The Netherlands / Monument

Murdered after the liberation




Five months after the liberation of Vaals, a murder took place in the Vijlener Woods in March 1945. Border guard Jeu Saive manned the Wolfhaag post and encountered a group of German terrorists near Holset. They were part of the 'Werewolves', an organisation founded in 1944 by SS leader Himmler and propaganda minister Goebbels, with Hitler's support. The members committed attacks behind the Allied lines, causing death and destruction.

A commando of werewolves (four SS men and two members of the Hitlerjugend) went through the Vijlener Woods on 20 March 1945. A captured American bomber, which allowed them to enter liberated territory unhindered, had been used to drop them off in the area a bit earlier. The six, including a 23-year-old Hitlerjugend leader, were on their way to Aachen to murder the American-appointed mayor, Franz Oppenhoff (Unternehmen Karneval).

Border guard Jeu Saive, from the neighbouring village of Vijlen, saw the group, immediately became suspicious and decided to follow them. The werewolves soon realised they were being followed and opened fire on Saive. Bullets hit him in the knee, groin and right side of the chest. He succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.

The werewolves continued on their way without hindrance and completed their mission. They murdered Franz Oppenhoff on 25 March 1945. The Nazi party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, called the murder a righteous act.

Vijlenerbos, between boundery markers 3 en 4, Vaals