Lest we forget
Gendringen - Wisch 1940 -1945
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This project is made possible by:
leader EU
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe invests in its countryside
Gemeente oude IJsselstreek Gelderland Anbi

Victims Camp Rees and Todt

Camp Rees

The terrible events that took place in the labour camp Rees, just across the border, have had a tremendous impact on the population in Megchelen, ‘s-Heerenberg, Gendringen and also a little further in the Achterhoek. The story of this camp just could not be missing, because of the generous assistance that many, many people from our and surrounding municipalities provided by offering shelter to fled forced laborers. Also to nurse and accompany them, at home or in an emergency hospital. It is good to know, that also inhabitants at the other side of the border made this possible by feeding the forced laborers, giving them first shelter and leading them savely across the border.

In camp Rees, mainly Dutch forced laborers were put at work. Housed in an old tile factory, without walls under pitifull circumstances.

On December 1, 1944 the first prisoners came. (policemen and fire fighters from Haarlem and the Hague). Later on many men from Apeldoorn joined. Out of  the 11000 arrested men (caught by a raid on December 2, 1944), 4500 were selected to be transported to a labour camp. Loaded into two trains.

Near Werth, close to Bocholt, one of the trains was shot at, and than already the first victims were mourned. Afterwards the survivors were transported to Elten or Zevenaar, to work at the IJssel defence line. In the night from December 5 to 6, 1944 Haarlem, Heemstede and Bloemendaal were hermetically closed by the occupiers and about 1300 men between 17 and 40 years old got caught. This is called “the Sinterklaas raid”. They were sent to the labour camps in Bienen, Rees and Praest.

On December 5, the group has been divided. Younger than 40 years old were taken to Rees. A lot of them did not survive. Because of little food and corporal punishment and the outbreak of dysentery, caused by bad hygiene and the use of latrines. In Megchelen a number of young men decided to take action. They contacted the laborers. Covered by the deep darkness they were smuggled towards Megchelen by the villagers taking narrow sand roads and small paths. The complete village population treated the exhausted laborers until they were able to travel on. Some of the forced laborers were liberated in March 1945, some others managed to flee earlier or were discarded if they were too week to work. As a human wreckage they came across the border and were taken care of in Gendringen and Wisch. On their way some people were sheltered at local farmers, where they were deloused and bathed. The men who were in very bad condition were taken to the boys school and the convent St. Clara in Silvolde. A huge number of bums was taken to emergency hospitals in Gendringen, Harreveld and ‘s Heerenberg. Often help came too late.

Though camp Rees existed not more than half a year, the horrors have been that serious that the leaders of camp Rees, working group leader Peter Röhrig and camp commander Arnold Heinze, have been sentenced in Amsterdam, 1949, accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Scottish troops liberated camp Rees on March 25, 1945. All Dutch were gone by that time. Just a few Eastern Europeans were remaining.

On December 2, 2004 a monument has been raised in Apeldoorn in memory of the many victims. More information about camp Rees is available on  https://dwangarbeidersapeldoorn.nl/

Victims camp Rees 
Baarle van, Matthijs M. 26 Gendringen
Bal, Antonius 30 Gendringen 
Berg van den, Izaak 43 Gendringen
Kuiper, Petrus J. 35 Gendringen
Lindhout, M.W. 36 Gendringen
Mienis, Joannes A. 16 Gendringen
Morin, Lourens 22 Gendringen
Noort van, Hendrikus J. 31 Gendringen
Oosten van, Johannes C. 34 Gendringen
Plomp, Marinus 26 Gendringen
Putten van, Derk J. 29 Gendringen
Tempelman, Johannes 22 Gendringen
Bloemheuvel, N. 29 Silvolde
Bom, J.M. 60 Silvolde
Boulonois, C.J. 59 Silvolde
Hagvoort, C. 30 Silvolde
Hendriks, Piet 19 Silvolde
Ligtvoet, A.H. 44 Silvolde
Marges, P.J. 52 Silvolde
Meershoek, D. 32 Silvolde
Mulder, H.J.G. 44 Silvolde
Vette de, A.G.A. 53 Silvode
Vuuren van, G. 46 Silvolde
Cokken, A. 24 Terborg
Rutting, Thomas 46 Rees
Victims Todt     
Langerak, Jan 32 Netterden
Mandaat, Louis P. 23 Netterden
Veltman, Johan 17 Netterden
Pos Pieter L. 35 Netterden
Dukel, Jan 26 Silvolde
Baan, Cornelis M. 24 Varsselder
Brethouwer, Harmen J. 52 Varsselder
Hoitink, Derk W. 54 Varsselder
Hoornenborg, Johan B. 45 Varsselder
Wikkerink, Johannes G. 45 Varsselder
Braak van, Hendrik J. 26 Varsseveld
Hoogenhout Marten 21 Wisch
unknown place of death
Husman, Garifolinie 19 Silvolde