The Netherlands / Monument

Exodus - We commemorate the flight




In October 1944, many hundreds of families, mainly from Elden, Arnhem and Huissen, were forced by the occupying forces to leave their homes. De Praets, Arnhem, was the last opportunity to cross the Rhine from the Betuwe. During this exodus, a tragic accident occurred on 21 October 1944.

After the Battle of Arnhem, the Arnhem area was still in German hands. As the area was on the front line, in mid-October 1944 the occupying forces ordered that everyone be evacuated from the area. This was no easy matter because the ferries at Doornenburg, 't Looveer and Malburgen had sunk or become unusable. Even the Rhine bridge was no longer usable, with the river crossable only by emergency ferries or shaky boats under a hail of shells and bombs.

A huge stream of refugees began. Three brave people from Huissen managed to get hold of a boat with which they ferried their families and other evacuees across the fast-flowing Rhine, however, during the final crossing their boat capsized and the three men drowned. Their mortal remains were never found.

Hendricus Arnoldus Lentjes, 16 years old,
Johannes Hendrikus Straatman, 43 years old,
Theodorus Albertus Straatman, 41 years old.

Along the shore, hundreds of witnesses saw this happen as they had to immediately continue the evacuation.

The Exodus Monument was erected in memory of the three, and recalls the harsh journey made by thousands of people fleeing Arnhem and the East Betuwe. It is half of a double monument, the sister monument is at the Memorial Park in Huissen.

De Praets, Meinerswijk, close to Mandelabrug