The evacuation of the Betuwe

The Betuwnaar has endured a lot over time. But it was not until the second world war that one really had to leave her territory. The suffering was enormous but inevitable. The war became too violent and/or the high water forced one to leave. The evacuation is a separate story in Betuw history. People had to go somewhere else because it was safe there, there was family living there or because nothing else was possible. Some had never been far and/or so far from home. And the way in which and the circumstances in which this happened is almost impossible to imagine in the present tense.

The reason for evacuating varied. The inhabitants of the Lower Betuwe were initially ordered to leave their homes for military reasons. The Germans had planned an offensive at the beginning of October to drive the Allies out of the Betuwe. The big attack on Nijmegen would be supported by a flank attack from the Ochten-Kesteren-Lienden region. As a result, part of this area had to be evacuated and was later declared a Barrage area. The Middle Betuwe was largely liberated, but was in the midst of the violence. The situation here became so untenable that it was evacuated by the Allies.

Another very important reason for evacuation was the fear of the high water. Good thing because on the night of 2 to 3 December the Germans blew up the Rhine at Elden, many people had already been evacuated but now the last had to leave our area. All about 1000 men were left to care for the cattle and the harvest with the intention of securing it in the long run. This is how the so-called Man Island was born.

Neder-Betuwe

The Lower Betuwe evacuated temporarily to the villages of Lienden and Echteld. Then to Maurik or the villages west of the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. In the end, many evacuees fled to Friesland or Drenthe on German orders.

Midden-Betuwe

The post Market Garden "liberated area" came under military authority of the Allies. The inhabitants were evacuated by the Allies towards Brabant and Belgium.

Over-Betuwe

The un liberated part of the Over-Betuwe was sent by the Germans across the Rhine towards the Liemers Achterhoek, Veluwe and Utrecht and beyond.

Sources: The Betuwe in Stelling and the Man's Island

en_GB
nl_NL en_GB
Scroll to Top