Westwall: the Siegfried line

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afbeelding van P Geertsma

Westwall was de benaming van de Duitse verdedigingswerken aan de westkant van het Duitsland. De Westwall werd door vele arbeiders gebouwd tussen 1936 en 1945. de bouw van de Westwall gebeurde in opdracht van de Duitse dictator Adolf Hitler. De organisatie Todt die onder leiding stond van Fritz Todt werd verantwoordelijk gesteld voor de uitvoer van de plannen om de Westwall te maken. Uiteindelijk zou de Westwall 630 km lang worden. De Westwall liep van de Duitse stad Kleef tot de Zwitserse grens. Het was de laatste linie voordat men Duitsland zou binnentrekken. De geallieerden noemden de Westwall ook wel de Siegfriedlinie of Siegfried line. In 1945 trokken de geallieerde troepen tijdens zware veldslagen door de Westwall heen. Ze hadden in hun ogen de Siegfried line bedwongen. Voordat het zover was zongen de Engelstalige geallieerden vaak spottend het liedje: 'hang out my washing on the Siegfried Line'. Hieronder volgt de tekst van dit vrij bekende oorlogslied.

We're gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried line
Have you any dirty washing, mother dear?
We're gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried line
‘Cause the washing day is here.

Whether the weather may be wet or fine
We'll just ride along without a care
We're gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried line
If that Siegfried line's still there*

Mother dear, I'm writing you from somewhere in France
Hoping this finds you well.
Sergeant says I'm doing fine - a soldier and a half
Here's a song that we all sing
This'll make you laugh...

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