Case File # 9             

Case Title: Desperate Defense of Postal Sub Office

Subject: Lone German soldier defending insignificant Post Office on Lijmbeek Straat

Date: September 18th, 1944

Location: Eindhoven, Holland

 

Introduction:

During a 2004 interview about a different subject, eye-witness mr. Jan van den Wittenboer of Eindhoven, told us the story of a German soldier who made a desperate attempt to defend the postoffice on Lijmbeek Straat on 18 September 1944, the day Eindhoven was liberated by the 101st Airborne Division.

 

On the 4th of September 2009, we talked to Jan van den Wittenboer again.

He told us:

"My grandparents lived across the street from the Post Office on Lijmbeek Straat in the 1940's and also after the war.
On the 18th of September, the day Eindhoven was liberated, a German soldier from the garrison of Eindhoven, named Kochel, took his defensive position in the post office. Upon approach of the  first American paratroopers, Kochel fired his K98 rifle. The bullet hit the gable of my grandparents' house. The hole could be seen in the years after the war. The house has been demolished later and there are modern houses there today.

The Americans didn't take any risks and bended the steel bars in front of one of he window of the post office and fired their weapons into the building.

They didn't find Kochel inside the post office but a while later he was captured in a shed behind the vegetable shop on the other side of the street.

After the war I found out that there was a tunnel under the street from the post office to the vegetable shop.
As a young boy I played in it and because it had a steel and the tunnel was made of concrete, I had thought it was a bunker.

There is a photograph of American soldiers taking German soldiers prisoner on Lijmbeek Straat, and I believe Kochel is one the Germans facing the wall of a house in that street."
 

We found the picture Jan referred to and took a photograph of the building that was once the Woensel Post Office on Lijmbeek Straat.

(Click on the thumbnails to enlarge)

September 20th 2009, UPDATE: From Dutch Historian Peter Hendrickx we received a photograph of the post office, apparently taken on that September 18th 1944. It shows an American paratrooper cautiously approaching the station. He takes cover in a doorway and has his rifle pointed towards the post office:
 

We went to see the building in what is nowadays named Rosa Manus Straat in Eindhoven. The building now houses the Rosa Foundation, an Islamic religious organization. A staff member was very helpful in showing us the inside of the building. We visited the large basement. Unfortunately, we did not find any trace of a tunnel under the adjoining Kabel Straat.

(Click on the thumbnail to enlarge)

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