mei 1945: Evacuees of Ede at The Valouwe

During the first days of the war in 1940, Ede was under fire from its troops, who were stationed behind the Grebbelinie. On the 12th of May, Pentecost Sunday, the German troop commander in Ede, Oberst Von Oesterreich, announces the evacuation of the village. His motive was to protect the civilian population from Dutch shelling. Rumour has it that the possibility of telephone contact between Ede and those troops also contributes to the decision. An improvised exit from the people of Ede to Wekerom, Harskamp and Otterlo, is then set in motion.

Soup at De Valouwe
Mr Schlimmer, owner of the estate since the 1930s, builds two stables for his horses. During the evacuation, on the 10th of May, Schlimmer makes the covered riding school available to the refugees of Ede. A thick layer of straw is laid on the ground, and a soup kitchen is organised. The local butcher Ten Broeke slaughters about 100 chickens, which have been bought from farmers in the area. The chicken soup is delicious! That night a thousand people sleep in the stables. Luckily they are allowed to go home the next day.

Lost tractor
In May 1943, Dutchmen between 18 and 35 years old had to report for forced labour in Germany, mostly for in the war industry. Many men, who held important positions were arrested as hostages.  Schlimmer, Director-General of a large trading company, was one of them. When Mrs Schlimmer is threatened with the personnel on the Valouwe being missed, she applies to the Garrison Commander for permission to stay. The men all receive Identification cards. Life is getting more and more difficult. Petrol is almost unavailable.

The heavy tractor is made suitable for operating using wood gas. However, it is a tractor with instructions, and if it accidentally stalls, it cannot be started up immediately. You then have to wait until it has cooled down completely. One day the Germans come and demand the tractor. One of the boys goes to get the tractor but first lets the engine warm-up in the field. When he arrived where the Germans were, he turned off the ignition. One of the Germans climbs into the tractor seat and tries to start it. No life. Whatever he tries, the tractor doesn't start! The Germans leave.

Once the engine has cooled down, of course, it starts immediately. The men drive it to the farm track and cover it with straw. During the afternoon the Germans come to see the tractor again, Johan answers their questions with a steely gaze "But the Germans have picked it up anyway,". And to the question who they were? Johan follows: "You all look alike with those uniforms..."

Locations memories of war