When The Allies Drove The Nazis Out Of Antwerp They Housed Prisoners And Collaborators In The Zoo.

by Daniel Russ on September 13, 2016

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From July 1944 until May 1945. The Canadian First Army was tasked with the difficult task of chasing the still quite lethal German divisions out of Western Europe and in particular the Scheldt estuary and the port of Antwerp. Antwerp was the target of the massive Ardennes Offensive. Here Hitler insisted that if he could occlude Allies reinforcements from traversing the port facilities, he could defeat the Allies in Western Europe. Many felt this was a job that Bernard Montgomery should have finished., but he left this to the Canadians. The Canadian First Army took almost 13,000 casualties dislodging the Nazis from the Netherlands and from the estuary, but they were remarkably effective as a pursuing force. Much of this army helped to trap and eliminate Germans in the Falaise pocket.

 

The Germans used European cities as rest and relaxation facilities for the German officer corps. For years, locals woke up in the horror of German occupation, a brutal nasty and uncivilized experience. Germans filled cafes and Wehrmacht patrols purloined offices, homes, or whatever else they wanted. When the Allied advance began to approach the Southern edge of the city, Germans packed their bags and equipment and began a rapid pullout.

 

The Belgians couldn’t believe it. These interlopers and defilers were on the run. Many were captured. Thousands of them and the local collaborators were marched through the streets and kept in the local zoo.

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