Hans Kuik was born on 19 November 1926. Together with his older brother, Bert, he witnessed the attack on and occupation of the Netherlands by German forces in May 1940. Both decided to join an underground resistance group called the ‘Rolls Royce Club’.
In the Second World War the Kuik brothers were couriers and provided people in hiding with food, medicine and other supplies. The brothers also gathered information to help the resistance movement. During Operation Market Garden, Hans and Bert assisted wounded British soldiers in Arnhem at the Saint Elisabeth Hospital. After the fighting was over and the city was full of German troops, they helped various British soldiers to escape from the hospital.
On 3 November 1944 the hospital was evacuated. Bert and Hans swapped their civilian clothing with the uniforms of two soldiers so that the soldiers might escape. Unfortunately the brothers were spotted on the street with parts of the British uniforms and were arrested. They were brought to the German ‘Golflinks’ barracks on Apeldoornseweg at Arnhem. At this spot various people had been assembled for interrogation. Bert and Hans managed to escape but were caught again. On the same day they were brought to the area of the Rosendaelsche Golf Club, where Friedrich August Enkelstroth, a German member of the Security Police, shot both of them.
After the war Enkelstroth was convicted for the murder of four civilians and the torture of twelve others. He was sentenced to death but in the end only served twelve years in prison.
Operation Market Garden managed to liberate a large part of the Netherlands, but failed in its main objective: outmaneuvering the Germans with a surprise crossing of the Rhine. The Nijmegen-Groesbeek area, conquered during Market Garden, remained in Allied hands and served as a springboard for the successful Rhineland Offensive in February 1945.
The Battle of Arnhem, the biggest airborne landing operation of the Second World War, took place in and around Arnhem in September 1944. It formed part of Operation Market Garden. The goal of the Operation was for Polish, British and American airborne forces to capture the important bridges across the Dutch rivers so that ground troops could advance via these bridges. But the Operation failed…
The Museum shows the course of events during the Battle of Arnhem. This took place in September 1944 in the area between Ede and Arnhem and formed part of the Operation Market Garden. British, American and Polish airborne troops were to take control of the river bridges from the Belgian border to Arnhem.
The Airborne monument in Arnhem is a damaged pillar from the former Palace of Justice placed on a pedestal. The pillar stands as a memorial to the memories of death but also of victory and life. The text on the pillar reads: ’17 SEPTEMBER 1944′. There are two reliefs next to the monument, one of the Pegasus Airborne Symbol and the other with the text: “Battle of Arnhem 44, Bridge to the future 94”.
The Bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem was the last bridge that needed to be captured during Operation Market Garden. If the Allies could capture this bridge the road to Germany would lay open. The task of capturing the Rhine Bridge fell to the British 1st Airborne Division.