Liberation War Museum (Online)
|Life sketch of W.A.S. Ouderland, Bir Pratik
Mr W A S Ouderland was born in December 1917 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
He was taken prisoner by the Nazis, but he soon escaped from the POW camp and joined the Dutch resistance. He spoke fluent German, which helped him keep the resistance as well as the Allied forces abreast of German movements.
Following the end of the World War II, he returned to work for Bata. He was posted as the CEO of Bata operation in the then East Pakistan on the eve of our War of Liberation. Brutal repression and occupation of unarmed Bangladeshis by the Pakistani occupation army reminded him of the similar brutalities perpetrated by the Nazis in occupied Europe. He fully appreciated the legitimacy of Bangladeshi resistance against the brute forces of occupation.
He felt the acute need to make the world aware of the extent of genocide. As he was able to move freely as a foreigner, he took photographs of the atrocities committed by Pakistanis and their agents. He then passed these photographs to the world press.
As CEO of a major multinational, he enjoyed close access to higher echelon of the occupation forces. Indeed, he had close personal relationship with Gens Tikka Khan and Niazi. He maintained the appearance of friendship to the Pakistani top brass in order to avail sensitive information. He then passed these vital information on to the Mukti Bahini.
As the War progressed, he secretly began to train and assist local youths
around the Tongi area in the art of guerilla resistance. He sent his family
away from occupied Bangladesh so that he could turn his residence into a
safe haven for our freedom fighters and their weapons.
Mr Ouderland remained in Bangladesh till 1978 and was transferred to Australia thereafter. He later settled in Australia and died after prolonged ailment at the age of 84 in a hospital at the Western Australian city of Perth on 18 May 2001. His love and concern for Bangladesh was undiminished until his last days.
Bir Protik Ouderland in Australia - (courtesy Prothom Alo - Article by Ajoy Dasgupta) Sydney 26 November, 2000
Article by Gaffar Chowdhury - Prothom Alo 15 December, 2000
Birthday Wish to Ouderland - December, 2000
News from Dhaka - Prothom Alo May 22, 2001
News from Dhaka May 23, 2001