Pays-Bas / Audiospot

The fierce battle in the Noorderplantsoen




Noorderplantsoen, one o'clock on Sunday afternoon: the Canadians are starting the attack on the strongest position in the city of Groningen from the Oranjewijk. There is continuous firing from both sides.

Progress is not made. It seems like a stalemate. But after an hour the first Germans in the trenches surrender. It doesn't mean anything yet. The other Germans behind it just keep fighting. It is three o'clock and time continues to pass. And then the Canadian flamethrower Carriers come into action. To the astonishment of anyone who dares to look at that moment, blast after blast of fire is spewed out over the German positions in the park.

There is groaning of dying Germans, fires are starting everywhere, it seems as if all hell has broken loose. Mr. E. van Bruggen saw the spectacle up close. “The first thing I saw of the liberation was a Canadian carrier with a flamethrower, which crossed the Korreweg from the direction of the Noorderstation past the Ritsema bakery through the Ebbingestraat. The vehicle stopped for a moment. Then a long flame shot a German gunner out of a tree."

Many local residents were frightened during the fierce fighting. Tiny Huizinga noted in her diary "Ten to half past four. We are almost lying flat on the floor, because there is heavy shooting in the street." And at ten minutes past five thirty she notes: “The first Canadians seen a few paces away. Then suddenly it's over; the Germans have surrendered. “What we saw then we will never forget. It was black with people, a beautiful sight”

H. Hofman came across a shabbily dressed man on the Plantsoenbrug, who was carrying a kind of black mummy about a meter long in his arms. I wondered, "What is that?" “That's a German soldier,” said the man, “who was caught in a jet of fire from a Canadian flamethrower.

Oranjebuurt, 9717 CC Groningen