Memorial plaque for Werner Lucas

  • Presentation
  • 18 April - 21 May 2023
  • On display in the Papegang
  • Listen to the podcast The Pilots' Grave (in Dutch)

How to deal with fraught heritage? On 24 October 1943, Nazi fighter pilot Werner Lucas crashed at Hooigracht in Leiden. Besides the experienced 26-year-old pilot of the German Luftwaffe - who crashed right next to the crowded Sint Elisabeth hospital - there were no casualties.

Ten years later, a memorial stone was commissioned by the Franciscan Sisters of the adjacent hospital. Since the sisters lived by a strict rule of Christian charity, it made no difference that this was a Nazi pilot.

After World War II, hardly any memorials were erected in the Netherlands in memory of German soldiers. That is why this stone is special, but also fraught. The stone disappeared in 1972 or 1973 after the relocation of the hospital. Last year, podcast maker Pim van der Heiden managed to track down the stone. In the Dutch podcast The Pilots' Grave, he explores how the stone can be given a proper permanent place in the city 80 years after the crash.