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Frisian jail raid anniversary attracts veterans for final reunion

Daring 1944 action peaceful event

Tags: World War II

LEEUWARDEN, the Netherlands - "It is now up to the next generation." Certainly for the last time, former members of an area resistance group recently gathered to commemorate ‘de Kraak’ of December 8, 1944, one of the most daring raids to free jailed area members of the resistance movement from jail. The veterans hope that others will keep the flame alive.

The resistance group decided to intervene when the increasingly brutal Sicherheitsdienst (SD) arrested many comrades while combing entire districts for hidden evaders of the labour conscription. The resistance feared that of those arrested some could be forced to talk by the SD henchmen.

Pulling off the meticulously planned raid gave fifty comrades their freedom although all immediately were taken to hiding places. The raiders got inside the jail by disguise and disarmed the guards without firing a shot. The entire plan was carried out by 25 participants who also went into hiding, awaiting reprisals which never came.

The raid was re-enacted and filmed after the liberation of 1945. Five years ago, an American Dutch immigrant family donated a copy of the home-made tape to the Resistance Museum in the Frisian capital. ‘De Kraak’ received wide attention when it became the subject of a book and a movie, named ‘De Overval’.

Every five years, the dwindling group had organized a reunion at the action site. This time, they could interest enough survivors to attend a reunion once more.