When Canadian troops liberated western Holland from Nazi rule in May 1945, a 21-year-old Dutch artist named Mart Kempers was among the cheering throngs who greeted them.
Before the year was out, Mr. Kempers would create a series of visually striking images that captured the moment of liberation for a children’s book, hi ha canada, published in 1945 by Rotterdam publishing house Luctor.
Because of paper shortages due to the war, hi ha canada probably had a print run of only a few hundred copies, making it a rare find. The ever intrepid Library and Archives Canada recently acquired a copy after a long and bloody hunt, and now everyone can go and have a read:
Members of the public can look at the book in a special reading room at Library and Archives Canada if they abide by the rules, which include wearing special gloves to protect its yellowing pages from natural oils on our fingers.
Library and Archives Canada will feature hi ha canada on its website Wednesday as part of a new program to better publicize new acquisitions and treasures in its immense collection of books, maps, newspapers, portraits and music.