The Netherlands / Monument
On 11 September 2020, this monument was unveiled in the Old Churchyard in Roermond, in memory of thirteen men from Roermond who had been in hiding and one Polish prisoner of war, who were all executed at the Luzenkamp in the German Elmpterwald on 26 and 27 December 1944. Ten of them were betrayed, and on Christmas Day around midnight they were rounded up by members of a battalion of German parachutists that had been terrorising the city since the end of November 1944. After the men had been driven from Roermond with spades and pickaxes on 26 and 27 December 1944, they were led to the foot of the Elmpterberg a few kilometres further down the road, where they had to dig their own graves and where the death sentence that had been pronounced shortly before was executed.
The fourteen men were shot because hardly anyone had obeyed the order given by battalion commander Ulrich Matthaeas that all men aged between 16 and 60 had to report for forced labour in Germany before 18 December 1944. After the announcement of the executions, more than 2700 Roermond residents came forward. On 30 December 1944, they went on foot to Germany to be deployed in the Ruhr region, which was ravaged by constant Allied bombing.
On the instructions of a German soldier who had been involved in the massacre, the mortal remains were found at the German border town of Niederkrüchten on 26 August 1947 and taken to the town hall of Roermond on 11 September 1947. From there, an impressive cortege accompanied the flower-strewn coffins to the Old Churchyard, the cemetery near the Kapel in ’t Zand church. In 1950, the mortal remains were transferred and reburied at the War Monument in Tussen de Bergen, the new, general cemetery. The place in the Old Churchyard where they had been buried together with other war victims remained empty until September 2020.