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September 17 is an unforgettable day for me and my family. That Sunday in September didn’t start of as it used to. We didn’t visit mass because pastor van Hussen warned us on Friday that the Germans would take the women for labor work at the airfield in Eindhoven. The men would have to dig trenches. So we decided to stay at home and take care of family van Dinther, who fled their house with six children on September 14. The oldest child was 11-
At about 12.30 hours we sat at the kitchen table eating our lunch, when dad picked us up and sent us to the air raid shelter, which was made by my father in the orchard underneath an apple tree behind our house. My father, Piet and Cor stayed behind in the house. We didn’t know what was going on, but we trusted our father’s judgement. Just minutes later we heard airplane engines and anti-
Photo: The Roefs and van Dinther family posing with two American soldiers at the Helena hoeve, the farm of the Roefs family. From left to right: Theo van Dinther, Mother Roefs, Mother van Dinther, Leo van Dinther, Cpl. Vincent Utz HQ-
My sister Dora and I did our daily routines, milking and feeding the cows, doing our chores inside the house. When the soldiers asked for our help we helped them. They sure needed a lot of hot water, so that’s what we got. We boiled water and brought it to the medics. With our farm being a first-
September 20 was a quiet day. Some wounded were carried in during the night, but they were brought to the Sanatorium almost immediately. On the 21st the Americans cleaned up the place and left for Son. It almost looked as if nothing had happened here last few days. They told us we had to stay inside and not stand in front of the windows . At about 10.30 hours we heard gunshots in the distance. Soon the Americans returned to the farm, this time not with wounded men but with German prisoners. They brought about 50 of them, kept them at the farm for a while and later marched them to the football fields in Son. I remember one incident where two American soldiers were marching 35 German soldiers towards the football fields. They were walking on the Sonniuswijk road (the main road in front of our house). One of the German soldiers tried to flee. He jumped over a ditch but couldn’t make it to the other side and slid back into the ditch. When he tried to climb out one of the American soldiers fired his rifle hitting the German in the back of his head. The other German soldiers must have taken this seriously because from that point on they marched with their hands up even higher. In the afternoon of the 21st the van Dinther family went back to a now liberated Son. The fighting stopped and the American soldiers cleaned up the farm. The Americans left for Veghel and we would never see these brave men again. I would like to finish my story with a big ‘thank you’ for our American liberators. With mixed feelings and emotions we look back on the four days in September 1944, when the American soldiers worked at our farm. I hope the men that survived the war had a nice life! Take care!
Berta Roefs (96)
The American medics relax for a few moments before the wounded arrive at the Roefs farm.
The citizens like to pose for pictures together with their liberators. On the right side of the picture we see members of the van Dinther family and Cor Wilbers.
An officer of the 326th Airborne Medical Company, Captain Saul Dworking, talking to three glider pilots. Cor Wilbers can be seen in the black coverall on the right.
In the afternoon of the 18th, men of the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment landed on Landingzone-
Priest van Dinther came from the center of Son to visit his family members at the farm. He collected a parachute from the dropzone.