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Again delivery of ‘Liberation Bread’ just as in 1945

Symbolic drop of baked goods and Air Force fly-over

Tags: World War II

VLAARDINGEN - Experts say that 55 years after the fact, some Dutchman may well recall the taste of Liberation Bread made by Dutch bakers who in May 1945 had received their supplies in massive Allied air drops. For many more people, this year will be the first chance to taste the bread their parents, greatparents or siblings - after prolonged hunger - raved about in early May 1945, and perhaps ever since.

Following an initial humanitarian delivery of so-called Swedish bread to ports in the western part of the Netherlands in early 1945 (to help ease the ravages of the Hunger Winter), the Allies mounted massive air drops of supplies, dubbed ‘Operation Manna’ by the RAF and ‘Operation Chowhound’ by the US Air Force. Between April 29 and May 8, some 5,200 planes dropped over 11,000 tones of food above the Netherlands. Part of the delivery by the ‘Eagles of Mercy’ was Canadian and American wheat which allowed Dutch bakers to make white bread, which for many in the starving country tasted like cake or better.  


As has happened a number of times in the 55 years since the Liberation, Dutchmen again will be able to buy Liberation Bread. This year’s re-make will be made of special wheat, butter and sugar, making the bread taste mildly sweet as before. The top of the bread will have an ‘imprint’ of a 1945 transport plane. Some 2,700 bakeries all over the country have been asked to participate in the event.

The actual commemoration of the air drops - the flight will also be over a dozen other cities in the western part of the country - is in Vlaardingen (near Rotterdam) with a fly-over of over 20 planes, including six of the Dutch Royal Air Force and of U.S., British and Polish air forces. One of the planes will singly make an additional low-level fly-over and drop - unlike in 1945 - Liberation Bread on the city. Those able to grab that ‘Manna’ will not mind that the happening historically is incorrect: the Liberation Bread will certainly taste as good as ever.