Holandia / Miejsce zainteresowania

The phone call that saved the Emma Bridge in Groningen




Silence, a deep, terrifying silence, which has become almost tangible, reigns around an abandoned Groninger Emmabrug and the Diaconessenhuis. The rattling machine guns, with glowing cannons, are suddenly silent. A stray bullet disappears with a false whistle. Suddenly the telephone in the principal's room rings brightly…

It is April 13, 1945, in the distance the nurses of the deaconess house hear the machine guns and the weakened sound of gunfire. Occasionally artillery fire bursts through it. Hidden behind the thick walls, 85 patients lie in the underground corridors of the Groningen hospital.

Outside in the chilly morning light lies the abandoned Emma Bridge and a little further on, the jagged fragments of the destroyed bridge over the Hoornsediep form a temporary war memorial. Sticks of dynamite are hidden under the Emma Bridge. The Germans curse; there are no electrical ignition wires. Men must come forward, prowling like serpents with fuses in their hands. The bridge had to be destroyed. Fortunately, this was not possible due to targeted fire from the Canadians.

Suddenly the telephone bell rings. The principal picks up. A Groningen resistance fighter tells laughing that he is on the other side and has been liberated. “Are there any Krauts with you?” She says that the Germans have entrenched themselves behind the Emmahuis. Suddenly the silence is broken by heavy machine gun fire, the fighting for the bridge has started.

On Sunday morning, April 15, they are suddenly there. They bang on the house doors. “Canadian Army, are there any Germans left?” These are liberating words after a hellish racket of fighting. In the hospital, joy suddenly flares up. A nurse flies around a Canadian soldier and kisses him in front of a happily smiling principal.

Emmaplein, 9711 AP Groningen