The Netherlands / Vector of Memory
On Sunday, 17 September 1944, the inhabitants of Vught look up to the sky filled with excitement and with their mouths open as a seemingly endless stream of aircraft pass overhead from the west.
At a stone’s throw, the German Generaloberst (colonel general) Kurt Student also stares at the scene in amazement. From the balcony of Huize Bergen, he watches the transport planes with their connected gliders pass by. They carry English and American airborne troops, who are making a daring raid on the bridges at Nijmegen and Arnhem. But “Market-Garden”, as the operation is called, fails, and the middle and the west of Brabant have to wait for liberation for another month and a half.
On 26 October 1944, Scottish troops from the Black Watch and the English tanks of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry move into Vught. In a combined attack they come from the direction of Halder, and a little later also from the direction of Boxtel. As a result, a relieved inhabitant of Vught can write in his diary: “Tommies bij de toren!” (“Tommies at the tower!”) One day later, the Scots are at the gate of the abandoned camp Vught, the first SS concentration camp in Western Europe to fall into Allied hands.