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Gen. Maj. Karl Boettger in Holland (April '45)
Old 10-29-2007, 08:54 PM   #1
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Default Gen. Maj. Karl Boettger in Holland (April '45)

I received an email from Mr. Jan Bruggink of the Netherlands with the following information for the forum. Many thanks to him.

"I found some information about gen.maj. Karl Böttger (1891-1965). He was during april 1945 commander of the Feldkommandantur 674 Groningen and the German troops in North East of Holland. The commander of the German troops in whole Holland was General Johannes Blaskowitz (25 Armee)
The commandpost of Böttger was situated at the village of Westerbork (a few kilometres south the Jewish concentrationcamp). Westerbork is an small village in the centre of the province of Drenthe in the North East part of Holland.
On the evening of april 7, 1945 Böttger had ordered to his troops (or what was left over) to get in their positions. There was a alarm send out, because the Canadian troops where aproaching.
The troops at that time in Drenthe where soldiers form the Luftwaffe, SS, NSKK, Wehrmacht, Feldgendarmerie, Fallschirmjeager and some Hitlerjugend.
In the night of 7 april, suddenly 700 paratroopers of the French section of the SAS where dropped in the province of Drenthe.
This operation is called AMHERST. The paratroopers, in cooperation with some Dutch liasionofficers, where landend 48 hours in front of the mopping up Canadians. This operation was not known by the Dutch resistance, so they where surprised to met French para's insted of British (Tommies).

These para's where dropped in sticks of 15 man and their equipment was comming down in containers on parachute. In many places the French where assited by Dutch resistance. Some para's where treated by Dutch Quislings.
On several places the French took part in action against the german troops. One stick para's landend S.E. of Westerbork took part on a raid on this village. The where support by a Dutch Commando (who was landend in Drenthe already in october 1944 to train the resistance in Drenthe). This commando and secret agent, mr. Willem van der Veer, learn at the early sundaymorning of april 8 about this stick near Westerbork form a commander of an oother stick, who he met in a wood by the village of Appelscha, nearly 30 km west of Westerbork!
So he went to the area at Westerbork on a bicycle, but met on his way many German soldiers and SS man on retreat.
But his papers where be good and several hours later he reached the stick of the French east of Westerbork.
Mr. Willem van der Veer, was after his landing in october 1944, hidden in the house of a policeman in the village of Westerbork.
But.... there was some other person living in this house and he was legal there..... a General Major named Böttger!!
The house of the policeman, Derk Stoel, was since end march/beginning april 1945 required by general major Karl Böttger and some officers of his staff. The commandpost of the general was situated in a hotel near the house of Derk Stoel. In this hotel was also the commucationcentre of the German staff.
The German ofcourse ,did not know the present of Willem van der Veer, who had a room next of the General! He held himselves quit. A few days before the dropping of the French, Willem van der Veer had left the house and went to his resistance friends in the woods near Appelscha.
When Böttger held his meetings with his officers in the room, at that time Willem van der Veer was stil at this hidingplace,
Willem took a drinking-glass, put the bottom of it on one of his ears and put the open site of this glass against the thin wall between his room and the room of the general. So he could hear and notice everything what was be spoken in this room!
So he knew a lot about the Germans now.
Back to sunday april 8, 1945. When Willem van der Veer met the French stick, east of Westerbork, he suggest to attack the German commandpost in the centre of this village. He could also tell about the German positions in the village.
The Frenchmen where ready to go and Willem was guided them to Westerbork. On their way to the action, Willem took his famous red beret (para commando beret) and put it on his head. He also was armed.
A few moments later the parachtists attacked the comandpost. The fighting was during one or two hours. Several German were killed our wounded. Some French also were killed, woundend or captured. Willem was not wounded and retreated with his Frensch friends. And the General? At the moment of the first shooting he was at the commandpost. Dressend in his long size leather overcoat and his officerscap on his head he took a MP40, went out of the door of the hotel and started to firing.
But he already was hit by some bullets and he was badly wounded. After the shooting, some French thought the general was killed and one of them took his Iron Cross and his pistol as a souvenir. (The Iron Cross, i do not know where it is at this moment, but the pistol I have seen it at a local museum in Assen, the capital of Drenthe).

After the retreat of the French, the wounded soldiers (even the French) wer eevacuated via Assen, Groningen to Germany, Bremen.
Böttger has survived and in 1955 he has written a short report about that days during his present in Drenthe.
Willem van der Veer is still alive and the policemen Stoel is already passed away.
At the present, Westerbork is a touristic centre and the Hotel is still there.

The action, mentioned above, is publiced by the French theirselves and a few years ago a French book about operation AMHERST is translated in Dutch.

So, in short the history of the present of general major Böttger in the province of Drenthe.
I hope you likes it and maybe you can use it.

Sincerly yours,

Jan Bruggink

PS: enclosed a picture (taken after the end of the war) who shows Willem van der Veer (right) in uniform of the Dutch commando's and his friend, the policeman Derk Stoel (left). The uniform of Stoel is the uniform of the Koninklijke Marechausee (Royal Military Police) The picture is taken in front of the house of Stoel.
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File Type: jpg willem van der veer.jpg (71.5 KB, 181 views)
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Old 10-30-2007, 06:58 AM   #2
Larry deZeng
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Interesting story, MJC. Thanks for posting it!

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