206. Drama on the Maas
On the 11th of November 1944, a ferry accident occurred at Kessel. German soldiers force seven inhabitants of Belfeld to cross the Maas on the ferry. The ferryman refuses to cooperate, the ferry is loaded incorrectly, awash with water and heavily overloaded. But orders are orders. The ferry capsizes and sinks. Men and horses drown in river Maas.
The province of Limburg played an important role during World War II. the liberation of the Netherlands began here, which was accompanied by fierce battles between Allied and German forces. The breakthrough to Germany also began here: the Rhineland Offensive. During the advance towards Germany, other parts of Zuid- Limburg were also liberated.
The River Maas played an important role during the last war.
On the 21st of July 1944, a British bomber crashed into the Maas near the villages of Reuver and Kessel. A dramatic event, which was followed in winter of that same year, by a new disaster almost in the same spot. On the 11th of November, the Allies are on the outskirts of the village of Meyel and that day, a drama unfolds on the Maas between Kessel and Reuver. Due to the ignorance of German soldiers charged with the transportation of war material and supplies, the ferry capsizes and sinks with fifteen men on board. Of these, thirteen are seven civilian men from Kessel. The bodies of two men from the village of Belfeld, Kuüb Naus and Kuüb Reinders, are never recovered. Eight German soldiers also made this fatal crossing. Two of them manage to survive the disaster. The victims from Kessel: Marinus (Tinus) Derks (45), Godefridus (Frits) Linssen (35), Pierre Gielen (35), Gerrit van Eyk (30) and P.Gielen (42) are subsequently buried in Belfeld cemetery. Seventy years later, a war memorial is unveiled to commemorate the victims of the tragedy on the Maas at Kessel.
Werner Portinecke (43) was one of the six german victims who died that night.
St. Jorisstraat, Beesel - GPS code N 51 16.687, E 6 2.652