The Netherlands / Monument
In 1945, eleven children were killed by the explosion of abandoned armaments just outside Roermond. The two dramas unfolded shortly after the liberation. Formally, these children were therefore no war victims and their names were nowhere to be found anymore, not even decades later. Not on memorials, not in war publications and, apart from a few individuals, not at all in the collective memory of the people of Roermond.
Almost nothing in the city reminds of these postwar tragedies. Even 70 years later, only few people knew what had happened in August and October 1945.
Thanks to the erection of a monument and some publications in which, among others, friends, brothers and sisters of the victims could tell their story about the dramatic events after so many years, the long silence ended in 2015. Their stories, photos and videos of the dedication of the monument can be found on the website www.spikmaalbroek.nl
Every year, the monument is visited by hundreds of interested people. Every year on 30 December, the annual walk that leads from Roermond to the monument for the fourteen inhabitants of Roermond who were shot by firing squads just across the border during the war halts a few kilometres from the monument.
In Maalbroek, a hamlet at a stone's throw from Roermond, two boys were killed and a mother with two small children got seriously injured on Tuesday afternoon, 14 August 1945. During an attempt to extract the gunpowder from an abandoned German grenade by means of an axe, the projectile exploded, with fatal consequences for: Jan Diels (11) and Jan Lamers (13).
Close to this monument, nine boys from De Spik were killed and two got injured on Sunday afternoon, 7 October 1945. Although the area had recently been cleared by German deminers, the boys still discovered a German anti-tank mine that had been left behind. When they tried to open the projectile, it exploded. Seven boys were killed instantly, and two others succumbed to their injuries later that afternoon:
Jan Stox (14), Har Coenen (10), Sjra Coenen (13), Piet Coenen (14), Cor van Cann (9), Bair van Cann (12), and Sjra van Cann (14), Harrie Sanders (8) and Lei Sanders (14).