Ronald de Ruiter talks about the liberation of his father Piet

Piet de Ruiter

Piet de Ruiter was born in 1924 as the son of a policeman in Groningen, Netherlands. After graduating from high school, he works in the office of a sanitary ware store. At the beginning of the war, Piet attempts to hide from being seized and send to Germany. But he is unsuccessful. After being summoned to the local employment office, Piet is sent to Hanover in January 1943. Here, he has to work in the battery factory (AFA) of the Quandt Group. His job is to pick up plunged batteries from an acid container. He is housed in a civil labor camp right next to a satellite camp of the Neuengamme concentration camp. During his time as a forced labourer Piet documents his experiences in a diary. When his parents send him a camera in 1944, he begins to document his everyday life and that of the other forced laborers, with pictures too. This creates a unique photo inventory with approx. 300 images.

In April 1945 Piet de Ruiter is liberated by American troops. He returns to Groningen by train and by bike. In 1951 he marries his wife, with whom he has three children. He later receives compensation for the forced labour he had suffered. Piet de Ruiter dies in 2017. Together with her sister Anneke, Piet's sons Peter and Ronald have published a book with the diary entries and photos of their father.