Pays-Bas / Histoire

The liberation of Zuidwolde




May 10, 1940. German soldiers enter our village with amazing war equipment. Soldiers in neat uniforms. The weather is beautiful… April 17, 1945. German soldiers are taken away from our village as prisoners of war. Soldiers in worn-out uniforms. And the weather was beautiful….

With the above, Mr. H. Plas begins his account of the liberation of Zuidwolde. He was 16 years old when the war broke out and worked in horticulture. “The arrival of our liberators had been announced for some time through the illegal press. We had already left our hiding place for several days and were hiding at home. The night leading up to the big day was quite restless. We kept hearing the roar of the cannons.”

“Towards morning it became quiet, almost unreal. The silence that preceded the big moment. They came in during the morning, the Canadians of the South Saskatchewan Regiment. I still remember that emblem on the soldier's sleeve with a Maple Leaf above it, as well as the cigarettes they passed around: 'Sweet Corporal'. The box read: 'Twenty for you and four for your friends'.

It's amazing that you remember such trifles and sometimes forget important things.”

There were villagers who experienced this day as a 'judgment day'. NSB members and those who were (rightly or wrongly) mistaken for them, were arrested by resistance fighters and people in hiding, who were wearing a white bracelet with the letters B.S. (Internal Forces) on it. A Dutch Landwachter had thrown his uniform into a cistern in a panic but had to put it back on amid the jeers of the bystanders. Drenched, he was taken away."

9785 AL Zuidwolde