Paesi Bassi / Audiospot

Help for escaped prisoners of war




Indicazioni stradali

After the arrival of the first prisoners-of-war who had fled Germany in 1941, a group in Herkenbosch create an escape route to help the continuing flow of refugees to safely. Risking their lives, they supply clothing, food and places to sleep. Eventually, more than 250 prisoners-of-war and other refugees manage to escape from this region via this network during the war.

In 1941, when for the first time, Leni Moors and her niece see escaped French prisoners-of-war from Germany, they little realise they themselves will help the resistance in Herkenbosch and its surroundings for years. She organises shelter for the prisoners-of-war and arranges clothing and food. A short time later, she takes them to the bakery behind the Venhof Farm.

Right from the start, the owner, farmer Simons helps by offering the escapees temporary shelter and food. And also Pie Beckers, head of the local underground with the pseudonym Bakker and who speaks a little French, gets involved, as well as chaplain Verscharen, Jan Haman and some others.

During the entire war, prisoners-of-war and others who escaped from trains and camps trickle across the border. They simply follow the Iron Rhine to the west, the railway line from the German Ruhr to Antwerp. They know if they walk far enough, they will eventually reach Dutch territory.

As a result, a network of people arises in and around Herkenbosch, who take huge risks with their lives, sending people safely onwards. The Moors family post office also plays an important role, as Marie Moors kept a sharp eye out for letters to Nazi sympathisers and monitored phone calls when Germans came from Ommen.

The fact that are also many collaborators and Nazi sympathisers in the area, made the work extremely risky. Still, about 250 people manage to escape the region.

After the war, several resistance fighters from the village receive the Resistance Memorial Cross for their heroic deeds and some are even awarded the French Croix de Guerre.