On September 27, 1944, because the Germans were expecting an Allied attack, they order the population of Overloon and the villages to the east to evacuate immediately. A stream of refugees begins. This village, Holthees, has 420 inhabitants. It provides approximately 1.500 refugees with friendly shelter. But on September 30, Holthees is also bombed. The inhabitants and the refugees are forced to move on. Among them is Jan Henckens.

Because the Germans expected an Allied attack in this region, on September 27, the order went out to evacuate the population immediately. Overloon and the villages to the east had to be evacuated within a few hours. The 3,000 evacuees sheltered in the small villages of Holthees, Maashees and Smakt.

Vluchteling holtes

Listen to this story at the audio spot of the Liberation Route Europe in Holthees.

Liberation Route Europe audio spot 118
Mariakapel Holthees

But on September 30, the British bombed Holthees. There were 12 deaths and many wounded, with extensive damage to homes and buildings. The inhabitants of Holthees and the evacuees were forced to move on towards Venray.

The Brabant village of Holthees forms one community together with the Limburg village of Smakt. Two provinces, two municipalities, one community. In this way, the connection with Venray and its surrounding villages can again be felt across the provincial border.

Routes with this story

Cycling route ‘Venray-Overloon’

Cycling route ‘Venray-Overloon’

Remember the Battle of Venray and Overloon by this cycling route along 10 locations between both places that are clearly related to the war. 

check route

Download the unique app and experience the past

The free Venray Remembers app shows the past as you have never seen it before. Download the app, take the car or bicycle or go on foot and follow a beautiful route in De Peel. Follow the instructions in the app to project an augmented reality video at the indicated locations and become part of the story that happened there.

View the war past from a different perspective and through this unique app. A modern way to let young and old relive the past in a positive way. Let’s keep remembering!

More information

Download de Venray Remembers app