The Netherlands / Audiospot

The 28 days of Baarle




On the 1st of October 1944, the 1st Polish Armoured Division enters the Netherlands to the south of Baarle-Nassau. But it will take 28 days before the German troops were completely driven out of this area. Meanwhile, the local residents wait on events in their shelters.

On Sunday the 1st of October 1944, led by General Maczek, the 1st Polish Armoured Division began military operations in West Brabant. They entered the Netherlands at the village of Zondereigen. The inhabitants of Baarle sought refuge in shelters. They would spend a lot of time in them, because Baarle was only liberated after 28 days.

The German army had reinforced its troops. Led by Hauptmann Mager, the 2nd Battalion of the 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment participated in the fighting. Through a shrewd tactic, German paratroopers destroyed dozens of Polish tanks. General Maczek had to wait a long time for reinforcements. They had to be transported all the way from Normandy.

The residents of Baarle had to helplessly watch their village being turned into smoking rubble. The destruction of the impressive Belgian church, in particular, made a deep impression. On the 28th of October 1944, Baarle is finally liberated.