HUDSON — Late in World War II, warplanes dropped bombs on the dikes that protected an island in southern Holland, flooding towns and leaving residents devastated.
Among those was the tiny village of Souburg — and Hudson came to the rescue.
Hudson Heritage Association’s Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m. meeting will feature a presentation from longtime Hudson resident Molly Logan, who will tell the remarkable story of how a unique connection between Souburg and Western Reserve Academy inspired Hudson residents to organize and launch a community-wide effort to provide aid and relief to the tiny village across the ocean.
The program will be at Hudson’s Barlow Community Center, 41 South Oviatt Street.
In the 1920s, Western Reserve Academy historian Helen Kitzmiller discovered that the bell in WRA’s Chapel had been cast in a foundry in Souburg in 1611. Upon hearing of the disaster in the Dutch village in 1944, Hudson residents came together to host events — clothing drives, dinners, teas, a play, dance and bazaar — to raise funds for effort.
Hundreds of CARE packages were sent from Hudson to the Netherlands. Souburg, which was incorporated into the city Vlissingen in the 1960s, still has a street, Hudsonstraat, that honors the humanitarian effort and generosity of Hudson’s residents.
"It’s important for Hudson residents of today to learn about and celebrate the righteous deeds of our forefathers, whether it was working to end slavery or coming to the rescue of a suffering village in Holland," said Don Husat, Hudson Heritage Association co-president. "Our compassion and sense of community in Hudson are just as unique and inspiring as our town’s historic buildings and architecture.
"Hudson Heritage Association is grateful to be able to showcase this story, a must-see presentation."
The program will include many rarely seen photos and memories of the Souburg relief effort that were collected by and memorialized into a scrapbook by WRA’s Kitzmiller.
The program is free and open to the public.