The Netherlands / Monument

Freedom 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.

Vrijthof, Klimmen