On this location the rails of the Duits Lijntje are no longer present. But the former signal man’s house is still there. Watchpost 22 was built near the crossing with the busy road from Veghel to Uden which then led via the Nieuwe Veldenweg. Over the years countless passengers travelled by rail here. That wasn’t always voluntary.
During World War II several inhabitants of Mariaheide saw a train full of prisoners passing by. One resident of the Achterhei (near here) describes: ‘We had to wait for the train. When it passed I saw the cattle carriages, chock-full with people. I can still see the fear on those faces. It impressed me a lot then.’
This train carried prisoners from Camp Vught. In September 1944 the concentration camp was evacuated in great haste by the occupants now that the allied troops were advancing. The mostly political prisoners were transported to Germany. On 5 September 1944 two thousand men were transported to Sachsenhausen via the Duits Lijntje.
One of the prisoners who was locked up in that particular train for days was Andries Mauer. He talked about it after the war. How they squeezed in 80 people in one animal carriage. The yelling, kicking and beating. The lack of fresh air, food and drinks and means to relief yourself. The shots that sounded in the other carriages. The unbearable temperature. The fainting fellow prisoners. After the war another survivor wrote about the hope that the transport would be sabotaged. “With lots of fits and starts we got on our way and each time we stood still again we thought the resistance had blown up the railway track, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.”
The resistance had indeed planned a rescue operation. Near Mariaheide the prisoners were to be freed from the train and taken to a safe place from there. However, the operation had to be cancelled. The transport was too big. There were 2000 prisoners on board instead of the expected 500. Despite the attempts to sabotage the railway, the transport could reach Germany. A lot of the men on board the train didn’t survive the war.
(Book: "Klein in een Wereldoorlog - Mariaheide 75 jaar bevrijd")