Yep John. Recently I visited this city which is my fathers birthtown and the place of his childhood, teenage years and early adolescence. I like the city. I am discovering it! A Marines and Harbour city! The traditional rival and competitor of Amsterdam. My fathers family has Rotterdam and Amsterdam branches and family reunions of this Dutch family is like a comedy, due to the humoristic competition, irony and friendly rivalry! My father is from the Rotterdam brach, but he loved Amsterdam. He worked and lived in Amsterdam in the early sixties.
When Rotterdam was bombed on 14 May 1940, a large area in the western part of Kralingen went up in flames with it. The western part of Kralingen was a working class neighbourhood. My fathers home was spared but his city not. So, the people who did not have much lost everything. Many Rotterdam working class and middle class families lost everything. They were ppor and now they were poorer. I saw crying old Rotterdam people who remembered how they lost everything in the flames. Posessions, familymembers, friends, comrades, colleages. A large stream of desperate Rotterdam people left the burning city heading East towards Utrecht, or to the North (Delft, The Hague, Leiden, maybe even Amsterdam), and also to Arnhem. Some of these Rotterdam people lost for the second time everything in Arnhem when during Market Garden the Germans (mainly Waffen-SS, amongs them criminal elements from France ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane_massacre ), and the Eastern-Front) pillaged the Arnhem homes and later the heavy clashes between the British para commando's and
On the rubble of Old Rotterdam New Rotterdam was built.
The heavy Dutch resistance you hear in the distance was mainly done by Rotterdam Marines and some Dutch army units in the city. Rotterdam was one of the toughest battles for the Germans. A lot of German airborne soldiers, common Wehrmacht soldiers and others died there at the battles on the bridges and due to the fact that Dutch armed forces shot down German troop carrying and equipment carrying Heinkel planes. For many Germans Rotterdam was the end of their war, they died there, like many Duch civilians and soldiers too.
The father of my Rotterdam uncles shot down German Heinkels who flew over Rotterdam as a civilian militia man. There was an anti-aircraft gun on top of his company office building. My father and his familymembers heard very heavy bangs, firing, and that was the uncle who was shooting from the roof of his office building nearby. My father and his family were hiding in an office building of my grandfathers family company. They servived in the ceiling.
The war is gone now and elements of Old Rotterdam that were left merged in harmony with the New Rotterdam and a wonderful city emerged from the Ruins!
In the Polish context Jaga, you could say that Rotterdam is a merger of Poznan and Gdansk. Rotterdam people have the business, trade and Industrial mentality of Poznan people who are known as good organised people in Poland, and the harbour of Gdanks and Gdynia. To continue, Amsterdam is something like Krakow in Poland, and The Hague is something like Warsaw, the city of the government, parlaiment, embassies, diplomacy, law (legal system headquarters) and etc.