Siegfried Line – Vetschau/Aachen

At Vetschau, near Aachen just before the border with Germany, the railway crosses a part of the Westwall, specifically the Siegfried Line. The Siegfried Line was a defence system stretching more than 630 km (390 mi) with more than 18,000 bunkers, tunnels and tank traps. This rail connected Maastricht with Aachen. Because the rail connection to the west was important for the war, special facilities were built here that made it possible to block the route in case of emergency. In this case, iron girders were clamped between concrete blocks to prevent tanks from driving over them.
Passenger trains were shut down between 1940 and 1945 due to the war. Passenger traffic was finally discontinued on May 30, 1992.

Vetschau Siegfried Linie railway passage
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Haarlem Second World War

On May 10th, the Germans invaded the Netherlands, and with it the second world started. Two days later, on May 13th, Hitler expressed his concerns about the progress of the war and issued a Führerweisung. A strong message already put in use with the invasion of Poland. It could quickly crush the resistance. Therefore the Germans decided to bom Rotterdam on that same day. And make a threat to bomb other cities such as Utrecht, Amsterdam and even Haarlem should the Netherlands not capitulate. Luckily it did not come to that.. On May 15th the Netherlands capitulated and the first German troops moved into Haarlem.

Haarlem Second World War -Stadhuis
Haarlem Second World War -Stadhuis 15 mei1940

Around two o’clock in the afternoon the first German soldiers appeared on the Grote Markt. Succeeding the early arrived Germans more followed that afternoon. Watched by a great a population. In the background of the photo you can see the platform of the city hall of Haarlem Second World War. Today there is a memorial plaque painted by Han Bijvoet in the hall, in memory of the ten people who were executed after the attack on Alois Bamberger (1943). Another attack on the policeman and NSB member Fake Krist

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Haarlem – the assault on Fake Krist

The Haarlem resistance killed policeman and NSB member Fake Krist on October 25, 1945. The consequences of this assassination had a major impact on the history of Haarlem during the second world war. Fake Krist was one of the most notorious employees of the German Sicherheidsdienst, specialized in tracing Jews in hiding. In September 1944, the leadership of the resistance in Haarlem decided that this dangerous traitor should be killed. Three attempts failed so a fourth was set up…

Assassination of Kirst

The Assault by the Haarlem resistance

In the early morning of 25 October 1944, three men forced their way into the Bavoschool, which is located on the other side of the corner of the Westegracht in Haarlem. They went to the gym on the first floor and waited. They had gathered Information and knew by now that Krist cycled to his boarding house on a daily bases. To have a clear shot they had smashed a window in order to fire across the street. Quite unexpectedly, the school janitor suddenly entered the room. The three men warned him not to sound an alarm and tied him up just to be safe. After a while the signal came that Fake was approaching on his bike. Gommert Krijger, alias Zwarte Kees, who was the ‘sniper on the carbine’, fired the deadly shots. Krist fell off his bike and died within seconds. Below the picture of the situation.

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Obersalzberg – Berghof villa of Adolf Hitler

Berghof - sign post

Back from vacation. A wish to go there one day has come true. The Obersalzberg. The mountain where Adolf Hitler and other Nazi celebrities had their home. Apart from being a beautiful part of Germany, it also has a dark history. In the late 1930s, Adolf Hitler settled in a house on the Obersalzberg and expanded the house into the Berghof.

In the 1950s, the Americans blew up the tangible memories, now there is little or nothing to recognize. Only for those who are interested in this piece of history, they are special places to go. Following the road up from Berchtesgaden is a challenge anyway given the 24% rise you have to bridge. Given the cloudy day and the hassle of going to the Kehlstein house (Eagle’s Nest), we turned towards the place where Hitler’s Villa once stood.

berghof - hitler window view 1939Berghof - view
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