“Libertas inaestimabilis res est” (Freedom is priceless)

Oral reports, narratives and memories of the role played by the Caribbean in the global fight for ‘freedom from tyranny’ during World War Two, are gradually fading, as more and more informants are passing away. This compels those of us who have had any form of oral history pertaining to the war handed down to us by senior West Indians, to capitalize and expound on it, for the sake of future generations.

During her childhood years on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten in the 1950s, author, drs. M. Egstorf-Pantophlet and her brother would occasionally hear elders (who had observed both world wars) speak about ‘when Hitler had sen’ submarines all de way down here.’ they would also relate how ‘dey had try to bomb Aruba!’ and end with ‘Germans were out to rule the wurl, and down here too!’

The book indicates that the Caribbean region has its own authentic and compelling war-related narratives to tell. They too are positioned against the background of the losing threat of Nazi domination, which was the concern of every democracy-loving society at the time. Overseas territories and colonial rulers alike, were both up against a ‘common enemy’ who could only be defeated with combined efforts. In that respect the legacy of World War Two is a shared legacy.

This is the reason why the narratives in verse, are supplemented with quotes in the Dutch language. Together they form an introductory ‘mosaic’ for a Caribbean approach to World War Two.

A Different Stick o’ Fire: World War Two in the Caribbean, Fragments of a Forgotten Legacy is written for an audience of ages 12 to 80 and above.

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