Organisation - September 20, 2019

Monument for a forgotten bombardment

Roelof Kleis

A bombardment on Wageningen Hill on 17 September 1944 left death and destruction in its wake. Last Tuesday, precisely 75 years after the event, a monument was unveiled for the victims.

A mistaken bombardment of the Sahara residential district by the US air force cost the lives of 40 people. Among them was the mother of former WUR employee Co de Bruijn (83). He told his story at the ceremony (see also the interview on p. 18).

The bombs that landed on the district were intended for the anti-aircraft guns near the Lexkes ferry, to eliminate them as part of Operation Market Garden. The large number of casualties was because the air-raid siren was not working. A bombardment of the power station in Nijmegen led to a power cut 10 minutes before the attack.

The mistaken bombing had long been forgotten. It is thanks to Bart van Aller and Jola Gerritsen that Wageningen now has a monument, a boulder weighing over 6000 kilos with an inscription. The two were born and brought up in the district. The ceremony was attended by numerous relatives of the victims and current and former residents.

The text on the boulder is an anonymous poem that was published in local newspaper the Wageningsche Courant after the war.