Pays-Bas / Histoire

A slit throat




Fierce fighting in and around Holwierde precedes the liberation. When it finally happened on April 29, 1945, there were many casualties, among soldiers and civilians. In May 1985 Canadian veterans visit Holwierde again and they experience deep emotional moments.

Canadian veterans visit Holwierde during the celebration of 40 years of liberation Appingedam. A regional newspaper reports under the headline 'Emotion' the following story:

“During the bus trip with the Canadians on Thursday afternoon to the places where the last days of the war were fierce in our area, we witnessed some deeply emotional moments. At one point they stopped just outside Appingedam. The Canadian tour guide said that the Germans had raised the white flag as a sign that they wanted to surrender. The Canadians observed the rules for this and ceased fire. As they walked up the road, one of them was hit by German fire and died. The veteran who saw it all happened remembered that he made short work of some Germans out of sheer anger and powerlessness. When looking back at that place, and remembering what happened, it all became too much for the veteran.”

He relives the battle. The Canadian Perth Regiment is transported from the area around the IJsselmeer to Godlinze in the night of April 21-22, 1945. The next night they attack Holwierde. The road at Oosterfeld has been blown up by the Germans to slow down the advance of the Canadians. There are a number of German machine-gun nests around the Oosterfeldwerd farm. The Germans, who defend the farm, surrender. The Canadians stop firing and walk towards the farm, whereupon a German starts firing again and mortally wounds one of the soldiers. The Canadians attack again and kill all the German soldiers. Afterwards, a German soldier with a cut throat lies in the ditch around the farm.

The German anti-aircraft battery Nansum is aimed at Holwierde, while in the village Canadians and Germans fight each other to the death. Worse was that the battery was alarmed and started firing at Holwierde. The heavy artillery shelling and fierce fighting took their toll on the Perth Regiment, 8 Canadians were killed, 23 were wounded and 1 is missing.The Oosterfeld farm burns down completely.