On Sunday the 12th of May 1940, 55.000 citizens of Breda suddenly had to evacuate. Mayor Van Slobbe commanded this exodus by order of the French army that prepared for a fierce battle with the German troops. Originally the plan was to accommodate the citizens in surrounding villages, keeping them away from the battleground. This well-prepared evacuation ended in chaos and the citizens of Breda found themselves all over Europe, some even in northern Spain! In the end the evacuation was not even necessary; Breda was taken by the German army without a single gunshot being fired.