From the Landing craft allied troops attacked the beaches of Normandy on 6 June 1944. The flag of the first boat is since Sunday in possession of a Dutchman. The 72 year old cloth showing clear signs of usage.(wear and tear)
The flag of the first American landing craft at the beach in Normandy on 6 june 1944 is in Dutch hands. Business man and Art Collector Bert Kreuk: “If I had not been alert to get it, I would never again had a chance to acquire it”.
The D-Day flag with 48 starts, a souvenir from WWII was auctioned on Sunday (12 June 2016) in Dallas Texas. Kreuk did bid by telephone from his homestead at Grindelwald in Switserland. At the end it was 514,000 US dollars ( € 456,381 ) Nearly half a million Euro’s.
About a month ago a contributor of Heriage Auctions informed him.
“I knew I had to buy it, it was clear to me I had to keep on bidding. Money was not important at the time, it was about the story and the emotion. The people on that boat, who freed us, did not think of money.”
One of them sat on Sunday during the auction in the auction-room,
as a spokesman told him. For Kreuk it was different from other auctions where he used to bid. In the case of artists “there will always be another piece of work”. This time it involved only one. That made it exiting. “Over three weeks people could bid online. The auction price was up to 125,000 US Dollars. It went up at 10,000 at a time. Later with 20,000. Untill I was left with only one bidder”.
Kreuks uncle Theo, with whom he did visit Utah Beach last year,sat next to him. “After the sale we both were silent for a while. It was very emotional. I grew up with stories about the war. Two family members were killed during the bombardment of Rotterdam (May 1940).I remember photographs of family with their skin on their bones during the hungerwinter only too well”.
Kreuk is still ‘high’ today and expects to hold the flag in a few weeks time. He plans to exhibit the flag.
“I want that the story of freedom, which this flag represents, is being told. After I pass away, I want it donated to an organisation in America or in The Netherlands.”
The Commander of the landing craft Control 60, Lieutenant Howard Van der Beek, kept the flag till his death in 2014. Thereafter the family auctioned it in Iowa, after which on Sunday it came ‘under the hammer’ again.