Liberation

Finally negotiations led to an armistice and shortly thereafter, on May 5th 1945 at 8 o’clock in the morning, the German armies in Northwest Europe officially capitulated. A tense feeling remained that day in the streets of Amersfoort. No Canadian or English soldiers were to be seen in the streets. The hostile military men still controlled the surroundings. On some places even shootouts occurred between German soldiers and members of the Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten (organised resistance groups). In the camp a proclamation was read out concerning Germany’s capitulation. After that Loes van Overeem congratulated the prisoners with the capitulation in a speech and the Dutch national flag was ceremoniously hoisted. On May 7th a small column of vehicles of a British reconnaissance unit arrived in the camp. The soldiers belonged to the British 49th West Riding Division that formed part of the 1st Canadian Army. The soldiers were accompanied by two Dutch war correspondents (Tom van Beers and Willem van de Poll). They were exuberantly greeted by the (former) prisoners. Many of the former prisoners were taken care of via a safe house in the Soembastraat and sent home. Those who were seriously ill were kept in the sick bay for several months. Displaced persons from camps and places in The Netherlands arrived here so they could be looked after and registered.

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