Holandia / Historia

Raid of Asperen




On 5 February 1945, German troops in Asperen closed the Heukelum and Gellicum gates, isolating the town from the outside world. Over 500 German soldiers were involved. No one was allowed on the streets; the residents of Asperen and the many evacuees (talk of 800 'food seekers') waited in suspense to see what would happen.

Every house was searched from basement to attic. Cupboards had to be opened and drawers emptied; gold, silver, jewellery, artefacts but also food was looted. It was a fearful situation; the soldiers were barbaric and not gentle during the searches and interrogations.

All men aged 16 and above were taken and locked up in Kleyn's garage on Voorstraat for interrogation. Some prisoners discovered a window in the toilet through which they could escape. Many moved through the meadows and over the polder roads to the Asperen duck decoy on Detsteeg.

Jan Goesten, an evacuee living on the Haarstraat, asked a German soldier if he could get his coat from his bedroom. Jan wanted to escape through a window at the attic. When he got on the roof, a roof tile fell and he slipped. This attracted the attention of a German, who then fired. Jan was fatally struck.

When German soldiers counted the group on 6 February, there were 'only' 400 men; over 70 fewer than that day before. Without being allowed to say goodbye, the men began a march to Utrecht on foot. On 13 February, after a miserable train journey, the Asperen men arrived in Krefeld where they were put to work. Miraculously, all the men returned to Asperen in May 1945.

The reason why cars drove through the streets of Asperen early in the morning on Monday 5 February 1945 and the village was cut off from the outside world is not clear to this day.