Pays-Bas / Monument

Fighting after the liberation




In the evening of 14 April, a Royal Canadian Dragoons patrol reached the area around the village which is now called Damwâld. The village was liberated. How was it that a day later, a civilian and three resistance fighters were killed in fighting?

On 14 April around 19:00, the villages of Akkerwoude and Murmerwoude (now merged into Damwâld) were liberated by the Royal Canadian Dragoons. No fighting was necessary. There was hardly any enemy to be found in this area. 

Overjoyed residents threw their arms around the Canadians’ necks. There was an immense feeling of relief. However, the Dragoons had to move on quickly to Dokkum. 

The next day, it became clear that the danger had not yet passed. As in other parts of Friesland, groups of German soldiers and their Dutch accomplices were on the move. Some tried to escape or even fight. Others planned to surrender as soon as they encountered Allied troops. 

The NBS had set up an observation post in the church tower in Murmerwoude. In the afternoon, a group of German soldiers and Dutch collaborators approached across the Achterwei from Rinsumageest. The resistance fighters decided to open fire on the group from the church. It appeared that a horse-drawn wagon had been loaded with ammunition, as it went up in the air with a huge bang. 

Four German soldiers were killed instantly and a fifth was left severely wounded. Geert Gerding (51), a civilian from Peelo, was also killed. He was walking next to the wagon and had been forced to transport the ammunition for the soldiers. 

In the chaos that followed, most of the group fled in the direction of Dokkum. Two Germans and the Dutch NSKK member (paramilitary and armed supply unit) Arie Notenboom, who cycled ahead of the group, were unable to escape. The Dragoons had also been notified in the meantime. After they opened fire from their vehicles, one of the Germans surrendered. Notenboom and the other German managed to escape again on their bicycles. 

Harmen Brouwer (23) and Jan Kaper (23), both members of the NBS, tried to force the men to stop. But they immediately opened fire and killed both Brouwer and Kaper. Notenboom and his German companion eventually hid in a farm belonging to the Keulen family between Rinsumageast and Âldstjerk. 

The NBS soon got wind of their whereabouts and enlisted the help of the Dragoons. Once the farm was surrounded, Notenboom came out. While Notenboom was disarmed, either he or the German threw a hand grenade at the NBS men. One of them, Bauke Lyklema (28), was seriously injured. He died the next day. 
Notenboom was killed immediately after the incident. The German continued to hide in the farmhouse. The Dragoons took no more chances after this and set the farmhouse on fire. The German soldier died in the fire. 
Harm Brouwer was a marine and known in De Westereen as a milkman. In De Westereen, a street was named after him. Jan Kaper was a marechaussee in Amsterdam. In that position, he had to arrest Jewish citizens against his will. He eventually went into hiding in Akkerwoude and joined the resistance there.  
Bauke Lyklema was a municipal cleaner in Drachten. A plaque bearing his name hangs in the town hall in memory of his death. 

More stories from the region in 'De oorlog een gezicht geven' (deel 6) - Dantumadeel in de periode '40 - '45 by Yvonne te Nijenhuis and Reinder H. Postma