Shots fired at the Sportpaleis

During WWII, the German occupation was very much aware that Merksem had an Olympic size ice rink that could host up to 20.000 spectators. To boost the moral of the German troops stationed in Belgium during the war, they organised two major German manifestations. The first event took place on January 3rd, 1942. A crowd of over 15.000 watched a spectacular performance of the Austrian ice dancing couple (brother and sister) Ilse and Paul Pausin. As a closing act the crowd was presented a hockey match between Mannheim and Düsseldorf (6 - 4). This turned out to be such a huge success that the German Supreme Command decided to repeat these events during the Easter weekend of 1944. All German top figure skaters gave their best with top of the bill champion major Horst Faber (of the pencil crayon concern).

Never the less, the main dish consisted of an ice hockey match between the two German elite teams; Rotweiss Berlin and the Berliner Schlittschuclub. At Eastern Saturday the numerous spectators witnessed a game between to equally skilled adversaries that kept a brotherly 10 - 10 as the final score.

The 20.000 spectators that witnessed the second day of this "festivity" would remember this day vividly for the rest of their lives.
In the honorary gallery the cream of Germany was seated, among them a lot of Generals and officials of the German political party to enjoy the skills of their star player Fritz Feistritzer, when all of the sudden shots were fired from the common stands. Members of the resistance had fired several rounds at the honorary gallery. The game was immediately stopped at a 4 - 4 tie.
Everybody, player or Antwerp spectator was body searched. It obviously took them hours to deal with this, but eventually the responsible members of the resistance were captured and sent to the Breendonk prison camp. Never to be heard from again.

Posted on September 1, 2013 at 02:31 by OVB