Eindhoven, my birthtown in 1946, a city in the south of the Netherlands, originally at the confluence of the Dommel and Gender streams, where I played in my younger years. By 1920, the population was 47,946; by 1925 it was 63,870 and in 1935 that had ballooned to 103,030.
The direct involvement of the Netherlands in World War II began with its invasion by Nazi Germany on 10 May 1940. The Netherlands had proclaimed neutrality when war broke out in September 1939, just as it had in World War I, but Adolf Hitler ordered it to be invaded anyway. On 15 May 1940, one day after the bombing of Rotterdam, with 650 deaths, the Dutch forces surrendered. The Dutch government and the Royal family escaped and went into exile in London
A first air raid in World War II was flown by the RAF on 6 December 1942 targeting the Philips factory downtown. 148 civilians died, even though the attack was carried out on a Sunday by low-flying Mosguito bombers. Large-scale air raids, including the preliminary bombing during Operation Market Garden to aid the US 101 Airborne Division paratroopers in securing the bridges in and around the town on 18 September 1944, destroyed large parts of the city.
On September 19, 1944 in Eindhoven was initially feast. The previous day had liberated the city and people lined the streets to catch their liberators. But in the course of the afternoon the mood to hit. There were rumors that the Germans were advancing again from Nuenen and Helmond. Evening appeared aircraft of the German Luftwaffe over the city. They bombed Eindhoven. It led them to the passage routes of the British XXX Corps, under General Brian Horrocks,: Aalsterweg, Stratumsedijk Stratumseind, Straight Street, Wal Emmasingel, Hertogstraat area. The British vehicles could not move. Vehicles loaded with ammunition exploded and fuel. Everywhere arose large fires. The number of casualties among civilians was enormous. The Biesterweg where my parents lived, found 41 people died when the bomb shelte, where they were given a direct hit. In total there were 227 deaths on September 19th 1944. My parents escape at the last moment, see About Us
On September 18th 1944 Eindhoven was liberated by allied forces as one of the first cities in the Netherlands. It took until May 5th 1945 before the Netherlands were liberated completely. Therefore the 5th of May is celebrated yearly as Liberation Day in the Netherlands.
As only city in the Netherlands, Eindhoven still celebrates September 18th as its Liberation Day. It is celebrated yearly with several activities, one of which is the Light Route. On the day itself, this year Sunday September 18th, the programme starts with the carillon of the city hall which plays at 6.45pm, followed by a musical performance at 7.05pm, presentation of traditional Eindhoven crafts corporations is at 7.45pm and the march-past of war veterans and torch procession, ceremony protocollaire and national anthems takes place from 8.00 – 9.30pm.
The Rob Hopmans webmaster’s family had many 101 Airborne , 506th Company “Band of Brothers” and British veterans as guests in the house during the Remember September festivities and friendships still remain today
Definitely a worth wile evening for everyone interested in Eindhoven history and traditions!