The Netherlands / Monument
The monument was erected in 1951 in memory of more than one hundred Maastricht residents who died during the bombardment on 'Black Friday', 18 August 1944. Dozens of American B-17 bombers dropped more than 150 thousand-pound bombs. The target, the railway bridge across the river Meuse, was not hit, but instead the bombs fell on the working-class neighbourhoods of Krejjedörrep (named after cinders from the factory furnaces) and Roej Dörrep (named after the red-tiled roofs) and the factories in the vicinity.
Friday 18 August 1944 was a scorching hot day. Two formations of more than ten aircraft each appeared unexpectedly over Limburg's capital in the afternoon. There was no time to flee, as the air-raid alarm had not sounded.
A resident described what happened immediately afterwards: "I was standing in the garden and looked up. Suddenly, small black dots fell from the aircraft. Bombs!! The sound swelled to an infernal whistle. I fell flat on the ground. Then there was a deafening crackling, stabbing flames and very heavy explosions. Everything shook and trembled. Windows were shattered. Doors flew open. People were screaming. There was a gigantic cloud of smoke and dust barely a kilometre away."
It was only after the initial bombardment that the air-raid alarm sounded, which was immediately followed by the second, much heavier bombardment. The results were disastrous. More than 100 people were killed and at least 65 people were seriously injured. The material damage was immense: hundreds of houses were badly damaged and only rubble remained of dozens of houses. At least 1500 Maastricht residents were left homeless. Factories in the surrounding area also suffered considerable damage. Bombardments elsewhere in the city also caused havoc.