The Liberation of Ellewoutsdijk

382. The Liberation of Ellewoutsdijk

29-10-1944 - 29-10-1944

Hellewoudstraat, Ellewoutsdijk, Holandia
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Liberation Route Europe

382. The Liberation of Ellewoutsdijk

Terneuzen was liberated on 20 September 1944. The most bothersome period began for the residents of Ellewoutsdijk after that. The Oost-Zeeuws-Vlaanderen area was in the hands of the Allies and Zuid-Beveland was still occupied by the Germans. The Western Scheldt therefore formed the front line. Artillery was set up on both sides of the Western Scheldt. Both parties could shoot at any moment of the day. Sometimes it was quiet for a long time, but subsequently grenades could suddenly shriek through the air. This made a frightening noise. The Germans used the church tower as a lookout post and the Allies were aware of this. That was the beginning of the destruction of Ellewoutsdijk: from an Allied point of view that church tower had to be destroyed.

The shelling from Zeeuws-Vlaanderen became more intense. Jan Oele, who was acting as the deputy mayor, finally decided to evacuate. This is how the inhabitants of Ellewoutsdijk left; by bicycle (with surrogate tires), by horse and cart or with a wheelbarrow with some belongings. They went to Driewegen, Ovezande, Oudelande, Baarland, Nisse or ’s-Gravenpolder. Some even walked with their pig on a rope. After all, a pig was a precious possession, it meant meat for the entire winter.

Little or nothing can be said about the liberation of Ellewoutsdijk itself because the entire village had been evacuated. The official date of the liberation is 29 October 1944. After the liberation, everyone who had been evacuated obviously wanted to return to the village as soon as possible. Unfortunately, a large part of the village was destroyed. Those people whose houses were still standing, went there as quickly as possible. Some already went after a week, others had to make their home as habitable as possible first from the evacuation address. Those who no longer had a house collected some precious things in the rubble and sought an emergency solution to live in. An emergency church was built in the village, this church is now on the site of the Bevrijdingsmuseum Zeeland (Zeeland Liberation Museum) and can be visited.

Did you know that Ellewoutsdijk also has a fort? This fort was built between 1835 and 1839, after the Belgian separation from the Netherlands. Together with the cannons on the fortress of Terneuzen, Fort Ellewoutsdijk defended the Western Scheldt. During the Second World War the fort fell into the hands of the Germans, who expanded the fortress with bunkers. The Germans used the fort for storing ammunition and it formed a modest link in the Atlantic Wall. From the end of 1944 to the end of 1947 the fort was used as a prison for NSB (National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands) members. The number of prisoners was in the hundreds sometimes, they were guarded by ‘civilian guards’ from the neighbourhood. Since 1981, Natuurmonumenten (Society for preservation of nature monuments in the Netherlands) has managed Fort Ellewoutsdijk and various casemates of the fort are open to the public. Cross the seawall on this Liberation Route location and take a look at the fort.

Informacje turystyczne

Hellewoudstraat, Ellewoutsdijk - GPS code N51.386592, E3.817209

Galeria multimedialna

Hellewoudstraat, Ellewoutsdijk, Holandia