the Day" on Wednesday, January 20th, 2016.