Urk was liberated on April 17, 1945, more than two weeks before the capitulation of Germany.
Precursors of liberation
On Saturday, April 14, the phone links with the mainland were severed. The Germans who were still present in Urk had started to make preparations to leave. On Sunday, April 15, they sunk two ships in order to block the lock. As they left the Bethel church on that Sunday morning, church-goers saw Germans lugging bedding from the church parsonage. That afternoon these Germans left on two ships, while two other Waffen ships were left behind in the port.
That night explosions were heard as a crane was sunk to block the Urk harbor. The next morning, on April 16, the last Germans left the island via the dike. There was still no road to and from Urk; this was finally made in 1948. On that Monday evening, the last Waffen Ships left the Urk port: Urk was neither occupied nor completely isolated and freed. The lone Urk land guard tried to escape through the dike, but was rebuffed. Collaborator Mayor Landman tried to run away in a punt, but he too was stopped. On the night of April 17/18 the Interior Forces came into action and picked up a few collaborators who had initially been brought into the polder by boat.
On Wednesday April 18, the first flags were displayed on the houses of Urk. People took to the streets and everyone was elated. That afternoon there was a massive participation as the Urk population came together to sing at the port. Liberation Songs, poems already written in September, were sung in full. The first thanksgiving service was held that evening.
The next day, Thursday, April 19, brought a nasty aftertaste into the memories of the citizens of Urk. The girls who had had intercourse with a German during the war were picked up and brought to the town hall. Here they were shaved bald in front of a great crowd of citizens. In the middle of these festivities shots were accidentally fired and two young men lost their lives. As in the rest of the Netherlands, the situation in Urk at the liberation was rather chaotic. Urkers who were merely suspected of being enemy contacts and of reporting to the collaborators were arrested. After Liberation the collaborators , including guards from Urk were interned in a camp near Emmeloord, where they were subjected to a rigorous discipline.