Case Title: Dutch Partisan Killed In Action

Subject: Retreating Wehrmacht soldiers shoot Dutch Resistance Fighter Van Den Boogaard on guard duty at Post Office.

Date: September 18th, 1944

Location: Eindhoven, Holland


Understanding the importance of the Post Office building in the center of Eindhoven, housing the regional telephone exchange, members of the Partisan Organization put guards at the doors. Meanwhile, inside, telephone operator Joke Lathouwers established contact between elements of the British 30th Corps South of Eindhoven and officers of the 101st Airborne Division in Son.

Son 244 is the phone number of the 101st Airborne Division

In A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan (1974 ISBN 978-0-340-93398-5) we read:

“With contact finally established, discussion immediately turned to the Son bridge. Waiting British engineering units needed complete details in order to bring forward the materials and equipment needed to repair the damaged crossing. Sappers, moving up alongside Vandeleur's lead columns, prepared to rush to the bridge the moment the advance picked up again. Information could have been passed by radio, but the Americans had already discovered a simpler method. The surprised British were radioed to ask their engineers to telephone 'Son 244'. The call went immediately through the German-controlled automatic telephone exchange, and within minutes the Americans at the
Son bridge had given British engineers the vital information they needed to bring up the proper bridging equipment."

In "September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far" by John C. McManus
(2012 ISBN 978-1-101-58539-9):

"An hour later, an even more substantial communication link became available. With the Germans gone, Joke Lathouwers, an Eindhoven telephone operator, had the free run of the Dutch phone exchange. She called the Son police station (Son 244 was the number) to see if she could get in touch with the Americans. To her delight, an American voice answered. She immediately patched the American-controlled line at Son through to British-controlled phone numbers in Aalst and Valkenswaard. "The telephone exchange between the troops had become a fact," she wrote in her diary. The Americans told the British about the capture of Eindhoven and, more important, about the blown bridge at Son. The British immediately made arrangements to move Bailey bridge equipment and their engineers to the head of their column so that, whenever XXX Corps made it through Eindhoven, the bridge builders would be in good position to reach Son first. All the while, Lathouwers listened proudly. "I can hardly describe what went through me all those hours," she said."


The 1943 telephone directory lists "Vaessen, P.J. Municipal Police,
Market Square A 58" as the subscriber for number 244 in Son.


The Story: The local Resistance organization in Eindhoven, The PAN, or Partizanen Actie Nederland, had already lost one of its members in combat earlier on the 18th of September 1944. On Woenselse Straat, 26 years old grocery store assistant Adri Luykx was shot by accident by American paratroopers. Luykx had just smashed a window with his German made rifle and stepped into a house where German soldiers were suspected. Too late, the airborne soldiers recognized Adri's white PAN brassard.


Following this incident, American paratroopers were in the Northern suburbs, working their way toward the center of Eindhoven. With sentries at the doors and riflemen at the upstairs windows, the Post Office was well under guard and in secure hands of the Dutch resistance. Suddenly a truckload of German soldiers drove by the building.


The same witness who was our source in Case File's # 5 and 8, mr. Theo Bayens of Eindhoven, 18 years old at the time, explained us that he was told the truck came from Kleine Berg and drove into Vrij Straat.

One of the occupants saw 23 year old Partisan Theo Van Den Bogaard from the city of 's-Hertogenbosch inside the building. To eliminate the risk of Theo throwing one of his potato masher hand grenades from the second floor window into the bed of the truck, the Germans opened fire. Theo sustained a lethal gun shot wound to the head and died.

(click on the images to enlarge)

Eindhoven, late 1930's

The Post Office and Telephone Exchange at the corner of Keizers Gracht and Vrij Straat.

Eindhoven, September 18th, 1944

A Dutch Military Policeman, back in his uniform knowing that his liberation from German occupation is near, stands guard at the Post Office. Behind him is PAN-member Theo Van Den Boogaard who would be killed shortly after this photograph was taken.

Today, the building's ground floor has been rebuilt into a shopping passage.


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