In the open-air theater spectacular Codename Zipper we bring the Hammer war stories to life through the eyes of the young, curious Daan. When his grandfather dies, Daan is left with many questions. He decides to investigate himself and visits the village his grandfather did not want to talk about: Den Ham. There he hears the true stories from the war.

He heard about the crash of the world famous Australian Dambuster Les Knight on the outskirts of the village. He was told the amazing story of the Jewish girl ‘Lieneke’ who was in hiding with a doctor. Daan also learns the Hammer resistance has been betrayed. How did this all unfold? And what role did his grandfather have in this?

Liberation of Den ham

The Dutch frontier village of Den Ham was liberated by the Canadian XII Manitoba Dragoons on 6 April 6 1945. The historic Brinkdorp Den Ham was code named Zipper by the Canadian army. The liberation was not realised without a struggle. In various places there was heavy fighting, villagers lost their lives, farms burned down and German soldiers were made prisoners of war.

Dambuster Les Knight

Just outside Den Ham, a burning Lancaster crashes into a meadow on the Janmansweg. In the cockpit, the Germans find the remains of the famous Dambuster Leslie Gordon Knight DSO, then 22 years old. He was returning with his crew from a mission to attack the Dortmund-Ems Canal, four months after he became world famous for his successful raid on the Eder Dam using the incredible bouncing bomb. When three of the four engines failed, Les Knight ordered his seven crew members parachute from the aircraft. They all survived the war and were able to go into hiding with help from many people from the village. Les Knight himself was killed in the crash. He attempted to crash land his burning Lancaster bomber, which was heading straight for the village of Den Ham, outside the village. Den Ham is saved from disaster thanks to Les Knight’s heroic deed.

Lieneke

A considerable number of people found hiding places in the vicinity of Den Ham and neighboring communities. The most famous of these refugees was Jacquline van der Hoeden from the city of Utrecht. The Jewish girl stayed with the Kohly family in the doctor’s house on Dorpsstraat from 1943 and was given the alias Lieneke Versteegh. She attended the primary school on the Grotestraat and often played with her new school friends.  Her father regularly sent her letters decorated with elaborate drawings and cartoons. These letters were to be destroyed after reading, but Dr. Kohly hid them in a tin box under an apple tree in the garden. After the war Lieneke moved to Israel. In 2009 she wrote a best-selling book remembering her period in Den Ham. It was titled: “From now on your name is Lieneke.” 

Hammer resistance

The Hammer resistance group was infiltrated by Dutchman Jan Willem van der Tuin. This traitor was a spy for the Nazi security forces. Several young men were arrested and taken away by him. They never came back.

Codename Zipper audio walk

Why not enjoy our Codename Zipper audio walk and experience the ‘big‘story of our ‘little’ village. The Codename Zipper audio walk takes walkers past important locations in Den Ham. The audio is available for free. Along the way you will hear stories and music that have a link with our picture-postcard village and our theater performance Codename Zipper, which will premiere in May 2022. The 4 km walk starts at the Middendorpshuis, Grotestraat 4 in Den Ham. The walk can be found in the app and on the izi.travel website. (City guides). For optimal ease of use, download the app from izi.travel in advance. Scan the QR code below and start the walk, or search for ‘Codename Zipper’ in the app. If you do not have the option to install the app, it is also possible to scan the QR code without the app. You will then be directly referred to the walk on the izi.travel site. From there it is also possible to follow the walk and play audio. This walk is available from May 1, 2021 to May 2022.

Scan the QR code below, the web page or app will open automatically.

As we say in Dutch… Veel wandelplezier! Enjoy your walk

Production Codename Zipper moved to 2022

Due to current measures regarding the corona virus, the performances of Codename Zipper will be moved to the spring of 2022. “That is of course very unfortunate. For the public, but also for all enthusiastic volunteers who are involved in our project,” says chairman Gerrit Kleinjan of the organizing foundation ‘Hej ’t al eheurd’. All sold tickets remain valid. The open-air theater spectacle was originally planned be held in May 2020 in the center of Brinkdorp Den Ham, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the village’s liberation.

 

Codename Zipper is brought to you by the Dutch foundation: 

Stichting Hej ’t al eheurd
Tumelers 13
7683 WL Den Ham

The Netherlands
Chamber of Commerce number: 74673688

Production leader Ellen Wisse will be only too pleased to answer any questions you may have. Drop her a line via the following email address:  ellen@codenamezipper.nl