Netherlands Amsterdam (8)

>> My name is Dick Hermanns. I'm born March 30, 1927, in Amsterdam. [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]? >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]? >> I was 23 years old when I go to Korea. I was a volunteer. All the Korean soldiers, Dutch Korean soldiers are volunteers. >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]? >> I was in [FOREIGN LANGUAGE], how call you that? >> An assistant, general assistant, you worked. >> What did you do there? What did you do there? >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] fighting. We walked patrol, yeah. >> What do you remember? >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE], we go north and almost we have to go back south because the Chinese are coming. Yeah, I don't know more of this. Every day was the same. I don't know more. >> Do you remember seeing civilians? >> Civilians, the civilian people in Korea? >> Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. >> Yes, we walk on the street. [FOREIGN LANGUAGE], she go and shout that I know. All the village are empty, and the winter, the cold, terrible, 25 degrees below 0 on top of the hill. We used [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. My sleeping bag was from the summer. A winter sleeping bag, I don't have. Cold, no washing, bad food, sheet rashes, you know what it is, sheet rashes? Our teaching was in the south with the Korean soldiers, which it was difficult to talk. She don't speak English. We don't speak the Korean language. We use our hands, and you ask something. What is this in the Korean language? And one Korean soldier told me, my sister, and I had a picture of his sister, and you have to say [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. That is what I know, remember that. The people, the Korean people, their clothes is terrible. War is terrible. When I go to the army again, I'd think it was the same in the navy. We don't know it was the very cold. We know nothing about Korea, but we know. I know now. We arrive in Pusan. We go by train to Daegu, hours, very cold. We make fire in the train because it was too cold. In Daegu, we get a little training of a few days, and the Dutch officers say, "Your shirt out. You have to walk sporting naked in the morning, about 10 degrees below 0," [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] the Dutch soldiers are very, very good, and after the training, we go to [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. I go to a school. All the years, we sponsored two students for to learn at the school, yeah, and we go to the front. Yeah, and then [FOREIGN LANGUAGE], yeah, [FOREIGN LANGUAGE], and the Chinese attack, and we attack, and then we go after a few weeks' rest, yeah, yeah. Your memory, what's left of it, yeah. >> You fought in the Indonesian War before this. >> No, this, in Indonesia, was not a war. It was mere guerrilla, not a frontline in Indonesia. [FOREIGN LANGUAGE], we set up an outpost. >> Hmm. >> From the outpost, we walked every day, not the same soldiers but order. Every day, you had an area, and you have to walk through it. You have to see that the people, oh, soldiers, okay. >> And you were there for 4 years, and ... >> Yeah, 3 1/2. >> Three and a half, and you came back in 1949. >> Yeah, at end of November, December '49. >> But why did you volunteer to go to Korea? >> Yeah, why? To help people there. I go to Indonesia to help them. I join the army after the war, after the Second War, still war between the Japanese. Japanese are still in Indonesia, and in Korea, I don't like the communist. Maybe I think that to help. We were a small unit there, one infantry battalion. It was not much, but, yeah, we did our best. Yeah, that is it. Thank you. Yeah, Indonesia was different, total different. In the city, oh, it was okay, out the city. >> And almost 5,000 Dutch served in Korea, and 124 died. >> Yeah, yeah, it's not much. >> But it's a large percentage. >> Yeah, but this ... >> Yeah, more ... >> And Indonesia, had a main battalion in Indonesia. They had about 60 killed in action for over 3 years fighting. >> Mm-hmm. >> We're fighting. We're fighting not every day. It is slow, small fighting. >> What year did you go to Korea? When did you go to Korea? >> I go to Korea in October 1950. >> That was a very difficult time, one of the most difficult times in the beginning. Right? >> Yeah, I know. >> Right after Inchon landing? >> The Inchon landing with the marines? >> Mm-hmm. >> Yeah. >> You were there from October to when? From October to when? >> Yeah. >> How long were you there? How long were you there? >> My time in Korea? Eleven months. >> Wow. >> Yeah. >> Not 6 months? >> No, no. >> You were there ... >> And the order, the [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] there, but our unit, the first unit, had the most casualties for the Dutch. >> Explain to us about the first unit. I don't know much about the first unit. >> That's because most of them are dead. Now here they are too old. From the 640 men, maybe living, 50? What we know maybe, when she a member of the reunion, a member of the association. The number shrunk. A lot of them are not a member of the association. We don't know if he's still alive or dead. >> When did you join the association? >> When [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]? >> When did you join the association? >> What are you thinking about the ... >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> Oh! >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> When it was first founded. >> When? >> 1970, I don't know sure, about 1975 from the beginning. >> Wow. >> And every year I go to the reunion. >> Mm-hmm. >> This time, it's in Tronchburg. >> Do you think it's important for young people to remember this war? >> I don't know. [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> No, do you think it's important? >> It is important, but if she don't care ... It is now each a little bit better. Many years ago, I walk on the street with this, showing people that I do this for my life, yeah? There's no better. There's no better. You walk over the street, no problems. Yeah, that was how we did it. >> And the Dutch, are you proud of Dutch being in the Korean War? >> Yes, yes, I'm very proud, yeah. >> You fought well. >> Yeah, and my daughter's name is Kim because one of the Korean soldiers killed in action, and his name was Kim. I know Kim is a last night. It's not the first name, and [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] Kim, yeah, yeah. >> Because you remember. >> Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, [FOREIGN LANGUAGE], and I want to go for the second time. I meet my wife and done. I'm studying in the Netherlands. >> Have you been back to Korea? >> Yeah, three times. >> Three times? >> Three times, yeah, and I meet a soldier, a civilian and with men in group, three times. >> When was the first time you went back after the war? >> At 676, it's the first group ... >> First group? >> ... was about 18 men in all. >> What did you think? >> Everything, we're going for 5 days and a few days in Japan. Yeah, that was the first time in Seoul. You go to Pusan and the palace and the East Gate, yeah. I have a friend. Yeah, I don't know if he's still alive, of course. His name is Kim Jin-Mook. He lived in Seoul. Yeah. >> When was the last time? >> The last time, in the '80s. I don't know when. >> No, the recent time, recently. >> I don't know. >> No, when did you go to Korea, 2000? You said you went to Korea three times? >> Three times, yeah. >> When was the most recent? >> What is that word, recent? >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> Yeah, [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> Oh, [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> What did you think of new Korea, new Korea or Korea now? >> Oh, it's very, very beautiful, big buildings. The roads are very good. In my time, the roads was terrible. Oh, there was nothing left there, but now, yeah, very, and the people are very ... I was there. There was no one who knew Korean and [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> Curfew? >> Curfew was, yeah. At that time, when I go to Korea, curfew, 12 o'clock, you have to go off the street, we also. >> Mm-hmm. >> The '70s, in the '70s. >> Yeah, yeah. >> Now it's ... >> Not anymore, no, no anymore, no. >> ... It's a free world now, free. >> Free, yeah. >> Yes. >> And when go to the [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] village right down the road, yeah, but there are some picture of me and my wife in clothes of the Korean, a man and a woman. >> Hanbok, hanbok. >> Hanbok? >> Yes. >> Hanbok. >> That's that it's called in Korea, hanbok. >> Oh, yeah. >> Yeah >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. >> You must be very, very proud. Right? >> Yeah, yeah. >> Mm-hmm. >> I always see my jacket from ... and jacket with the Indian head and the Korean flag. I walk on street. >> Mm-hmm! >> Not on Sunday, Saturday when I use other clothes. In the week, I use military clothes. >> Mm-hmm. >> You see it when you come in? >> Mm-hmm, because you're proud. >> Yeah, yeah. >> Hmm, well, thank you for your service. >> You're welcome. >> Thank you.