70. Waiting for liberation

70. Waiting for liberation

15-04-1945

Markt 7, Doesburg, Pays-Bas
Mots-clés pour ce site historique
Destruction Combats Libération Victoire et défaite
Liberation Route Europe

70. Waiting for liberation

In March 1945, the allied troops crossed the River Rhine in Germany in five different places before returning to the east and north of the Netherlands. The allied invasion was considerable, but the fanatical German soldiers in Doesburg held their ground for a long time. Shortly before they finally left, they blew up a number of the town's most important monuments, like the Martini Church's tower.

Liberating the Netherlands
General Crerar's 1st Canadian Army was given orders to liberate the parts of the Netherlands that were still occupied by the Germans. This went reasonably well and on 5th April, the village of Angerlo, just south of Doesburg, was liberated. In some places, the Germans left without a sound, whilst in other places, heavy fighting ensued. The German troops in Doesburg maintained their positions, hidden in the town's built up areas, and as was often the case, the civilian population bore the brunt of it.

Doesburg
It was unfortunate for the people of Doesburg that the Germans in their town were such fanatics, and so unwilling to give up their positions. Orders from above had instructed the German soldiers to defend the bridge over the River IJssel at any cost. And on the night of 3rd April, the Canadian Army opened fire. People could hear grenades being fired at a rate of 20 a minute, but the Germans held their position. The allied artillery fire went on for days on end, and for two weeks, thousands of people in Doesburg hid in their cellars in fear.

German retaliation 
The Germans finally left on 15th April 1945 but shortly before their departure, decided to blow up a few of the town's monuments. The German engineers had a special demolition squad, a ‘Sprengkommando’, to do the job properly, and the people of Doesburg were forced to watch in suffering as the magnificent tower of Martini Church was destroyed. In turn, the local synagoge, the water tower, the windmill and the bridge over the River IJssel were destroyed. The allied shooting and German demolition of the town's monuments was an extremely high price for the historic town of Doesburg to have to pay. The Martini tower, the tallest tower in Gelderland, was not rebuilt until 1972. The other monuments were never rebuilt. 

Informations touristiques

Markt 7, 6981 CJ Doesburg GPS code: 52.01437, 6.13466

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70. Waiting for liberation

Liberating the Netherlands
General Crerar's 1st Canadian Army was given orders to liberate the parts of the Netherlands...

Markt 7, Doesburg, Pays-Bas

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