evacuation

The Hague and the Atlantic Wall

From the summer of 1941, Hitler moved ever more troops to fight the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front. At the same time, however, Nazi Germany was expecting a sea-borne Allied invasion in the west. The solution to the dilemma was the construction of the Atlantic Wall between 1942 and 1945. The ‘Wall’ was actually a series of concrete bunkers, manmade barriers and natural obstacles like cliffs and rocks, stretching along five thousand kilometres of North Sea and Atlantic coast from northern Norway to the Spanish border.

The long shadow of the Atlantic Wall

The Schellart family had a shop selling office supplies and toys in Valeriusstraat (Duinoord). They rented both the shop and the living quarters above it. In December 1942 they were forced to move out. Even though their part of the street wasn’t being demolished, it was being evacuated. The problems caused by the move continue to rumble on until long after the war. The family was allocated a shop with living quarters at Weimarstraat 58/58a. The move was expensive because the whole contents of the shop had to be transported, as well as their own domestic belongings.

Paperwork

It was the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS that decided when the evacuation of each section of the city was to start and how soon it must be completed. The removal of civilians to places remote from The Hague was handled by the Office for the Evacuation of the Civilian Population (BAB), whereas moves within the city and surrounding area were arranged by the Municipal Evacuation Department. The latter employed many members of the NSB and eventually had a staff of four hundred. The evacuations entailed a vast amount of paperwork.

Into the unknown

The first evacuations took place in Scheveningen. The operation began with houses near the beach and harbour in June 1942. This was followed by the clearance of virtually the whole area designated as a militarised zone between November 1942 and February 1943. During that phase, a total of around 100,000 people were removed from ‘Fortress Scheveningen’ and from the intended route of the anti-tank ditch.

Into the unknown

The first evacuations took place in Scheveningen. The operation began with houses near the beach and harbour in June 1942. This was followed by the clearance of virtually the whole area designated as a militarised zone between November 1942 and February 1943. During that phase, a total of around 100,000 people were removed from ‘Fortress Scheveningen’ and from the intended route of the anti-tank ditch.