Ottawa power pop band Hollerado return to Spiritbar on Sunday

Hollerado bound for Nelson

Hollerado frontman Menno Versteeg might spend more time thinking about the war than most.

With Remembrance Day approaching, many people will take a moment to consider the sacrifice made by soldiers in the war — but Hollerado frontman Menno Versteeg might spend more time thinking about the war than most.

His grandfather lived in Holland when the Germans bombed and took over the city of Rotterdam in World War II and survived to tell the tale, thanks to the compassion of one Nazi soldier who made a decision to put in him a prison camp rather than killing him.

Versteeg tells the story in Hollerado’s latest single “So it Goes,” which he wrote after his grandfather died in 2011. The band also filmed a video for the song set in Rotterdam that even goes inside a wartime prison cell like the one where Versteeg’s grandfather was kept in solitary confinement for two years.

In the long form of the video (see below), Versteeg recounts his grandfather’s story, as well as how he wound up meeting the grandson of the officer who made the call to save his relative.

“It’s important for these stories to live on, and that we know what generations before us went through,” Versteeg told {vurb}. “Not only to be grateful for what we have now and put things in perspective, but there’s also a lot of lessons that it seems we haven’t learned yet.”

You only need to turn on the news to see examples of greed and intolerance triumphing over acceptance, he added.

Versteeg said he feels fortunate that his grandfather was willing to share his stories with him, knowing that many veterans don’t like to talk about their past.

“As I got older and he got older, I definitely tried to ask him more about his war time experiences just to learn more about what happened to him,” he explained.

Versteeg learned that, after the war ended, his grandfather had repaid the Nazi officer who spared him by testifying on his behalf at a war crimes tribunal, which helped secure that man’s freedom.

Asked what he thought his grandfather would think of him sharing this story with the world, Versteeg figured he’d probably have a chuckle about it.

“He probably wouldn’t have liked the attention while he was alive,” Versteeg said. “But I think he’d be proud of what we’re doing with it now.”

Hollerado is currently on tour promoting their sophomore album, White Paint. They stop at Spiritbar this Sunday, November 10. Doors open 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

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