World War 2: Occupation and liberation Liskwartier Rotterdam North, Netherlands

See also: The district Liskwartier

Contents of this page:
Effects of the bombing of Rotterdam on Liskwartier
Daily life during the occupation in Liskwartier
Mad Tuesday on 5 September1944
The Hunger Winter of 1944 / 1945

The liberation of Liskwartier

Effects of the bombing of Rotterdam on Liskwartier

The result of the bombing of Rotterdam on May 14, 1940 was well-marked in the district Liskwartier Rotterdam Nord, because there was the Bergweg Hospital (now here is a complex of care center Humanitas). There it is a huge chaos. Just before the Eudokia hospital, a bomb fell on the Bergweg, so all the windows of this hospital were destroyed.

Willebrordusstraat after the bombardment. 4 houses were destroyed with 11 death
Results bombardment Gordelweg 14 Mei 1940

Crossing Gordelweg en Bergselaan
Results bombardement Schiebroeksestraat 14 Mei 1940

Corner Schiebroeksestraat with Bergselaan, on 14 mei at this spot 1941 a new pawn was build, see the picture of the memorial stone below
Results bombardment 14 Mei 1940, Christian Technical school (ambachtsschool Gordelweg Rotterdam), Gordelweg 120

Christian Technical school, Gordelweg 120, between the Bergsingel and the Voorburgstraat, now there is a new health center / drugstore

During the bombarments people take shelter in the shelter of the cloth store Peek & Cloppenburg at the Bergsingel [1], this building had a very strong construction.

Shelter at the Schiebroekselaan. On the other side diagonally there is another entrance.
There are stories that people took shelter in the bunker. This bunker is however build after the war as atombunker.

On the corner of the Schiebroekschestraat (No. 4) felt several fire bombs. This building was one years later rebuilt. There is even a memorial now. [2] At the Willebrordustraat the numbers 32-38, including a grocery store were hit by a demolition bomb and completely destroyed. [3] Corner premises at the Bergselaan and the Gordelweg were also destroyed and later a bomb hit the Christian Technical School. This craft school was before the war being used as military barracks. From there soldiers shoot at planes flying over.

Memorial stone / monument Schiebroeksestraat
Memorial stone in the Schiebroeksestraat

Daily life during the occupation in Liskwartier

The newspapers, most of which were under German control (though the official message that this was not the case), let it appear immediately after the occupation as if everyday life was ‘normal’. “Even in rural areas, the rest returned.”  From May 22, 1940 it was desirable that one should be vaccinated against typhoid. Scrubbing of sidewalks and spraying with water gardens was however banned because one should be “efficient”. [4 ] Aimlessly walking and standing on squares was forbidden.  [5]

All traffic of vehicles was prohibited except with permission. Because fuel was scarce, some company’s vehicles found solutions such as pressure gas or gas fuels what they put on the roof or in a trailer behind. Vroom en Dreesman took deliveries with horse and wagon round

Between the Lisplein and Mathenesserlaan existed since 1917 a tram line 11. When the war began, it was feared that the depot was bombed in Hillegersberg (not done) and so all trams were parked in two rows on the Bergselaan behind each other. The tram was overcrowded. People were hanging on the outside. If there was an air raid, everyone had to leave  the tram and find shelter. In the Berkelselaan was a shelter.

Bergweg 1944
Spring 1944. On the roof of Café Du Nord on the Bergwerg (corner with Bergsingel) was an air raid siren. Trees on the Bergweg disappeared in the Hunger Winter in stoves of the population

In the empty houses where Jews were gone other people started to live, such an house stood for example in the Lisstraat

Then there was the embezzlement with black paper, made mandatory to make it harder for the Allied bombers find their targets. In parallel with this command to darken on May 16, 1940, the German summer time was set: “Therefore all clocks must be set at 24 hours that they designate 1.40. [6]

Mad Tuesday

on 5 September1944 On 5 September1944 there was a message that allied forces crossed the border with Belgium, but more was expected of course. At the Bergwegziekenhuis (hospital at the Bergweg) the assembly ban was
ignored and the staff went cheering into the streets.
Willebrordusplein in Liskwartier: People dansed at Mad Tuesday
At the Willebrordusplein residents danced with joy convinced that the liberation by the Allies was near.

The Technical School at the Christian Gordelweg played a role on 5 September 1944. The National Resistance Movement LKP (Landelijke KnokPloegen, nationwide fight teams) wanted a call in 10 cities  for people to calm down and not make their own actions. At the technical school the members of the LKP gathered, the message was spread that the craft school was the “Headquarters of the Partisans”, flags were stretched in Rotterdam and a crowd gathered around the building.

The Hunger Winter of 1944 /1945

For some, there were ways to obtain food. From a family in the Koningsveldestraat grandfather and father worked at the Heineken brewery (they ran the whole war, especially for the German armed forces) and could therefore have malt porridge. Others ate potato peels or beet pulp (beet remnant).  Inventive children stole potatoes cultivated on the Gordelweg by Germans. In the NKI (Nederlands Kerkelijk Instituut, Dutch Church Institute) for example one could get food on Saturday afternoon, but had to wait for hours.The HBS on the Bergselaan (now Islamic University) gave lessons to November 1944. Then there was no longer heating.

reconnaiasance picture from Liskwartier of the  RAF just before the liberation in March 1945
Picture Liskwartier RAF just before the liberation 1945

The liberation of Liskwartier

With the liberation, a column of tanks is triumphantly welcomed in the Liskwartier on 8 May by the Rotterdam population.

Liberation feast Liskwartier 8 May 1945 on the Lischplein
Liberators welcomed at the Lischplein, on the left the Lischwater, on the right the Delftgauwstraat, on the background the crossing Bergselaan with the Schiebroekselaan

Queen’s day also has strong associations with the liberation. Thus the flower parade in 1949 on the Bergweg  was a whole happening.


  1. Bezetting & bevrijding: Oude Noorden; Wilfried de Jong, bewonersorganisatie Het Oude Noorden, Mei 1985
  2. Blz. 113; Groeten uit Provenierswijk, Blijdorp, Bergpolder en het Liskwartier, H.A. Voet / H.J.S. Klaassen; Oktober 1989
  3. Rotterdam in oorlog en vrede, 1995, Frits Wehrmeijer, Van Geyt productions, blz. 8,9
  4. Rotterdamsch nieuwsblad, 15 Mei 1940, blz. 5,6
  5. Rotterdamsch nieuwsblad, 17 Mei 1940, blz. 5,6
  6. Rotterdamsch nieuwsblad, 16 Mei 1940, blz. 2
  7. Rotterdam door de tijd, deel 2, Blijdorp, Bergpolder en het Liskwartier; A. Tak, H.A. Voet, 2002
  8. From interviews (old) occupants Liskwartier

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