Soest in WWII

Because I live in Soest I was curious about stories and visible memories concerning the Second World War. What could I find about Soest in WWII? The main source for this is of course the internet. I also went to Museum Soest where a small part of the exhibition is specifically about this period. It turns out that some important events have already received attention on the internet and I will refer to them. It may give an impression of what a relatively quiet village felt from the war.

The newspaper ‘Soester Courant‘ is an important source as it was published just after the war and chronologically describes the events (on page 4) in Soest in the period 1940 – 1945.

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Huis Doorn – The last residence of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany

In 1918 the First World War ended with the signing of the armistice in Compiègne, but Wilhelm II, the last emperor of Germany, also resigned and applied for asylum in the neutral Netherlands. First in Amerongen and then quietly as a ‘normal citizen’ in the Huis Doorn estate. Although at his death there was a desire not to have a Nazi funeral, Hitler made it a registered event with a guard of honor, military band and representatives of the Nazi party.

Leutlant von Braunschweig at the main gate. The gatehouse was built by the Kaiser before moving into Huis Doorn in 1920

The ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II died in Huis Doorn on 4 June 1941. Because of the resistance that was still experienced in parts of Germany around the Emperor, Hilter decided that the funeral should be a modest ceremony with a considerable military delegation.
Since the mausoleum, then planned to the north of the main house, still had to be built, the body of the emperor would be temporarily laid to rest in the small chapel near the entrance to the estate.

Chapel Huis Doorn - temporarily resting place Kaiser Wilhelm II

Monday, April 9, 1941: On the picture on the right Count von Moltke (left) and Count von der Goltz (right) present the Field Marshal’s Staff and the Emperor’s decorations while Father Doehring leads in prayer from the chapel.

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Battle for Arnhem – bridge too far

75 years ago! That is now one of the largest airborne landings taking place at Arnhem to put a swift end to the war in Europe. Unfortunately it all went differently and the sacrifice that the soldiers then made is an ultimate act of courage and justifies the attention it should receive every year.

It has been on my list for a long time to find out more about the battle of Arnhem where my family rootes are. It will be exciting and beautiful to visit the places that played an important role in battle for Arnhem. On 15 September 2 days before the actual landing in 1944 we are ready in the morning to do a battlefield tour at Arnhem. What strikes me is the broad interest and involvement of people from the immediate surroundings of Arnhem and Oosterbeek, but also the people who come along from different areas of the country with the tour of today.

Arnhem Bridge
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Battle for Groningen – Radesingel

During the battle for Groningen the Canadians had difficulty gaining ground in the city. It was one of the hardest urban battles the Canadian had to fight during ww2. What it made difficult was the centre of Groningen as it is surrounded with canals and bridges. Only a few here usable.

Infanterie Les Fusiliers, Mt-Royal op de Radesingel. 15 april 1945

This picture clearly shows the hardness to advance to the centre of Groningen.

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70th Anniversary droppings Ginkelse Heide, Ede

Today we are set to go early in the morning to the unique commemoration of airborne landings on Ginkelse Heide near Ede and Arnhem. Decided to go , for the expected number of spectators, to go on bike the last piece of the trip. On arrival it was already pretty busy. Walked to the Airborne Memorial.

In September 1944 it was the largest airborne operation during the 2nd World War. Eventually there where even more droppings than during the D-Day landings. Just like 70 years the fog also played a role in the today droppings. No less than 60,000 visitors had come down to this unique event.

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