#Story - Belgium

Celebrations after a delayed liberation

Hoevenen experienced turbulent times in 1944. The liberation of Antwerp on 4 September brought not the hoped-for joy, but chaos. The municipality struggled to secure food supplies. The scarcity even led to brawls in front of the doors of the town hall. It was not until 4 October that Canadian troops liberated the village, during the Battle of the Scheldt.

The Werhmacht also made itself heard regularly. They bombarded Antwerp and its surroundings with V-bombs in an attempt to undermine Allied supplies. On 2 December 1944, Leontine Van Roost had a chat with Jack, a soldier from Manchester, in café De Reiger. When the windows began to shake he pushed her to the ground with lightning speed. With a gigantic bang, windows and doors were blown away. Leontine could no longer see anything through the gigantic cloud of dust created by a V2 further away.

In the end, the bomb would kill five people. Within a hundred-metre radius, houses had been reduced to rubble. Only the Sacred Heart statue seemed to survive the catastrophe as if by miracle. British troops from the Royal Artillery assisted in the evacuation and rescue work. The town council decided to donate a frying pan to them, as the ever-practical British were in urgent need of one. Possibly their own equipment died in the bombardment or during the gruelling march from Normandy.

The college decided to turn the stricken area into a village square. The High Road was shifted, parking spaces were provided and a new centrally located church. Frans Oomsplein was born.