Play during the occupation

Play during the occupation

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Redactie 03 September 2015 50
Wartime was sometimes a difficult period for children but this did not discourage them from continuing to play. The war had a great appeal and offered them a great deal of inspiration for fantasy play. They marched along with passing troops, sang satirical songs and tore German ordinances from the walls. They collected souvenirs and began a trade with the German soldiers. They played war on their own battlefields with wooden weapons and had their own hierarchy. Sometimes they would put on some war play for a little money or something nice. 
 
In some cities, it was forbidden for children to play on the street. In this way, German army command wished to prevent children from stealing or smuggling ‘while playing’, or distracting soldiers. The occupier was strict with everyone: even youngsters of barely fourteen of age could receive a short prison sentence for minor offences. On an individual basis, German soldiers were mostly milder. Billeted soldiers often built up a good bond with the children of the house in which they were staying. Contact with children offered the usual diversion in a period in which they had to do without their own family for a long time.