The Netherlands / Monument
On Sunday 24 September 1944, the approximately 30,000 inhabitants of the still occupied eastern part of Kerkrade were ordered to leave the next day. The frontline ran right through the mining town, and the German troops seemed determined not to retreat. The intention was that residents would walk right through the front to the liberated village of Ubachsberg. A temporary - and much too short - ceasefire was agreed. What followed was a tragedy.
While the German occupiers ransacked the depleted Kerkrade, their artillery fired on the slowly advancing procession of refugees near Imstenrade as soon as the temporary truce was over. Shells struck the defenceless and unprotected people from the left and the right. Thirteen people were killed and dozens were injured.
In retrospect, it has to be said that the evacuation was completely pointless. Without any significant resistance, the Americans entered the still-occupied part of Kerkrade on 5 October. Nearly three weeks later, the evacuated Kerkrade residents were allowed to return to their homes. They found utter chaos there, and many houses were uninhabitable.
Einderstraat 66, 6461 ER Kerkrade