The Netherlands / Monument
The Freedom Monument at the Vrijthof is a reminder to residents and visitors that peace and freedom cannot be taken for granted. Two war graves by the church and a plaque at the former town hall with the names of eight fallen inhabitants bear witness to this. Even on the day of liberation, a tragedy unfolded in the hamlet of Dolberg.
To escape a shelling, 39-year-old Jan Meurs had sought refuge in the cellar with his daughters aged 4 and 6. They were accompanied by their maid Maria Braakhuis, servant Johan Linden and Maria Dortu, a girl from next door.
American fighter planes attacked the courtyard of the farm when they saw some German soldiers walking there. The Germans also dived into the cellar. Suddenly, a grenade shot through the cellar hole and exploded. The ensuing chaos and screaming were indescribable. The survivors crawled out of the dusty and gunpowder-filled cellar on all fours.
The Americans who had arrived in the meantime provided first aid and took the seriously injured neighbour to a field hospital in Tongeren. She died on the way. Help also came too late for Jan Meurs, his two daughters, their maid Maria Braakhuis, and their servant John Linden.