Holandia / Historia

Appingedam a few days in the front line




Some places in the province of Groningen paid a high price for the liberation. In addition to Groningen, Appingedam was also heavily damaged when the Canadians tried to liberate the medieval town. Due to the intense shellfire, the entire city had to be evacuated.

During the liberation, Ru Ploeder did not have an overview of exactly what was happening in his hometown; “Nobody had that during the days of the battle. Everyone tried to find a safe haven, often in the basement or behind a few walls. The danger came mainly from outside, from the artillery of the German positions along the Ems, near the Dollard and especially heavy shells from the island of Borkum.”

“The grenades flew around our house, Ploeger remembers. “We were in the middle of the firing line. We then lived on the Farmsumerweg, just past the Opwierderweg.” It was clear that Appingedam had become a front city.”

His grandparents' house, a little further on, takes a direct hit. A wooden washing machine is totally destroyed. Although Grandma is nearby, she is not injured. Father Ploeger considers it advisable to leave. The Ploeger family spends one night in the Solwerder church and then decides to leave Appingedam.

The journey to safe Stedum is undertaken by horse and carriage. During the ride, the young Ploeger is impressed by the enormous destruction in the city. “The entire Harmoniestraat was flat, the streets were strewn with stones, rubble was smoking, houses were damaged. Canadian soldiers were everywhere with their rifles looking for Germans. It only became a bit quieter at Tjamsweer.”

Together, several thousand residents of Appingedam have sought refuge outside the city. When they returned, entire streets had been shot to rubble. Appingedam paid a high price for the liberation.

Farmsumerweg 124, 9902 BW Appingedam