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Documents from the archives of the municipality.

1940-1945 - The Germans killed in action in Valkenburg-Houthem

Documents from the archives of the former municipality of Valkenburg-Houthem about the Germans who died in this municipality, in chronological order. It starts with photos from September 1944. Valkenburg had not yet been completely liberated when, on September 16, Valkenburg resistant Pierre Schunck traveled to Maastricht to get help for the people who searched shelter in the caves. Food aid arrived immediately and a few days later a medical delegation from the provisional military government arrived. They examined the conditions in the caves, but also identified the bodies of Germans that were still lying here and there as far as possible. These bodies were then buried in Valkenburg and Houthem.
This is followed by correspondence between the community and various authorities, as well as with the parents and a priest of the fallen soldiers, in which questions such as: Where is the fallen buried, what happened to the ID tags?
There are photos from October 1945 of the work of a team from the military governments Identification, Recovery and Tracing Service. They exhumed three fallen soldiers in a garden on Nieuweweg and were only able to fully identify one: Anton Schuhgraf(s).
In the end, most of the Germans who fell in the Netherlands were transferred to the large military cemetery in Ysselsteyn (municipality of Venray, not to be confused with IJsselstein in Utrecht).
Our list of German front-line soldiers consists mainly of Germans who fell in our municipality. Among them are unknowns buried in Ysselsteyn (as NN), but also names of soldiers who probably fell in Valkenburg, but of whom it is not known where they were buried. This probably means that there were duplicate names.

1944-09-01 September 1944 German soldiers march up the Cauberg in Valkenburg to occupy defenses in the village of Vilt, which they had built themselves. This should actually have been done by the male population, insofar as they had not gone into hiding or were in Germany for forced labor, but this was foiled by the resistance: the population register had "disappeared."
1944-09-18 Red Cross & Military Authority from Maastricht Just after liberation of Valkenburg, on September 18th, 1944, a delegation of the Red Cross and the povisional Military Government came from Maastricht to offer medical assistance and to identify and recover corpses of German soldiers lying in some places. That work took several days, but since we are not sure, on which of those days the pictures of it were taken, we dated them all on that first day.
1944-09-18 Four photos E02B06-1F01.jpgbietenveld.jpg
Foto 1Foto 5
1944-09-18 Image 6 Fallen German soldier in the front garden of the former nunnery on the Geul near Walramplein square.
Note: This was the Regina Pacis convent of the Benedictine nuns. The "new" parish church stands on this site today.
1944-09-18 Image 4 Text on the back side: German soldier killed in a beet field near Valkenburg (L), September 1944. Group commander A. Haase of the Red Cross Corps Maastricht and surroundings busy with identification.
1944-09-18 Photo 1 Liberation days September 1944 Valkenburg (L). Lying on the ground: Killed German soldier. In a white raincoat: Mr. Th.A.J.M.P. Schaepkens van Riempst, secretary of the Dutch Red Cross, Maastricht department and surroundings. In military uniform: Captain Dr. Pannekoek, military doctor. In work dress: A. Haase. Group commander of the Dutch Red Cross, Maastricht and Environs Department, during identification.
1944-09-18 Photo 5 Another fallen German soldier in the vicinity of photo 4. We could identify this one too.
1944-09-19 Three pictures E02B07-1F01.jpgE02B07-1F02.jpg
1944-09-18 Identification on the Daelhemerweg Text on reverse: Liberation Valkenburg, September 1944 • fallen soldier • Group Commander A.Haase, Red Cross Corps, Maastricht & Omstr. Department, in the process of identification • Mr. Th. Schaepkens van Riempst • Captain Dr. Pannekoek • Spectators, living in the area.
1944-09-18 Identification at an unknown location Text on reverse: Captain Dr. Pannekoek notes down everything that was found on the fallen soldier. As well as his personal belongings. - Mr. Th. Schaepkens van Riempst collects everything in clean towels. Half of the identification tag remains visible on the deceased.
1944-09-18 Killed German soldier on the Daelhemerweg Text on reverse: Liberation Valkenburg, September 1944. Killed soldier. • Group commander A.Haase, Red Cross Corps Department Maastricht and surroundings, working on identification. • Mr. Th. Schaepkens van Riempst • Captain Dr. Pannekoek • Spectators from the surroundings.
1944-09-18 Two fallen German soldiers Is this on the then unpaved part of the Stoepertweg, near Ignatius College?
1945-05-29 Requested lists Mayor Hens of Valkenburg-Houthem sends the requested lists to the Red Cross. According to the archives of the Volksbund, which manages the Ysselsteyn cemetery, Walter Kessler is one of those who were temporarily buried in Houthem. According to this archive, Johann Goohsen too was temporarily buried in “St. Gerlach, Houthem”.
1945-10-30 Excavations Nieuweweg In the week from October 15 to 20, 1945, 3 German soldiers were exhumed in Valkenburg. Report by Captain Croes, Identification, Recovery and Investigation Service (Dienst Identificatie, Berging en Opsporing).
1945-10-30 Excavations Nieuweweg, list Three corpses, only one of which could be identified: Anton Schuhgraf(s).
1945-10-31 Excavations Nieuweweg, table This table is on of the results of the excavations in the garden of Villa Leeuwenhorst on Nieuweweg in Valkenburg. They were carried out in the week of October 15 to 20, 1945 under the direction of Captain Croes of the Dienst Identificatie, Berging en Opsporing (Identification, Recovery and Investigation Service). Three bodies were exhumed, identified where possible and reburied in the General Cemetery on the Cauberg.
1945-11-24 Questionnaire of the identification service Questionnaire completed by the municipality. The date of the document is not yet known, so we have chosen a random date.
1945-11-24 Mayor Hens to the Red Cross State of affairs, including “They were buried there in September 1944 and the identification tags on the bodies were taken by the Red Cross.”
A little more than two years later (January 8, 1948), however, the mayor writes to the same Red Cross that he knows nothing about a particular person “since the identification tags were taken by the Americans during the days of liberation”. Is this a mistake or a new piece of knowledge?
1946-05-22 Registering the graves of German soldiers The Dienst van Identificatie en Berging (Service for Identification and Recuperation) - which is subordinate to the Ministry of War - writes to the municipalities that they want to register all German war graves.
1947-12-31 Alfred Reuter The Red Cross in The Hague asks the mayor for Alfred Reuter, but he is unable to help.
1948-04-02 Father asks about Ernst Parr Edmund Parr, the father of Ernst Parr, has learned that his son was killed in action in or near Valkenburg. According to his information, the date was September 12, 1944, but there was not yet any fighting in Valkenburg at that time. Much more plausible is September 17, 1944, when many German soldiers were killed on the Goudsberg, northeast of Valkenburg. It is therefore probably a transcription error.
1948-04-20 Grave of soldier Ernst Parr The mayor passes on the request for information from Edmund Parr, the father of Ernst Parr, to the commander of the German Military Cemetery in IJsselstein (now written Ysselsteyn). No answer is known, but there is a grave in Ysselsteyn bearing that name: TD-5-56.
1948-10-02 The Alsatian Oscar Ockenfuss On October 2, 1948, the headquarters of the French occupation army in Berlin (Commandement en chef Français en Allemagne) asked the mayor of “Volkenburg” for information about the Alsatian Oscar Ockenfuss, identification tag -586- II./3.Fl.Rgt.71.
1948-10-14 Volksbund to the Mayor The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge asks for information about Karl Dinkelbach. At the military cemetery in Ysselsteyn there is a soldier with the same data, who is called Albert there. So his name here is Karl Albert. The ID numbers also differ slightly, but it is nevertheless the same person.
1948-10-14 Rvd Bergen asks about Johann Goossen
1948-11-04 Report from the mayor to the Volksbund Mayor Hens from Valkenburg-Houthem writes to the Volksbund (war graves foundation) about the graves of fallen Germans in the municipality.
1948-01-08 Alfred Reuter (reply by the mayor) The mayor replies to the Red Cross that he knows nothing about this person, “because the Americans took with them the identification tags during the days of liberation”.
In a letter to the Red Cross from November 24, 1945, he had still assumed that it was them who had taken the dog tags. So the question is: where did they end up?
1949-12-01 Father of Hans Jost asks for information Through this letter we know, who was the dead soldier in the front yard of the convent Regina Pacis.
1950-03-03 Municipality asks the convents “Do you know more about this?”
1950-03-18 Answer Ignatius College: “Is not known here.”
1950-03-27 Reply from the municipality to Fritz Jost The municipality writes: “Unfortunately, nothing is known here about your son H. Jost.”
The reason for this is that they forgot to ask also the nuns of the small Benedictine convent. At the time, it was still located in a former boarding house near the bridge over the Geul on St. Pieterstraat. Today, the convent is located on Oud-Valkenburgerweg 16. [1]
1951-04-18 Field grave in IJzeren Report on the transfer, created on April 3, 1951. The field grave was located in the orchard of the Troisfontaine children, Groenstraat D.5 in IJzeren. The remains, still unknown at that time, were reburied in Ysselsteyn on April 12, 1951.
1951-12-10 Priest of Schin op Geul on the Kleimann grave The parish priest has forgotten whether the German soldier in the grave at the cemetery was called Kleimann, but that is indeed the case.
1952-04-01 Kleimann grave (municipality to graves service) Letter from the municipality to the graves service of the Ministry of War, which inventoried the German soldiers’ graves. When this letter was written, the remains of all the other fallen Germans had apparently already been reburied in the German military cemeteries in Ysselsteyn and Lommel.
By the way, Obermassau does not exist, it should be Obermassen (district of Unna).