|On Saterday 25 May 2019 we were at
Rotterdam to join a
STIWOT Battlefield Tour with
subject ' Battle for Rotterdam'. The main focus was on the fighting
in and around Rotterdam during the May Days of 1940. We visited the
location of the former Waalhaven airport, which had already been
captured on the first day by the German Fallschirmjäger. We
started the day with reception with coffee/tea in the
museum Rotterdam 1940-1945 NU.
First there was an explanation about Rotterdam before the war, the
military situation in the Netherlands and in Europe and finally the
course of the May Days in 1940. It is true that the Netherlands had
many old weapons and lacked training.
However, since 1936 modern weapons had also been purchased, but
because of the threat of war, other countries were also ordering war
equipment, so that it could not be delivered on time. The time of
the 'broken rifle' in the 1920s and first half of the 1930s
eventually led to the break-up of our army.
|We were on the North Island on the banks of the Maas, where German seaplanes landed on Friday morning, 10 May 1940. We also visited the White House, at that time the first high-rise building in Rotterdam, which miraculously survived the bombardment of 14 May 1940 and was saved from demolition after the war. A real sensation was that on the roof of this building we were offered a fascinating view of the city of Rotterdam and the Maasbruggen. Next to the White House is the Marine Museum, which we also visited.|
|The marines are always connected to the city of Rotterdam, all the more so because they stood their ground during the battle for the Meuse bridges. For four days, the German conqueror was stubbornly resisted. Finally, we visited the museum Rotterdam 1940-1940 NU at the Coolhaven and there we were also told about the fatal bombardment of Rotterdam on 14 May 1940 and the subsequent surrender of the city to the German Wehrmacht. This was also the prelude to the general capitulation of the Netherlands on 15 May 1940, after the threat that the cities of Utrecht and The Hague would suffer the same fate. It was the Dutch general Winkelman who finally made this decision. Meanwhile the government and Queen Wilhelmina and the rest of the royal family had fled to England.|
|Museum Rotterdam 1940-1945 NU|
|The museum has a work of art in concrete in the form of a model of a Heinkel He 111, the German bomber of which some nineteen dropped their bombs above Rotterdam on 14 may 1940.|
|The tour starts from the museum Rotterdam 1940-1945 NU, located at the Coolhaven. Not far from the Euromast we could also see.|
|On 10 may 1940 the German army invaded the Netherlands. This invasion was part of 'Fall Gelb', the German invasion of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Due to the rapid advance of the German tanks and the attacks on airports, this war was called 'Blitzkrieg'. The fact that the German army also consisted for a large part of foot soldiers and horse traction, was less visible because of the impressive speed with which the German tanks rolled through France to the Channel coast and thus formed a wedge between the English and French troops. The Germans attacked through the Ardennes and circumvented the French Maginot Line. On the first day of war, the Belgian fort Eben Emaël, just south of the Netherlands on the Meuse, was captured by German paratroopers.|
|In the early morning hours of the 10th of May, twelve seaplanes landed on either side of the Maas bridges. This resulted in about 120 German soldiers, who went in dinghies to strategic points on and near the Maas Bridges. Shortly afterwards they were reinforced by a platoon of several dozen paratroopers who had landed at the Feijenoord Stadium. On the north bank the Germans formed a bridgehead, which was gradually extended to several hundred meters from the northern abutment of the Willemsbrug (the road bridge over the Nieuwe Maas).|
|Sint Jobshaven, from where we cross the Maas by water bus to Heijplaat. It is a pre-war port in the municipality of Delfshaven in Rotterdam. The Sint Jobshaven was dug between 1906 and 1908 and constructed for the transhipment of general cargo. The port is named after the Sint Jobskapel in the former village of Schoonderloo, which was demolished during the construction of the port.|
|In 1912, N.V. Blaauwhoedenveem had a cattle building with a silo designed on the west side of the harbour by architect J.J. Kanters. This was a colossal concrete building, covered with brick on the outside. In the Sint Jobsveem, colonial products were stored and distributed under customs control. On the east side of the Sint Jobshaven, from 1908 to 1970, the stevedoring company Wm.H. Müller & Co's Stuwadoors was Mine. N.V. The Jobsveem Warehouse, also known as St. Job, has been converted into a residential building.|
|De water bus|
|The water bus moors in the Jobshaven and brings us to Heijplaat by crossing the Meuse.|
|Indeed, the interior of the water bus strongly resembles a moving bus in public transport. This is in fact a floating bus, where passengers have to use a public transport card in order to be able to travel. We as a group did not have to check in separately.|
|Everyone thought it was a nice experience to sail with the water bus. We had a nice view of the river Maas.|
|Dhe cabin of the water bus. Behind the wheel the driver, or rather the helmsman.|
|A friendly conductor welcomed us as a group on board and wished us a nice day.|
|The trip with the water bus to the other side of the Maas to Heijplaat went very smoothly. Still it was nice to sail over the river Maas and to see the Maashaven on both sides. Unfortunately the windows were dirty, so that's the reason for some less sharp shots.|
|We arrive at the port of Heijplaat. Heijplaat is a district in the Charlois district of Rotterdam. Heijplaat is located south of the Nieuwe Maas and is surrounded by the Eemhaven in the west and the Waalhaven in the east.|
|Heijplaat was created as a residential area for workers of the then Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (RDM), which started with the maintenance and construction of ships here in 1904. Heijplaat is located relatively far from Rotterdam and was therefore difficult to reach for the employees. The name refers to the nearby, and now disappeared, hamlet of De Heij. In 1914 the NV Bouwmaatschappij Heyplaat was founded, which commissioned the construction of a modern neighbourhood in the form of a garden village. The garden village was designed and developed by Architectenbureau H.A.J. and Jan Baanders. In the early twenties the garden village was finished and formed a community with its own schools, shops, ballroom and churches. The structures of the garden village can still be found in the current buildings. In the axis of the central residential street, the three original churches offer a picturesque view in line with each other. In 1934, Quarantine Station Heijplaat was opened on the Nieuwe Maas directly west of Heijplaat for seafarers with infectious diseases. The vegetation on the site is now in ruins. The idyllically situated river beach on the bank is the only natural sandy beach in Rotterdam and is very popular.|
|In front of the building of the education campus the bus is ready to drive us to the Waalhaven, where there was also Waalhaven airport, which was already conquered by the Germans on the first day of war.|
|Because the RDM disappeared and the
number of dockworkers was reduced, the district's reputation
deteriorated; shops closed and the liveliness disappeared. Since
2008, the RDM site has been developed into an educational campus,
creating new activity. Some of the buildings have been restored in
2015, the large industrial halls are being used for exhibitions and
presentations, and part of a residential area that was added at a
later date has been demolished, and the vacant site is awaiting
further completion with new residential buildings.
On the recommendation of the Municipality of Rotterdam, the Heijplaat area with the former RDM shipyard and the residential area was designated as a government-protected cityscape in May 2018.
|View of the submarine shed in the harbour of Heijplaat. Currently used for exhibitions, such as the one about the bombing of Rotterdam in 2015, 75 years later.|
|In 2015 there was the exhibition The Attack in the submarine shed in the district of Heijplaat. The unique thing about this is that for the first time in 75 years in collaboration with the Germans, an exhibition was made about the bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940.|
|From Heijplaat we continue our journey by coach to the former Waalhaven airport, located at the Waalhaven. Waalhaven airport was a Rotterdam airport that existed from 1920 until the Second World War. Waalhaven was opened on 26 July 1920. It was built in the borough of Charlois, on the first ground that became available during the digging of the Waalhaven. Here we stand with our backs to the former Waalhaven airport and look at the Waalhaven.|
|Beach life at the Waalhaven 1932|
|And that's what Waalhaven looks like when we'll be there on 25 May 2019.|
|Waalhaven Airport and the related Waalhaven.|
|Where this yellow building now stands was the Waalhaven airport. Then we stand with our back to the Waalhaven. On 10 May 1940, a wall ran along the airport and the soldiers who were on this side of the wall could not see what was happening on the other side of the airport. They could only hear that there was a heavy battle going on. They had therefore failed to remove this obstacle during the mobilisation.|
|View on Waalhaven Airfield from a flying Junkers Ju-52.|
|DGerman aerial image of the east side of Waalhaven airfield, where Dutch Fokker G-1 aircraft are parked.|
|German airborne troops pass a still intact Dutch Fokker G-1 at Waalhaven airfield, bearing number 319.|
|On 10 mei 1940 large groups of German paratroopers came down near The Hague, Rotterdam and the Moerdijk bridges. Hauptmann Karl Schulz was one of them and had to occupy the Waalhaven with his battalion. In a short time Schulz and his men managed to conquer Waalhaven airfield, but in the days that followed, they had to defence against Dutch artillery and the repelling of counter-attacks.|
|Duitsers in een Nederlandse stelling op vliegveld Waalhaven.|
|VWaalhaven Airport was one of the
first targets to attack German troops in the early morning of 10 May
1940. After a short bombardment, hundreds of German paratroopers
descended here. What followed was a fight with the Dutch troops who
defended the airfield. German troops are flown in on the first day
of the war. At the request of the Dutch forces, the British Royal
Air Force attacks the airfield and several German aircraft catch
fire. However, the arrival of German fighters prevents a second
attack. Five of the six Blenheims, who carried out the attack, were
shot down and crashed near Rotterdam and Pernis. Of the thirteen
crew members, seven were killed, five returned to England and one
was captured. So a high price has been paid. After the surrender the
Germans repaired the terrain. They also expanded it and named it
Flugplatz Waalhaven. Wooden and stone buildings were erected. But
also a large number of barracks for the ground staff. The Germans
stationed 109 E's of the JG 54 at Messerschmitts airport. After
their departure in August 1940 there were hardly any operational
units active for quite some time. Only from the summer of 1941 there
were again occasional fighters at Waalhaven. Non-operational units
stayed there for a long time. For example, there was an aircraft
that the Germans used for training flights as well as for target
towing. While other planes carried out courier flights, for example.
After December 1943 there was no more air traffic and the Germans
made the landing area unusable. Once again Waalhaven was the target
of British bombers. They dropped food over the airfield on 29 April
1945. This was in the context of operation Manna.
After the war, the site became the destination as an industrial area. North of Rotterdam a new airport was built, Zestienhoven. It opened on 1 October 1956. The airport is now called Rotterdam-The Hague Airport.
|The tailplane of a German Dornier Do 17 bomber shot down at Waalhaven Airport, Rotterdam in May 1940.|
|A Fokker G-1 Wasp that was registered as 354 was made ready to fly again shortly after the Dutch capitulation at Waalhaven. It is now marked with German plates.|
|After the end of the battle in May 1940, Waalhaven was littered with aircraft wrecks, mainly made in Germany.|
|Already a few days after the Blitzkrieg came to an end, in June 1940 Messerschmitt 109's of the Jagdgeschwader 54 arrived at Waalhaven. They stayed here until mid-July 1940.|
|Junkers Ju 52 on Waalhaven, May 1940.|
|Immediately after the Dutch capitulation, the clearing of the aircraft wrecks and the repair of the still repairable German aircraft, including a number of Ju 52 transport aircraft, started at Waalhaven.|
|Shortly after the Dutch capitulation in May 1940, the commander of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring landed at Waalhaven for staff meetings in the Netherlands.|
an island in the Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam, connected by the
Willemsbrug and Koninginnebrug. It has 3600 inhabitants and is part
of the district Feijenoord in Rotterdam South. Since 2005 the island
has had the status of a protected cityscape.
In May 1940 the North Island was much better preserved than other parts of the city, since during the German bombardments the North Island, where the Germans had entrenched themselves, was spared by the Luftwaffe. However, a number of English bombardments, intended to chase away the Germans, destroyed more than 600 houses on the points of the North Island.
|We drive to Noordereiland along the Willemsbrug and Koninginnebrug.|
|We now walk to the bank of the Nieuwe Maas to hear about the battle for the Maas bridges.|
|On 10 May 1940 several seaplanes landed on the New Meuse. This is a Heinkel He-59D as seen from the Noordereiland.|
|And that's what it looks like from about the same point. I took this picture on 25 mei 2019.|
|View of the Willemsbrug from the Noordereiland shortly before the German invasion on 10 May 1940.|
|This picture I took on 25 mei 2019 of a new Willemsbrug from the same point on the Noordereiland.|
|Later on, airborne troops, which had been dropped on Waalhaven Airport, which had meanwhile been conquered by paratroopers, reached the North Island. Their advance towards the bridges had been delayed by defensive action of Dutch troops in Rotterdam South. Only a few eventually managed to get through to the northern bridgehead, because by then the bridges had come under Dutch fire.|
|The White House|
The White House, an hour after the bombardment on 14 May 1940.
|This picture I took on the foot of the White House.|
Highlight of this day was the view of Rotterdam from the roof of The White House. This building has been the tallest office building in Europe for some time. In 1940 it was one of the few buildings in the city centre that withstood the bombardment of Rotterdam. The White House was a Dutch defensive position during the battles for the Maas bridges in the May days of 1940. Next to the White House is the Marine Museum, which we also visited. In the 1990s it was as much as possible restored to its original state (facades and roof). It was the first skyscraper in Rotterdam. At the end of the 19th century, the architect Willem Molenbroek, commissioned by the Gerrit brothers and Herman van der Schuyt, designed an eleven-storey building. Skeptics claimed that Rotterdam's weak soil would not be able to support the building sufficiently. The White House, built in Art Nouveau style, is a total of 43 metres high. On the flat roof there is a viewing platform, accessible with an elevator, something that was very modern at the time.
In the hall there was a memorial plaque. The White House Hundred Years.
|During the beautiful view of the city of Rotterdam from the roof of the White House, our guide tells us about the bitter battles in the city in de May days of 1940.|
|Next to the White House is the Marine Museum which we then visited.|
|The Marine Museum is a museum dealing with the origins and history of the Marine Corps. The museum has been located at the Wijnhaven in Rotterdam since December 1995 and is organised by the Koninklijke Stichting Defensiemusea (Royal Foundation for Defence Museums).|
|The Battle for the Maasbruggen|
|The Battle for the Maasbruggen in Rotterdam began in the early morning hours of 10 May 1940 and ended on 14 May with the surrender of the city after the bombardment. The possession of these bridges was of crucial importance for the German attack on the Netherlands. Together with the bridges at Moerdijk and Dordrecht, the Maas bridges formed a corridor through which the German main force, with the 9th Armoured Division as its core, could penetrate the heart of the Fortress Holland and thus definitively decide the battle in German favour. In addition to the attack on The Hague, the Luftland Corps, under the command of Generalleutnant Student, was tasked with securing this corridor. This army corps consisted entirely of airborne troops, including paratroopers, and had the necessary air transport capacity and escorting fighters at its disposal. The German airborne troops that were used in the battle for the Maas bridges were under the command of Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-Colonel) Von Choltitz.|
|DThe battle for Rotterdam is in full swing. Side by side with the marines also other Dutch soldiers fought against the German enemy.|
|German soldier at the completely
deserted road bridge near Dordrecht.
|n Rotterdam 450 marines were stationed who did not fall under the commander of the army in the city, Colonel Scharroo, but under their commander Colonel Von Frijtag Drabbe.|
|They were also going to take part in the battle. Shortly after their arrival the Germans were pushed back to positions in the immediate vicinity of the building of the National Life Insurance Bank, opposite the northern end of the Willemsbrug by Dutch troops. They suffered considerable losses during those first battles. Their situation did not improve when Dutch soldiers of land and sea power managed to penetrate to nearby buildings with a good field of fire: the White House and the Maashotel. However, the Dutch were driven out of the latter building when the Germans succeeded in firing the Maashotel from the North Island.|
|View from the National Life Insurance Bank building, directly opposite the northern end of the Willemsbrug.|
|German position on 11 mei 1940 near the left entrance of the National Life Insurance Bank.|
|The battered building of the National Life Insurance Bank.|
The brave and intransigent Dutch naval officer and resistance
fighter during the Second World War Charles Douw van der Krap
(Soerabaja, 8 October 1908 – Wassenaar, 9 December 1995) deserves a
Douw van der Krap was born in Soerabaja, Nederlands-Indië, as a son of a coffee planter. In 1925 he went to the Royal Institute for the Marine, where he graduated in 1929 and after that he was placed as an observer/navigator at the Netherlands Navy Air Force. He was then stationed in the Dutch East Indies at Moro-Krembangan Air Base in Java. In 1939 he returned to the Netherlands, where on the eve of the Second World War he was given the command of the river cannon boat "Balder" to guard the minefields of the sea-hole Goeree. At the start of the German attack on the Netherlands in 1940, his ship was in a dry dock in Rotterdam for repairs. He was billeted with a family on the Haringvliet. Douw van der Krap saw German paratroopers coming down from his window. He saw how twelve Heinkel He 59D water planes landed on the Meuse and left heavily armed soldiers in rubber boats, which surprisingly conquered the two Meuse bridges. He then went to the nearest naval barracks, where he took command of a section of inexperienced naval troops and fought with the German paratroopers. After the Dutch capitulation Douw van der Krap refused to sign the declaration of honour to the Germans on 14 July 1940, after which he was imprisoned in a POW camp in Oflag VI A near Soest (Germany) and then in Oflag VIII C near Juliusburg. During the transport he climbed on the roof of the train to jump off later, but a motorcyclist discovered him.
KNIL-officieren succeeded to escape from Juliusburg, the remaining
group of Dutch officers, including Douw van der Krap, was
transferred to the infamous camp Oflag IV C near Colditz for
punishment. He tried to escape here by hiding outside under a sheet
he had sewn with dry leaves, but he was discovered.
Between 1941 and 1943 he made
thirteen attempts to escape his captivity, his fourteenth attempt at
the beginning of December 1943 was successful. With Frits Kruimink,
nicknamed "Bear", he made a tunnel in 36 hours. On 5 December they
saw the light of day. After days of walking through the cold, Douw
van der Krap bought two train tickets with a 'Japanese' identity
card. He ended up in Warsaw, where he joined the Armia Krajowa (AK),
the Polish underground forces.
When he arrived in the Netherlands,
he went into hiding in Eindhoven. Once he got the chance to see his
daughter, whom he only knew as a newborn baby. Douw van der Krap
joined the resistance in Oosterbeek and took the name Johannes
Ludovicus van Ogtrop, a tobacco planter from the Dutch East Indies.
He took part in the battles at the Battle of Arnhem and was in
charge of a group of resistance fighters who supported the British
troops in and around Oosterbeek. After the failure of the battle he
fled with British troops across the Rhine to liberated territory
during Operation Pegasus. After his escape he was questioned in
Nijmegen by Major Airey Neave of the British intelligence service.
Neave was the first British prisoner of war who (together with a
Dutchman, Tony Luteijn) successfully escaped from Colditz. Once in
England he was assigned to the British Navy. He was placed as a
navigation officer on board the ship HMS Berwich, which was used for
Douw van der Krap in conversation with Prince Charles at a reception on the occasion of the laying of a wreath at the memorial of the First Airborne Division.
|Douw van der Krap was awarded the Militaire Willemsorde by Prins Bernhard.|
After the Second World War Douw van der
Krap continued his career with
the Royal Netherlands Navy, he was placed at several cruisers, as a
teacher at the Royal Netherlands Navy Institute, and as first
officer at Hr.Ms. cruiser "De
Ruyter". He was also sent on behalf of the Netherlands as an advisor
to Indonesia, where he helped to
build up the Indonesian navy. In 1958 he retired in the rank of Captain
at Sea. For his merits during the Second World War he was decorated
on 17 December 1949 as Knight 4th Class in the Military
Willems-Orde. During the seventies he worked as a teacher of
mathematics at the Dalton Voorburg schools. In 1981 he published his
memoirs and in 1995 he died in Wassenaar, at the age
The book Contra de Swastika (Contra de Swastika), which I read with great interest, has been published about his astonishing courage and intransigence. In my opinion, his life should have been filmed.
|The Hr.Ms. Z 5 (Z 5, H 97) was a Z 5-class torpedo boat. The ship was built by the shipyard Koninklijke Maatschappij de Schelde in Vlissingen. The Z 5 was in service from 1917 for the Royal Netherlands Navy, which converted her into a patrol ship in 1931. During the German attack on the Netherlands in 1940, the ship participated in the defence of Rotterdam; from 1943 to 1945, the ship was in service of the British Navy as HMS Blade. After being returned to the Netherlands, the ship was demolished at the end of 1945.|
|OTwo Dutch naval vessels also joined in the fighting. They fired at the German positions on the Meuse bridges. One ship, the TM51, was put out of action by a German air raid. The other ship, the Z5, withdrew after it had fired its ammunition. The destroyer Van Galen on the Nieuwe Waterweg had technical problems and was sunk by German Stuka's on her way to Rotterdam. At the end of the first day of the war the Meuse bridges were still completely intact and the Germans were not driven out of the northern bridgehead. However, they had become isolated from the other German positions on the Noordereiland.|
De strijd om de stad Rotterdam ging door
tot 14 mei 1940. Nederlandse soldaten wisten ondanks bombardementen
door Duitse vliegtuigen stand te houden in grote delen van de stad.
Op 13 mei voerden Nederlandse mariniers een tegenaanval uit.
Een sectie van de compagnie mariniers slaagde erin
via een omtrekkende beweging de Willemsbrug te bereiken en daar
mitrailleurs in stelling te brengen, maar ontving vervolgens hevig
vuur vanuit het gebouw van de Nationale Levensverzekeringbank, vanaf
de spoorbrug en vanaf het Noordereiland. Er vielen doden en
gewonden, waarna de sectie zich terugtrok. Enkele mariniers raakten
geïsoleerd en vonden een schuilplaats onder het wegdek, bij een van
de pijlers van de brug. Pas de volgende dag, na het bombardement,
zouden zij die schuilplaats verlaten om zich aan de Duitsers op het
Noordereiland over te geven.
The battle for the city of Rotterdam continued until 14 May 1940. Despite bombardments by German planes, Dutch soldiers managed to hold out in large parts of the city. On 13 May Dutch marines carried out a counter-attack. A section of the Company of Marines managed to reach the Willemsbrug by means of a perimeter movement and bring in machine guns, but then received heavy fire from the building of the National Life Insurance Bank, from the railway bridge and from the Noordereiland. There were fatalities and injuries, after which the section withdrew. A few marines were isolated and found refuge under the road surface, near one of the pillars of the bridge. Only the next day, after the bombardment, would they leave that shelter to surrender to the Germans on Noordereiland.
|Dutch soldiers taken as prisoners of war in de Van der Takstraat.|
|From the photo album of a German soldier: tanks drive into the city of Rotterdam.|
|German position on the corner of Hilledijk and Putselaan. A female inhabitant of Rotterdam watches carefully from behind a window.|
|There were also Rotterdammers who wanted to have their picture taken with German soldiers.|
|End of the battlefield tour at Museum Rotterdam 1940-1945 NU|
|After our visit to the different locations in the city of Rotterdam, we come back to Museum Rotterdam 1940-1945 NU. DThere we visit the museum where there is much to see in a long continuous display case ending with the 'Rotterdam experience'.|
|At the end of this battlefield tour our guide tells us the story about the capitulation negotiations of the city of Rotterdam and the fatal bombardment on 14 May 1940. We are standing in front of the museum Rotterdam 1940-1945 NU at the monument that reminds us of this bombardment. The monument is a concrete model of the German bomber Heinkel He-111, of which ninety planes dropped their bombs above Rotterdam.|
|In 2015 there was the exhibition 'The Attack' in the Submarine Wharf on Heijplaat in Rotterdam. It was 75 years ago that the bombing of Rotterdam took place. An original Heinkel He-111 had been transferred that could be seen there. This German bomber appeared in large numbers above the city of Rotterdam on 14 May 1940 to carry out the bombardment.|
|The attack on Rotterdam was carried out by eighty Heinkel He-111 bombers of the Kampfgeschwader 54. In front of the goal they split into two groups. 54 aircraft under command of Geschwader commander Oberst Walter Lackner flew straight on from the east, while the 26 Heinkels under command of Oberstleutnant Otto Höhne pushed down to the southwest and then turned north.|
|People gather on the Land of Hoboken while the city burns.|
|The bombardment of Rotterdam was carried out on 14 May 1940 between 13.27 and about 13.40 hours by German bombers as part of the German military raid on the Netherlands. The fifteen minute bombardment destroyed almost the entire historic city centre, partly due to the fires that started. It is estimated that between 650 and 900 people died and around 80,000 became homeless. The bombardment led the same day to the surrender of Rotterdam and under the threat that other cities would also be bombed, starting with Utrecht, to the surrender of the Netherlands on 15 May 1940.|
|View on Rotterdam burning after the air raid, seen from the Zalmhaven.|
|The unexpected bombardment caused very great devastation in the city. These are the smouldering remains of the Coolsingel post office.|
|The capitulation of Rotterdam|
|German officer after the Dutch capitulation at a pillar of the railway bridge over the Meuse which was damaged during the bombardment.|
|German soldiers enter the burning city of Rotterdam.|
In order to settle the battle, the local
German Supreme Command wanted a powerful, tactical bombardment to
break the resistance. In anticipation of this, a German delegation
on the south side under a white flag issued an ultimatum demanding
the surrender of the troops in Rotterdam, or else measures would be
taken that could destroy the city. Around 13:00 hours the Germans
were told that the surrender demand had been rejected 'on formal
grounds'. There were no official signatures, ranks or positions on
However, the military command decided to carry out a general bombardment of Rotterdam in order to force a surrender. The local German Corps Command had only just handed over a repeated demand for surrender of Rotterdam to the Dutch negotiator, or the German bombers appeared (around 13:20 hours). Local German attempts to recall them were only partially successful. The hatches of the non-reverse bombers opened and Rotterdam was set on fire by 97 tons of bombs.
|While in the ice cream parlor at Prins Hendrikkade 66 the formalities concerning the capitulation are completed, Sergeant Major G. van Ommering talks to German soldiers in the Van der Takstraat (Noordereiland).|
|Outside café De Witte Ballons in the Rosestraat, German soldiers are getting ready for the final battle.|
|Due to unexpectedly tough resistance
from moderately armed and trained conscripts of the Royal
Netherlands Army and professional soldiers of the Marine Corps, the
German paratroopers did not manage to get a firm grip on the north
bank of the Nieuwe Maas. The Meuse bridges remained unusable due to
constant gunfire by the Dutch troops. There is a stalemate.
Op 13 mei arriveren de 9e Panzerdivision en een deel van de Leibstandarte SS ‘Adolf Hitler’ aan de zuidrand van Rotterdam. Ze moeten door naar Den Haag. Er moet nu snel een doorbraak worden geforceerd. Eerder op 13 mei heeft overste Dietrich von Choltitzt twee Rotterdammers over de Willemsbrug naar het Nederlandse hoofdkwartier in Blijdorp gestuurd. Maar Scharroo weigert met burgers te onderhandelen over militaire zaken en laat beide mannen terugsturen.
|German tanks enter Rotterdam via the Oude Binnenweg.|
|Tanks of the 9th Armoured Division drive from Rotterdam-Zuid over the Koninginnebrug to the Noordereiland, May 1940.|
|OOn 14 May at 09.00 hours the
Germans will send their own delegation of three men over the
Willemsbrug with an official ultimatum. At 10.30 am Colonel Scharroo
received the Dutch-language threat letter. It states that if
Rotterdam does not give up its resistance against the Germans within
two hours, the city will be destroyed:
“The resistance that is shown in the open city of Rotterdam against the offensive of the German troops, compels me, if Your resistance is not immediately put to use, to take those effective measures. This could lead to the complete destruction of the city.” (sic)
But the ultimatum was only signed with "The Commander of the German Troops". As a result, Scharroo has no idea who or what he is actually negotiating with. He therefore sends a negative answer because of the absence of a name, signature and rank. His assistant captain Jan Backer brings this answer to Von Choltitz around 12.00 noon on the North Island.
At 12.40 General Student, the generals Rudolf Schmidt (commander 39th Armenian Corps) and Alfred von Hubicki (commander 9th Panzerdivision) arrive there. General Schmidt writes as the highest rank a second ultimatum which is now signed. He then ordered the bombardment for the time being, gave a three-hour respite and sent Backer back to Scharroo at 13.20 with his answer. During the retreat from Backer to Blijdorp, despite Schmidt's delay, the devastating bombardment still breaks out.
|Front of the paper to which Colonel Scharroo gives his answer to the first ultimatum of Generalleutnant Schmidt. Immediately below it, Schmidt begins his requirements for the second ultimatum in the typically German Sütterlin inscription.|
|Back of the emotionally charged document and the sequel to Schmidt's capitulation requirements. Captain Backer will receive this at 1:15 p.m. Dutch time. The Dutch still have three hours to surrender. The ink is barely dry and the bombs are already falling down on the city. After the disaster, Colonel P.W. Scharroo notes down his dismay ‘Angenommen, Oberst, Kommandant der Truppen’ – and put his signature.|
|Dutch negotiator in the Van der Takstraat on the Noordereiland in Rotterdam, occupied by the Germans, 14 May 1940.|
|When the bombardment is over and Rotterdam is on fire, Colonel Scharroo goes to the North Island at 16.00 hours to surrender the city. He handed over the ultimatum with the word 'Angenommen' and his signature.|
|General Winkelman leaves the school in Rijsoord after signing the surrender of the Netherlands on May 15, 1940, on the same day that Rotterdam surrendered and after the German threat that Utrecht and The Hague will also be bombed.|
|And so our impressive Battlefield Tour The Battle for Rotterdam in front of the museum at the Coolhaven ends at the monument with the Heinkel bomber.|