Army Photographer WW2 style

May I introduce myself

In memoriam: Michael Badenbroek 5 november 1960 – 3 juni 2014

My name is Michael Badenbroek and I was born in The Netherlands in 1960 in the city of Rotterdam. The early sixties were scanty, you could still taste the bombing of the city. For instance, there were many open spaces in the city that hadn't yet been built-on. The cowardly act that the Germans committed in May of 1940, whereby civilian targets were purposely attacked, is something the elderly among us will never forget.

The seventies were marked by the Cold War. The Russians were our enemy and this overshadowed World War II. There was the threat of a nuclear war. As a child I always thought: "If the Russians attack us, an atomic bomb is sure to be dropped on Rotterdam since the harbor is of strategic importance." This frightened me. In 1978 I was drafted into the army and I was stationed in Germany, among other places. The Germans weren't happy with us. I had a job as radio operator in an M577 armor-plated command vehicle. When, in the summer of 1979, I would stand together with my lieutenant in the opening of the M577 as we drove on the German asphalt, followed by five M109 Howitzers, we would see the hot asphalt splashing up behind us. That always put a smile on our faces. If we drove through a village and had to take a tight corner, causing the back of our M577 to hit a car, or if we drove straight through someone's garden as part of an exercise, I always thought about 'my city' that they had destroyed.

The seventies were marked by the Cold War. The Russians were our enemy and this overshadowed World War II. There was the threat of a nuclear war. As a child I always thought: "If the Russians attack us, an atomic bomb is sure to be dropped on Rotterdam since the harbor is of strategic importance." This frightened me. In 1978 I was drafted into the army and I was stationed in Germany, among other places. The Germans weren't happy with us. I had a job as radio operator in an M577 armor-plated command vehicle. When, in the summer of 1979, I would stand together with my lieutenant in the opening of the M577 as we drove on the German asphalt, followed by five M109 Howitzers, we would see the hot asphalt splashing up behind us. That always put a smile on our faces. If we drove through a village and had to take a tight corner, causing the back of our M577 to hit a car, or if we drove straight through someone's garden as part of an exercise, I always thought about 'my city' that they had destroyed.

In the early eighties I was frequently in Zuid Limburg for my work. On my way to a customer in Gulpen I passed by Margraten and saw the American cemetery on my right. As a result of my interest in World War II, I immediately went to have a look. Ever since then I've continued to vissit the cemetery. My family and I adopted the grave of an American soldier in 2003. We visit this cemetery and this grave every year. The - for the most part young - men that lie here, fought to liberate us from a criminal regime and its followers. They paid the highest price and should never be forgotten.

 

My interest in World War II increased and my first visit to Normandy was realized in 1994. As my parents grew older they started talking about the war. This was never discussed at home in the past. They had been in a Japanese prison camp in the Dutch East Indies. My mother is of Jewish descent and had a German passport at the time. Because of the horrible reports coming from Germany about what was happening to Jews, her father stayed in the Dutch East Indies with his family. As a result, after the Japanese invasion the whole family landed up in a Japanes prison camp, where my grandparents died. My mother survived the war as a young orphan. This same fate fell to my father's family. My grandfather and his younger brother were made prisoner of war and were put to work on the infamous Burma railway line. Many Dutch people died here as a result of executions, sickness and exhaustion. They were fortunate enough to survive, but the Japanese crimes scarred them for life.

 I started collecting more and more documentation on World War II. However, I didn't have much time to study this thoroughly since my company took too much of my time. That's why, in the beginning of 2009, I decided to sell my company so that I would have more time first of all for my family and secondly for my passion for World War II. In the spring of 2009 I happened tot run into a childhood friend whom I hadn't seen in over 30 years. His name is Fred Scheurwater. To my surprise, Fred has the same passion. Among other things, he and his club 'Band of Brothers' have been putting their heart and soul into organizing the color and honor guard for WW II veterans and other military ceremony's, both in the Netherlands and abroad. He helped me get started and built this website for me. I would like to thank him here for his efforts. I found my way by means of photography and I take photographs of this era in an artistic manner. They are photographs that portray a message or an emotion. I call it Army Art. I also visit all the fronts in Europe where I photograph people taking part in re-enactments.

We Will Never Forget




Michael Badenbroek
army photographer ww2

DMC Firewall is a Joomla Security extension!