September 1944: Innocent civilian victims on the Eikenlaan
On Monday the 18th of September 1944, there is some confusion in the barracks. There were bombings in Ede the previous day. German units are worried that the equipment will fall into enemy hands and that they will set it on fire. Even barracks are being set alight. The people of Ede use this as an opportunity to loot behind the barrack's gates. The liberation is close.
Van de Kuit
A single German soldier attempts to turn the tide, and lorry driver Van de Kuit is stopped transporting a collection of German backpacks. The German soldier shouts "Hands up". Van de Kuit is not impressed. He promptly drops the pile of backpacks and seizes the rifle from the German soldier. After some struggling, Van de Kuit takes the German's gun and throws it away. When Van de Kuit suddenly runs away, the angry German soldier throws a hand-grenade after him. Van de Kuit is seriously wounded, and he attempts to get on his bike but falls. Bystanders rush him to the hospital. He, sadly, dies there the next day.
The German is shaken by the event and runs away, but amidst this, he forgets his weapon. He tells his commander about the incident and claims that his weapon has been taken. This is then reported to the German commander Laban, who is furious. He immediately dispatches a motorcycle patrol to record the situation. He also threatens to kill ten civilians on the spot if the weapon is not found. Meanwhile, a few boys who witnessed the incident quickly hid the weapon in the bushes, so that they can retrieve it later.
Fatal evening walk
A few streets further on at the Stations Road, the De Mildt and Teijer families live temporarily in an apartment, the old villa 'Silva Sanat'. The 54-year-old, Mrs De Mildt, and the 31-year-old Mrs Teijer do not know about the shooting incident. They are on an evening walk and decide to take a detour at around 7:30 p.m., half an hour before curfew. After the 8 p.m. curfew, it is prohibited to still be out on the streets. The ladies only intended on being away for ten minutes. They walked a block across Stations Road, Erica Avenue, Artillerie Avenue and then back through the Eiken Avenue. They hear machine-gun fire at around 7:55 p.m., and it is coming from the direction of the barracks. Then it is silent. At 8 p.m., the people in 'Silva Sanat' become anxious. The two women should have been home a while ago. They hope, against their better judgement, that both mothers have fled somewhere inside due to fear, and that they can no longer return home. The next morning it turns out to be a shocking reality. On a handcart, the lifeless bodies of both women are taken to the Villa on the Stations Road.
How did it go?
On Monday evening, the two women turned the corner where Artilierie Avenue and the Eiken Avenue meet. The German motor patrol had just arrived. They saw both women and another unknown man. The patrol orders them to stop. The man halts, but the women are hiding behind a bush. The German soldiers immediately riddled them with machine gunfire. Mrs de Mildt-Scheffers died instantly. Mrs Teijer-Kraai died some time later due to serious injuries. The patrol then captures the man, as well as a second man they encounter. These two must be the beginning of a total of ten people who will be shot in retaliation for stealing the weapon. The gun remains lost, and both men are taken to the German commander.
It is reported to the Dutch watch commander that both ladies were shot whilst 'stealing', the German commander reports another lie at 9:45 p.m., two people are being held for the theft of a rifle, and two women were shot dead as they 'were on the public road after 8 p.m.'. The following morning when one of the residents indicates where the gun is, the case is closed for the Germans. The incident resulted in three deaths, including two completely innocent women. They were also wrongly accused of being outside after the curfew and of stealing.
A small copper plate on the bench at the corner of Kinkerberg Road and Eiken Avenue serves as a reminder of this tragic event. Each September around the 18th a bouquet is placed on the bench.