Bert Menco

Arnhem, September 1944
etching / aquatint
24 x 18 in.

Near the end of the war, the attempted but failed Operation Market Garden in and near Arnhem, The Netherlands (“A Bridge too Far”). Arnhem is the town where I was born, just after the war, and where my father had his butcher store before the war. He settled there again, now with his family, after the war, and restarted his business with the golden 10-guilder piece received from the Dutch government. Because of the failed attempt to capture Arnhem the war lasted about 6 more months. The city had to be evacuated and allied paratroopers tried to establish a link with the forces that arrived from the South. This never happened. The Germans blew up the bridge over the river Rhine in Arnhem. This piece shows the paratroopers being dropped near the city while its inhabitants evacuate the town.

Rotterdam, May 14, 1940
34 x 12 in.

This piece is an ode to my family, in particular my maternal grandfather. The text is taken from his notebook in which he describes the bombing and consequent destruction of the center of Rotterdam at the onset of World War II in The Netherlands. I used the burning of a focal point of the city, the St. Laurens (Lawrence) Church, in this image. The central image, depicting this church, is surrounded by citizens fleeing the city. My grandfather had a store in which he sold musical instruments. He also arranged special concerts, among others for such luminaries as Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins. He loved his city and was greatly dismayed by its destruction. On top of that he, and the rest of my family, also suffered all consequences of the special German treatment toward the Jews. Trying to escape to Switzerland he, as well as other members of my family were captured and subsequently murdered in Sobidor, March 9, 1943.

pen & ink drawing
24 x 18 in.

© Bert Menco