To most of you the names of these 2 towns will mean virtually nothing but it is where my roots are. I was born and raised in Geleen.
Sittard-Geleen is a municipality in the southeastern Netherlands. It was formed in 2001 from the former municipalities Sittard, Geleen and Born.
The Netherlands was a neutral country, during WWI this neutrality had not been breached, however on the 10th of May 1940 the Germans breached the Dutch neutrality by invading the country.
Below are some pictures and stories of the period just before the start of WWII,during and after WWII of the Geleen Sittard regions and its surrounding villages.
Church wedding of a dutch Soldier in 1939 at the St Catharina Church,Grevenbicht. His comrades form a guard of honor.
Dutch soldiers on parade on the Market square in Sittard, shortly before the invasion. Dutch troops had been mobilized for the eventuality the Germans would invade
10th of May 1940. German occupying troops are taking a toilet break. On the background the Church of Sittard can be seen.
German occupying forces on the Market square in Sittard, with the City Hall in the background.
German troops on Steenweg in Sittard heading for the station
In April 1941 it becomes compulsary for every Dutch citizen age 15 years and older to carry an ID card, as required by the German occupiers.The ID card would include address and finger prints of the ID holder.
This is the ID card of Anna, Barbara Augenbroe from Geleen.
The Dutch resistance manufactured many false identification papers to save fellow resistance members or Jewish citizens.The papers below are from Viktor Handgriff, alias A.T.J. Boumans , a Jewish immigrant who lived in de Pesch straat in Geleen at the time.As far I am aware he survived the war and passed away in 1977.
On October 5 1942 approximately 30 bombers of the RAF carried out a bombing raid between 21:55 and 23:10, killing 83 and severely injuring 22 other. Leaving about 3000 people homeless.
T/5 Warren R. Kappen, son of Robert E. and Mildred Patanude
Kappen, who was 24 years of age at the time of his death, was born March 28, 1920, at Unionville. He completed his 8th grade education and at the age of 14 went to Detroit to live. He was employed as a welder with Ceco Steel Co. when
he entered the army Nov. 26, 1941. He trained at battle Creek, at Fort Knox, Ky., and in Carolina before going to the African Theatre in 1942. In 1943 he went to England
and as part of the 67th Armored Regiment(Hell on Wheels), 2nd Armored Division went on to the European mainland with the first invasion.He died in Geleen on the 18th of September during the liberation of the town.
Monday Sept 18, the first American tanks drive in to Geleen and are cheered by an ecstatic crowd , Op de Vey.
After the war some of the German prisoners of War and especially the SS troops were made to work in the coal mine Staatsmijn Maurits in Geleen
These pictures are dared October 1948. They show SS officers on the way back from the mine to the POW camp, Graetheide,just outside Geleen.