Wolfheze, The Netherlands, Sunday morning September 17, 1944. There is a threat in the air. The pastor of Wolfheze cancels the church service.
The threat culminates in a carpet of bombs on the village at 11:41 am that morning, in the run-up to the airborne landings of Operation Market Garden.
Expecting that there are German positions and soldiers in the village, the Allies dropped 781 bombs on and around the village. The result: 88 fatalities among residents, clients and nursing staff of the current Pro Persona Metal Hospital. But the Germans turned out to be almost gone….
Church-bells are ringing
To commemorate this event, the church-bells are ringing on Thursday 17 September at 11.41 am at several places in the municipality of Renkum. The bells started ringing in 2019 at the 75th anniversary of the Airborne. In that year, the bombing was also remembred by the performance of an impressive one-off music and theatre performance in open-air theatre De Klaproos in Wolfheze. The performance, called ‘Blik Terug’, can be viewed below (mostly Dutch).
Last year, the Airborne Committee Wolfheze 75, already had the idea to make the ringing of the bells of the former Open Hofkerk and the Opstandingskerk in Wolfheze on the day of the bombing an annual tradition. In a consultation of the joint churches in the municipality of Renkum, it was decided to link up with other churches in other villages.
On Thursday 17 September at 11.41 am – in addition to Wolfheze – the bells of the PKN Churches, the Remonstrant Church and Bernulphus Church in Oosterbeek, the PKN in Doorwerth and one of the two PKN churches in Renkum will be ringing.
The Airborne Committee Wolfheze 75 and Dorpsbelang Wolfheze are very happy with this broad attention to the black page in the Wolfhezer history.