506. The tragic death of 'auntie'

War evacuee Johan Schot (1930) was a 'sickly' boy from The Hague who, thanks to the church, spent several summers on the Bartels family farm on the Slenke in Den Ham. He remained there throughout the last years of the war. He witnessed the dramatic events of Monday the 9th of April 1945. Sunday the 8th of April was a memorable day; everyone was celebrating as Den Ham had been liberated two days earlier. Still, it was a strange situation: "We lived a little to the north around 'De Groene Jager’, actually in no-man's land.

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505. The Christmas train from Wierden

On the 25th of December 1944, a train was travelling from Kampen via Zwolle towards Germany with 1,400 Dutch forced labourers. Most came from the Zeeland and Zuid Holland islands and were arrested during German raids. On the 20th of December 1944, the SS and Police Chief Rauter had commanded the Order Police to round up thousands of Dutch men and transport them to Germany to repair destroyed roads and railway lines and clear rubble. Such arrests also took place in Goeree Overflakkee, Schouwen Duiveland and in northern Holland.

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503. The railway bridge over the IJssel

Deventer wartime history is inextricably linked to bridges. Until the early morning of the 10th of May 1940, there was an entirely different railway bridge on the site of the existing railway bridge. As the Germans invaded, after several failures, Dutch engineers blew up the bridge to prevent a German armoured troop train crossing the IJssel. Just in time, as the swing bridge over the canal near the Snipperling across the Overijssel Dike was disabled.

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502. Unguided missiles

In the winter of 1944-1945, everyone living in the area between Almelo, Nijverdal, Deventer and Zutphen was familiar with the sound of sputtering rockets. They were flying bombs, equipped with jet engines, popularly known as the V1 and V2. The Germans had called this new weapon ‘Vergeltungswaffe 1' in retaliation for the invasion of Normandy and all the losses that arose thereafter.

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501. The Orange Hotel

The Peet van Ommen couple take over The Veerman Hotel in May 1940. They have gained considerable experience in hospitality in Amsterdam and begin for themselves here in Wijhe. Although war has just broken out, the couple do well. Local associations use the hotel as their home base. The billiards, gymnastics and dance clubs: they all hold their weekly evenings at Veermans.

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500. "They looked like Easter eggs"

In the winter of 1944-1945, the Almelo-Zwolle railway line in Nijverdal has been the target of American bombers a number of times. The German V1 and V2 rocket installations in the municipality of Hellendoorn are also an important target for air strikes. Through this bombardment, the Allies attempt to block supply routes to and from Germany. Residents near the railway tracks in Nijverdal have moved as far away as possible or relocated elsewhere.

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321. The Liberation of IJzendijke

On October 17, at 9:00 pm, the Canadians launch their attack. However, the remaining German soldiers offer fierce resistance. Every street and every house must be fought for, even by hand-to-hand combat with bayonets. Nevertheless, the Canadians manage to liberate the eastern part of IJzendijke. In the afternoon, the Germans react with shelling from the west, causing large fires. Next day, the Canadians manage to take the western part of the city as well. IJzendijke is badly battered by the fighting. There are dozens of deaths to be mourned. Around 200 buildings are destroyed.

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392. The assault on the Walcheren Causeway

Towards the end of the war, the Causeway is again the scene of heavy fighting. The liberation of Walcheren by allied forces start over land with an attack of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, assaulting, the German defenders of the Causeway on October 31st 1944. The Black Watch of Canada (RHR), The Calgary Highlanders and Le Régiment de Maisonneuve of the 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade successively carry out four frontal attacks. The first bridgehead taken on the Walcheren end of the Causeway can only be held for a few hours. The allied forces have to pull back.

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391. The assault on the Walcheren Causeway begins

The Canadians come under heavy German fire and advance 70 meters from the end. They have to withdraw due to the heavy enemy fire. The Calgery Highlanders try again in the evening but get no further than halfway through the Causeway. Although the Calgary Highlanders and then Le Regiment de Maisonneuve and the Glasgow Highlanders established a beachhead on the other side of the Causeway on November 1 and November 2 respectively, they are pushed back by tough German resistance.

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496. The Phoenix caissons

Yet eight years later, in 1953, the island was hit by disastrous floods. Hundreds of people were killed and the island found itself underwater yet again. The dike holes at Ouwerkerk were eventually sealed with relics from the Second World War-- four concrete Phoenix caissons, during the war distributed as reserve caissons for the Allied Mulberry emergency ports facilitating the invasion of Western Europe. Today, the Flood Museum is housed in the caissons.

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