Ice hockey in Holland late 1930s

Photo: The Amsterdam hockey team, with my father Frans Vaal on the outer left.

This is one of the topics in my family history that I know way too little about: my father and his love for hockey (or ice hockey as we say in Dutch (field hockey is what we call ‘hockey’)). Fortunately I have a few photos, undated unfortunately, and I don’t know who else is on them. A little research brought me to The Hockey Pages and IJshockey Nederland so I can reconstruct just a little bit of the story.

Just three players of the Amsterdam hockey team with Frans Vaal on the left. The others are unknown to me.

I think my father started out playing for the A.IJ.H.C. and then shifted to the Amsterdamse IJsvogels. I don’t know the exact year, but I do know he started out playing with them. The IJshockey Nederland page mentions that the A.IJ.H.C. had some Nazi affinity and therefore the Amsterdam IJsvogels were founded. Well this is an interesting photo to accompany that assumption:

This must be the A.IJ.H.C. on the road to an international game and getting held up by German soldiers. Frans Vaal on the right next to a soldier looking away from the camera.

This must have been in the beginning of the war, everybody still friendly and all smiles. Except for my father. He doesn’t look too happy. He wasn’ very fond about the Nazi’s from the beginning. His contempt for the regime was some time later fed by the fact that some of his Jewish friends ‘went missing’ (=had been sent to concentration camps). Later, when the Arbeitseinsatz came, my father fled to northern Netherlands and went into hiding. I recognize his uncomfortable face while standing next to a German officer :-/

Later in life he didn’t hold a grudge against the Germans, in general. But I do remember him getting very angry at a German in the late 70s. The man attempted telling my father how to run his business in an ‘ordering’ kind of way… That didn’t go down well…

If anyone can identify the players on the pictures, please drop me line!

Published by Françoise Vaal

My addiction to visuals started with cartoons on tv, comic books, and movies. I dreamt away while looking at my mother’s landscape photographs and imagined going there and capturing the landscapes for myself. For more than twenty years I was a picture editor for newspapers and magazines but my own photography had been limited to snapshots of faraway countries. My wish of dedicating myself to my own photography and art finally came true. My home base is The Netherlands.

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