The villa were the Eyewitness Museum is housed was erected in 1920 and was used by the town’s mayor. When the Second World War started for the Netherlands with Fall Gelb on the 10th of May in 1940 the town of Beek came under German jurisdiction. In 1941 the mayor of Beek resigned his function, he didn’t agree with the demands the Germans asked of him. After his resignation the family van Sonsbeeck stayed in their villa. They stayed in this residence until 1944 until they decided to go into hiding, this action kept them alive and the mayor and his family survived the war. After the mayor left his villa the house was seized by the German army, staff of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich and 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen had their office in the villa.
The Eyewitness Museum
August Siegel will be your tour guide in the museum, he will tell you a story based on true events and leads you through the museum passing 150 life like and fully uniformed mannequins. August is a feature of the museum. The museum has unique personal items which once belonged to soldiers from both sides of the battlefield. You can start the tour with a small movie, mostly images and film fragments, without explanation when or what you are looking at. If you know the big picture of the war you have idea of what you are looking at but you need some background information before you can make these assumptions.
Outside, in the museums yard, are two anti tank guns, a German Pak 40 and an American M1 57mm anti tank gun and a M24 Chaffee light tank. The M1 US anti tank gun is based on the English Ordnance QF 6 pounder. This quick firing anti tank guns was taken into the United States Army, even made in the U.S. and it replaced the 37mm gun in most units.
You can find the museum at the Maastrichterlaan 45 in the town of Beek, in the southern province of Limburg in the Netherlands. There are some parking spaces behind the building if you come by car. A visit to the museum will take about 2 hours of your time.