Belgium / Monument
When rumours of the liberation of Brussels reached Leopoldsburg, the occupiers began to retreat. So too in the K-blocks, where the prisoners were kept. These estimated 900 remaining prisoners were handed over to the gendarmerie. On this, they were immediately released. They then wandered aimlessly around Leopoldsburg. After a few days, a group of Flemish SS soldiers stumbled upon a group of prisoners and a drama unfolded.
The ex-prisoners from K-34 did not have an immediate travel destination after their release. Many were taken in by locals as the German army still had a firm grip on Leopoldsburg. In addition, more and more German soldiers arrived. After all, the military camp was an ideal assembly point in preparation for attacks on the British bridgehead near Beringen. Some of the prisoners found shelter in Brewery Leopold on Nicolaylaan. Here they were given food and a place to sleep.
In the evening of 6 September, a group of Flemish SS soldiers arrived. They were fleeing to the Netherlands. When the group picked up a rumour about released political prisoners, they surrounded the building on Nicolaylaan. 39 ex-prisoners were interrogated at gunpoint and robbed of valuables, even boots. The SS then escorted the ex-prisoners to the IJzerlei, where they had to take their seats in a moat. There they were executed in two groups. Some of them dropped down and also escaped the mercy shots that some others still received. From there, the SS men moved on towards the Dutch border.
The execution had not gone unnoticed. The Red Cross post was immediately alerted and residents immediately helped carry away victims. For 20 ex-prisoners, all help came too late. They are honoured by a monument with white crosses on IJzerlei.