Quickly liberated, long wait

6. September 1944 / 13. Juli 1945



From 3 September 1944, the Germans began the retreat. They claimed everything with wheels, from bicycles to farm carts. On 6 September in the morning, the first British appeared in Eindhout, Vorst and Veerle. They were scouts, with light, fast armoured vehicles. The next few days were crowded. Thousands of soldiers passed by, hundreds found shelter in schools and houses. Allied troops rested here from battle or provided logistical support at the front.

On the night of 14-15 July 1944, the Germans captured eight resistance fighters. For the families of those eight men, a long, anxious wait remained. Marcel Heselmans did not return home. He was shot dead during an escape attempt. Marcel Coenen died in the Berga-aan-de-Elster (Buchenwald) concentration camp on 18 March 1945. His remains ended up in a mass grave. Coenen and Heselmans were the leaders of section 94 of the resistance movement 'Group G'. They helped British pilots go into hiding and broke into town halls to forge documents. This allowed the resistance to make road raids and food requisitions more difficult.

The remaining six went with hundreds of other Belgian prisoners from Breendonk, via Buchenwald, to Dora-Blankenburg in Germany. The Belgian prisoners included Louis Boeckmans from Tessenderlo. Together with the group from Vorst, the Red Cross took him to Sweden in April 1945. There, the severely weakened prisoners - Louis no longer weighed 40 kilos - were able to regain strength. It was not until 13 July 1945 that they were back home. After the liberation, Louis came to live in Forest.

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