First artillery fire, 09/23/44
A shell explodes in the village between the houses of Hamacher and Bartz, several shells in the courtyard of the castle. Windows and walls damaged.
Artillery fire on 09/27 – 09-28/44
Shells hit a meadow at the city limits near Ignatz Hourtz’. Windows and a small wooden shack are destroyed.
Artillery fire on 10/7/44 into the nearby fields
Aunt Traudchen (Gertrude) was out there with her horse to work on the fields. The women had to work there along with the Polish forced laborers because all capable men had been called up for the Wehrmacht. The horse balked and bolted because of the artillery fire. Aunt Traudchen was run over by a wheel of the carriage. She suffered inner bleedings that were so heavy that she died only little later.
Artillery fire and bombs on 11/16/44
Direct artillery fire and bombs are dropped on Merode and the surrounding villages. Disastrous damage. Dead and wounded among the civilians. Severe damage also among the livestock.
Artillery fire on 11/16 – 11/17/44
Hits in the village and the castle.
Artillery fire on 11/17/44
Hits in the village. A plane crashes into house Schieren. The debris of the house keeps burning for days.
Artillery fire on 11/17 – 11/18/44
Hits in the courtyard of the castle. Trees and grandmother’s house are damaged by shells.
Bombardment on 11/18/44
Three bombs dropped right at the castle. Basement, crowded with soldiers and civilians, holds! Damages: Parts of the castle completely destroyed, including the chapel. The dead of 11/16/44 who had been bier up in there are completely buried under the rubble.
Artillery fire on 11/18 – 11/20/44
Hits in the village.
Artillery fire on 11/20 – 11/21/44
Hits in the village, houses destroyed.
Artillery fire on 11/21 – 11/22/44
First time that artillery keeps pounding us for a long time. Hits in the village.
Uncle Willi from Düsseldorf wrote us I January 1945 that grandmother, 86 years old, left Merode together with Aunt Maria, the relatives, and the neighbors (Fußberger family) on 12/1/44 on a horse-drawn wagon. They found shelter in Uckerath/Sieg. In letters addressed to the parents in sibling in Bösinghoven near Neuß, Aunt Maria tells the story of the horrible events in Merode until 12/1/44.
A grenade splinter kills Aunt Maria in March 1945 in Knippgierscheid. It was the first shot the advancing Americans had fired!
In 1947 a typhus epidemic erupts in the Düren lands. Among others aunt Luise is stricken by it. She dies of that disease in the Düren hospital on 10/7/47.