Nurse Rie Bloem the `Florence Nightingale┬┤ of Boxmeer

Nurse Rie Bloem, "The Florence Nightingale' of Boxmeer (Nb)
Maria Adriana Anna Bloem - Rie- was born in Monnickendam (Nh) on Sunday, March 17th, 1912.
She was the oldest of eleven children in the family of anchovies saltier Johannes Gerardus Bloem and Maria Cornelia Kramer.
In 1935 she received at St. John's hospital in Hoorn (Nh) her nursing degree in 1936 and a diploma maternity nurse in Heerlen (Lim)
There was still a House call visiting T.B.C. patients (tuberculoses) added in Amsterdam in 1937.
After two years working in Monnickendam for `White Cross', left unmarried Rie Bloem, at a invitation of Dr. GP. Th. G. J. Horbach, by January 1, 1941 for a position in Boxmeer (Nb).
Because there were many patients with tuberculosis in that area, he wanted to set up an organization with clinics, community care and TB control, Rie was perfect for the job.
A visiting at the district of `White and Yellow Cross, she became the face of this public health organization in the region.

From July 1, 1944 Rie wrote her experiences in an office calendar, slash diary.
Was it mainly for its medical activities in the beginning, work and family issues, also gradually followed notes about military operations in its region, the eastern part of North Brabant.
Rie was on Saturday, October 21 assist in the evacuation of people severely affected and nearly destroyed Venray (Lim)
On Sunday October 22, she was back in Venray, to assist in the evacuation of the last patients from the air raid shelter of the St. Servatius Institute.
On Monday, 23 October kept her diary blank!
On Tuesday, 24 October, penciled in the diary, presumably a note from her landlady: `This afternoon received the message, Rie had an accident in Venray'.

Her last day
Half a year later, a report drawn up by the military polic, It says what happened on Monday, October 23, 1944.
Accompanied by Chaplain William August Henri Hubert Olieslagers in Venray, the Dutch sergeant and interpreter Arnold Cornelis van Voorst van Beest, also known as "Cocky" is nurse Bloem that day been at the farm of Gerardus Goumans at the Smakterweg 7.
(At that time a rural agricultural area, now an industrial estate.)
The three were in a jeep on the way to a seriously wounded, dying woman, not far from there in the Spurkt, the outskirts of Venray.

After a brief conversation with farmer Goumans they are, through a fairly open terrain, driving in the direction of a British military stand.

To tell what happened afterwards is not covered with 100% certainty.
It may be that they are driven on a of those landmines, or when leaving the vehicle, because of German shellfire, have stepped on some of those landmines.
Namely the Germans had placed many of these landmines in that area of Venray.
However, they can also hit by shrapnel, because there were shots be fired regularly in that area.
It is certain that Rie, the chaplain and of the sergeant at Monday October 23, around four o'clock, not far from the Smakterweg, perished in the northern part of Venray.
British soldiers found their bodies and because of the danger of war was made locally an emergency grave and buried the three in it.
On the grave a simple wooden cross was applied, showing the date and the names of those who perished.

In the summer of 1945, the mortal remains of Rie transferred to Monnickendam, after which she was reburied in the cemetery R.K.

Florence Nightingale Medal
On July 18, 1947, the father of Rie Bloem received from the hands of Princess Juliana of the Florence Nightingale Medal, which was awarded posthumously to his daughter.
Princess Juliana said on that occasion: `Nurse Bloem distinguished itself in Venray in the course of 1944 by admirable zeal and devotion.
Mortally wounded by shrapnel, she fell when she tried to assist in the burial of a fellow countrywoman.

Street and monument
In the old city of Monnickendam is a street named after her.
That is also the case in Boxmeer, where Rie Bloem is held in memory as the "Florence Nightingale" of Boxmeer.

The war memorials of Monnickendam and Boxmeer is chiseled her name as well.
Nurse Anna Maria Adriana Bloem, a courageous young woman who in the exercise of her profession, was killed during the war. She became 32 years old.

English translation and editing by the
The Ancestor Company
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Thanks to various archive institutions for making certain images and facts available.
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