Holandia / Historia

The brave action of Pop Dijkema




On Monday 16 April, the Canadians are fighting with the Germans for the bridges in Oosterhogebrug over the Van Starkenborgh Canal. The Germans, but also NSB members and their families, retreat towards Delfzijl and turn both bridges up behind them. German soldiers are firing on everything on the other side. The only option is to lower the bridges, but then they have to get to the other side.

The Canadians have no idea how to do that. But then the brothers Pop and Jacob Dijkema report to the Canadians. Jan Dijkema, Jaco's son, is then sixteen years old. “My Uncle Pop knew you could operate the bridges in the basement of the lock complex.”

“They crawled across, my father, uncle, and brother, and descended into the engine room. Then we saw how that bridge went down very slowly. It was like looking at the hands of a clock. Once the bridge was closed, the iron gate had yet to be opened. A tank drove up to it. There were four Canadians behind. But one came out from behind that tank, ran to the fence, and leaned over it. And yes, then it was bang! There he fell, dead. Then a tank rammed into the iron gate. Another tank stood above the engine room and started firing.'

'My father and uncle wanted out, but the Germans were still firing from the trenches. My uncle got a bullet in his arm. My brother pushed him and our father into the water. Then came tanks with flamethrowers. The Germans soon surrendered.' The Dijkema brothers later receive a medal from Prince Bernhard. The Hogeweg is named after Pop Dijkema and still bears his name.

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