The Netherlands / Audiospot
During WW2, the city of Roermond suffered greatly under the German occupation and the efforts of the Allies to liberate it. At the beginning of 1945, almost all civilians are evacuated. On February the 28th, the occupiers blow up the cathedral tower in an almost deserted town. Although nearby, a Jewish girl is hiding under the floor of a bakery ...
At the end of August 1944, the frontline city of Roermond is an important focal point for the defence of the German western border. On September the 9th 1944, the city and all areas east of the Maas are politically and administratively part of the German Reich. The Reichsmark is introduced as legal tender and a German NSDAP official exercises authority over the city.
In mid-September 1944, the people of Roermond hear the Dutch national anthem on the radio being broadcast from Maastricht. The firm conviction is that liberation must now only be a matter of days away. But Operation Market Garden fails to a large extend and the Allied supreme command headed by general Eisenhower decides the port of Antwerp should be liberated. After all, being able to reliably re-supply the troops is essential for the success of the operations. This means less effort on the front in Limburg, where the advance comes to a standstill to the south of Susteren as a result of fierce German opposition.
Roermond has to deal with a reign of terror carried out by Major Ulrich Matthaeas and his German paratrooper regiment. Raids, looting and terror by the demoralised but fanatical paratroopers are rife. The population goes into hiding or flees and almost all the residents are evacuated at the beginning of 1945.
That was not true for the Jewish population; in recent years, they had been deported to extermination camps and only a few would return after the war. Some of the Jews in hiding are betrayed and discovered.
Heavy bombing by the British eventually heralds the liberation of Roermond, after which the Americans under General Anderson liberate the city.
Grote Kerkstraat 29, Roermond