On Saterday 20 April 2013 I took part in a battlefield tour through the city of Groningen, organised by the Friends of the Airborne Museum, Documentation group 40-45 and Battlefield Tours.nu The theme was Groningen, fought and liberated. The Canadian soldiers have had a heavy blow with the German soldiers from 13 to 16 April 1945 to liberate the city of Groningen. Although the regular German troops had already left the city and had withdrawn themselves at Delfzijl, there were still fanatical SS units and remnants of German units, mostly consisting of older soldiers, present in the city. Especially those SS units still offered strong resistance. The result was that much damage was done to houses and buildings along the access roads to the city, while the inner city around the Grote Markt was almost completely destroyed. On this Grote Markt was also the notorious headquarters of the Sichterheitzdienst (SD), which was established in the Scholtenhuis There are images from May 1940 in which the arrogant German troops defile along the Scholtenhuis, where the leader of the occupying forces Arthur Seys Inquart takes the parade. Images from 1945 show that the Scholtenhuis on the east side of the Grote Markt has been completely destroyed, together with the other buildings on the east and west sides of the Grote Markt. Here many resistance fighters were tortured, killed or sent to concentration camps. Nowadays Scholtenhuis no longer exists. The Groningen people no longer want to be reminded of it. The current buildings dating back to the 1950s are now being demolished again to make way for a new building, het Forum. Some excavations were done on the place of the Scholtenhuis but little was found.

During the battle of Groningen, a relatively large number of civilian casualties have fallen. Many photos and stories show that in those days people were rather unsuspecting and had no idea of ​​the dangers that existed. People just walk around while there is still fighting.

Onze battlefield tour begon in De Drie Gezusters aan de westzijde van de Grote Markt. Dankzij het feit dat dit deel snel in handen van de Canadezen viel, zijn de historische panden aan deze zijde gespaard gebleven. We kregen een algemene uitleg over de slag om Groningen waarna we in twee groepen werden gesplitst om vervolgens een rondwandeling door de stad te maken.

Our battlefield tour started in De Drie Gezusters on the west side of the Grote Markt. Thanks to the fact that this part quickly fell into the hands of the Canadians, the historic buildings have been spared on this side. We got a general explanation about the battle for Groningen, after which we split into two groups and then made a circular walk through the city.

Onze groep onder leiding van de gids Wybo Boersma, voormalig directeur van het Airborne Museum.

Our group led by the guide Wybo Boersma, former director of the Airborne Museum.

Het hoofdkwartier van de Sicherheitzdienst (SD) in Groningen tijdens de oorlogsjaren. Als tegenwicht op de V-aktie met de V van Victorie die vanuit Londen was georganiseerd om de mensen in bezet Nederland moed in te spreken, voerden ook de Duitsers een V-aktie, maar dan met de V van Victorie want Duitsland wint op alle fronten. Overal werden spandoeken opgehangen, zo ook aan de voorgevel van het Scholtenhuis.

The headquarters of the Sicherheitzdienst (SD) in Groningen during the war years. As a counterweight to the V-action with the V of Victory organized from London to encourage the people in occupied Holland, the Germans also carried out a V-action, but with the V of Victorie because Germany wins on all fronts . Everywhere banners were hung up, similarly to the fašade of the Scholtenhuis.

Het Scholtenhuis is na de bevrijding op 16 april 1945 volledig verwoest.

The Scholtenhuis was completely destroyed after the liberation on 16 April 1945.

Duitse wegbewijzering tijdens de bezetting.

German road signs during the occupation.

Canadian Kangeroos of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry on the way to Groningen.

Canadian troops in advance on Paterswoldseweg in the direction of the railroad crossing.

Troops of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada in advance through Helpman where Germans were in position at Engelse Kamp and later on in the building of Provincial Electricity Company were the surrendered at leat on Monday morning. The destroyed their supplies by burning the Rabenhaupt Barracks.

After severe fightings at Heereplein a bridgehead was established across the Verbindingskanaal (connection canal). Several monumental houses were destroyed at that time.

Household school and the houses nearby are on fire.

The Kangeroo "Phyllis"" on the corner Ubbo Emmiusstraat-Coehoornsingel.

A four-lobe 2 cm FLAK left on the Spilsluizen.

The devastated north side of the Grote Markt with the saved Martinitoren.

The devastated building of the Amsterdamse Bank.

Plaquette aan een gevel in de Stoeldraaierstraat.

Plaquette aan een gevel in de Stoeldraaierstraat.

De Stoeldraaierstraat op 20 april 2013

Stoeldraaierstraat 20 April 2013

2cm FLAK on Gedempte Zuiderdiep opposite Ubbo Emmiusstraat.

The partly blown up A-brug as seen from the direction of the A-weg.

Eelderbrug with a 17 pounder anti-tank gun. This bridge was blown up on Saterday in the afternoon.

Eelderbrug with Basculebrug and in the background Eendrachtsbrug.

The royal Hamilton Regiment in advance along the destroyed building of "De Toekomst".

De door een panzerfaust uitgeschakelde tank van Fort Garry Horse boorde zich in de voorgevel van een pand aan de Paterswoldseweg

Tank of Fort Garry Horse disabled by a panzerfaust drilled into the front facade of a building on the Paterswoldseweg

De gevel zoals ik die zag tijdens onze battlefield tour op 20 april 2013. Aan de gevel is een plaquette bevestigd dat herinnert aan Fred Butterworth, die in zijn tank als eerste van de 40 gevallen Canadezen sneuvelde op 13 april 1945.

The fašade as I saw it during our battlefield tour on 20 April 2013. A plaque has been attached to the fašade that reminds us of Fred Butterworth, who was the first of 40 cases of Canadians killed in his tank on 13 April 1945.

The burnt cafe "De Ruiter" at the entrance to the City Park

The public primary school on the park road used by the Germans as a hospital

Deze vergelijkingsfoto maakte ik op 20 april 2013. Er is in feite niets veranderd.

On 20 April 2013. I made this comparison photo. Little has changed.

War damage at houses in the area of Parkbrug.

De Parkbrug en de huizen op 20 april 2013. Hoewel de brug en het brugwachtershuisje zijn vernieuwd, is er verder vrij weinig veranderd.

The Park Bridge and the houses on 20 April 2013. Although the bridge and the bridge keeper's house have been renewed, little has changed.

A citizen watches in peace while Canadians maintain a radio transceiver connection. These photos are taken from the first floor.

Destroyed houses on the eastside of the viaduct.

Heerebrug as seen from the viaduct. In front a killed German.

Heereplein, eastside.

Heereplein met schuilkelder. De meeste panden zijn verwoest.

Heereplein with shelters. Most buildings are destroyed.

Plaquette aan een gevel van de Coehoornsingel.

Plaquette on facade Coehoornsingel.

Een oplettende bezoeker kan nog kogelgaten zien op muren van panden in de binnenstad.

An observant visitor can still see bullet holes on walls of buildings in the inner city.

Muur van de Martinikerk met inslagen van Canadese Sherman tanks.

Wall of  Martinikerk with impacts of Canadian Sherman tanks.

The Sint Jansstraat with the State Archives and the Children's Hospital where the last battle is being fought