Paesi Bassi / Audiospot
At the end of April 1945, the battle for the so-called Delfzijl-Pocket started in full force. After some fierce fighting, the German troops blew up the bridge in the middle of Holwierde and entrenched themselves behind the Bierumermaar. Days of shelling and bombing are the result. Citizens spend days in the air-raid shelters in fear.
Canadian soldiers enter Holwierde in the night of 24 to 25 April 1945, where the Germans have entrenched themselves in houses. While the residents are in the basement, fierce fighting takes place in the houses. They hear soldiers speaking English in the front part, while German is spoken in the rear. On April 25, 1945, the Germans retreat over the Bierumermaar (De Heekt) and blow up the bridge. The liberated part – Katmis – is under enemy fire. Grenades explode everywhere. But the Canadian artillery also starts firing. Both Canadian and German soldiers were killed by friendly fire. It will take another five days before the other part of Holwierde is liberated.
The Norden mill caught fire due to the shelling of the German anti-aircraft battery Nansum. The huge conflagration can be seen from afar. Surrounding houses also caught fire. Around 23:30 a German patrol of about ten soldiers crosses Bierumermaar unnoticed and attacks a lookout where Corporal Moffat is also located. He sends all but one of his men away and opens fire. He manages to delay the German attack. Corporal Moffat was awarded the Bronze Lion.
On the main road before the bridge over the 'Grote Heekt' are two monuments in memory of the civilians and Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the fighting.
Hoofdweg 34-36, 9905 PD Holwierde