By Airplane, not Steamboat!

The RAF plays Sinterklaas

St Nicholas with airplane
French postcard, 1939
St Nicholas Center Collection

Times were lean while Germany occupied the Netherlands during World War II. From 1940-1945 basic materials, food and other necessities were all taken to Germany to support the Nazi war effort.

In 1941 The British Royal Air Force helped Sinterklaas bring cheer to children and adults by dropping boxes of candy over the occupied Netherlands. Thus the RAF took on the role of helper to Sinterklaas.

Sinterklaas songs of the time often reflected the realities of of the occupation. A variant on the popular Sinterklaas song, Sinterklaas Kapoentje,

Sinterklaas, kapoentje
Gooi wat in mijn schoentje,
Breng wat in mijn laarsje,
Dank je Sinterklaasje
R.A.F. Kapoentje,
Gooi wat in mijn schoentje,
Bij de Moffen gooien,
Maar in Holland strooien!

This version addressed the RAF, rather than Sinterklaas, asking that bombs be dropped on the Germans (Moffen was a Dutch slur for Germans) and that candy be thrown over the Netherlands, much as Sinterklaas and his helpers throw candy and pepernoten.

In that way Sinterklaas via the RAF brought a bit of cheer in the spirit of St. Nicholas during a dark and difficult time.

"Sinterklaas during World War II," Wikipedia.

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