Holandia / Historia

Performance in the pig barn




In the final months of the war, the front in the river area was manned on the German side by troops of the SS division Landstorm Nederland. Dutch military correspondents, Kriegsberichter, reported on developments at the front.

Johan van Caspel wrote an article on the 'Cabaret in a pigsty' for the soldiers' magazine Front en Heem. Just outside Tiel was a German battery. The commander of the artillery was Steinbach. To offer the German soldiers in the Betuwe some entertainment, he took the initiative to organise a performance at the farm where he was staying.

On foot and on bicycles, men from far and wide came to the performance. A hot meal and some drinks strengthened the front camaraderie. To be able to forget soldier life for a moment, as SS man Hendrik Spijkers described in his diary: '...Cellars, ruined farms, old bunkers of the Dutch army are the dwellings, but quite comfortably furnished with furniture from Kesteren. For their food the boys take care of themselves. Spähtrupps (reconnaissance patrols) fetch oil, bacon, flour, pickled fruit etc. from Opheusden which is more or less in No Man's Land...'.

The performance was a remarkable undertaking so close behind the front in the final phase of the battle. A large photo album of the event was compiled by correspondents reporting on the battle in the Betuwe.