16 Sept 44Original size 2464 × 3472 px
Memories of Pierre Schunck 2
population of Berg was. This had given rise to some confusion because people thought they had already been liberated.
The trip by the empty road ran smoothly, even though regularly from the heights near Schimmert came artillery fire from the Germans on the other side of the Geul, and I saw clouds of exploding grenades above Ravensbosch.
In Maastricht we went to the Military Government on Vrijthof Square to find out where we could find the Food Commissioner. At the entrance I was stopped by a soldier in English uniform. He wanted to send me to an overcrowded waiting room. But I went outside again and asked my jeep driver, a heavily armed American soldier, to accompany me. He asked the guard in american English: „Where is your commander?“ Immediately we were led to him, past all the waiting people. I wore the salamander bracelet (symbol of the resistance).
The military commander stood up, sent the people away, and was visibly nervous. I legitimized myself by pointing to the bracelet, as the of the L.O. In Valkenburg, said that the population was in the caves, without food and without medical care and medication. I asked for food and its transport. He said to be able to provide for transport. Besides, he knew that German army stocks had been found in a ceramics factory, and that the Food Commissioner was there to inventorise.
Pierre Schunck wrote the rest of the story later. There he continues:
I found the Food Commissioner in the Sphinx factory. He helped excellently. In the soup kitchen on the Sphinx a number of barrels (cleaned waste bins) were filled with warm food.
The transport proved to be a large truck of the ENCI cement plant. Bread came from the bread factory “Maastrichtse Broodfabriek”, in a van of a local druggist. Thus the food question was settled.
After a couple of days, the Red Cross came along with a doctor, a nurse, some officers and a handfull of journalists.
Later, the food supply was continued to take care of the evacuated population of Kerkrade, which partly came to Valkenburg. When the US Army succeeded in advancing up to the coal district, the German artillery bombardment stopped. The people could leave the caves.
Read more about the evacuation of Kerkrade, and in particular of the hospital, on Dr. Gerd Kreijen, who was gynecologist there. After the evacuation, a part of these people came with Dr. Kreijen to Valkenburg (There are many hotels. In Hotel Franssen was set up a temporary hospital). He was a cousin of my mother and he lived with us during that time.