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CROSSINGS 1944-1945

In the autumn of 1944, the south of the Netherlands was liberated by the British, American, Canadian and Polish armies. As a result, from 6 November 1944, the Biesbosch came to lie between the lines of the Germans and the Allies. From this period onwards, the "line-crossers" maintained a connection between liberated and occupied territory.  This group was part of the larger resistance group Albrecht.

People, goods, information and medicines (especially insulin) were transported over two different routes. In total about 374 crossings were made. They were mainly military courier roads, but Jews and stranded pilots could also find their way to the liberated Netherlands. Although it is known how many crossings have been made, it is not known how many people have been transferred. One of them was General John Hackett, who was seriously wounded in Arnhem but survived an operation and managed to escape via this crossing route. 

​The first route ran from Werkendam to Drimmelen: this first went over land, then by canoe over the Steurgat, along the polder Pauluszand to the island of Middelste Jannezand and then along the Biesbosch side onto the Amer. There was a basket opposite restaurant 't Voske and opposite the harbor of Drimmelen to indicate when to cross. The basket was hoisted further when crossers arrived.

The second route ran from the Sliedrecht harbour via the Helsluis over the Nieuwe Merwede, then along the Brabantse Biesbosch to cross the Amer to Lage Zwaluwe.

The routes were 13 to 18 km long, although sometimes a detour had to be made. It took them at least five hours, often a whole night. Rowing was done in canoes and small boats, sometimes with a silent electric motor, usually at night and especially not with a full moon. Sometimes they were chased by German storm boats. By the end of the war, crossings were being made almost daily.

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