The Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day every year on May 5th, marking the surrender of all German troops in the Netherlands to the Allied Forces and the end of the German occupation of the country in May 1945. Today most of the people who lived through the war as adults have passed away. In the 1950’s, however, memories of the war were still very fresh and key eye-witnesses were recorded and interviewed for posterity.
The liberation of Nazi-occupied Holland began in the second half of 1944 when — following the D-Day Allied landings in Normandy — Canadian (2nd Infantry), British (52nd Lowland Division), Polish (1st Armoured Division) and American troops (Twelfth Army Group) moved northward towards the Scheldt River and the Dutch island of Walcheren in Zeeland, and into the southern provinces of Brabant and Limburg. Much of the south of the Netherlands was liberated by the end of 1944.
In this docudrama, we follow the advance of the American forces that entered Maastricht, the first Dutch city to be liberated, and the American troops who were dropped around Eindhoven and advanced in a narrow corridor towards Nijmegen in the east.
Broadcast: September 15, 1954