On 7 September 2014, I took part in an adventure tour with the guide Ingrid Maan of DNG40-45.nl She gave us a tour of the city of Arnhem, starting from the German side of the Battle of Arnhem. The term 'adventure tour' was deliberately chosen because the course of the military operations was not the central issue, but stories of German veterans who fought in Arnhem. She interviewed German veterans and organized this tour on the basis of their stories. She has written a book called "Weggemoffeld" in which the stories of the German veterans are recorded, supplemented with their life history.

We started the adventure tour in the Information Center Battle of Arnhem at the bottom of the John Frost Bridge with a short presentation about the Battle of Arnhem. That started with the British landing in the heath at Oosterbeek and ended with the battle in the Oosterbeek perimeter and evacuation over the Rhine.

Then we went to the John Frost Bridge, the main purpose of Operation Market Garden

Young German soldier in Arnhem

German soldiers in Arnhem

Although the landing of the British paratroopers at Arnhem came quite unexpectedly, the Germans reacted very quickly. The parachutists of the 1st British Airborne Division had to conquer the bridge over the Rhine near Arnhem. The Germans collected troops and equipment and then attacked the bridge from the west and finally an attack from the east followed.

 

Central to this experience tour were the stories of Horst Weber. The 18-year-old Horst Weber made his first fight during the Battle of Arnhem as a soldier in the 21. SS Panzergrenadier Regiment. This recording dates from 1943 when he was trained as a SS soldier in Brünn at the age of 17.

Our group at the Devil's House, at that time the Arnhem town hall

Details of Devil's House

Right Devil's House and left Eusebius. Personally, I think it's a bad name for such a historic building, but it's just that way. This photo was shown of the Devil's House in the devastated Arnhem.
Our guide showed us pictures of Horst Weber in 1944 and now. Also an overview map of the surroundings of the bridge and the Devil's House in the devastated city center of Arnhem. De Eusebiuskerk and Devil's House have been completely restored after the war
Horst Weber was Rottenführer at the 1st Bataillon of the 21. SS Panzergrenadier Regiment. This regiment was part of the 10. SS-Panzer-Division "Frundsberg", an experienced German armored unit that had suffered heavy losses in France and had less than 3,500 of the originally 15,000 men. Most officers in the division were killed, injured or imprisoned. The units were divided into separate Kampfgruppen that had been withdrawn to the Netherlands disorganized. New recruits, weapons and equipment from Germany would be brought there to rebuild the division. A few days before the Battle of Arnhem, a few dozen soldiers from a company of the 1st Bataillon of the 21st SS Panzergrenadier Regiment were housed in Diepenveen. About eighty men of the 1st Bataillon were left, part of which was in Diepenveen itself and the rest in the vicinity of that place. One of them was the 18-year-old panzergrenadier Horst Weber. He had not participated in the fight so far. However, in July he had been sent to France from the German army base Brünn with others from there. After the destruction of the Frundsberg division there he had driven back to the Netherlands with two other men under the command of Karl Stroppe in 2 train wagons. Along the way a lot of standing by permanent shelling from allied aircraft. Weber and his youthful comrades did not possess any weapons.

Weber was a war volunteer who loved adventure. He followed his education at a napola school, where political leaders are trained. He wanted to be promoted, but lacked fronter experience. In the summer of 1944 he is in Normandy with the Waffen SS division Frundsberg. In Arnhem he became responsible for the area west of the driveway to the road bridge, from the Eusebius Church to the Walburgis Church and down to the prinsenhof, where the house was kept at that time. During the fighting in Arnhem Horst weber makes British POWs and brings them into the Devil's House. At the same time there are heavy battles at the bridge and dozens of wounded are brought in to him. There were no means to take care of the wounded. Among the prisoners is a British army doctor, Captain Logan. Weber makes friends with him. When the wounded are taken away during a battle break, they agree to see each other again in London.

Horst Weber after the Battle of Arnhem at the officers' school in Prague, December 1944

 

 

Here we listen on the steps of the Palace of Justice at Walburgplein to the story of our guide about Horst Weber and Hans-Georg Eberle.
 
 
Weber's comrades were continually bombarded by the English who shot at them from behind the wall of the custody. That prison was conquered by Hans Georg Eberle, from the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg. We hear the story of Eberle, who initially, when he arrives in Arnhem on September 17, 1944, still knows nothing about an approaching war violence, but an hour later is involved in door-to-door battles with British parachutists at the road bridge of Arnhem.

Musis Sacrum

During the war, the Musis Sacrum was a shelter for German soldiers, who could entertain themselves there. I made this photo of the Musis Sacrum 7 september 2014.
 

Seys Inquart in the Musis Sacrum, 31 October 1943

Reich Commissioner Seys Inquart arrives at Musis Sacrum on 31 October 1943 for attending the third „Jahrestag des Arbeitsbereiches der NSDAP in den Niederlande"
 
The 19th century Arnhem concert hall Musis Sacrum was declared to Wehrmachtsheim a few months after the start of the occupation. It was primarily a recreation room for German soldiers and films were screened and various performances and performances for the soldiers were arranged. Citizens could not easily enter it anymore.

As a recreational building for military personnel, Musis Sacrum was also used for other purposes during the war years. For example, on Saturday evening, 31 January 1942, a concert was given for the benefit of the Winter Aid Action. This collection was intended to financially support "needy Dutch people". The German occupiers wanted to show with this gesture that they had only good intentions and that it was not a National Socialist initiative. However, many Dutch people soon realized that this claim was not true; there were many prominent NSB members in the national honorary committee. The collection campaigns and charity concerts for the Winter Aid were therefore hardly visited and yielded almost nothing. Posters for the Winter Aid were plastered or torn as a form of protest. The meager proceeds of the action were used for war purposes and not for poor Dutch people.
The building also served as a location for meetings of the National Socialist Movement (NSB). The local branch of this pro-German party met regularly at Musis Sacrum and was very pleased with the arrival of the Reich Commissioner in the Netherlands, Dr Arthur Seyss-Inquart, at the third "Jahrestag des Arbeitsbereiches der NSDAP in the Niederlanden" in Arnhem on 31 October 1943. The Sudeten-German Seyss-Inquart, which was given by the Sudeten in Czechoslovakia, which Hitler had appointed as the highest civil authority in the Netherlands on 19 May 1940, gave a speech in the concert hall. He was already attached to the Third Reich in 1938 as "German Germans" from Germany.


Musis Sacrum during the Battle of Arnhem

During the preparations for Operation Market Garden in September 1944, Musis Sacrum was chosen as future headquarters for the 1st Parachute Brigade of the British 1st Airborne Division. The British advance of the landing grounds at Heelsum in the direction of the Arnhem traffic bridge on 17 September, however, was slower and less smooth than planned. Only the brigade headquarters, some engineering detachments, most of the 2nd Parachute Battalion and some small units managed to reach the Rhine Bridge in the evening and at night.

In anticipation of the arrival of the remainder of the brigade, the Rijkswaterstaat building on the Eusebiusbinnensingel was therefore temporarily chosen as command post. The expected reinforcements remained, however, and the German counterattacks increased. Every man from the brigade headquarters was needed to defend the small perimeter around the north side of the Rhine bridge. The plan to use Musis Sacrum as a command post had to be abandoned.

On Tuesday afternoon, 19 September, the Germans used their Wehrmachtsheim for the first time as an improvised prison. British parachutists who had been captured in the morning near the Roermondsplein and the Boterdijk were transported to Musis Sacrum for interrogation.

Two days later, in the afternoon of 21 September, all British officers who had been imprisoned around the Rhine Bridge were marched from the St. Eusebius Church to Musis Sacrum. The next morning they were sent to the villa Bene Sita in Velp, where the Germans only started registering their prisoners of war

 

Onze groep voor het Musis Sacrum

Utrechtsestraat

In Arnhem starts the Utrechtsestraat. That is a short piece, but with a violent history. Firstly, there is the building in which the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) was housed during the occupation. In this period, prisons were built in the cellars and a large number of people were tortured here on suspicion of involvement in resistance activities. Often the interviewees were innocent. A stone relief next to the entrance is reminiscent of this.
Also on the Utrechtsestraat this photo is known during the Battle of Arnhem, where killed British soldiers are on the streets. The Utrechtsestraat will be photographed on the right, which I have taken, in the Utrechtseweg at the level of the curve over the carriageway.

Utrechtseweg

Advancing British soldiers on the Utrechtseweg

 
On the Utrechtseweg the Museum of Modern Art. Also in 1944 it was a museum and here are the well-known pictures taken of advancing German soldiers who push the British back towards Oosterbeek.

The remarkable story of Fritz Brosch (IV Stabsbatterie / Artillerie Regiment 344), who got bored during the Battle of Arnhem. He was 18 years old and frowned with the Wehrmacht and had gone to Arnhem from Normandy. He stayed on a farm outside the city. When the landing took place he saw a lot of paratroopers. He was deployed as a telephone operator, but remained at a distance from the battle scene. Then he had to go across the Rhine and ended up on the grounds of the Arnhemse Stoomslephelling Maatschappij. He had to restore camouflage nets and was bored. He was surprised at the lack of fighting spirit among his comrades.

Furthermore, we heard the story of Fred Marré, Siegfried Lünenschloß and Manfred Gregolo who fought on the south side of the river. These men belonged to the Reichs Arbeitsdienst. They were sitting in their position mer Flakbatterie on the south side of the Lower Rhine, directly opposite the prison dome on the north bank. The positions were bombed and these three men only wondered how they could survive.From the Rijnkade we had a view of the prison dome.

 

And finally the story of Karl-Heinz Henschel who after the Reichsarbeitsdienst had to go to the Waffen SS in the south of France and later to the front in Normandy. There he had to get hired from trucks. On the retreat he arrived in Arnhem with the 9th SS Panzer Division 'Hohenstaufen'.

    

On 19 September 1944 he was involved in the fighting on the Utrechtsestraat at the municipal museum.

He took refuge under a balcony, but came under fire. There were many deaths, but he and his comrade managed to survive the battle. Die avond werd hij naar Oosterbeek gestuurd. During the Oosterbeek adventure tour by DNG40-45.nl  in 2012
I also heard about the experiences of Henschel, but then in Oosterbeek..

We were alerted to the only women's monument in Arnhem, that reminds the residents of Arnhem of all women who through their struggle and determined attitude played an important role in the resistance during the Second World War.

On the advice of our guide, I expanded my book collection with the following two books.