Not too Far Away

Yesterday marked the 6o year anniversary of Germany’s surrender in May of 1945 in Rheims, France. Unknown to many locals, is that the unconditional surrender was practically sealed a few days earlier on May 4th, in a small village near L√ľneburg called Wendisch Evern. This is literally a 20 minute bike ride from my front door.

I tried to find info about it in English but didn’t come up with much other than a geocaching page here. Since the text is a bit hard to find on that page, I included it below. It is actually a translation from this page which has some pictures of a memorial near the spot where the surrender took place. Some pictures of Hans Georg von Friedeburg and Bernard Montgomery are available here.

More by a coincidental thought from the English field marshal Montgomery as from military considerations, it was Wendisch Evern where the end of the Second World War was sealed practically. The details are to reread in:

Pless, Helmut C: Lueneburg 45, Lueneburg, 1982 (publishing house of the local newspaper)

The British armed forces had already occupied a passage up to the Baltic Sea. For instance from Wismar to Doemitz at the Elbe a front had developed against the advancing Russians and from Luebeck to Hamburg a front against the German armed forces.

The commander Montgomery had pitched his headquarters, after capturing Lueneburg on April, 18 1945, first on a farm in Oedeme. On April, 30 he shifted it to Haecklingen. There on May 3, the German negotiation delegation (under the guidance of the general admiral v. Friedeburg assigned by Hitler successor) arrives.

General admiral v. Friedeburg offers the delivery of the three German armies, which operate in the area. Montgomery demands the unconditional surrender of all German troops in Holland, Northwest Germany and Denmark, otherwise the war was continued. He sets a date up to the next evening.

Montgomery is sure that the Germans would submit.

Always on keeping of the English prestige and its personal publicity mindfully, he meets instructions for direction for the framework of the surrender act necessary according to his opinion: He selects the hill between Deutsch- and Wendisch Evern to be the place of the surrender conclusion. In a press conference on 4 May at 5 p.m. he informs the journalists of newspapers and broadcast about the forthcoming event. He requests them to be witnesses of the historical ceremony. (Pless)

At 6 p.m. the German delegation arrives and signs the document, which seals the unconditional surrender. The surrender enters into force on May, 5 in the morning at 8 a.m.. The “Timeloberg” was called later “Victory Hill” by the Englishmen. Montgomery decided to raise a memorial stone with a bronze plate set up there:

“HERE, ON 4TH MAY 1945, A DELEGATION FROM THE GERMAN HIGH COMMAND SURRENDERED UNCONDITIONALLY TO FIELD-MARSHAL MONTGOMERY ALL LAND, SEA AND AIR FORCES IN NORTH-WEST GERMANY, DENMARK AND HOLLAND”

Because the bronze plate was stolen, and because the monument did not appear protected sufficiently to the Englishmen, several men from Wendisch Evern had to keep watch on the Timeloberg. Even the mayor at that time Karl Basse was hold responsible. 1958 Montgomery shifted the monument to the area of the Royal Military college in Sandhurst.

Today a simple stone reminds of the actual end of the Second World War in Wendisch Evern. 1995 the monument was established at the end of the dirt road to the Timeloberg. The stone is located some hundred meters far away from the place, in which Montgomery 1945 received the surrender. The exact place lies in a training area (inaccessible) of the german armed forces. It is not to be recognized in the area no more.