ORANJESTAD — The Monument Fund Aruba (SMFA) has worked together with the Culture Generation Foundation from the Netherlands on a project about the Second World War and the theme of freedom. In the Eagle neighborhood, there will be a route that will highlight the attack on De Arend Petroleum Company, known as ‘Eagle Refinery’ by a German submarine, on February 16, exactly eighty years ago. For this, SMFA has received a subsidy of 99,000 euros from the Veterans Fund (Vfonds).
A group of students who did their minor in Aruba in 2018 came up with the idea of making a ‘ruta di luz’ for the Eagle district. This provides information about the history, lighting, and the most crucial parts of the district where the refinery was located, in which six different locations have been selected. The headquarters of the refinery is a protected monument and one of the locations, also there was a wharf, the main pier, a secondary pier, the location where the torpedo was launched, and the compound, where the employee housing was constructed.
Three students from Hogeschool Rotterdam and SUS Ateliers are currently working out the plans further, after which the Monument Fund decides which parts of the plan can be realized in the short term. The aim is to give attention to the history of the district and also to make it an attraction, which is interesting for both tourists and local people.
“Not many people are currently aware of the history of the area, the Monument Fund writes. “It’s not just the involvement in World War II, but also that there was a refinery that gave the neighborhood its name.” The Monument Fund considers it crucial to bring this history back and to highlight the principal role of the neighborhood in the history of Aruba.
In 1928, a second refinery in Aruba was entrenched by Royal Dutch Shell and it remained until 1953. Just like the other refinery in the Colony, a separate neighborhood was built with employee housing, its hospital, and recreational facilities for employees and their families. Two piers have also been constructed. During World War II, both refineries played a crucial role in producing fuel for the Allies. Therefore, they were a target for the enemy and German submarines launched torpedoes there to sabotage this. After the closure of the refinery, parts of the pier were still visible until the 1970s, when it was decided to dismantle it.
Wednesday’s Amigoe published the article ‘Aruba in World War II – Nazi Germany Attacks Aruba’ (2), which describes how the German submarine U-156 attacked the ship Arkansas on February 16, which was docked at the pier at the Eagle Refinery.