Pays-Bas / Histoire

Inundations around Overschild




The Germans decided in September 1944 to make the road to Appingedam and Delfzijl impassable for the approaching advance of the Canadians. They flooded much of the area. But the inundation proved useless; eventually the allies simply moved around the flooded area.

At the beginning of September, the Allies conquered Belgium within a few days and on September 4, the Dutch Prime Minister Gerbrandy announced via Radio Oranje that the Allies had crossed the Dutch border. All over the Netherlands, hopes and expectations flared up. German troops panicked, NSB members fled. Within a few days to a few weeks, the whole of the Netherlands could be liberated...

The Germans started to build defenses. Dutch men of the O.T. (Organisation Todt) were forced to dig foxholes and trenches and the sea locks were opened at Delfzijl between 18 and 20 September. The purpose of this so-called inundation was to flood the provincial road between Groningen and Delfzijl.

The plan failed miserably: the road turned out to be higher than expected and remained virtually dry. A large part of the area between the Damsterdiep and the Eemskanaal came under half to two meters of water. To the south of the Eemskanaal, several polders were also flooded and the southern road to Appingedam became impassable. The area that was flooded consisted mainly of agricultural land. As the water flowed into the polders, the farmers and workers worked day and night to thresh the harvested wheat. In a polder that was flooded in October, school-age boys had to help to harvest the potatoes as quickly as possible.

Most farming families were evacuated and found shelter in, for example, Ten Boer. The empty farms were heavily damaged by the water and some were also looted. Sometimes people in hiding lived on the upper floors, lonely but relatively safe. In the harsh winter, the inundated area turned into a huge expanse of ice. That means: skating, even for those in hiding! After the liberation, the flooded areas were pumped dry again. The farmlands had suffered badly from the salt water, but lime was used to improve the quality of the soil. The harvests of 1945 were lost, but in 1946 the crops grew as usual.

Tjamsweersterweg 9901 TB Appingedam