Dutch Bakery Doubles As A Museum Of Nazi Memorabilia

Sonnemans is a small, attractive bakery in Haamstede, Netherlands.  There, you can buy a fresh loaf while perusing their collection of World War II helmets. If that combination surprises you, it will help to know that Mathieu Sonnemans is an avid Nazi memorabilia collector.

Most of the items in his collection pertain to the Atlantic wall, a coastal structure built by the Nazis for defense. It ran along the coast of continental Europe and Scandinavia.  Part of it was located in Burgh-Haase.  Sonnemans has explored the bunkers in the woods and dunes of Burgh-Haamstede where he dug up many of the items himself.  Other items have come to him through word of mouth.

He’s not sympathetic to the Nazis, he’s just fascinated by World War II.  His family moved to Zeeland when he was 13.  After discovering the bunkers in the woods, he became intrigued by the Atlantic Wall and the impact it had on Zeeland.

He has photo albums that belonged to soldiers.  Many families kept photo albums from that time, but now feel shame owning anything from that era.  If Sonnemans leaves his car windows rolled down, people will push their albums through the opening.  They do not want to have anything that reminds them of the war.

He has lamps that originally hung in the bunkers.  A toilet from one of the bunkers is used as a trash bin, complete with its “For Aryans Only” inscription in German.

Some of the more unusual items he has are German helmets that a blacksmith turned into colanders after the war, VICE reported.

He found a tin in one of the bunkers that still had bread in it.  When he tried the 75-year-old bread, it was hard as a rock.  He still sells bread made from the same recipe as the one used for bread eaten by the soldiers in the war.

He uses a naval mine as a flower pot.  A motorcycle, likely German, has been parked at the store so long that “it has basically become a still life.”

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE