207. A ray of hope
In late October 1944, the Wessem-Nederweert canal is part of the front line. Oberst Harry Hermann has his command post in Heythuysen and his 'Parapluus' German paratroopers seek shelter at the Kloosterhof farm and the St. Elisabeth Convent. Some behave offensively and appropriate everything. Others behave well and get to know the nuns and monks.
At the end in October 1944, all kinds of German soldiers are coming and going in Heythuysen village. Sometimes for a night, sometimes for several nights, they shelter at the St. Elisabeth Convent and the Kloosterhof farm.
Some appear to have rather sticky fingers as they appropriate everything. Even the altar candles are stolen. When the monks protest about this to an officer, Father Voogd must appear in front of the German Military Police. He soon realises there is no point in protesting, politely ends the meeting and fortunately returns in one piece to St. Elizabeth.
At the convent, every attempt is made to lead a normal daily routine. But due to the Germans being billeted there, it is virtually impossible. Especially the 'Parapluus', the German paratroopers of the Hermann Paratrooper Regiment, with their brutal behaviour make life very difficult for the residents. Their commander, Oberst Harry Hermann, has located his command post in Heythuysen and his men think they can get away with anything.
The soldiers billeted at Kloosterhof farm behave significantly better. Here, a dozen soldiers are continually making coffins for the fallen at the front. These soldiers have themselves seen horrible things at the front. Due to their religious beliefs, many of them seek contact with the priests, wanting to deal with their horrific experiences.
Mother Scheenen, the head resident at the farm and Father Tillmans listen to these young men.