The Netherlands / Monument
During the years of occupation, the borders were closed and Vaals became isolated due to its special location. The same fate befell the Vaalserberg, a popular tourist destination. In September 1944, the Wilhelmina Tower, located not very far from the spot where three country borders meet, was severely damaged during the battle of Aachen. The reason for this was that the tower offered a good view of the city. The Germans understood this and bombarded the tower with heavy artillery. The building was heavily damaged and had to be demolished in 1945.
The centre of Vaals borders on Aachen, which is why it took a relatively long time for it to be liberated. The Germans were not prepared under any circumstances to give up the first city on German soil to the rapidly advancing Americans. Hitler had ordered it so.
The surrounding villages and hamlets were liberated between 13 and 17 September 1944, but the centre of Vaals turned into a no man's land and the inhabitants had to exercise patience until 19 October 1944 before they could embrace their liberators. Five endless weeks of nerve-wrecking uncertainty and intense tension had preceded that joyful moment.
Viergrenzenweg 97, 6291 BM Vaals