The Henneike Column was a Group of more than 50 people, under the leadership of Willem Christiaan Heinrich Henneicke, which was specialised in hunting down Jews.
Jewish people that were trying to hide or were violating one of the many anti-Jewish regulations could fall in the hands of one of the members of this Column. The person who made the arrest and brought the prisoner to the SD or the police could receive a reward of Fl. 7,50 for each person, ‘head-money’.
It was part of the Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung, Abteilung Hausraterfassung. A department responsible for emptying the homes of the Jewish families after they were deported to the camps. The group started it’s work in march 1943 and was disbanded on 1st October 1943. During this period they were responsible for the arrest of about 8.500 people.
In March 1943 it was decided by the Germans that, based on the fact that a lot of Jews (estimated 25.000 people) were hiding from arrest and deportation;
Within every police-department specialised personnel was assigned to hunt down Jews in hiding
For each Jew arrested a reward was given to the person who had made the arrest of Fl. 7,50, when the person arrested was found guilty of violating one of the many anti-Jewish regulations this reward was raised, often doubled.
Willem Christiaan Heinrich Henneicke was born on 19th of March 1909 in Amsterdam, as the oldest child of Heinrich Wilhelm August Carl Henneicke and Sieuwertje Bentvelzen. They had 6 children of which Willem was the only son. Willem’s father was born in Oldendorf, Germany. Willem himself was married three times. His last marriage was in 1940.
Before the war he had a lot of different jobs, among them as a taxi-driver, and he was known to have close connections to several criminals from the Amsterdam underworld, among them Dries Riphagen and Willem Briedé. Already before he came in charge of the Henneicke Column he worked in Amsterdam for the SD (Sicherheits Dienst) as a member of the Zentralstelle, as can be concluded from the policereport from November 1942 about the arrest of Rachel Lobe.
The group arrested and “delivered” to the Nazi authorities 8,000-9,000 Jews. Most of them were deported to Westerbork concentration camp and later shipped to and murdered in Sobibor and other German extermination camps.
The bounty paid to Henneicke Column members for each captured Jew was 7.50 guilders.(the equivalent nowadays would be €47.50 or $49)The group, consisting of 18 core members, ended its work and was disbanded on October 1, 1943. However, the Column’s leaders continued working for Hausraterfassungsstelle (Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration), tracking down hidden Jewish property.
The receipt on the top of this article shows a receipt for 5 captured Jews, total paid out was 37.50 guilders.
On the 8th of December 1944, 9 o’clock in the morning, Willem was killed by two members of the resistance who shot him in the head with a pistol, near his home in the Linnaeusparkweg in Amsterdam. He just started off to go to his work, on bike and he was shot by someone driving passed him, on bike.
Another leading member of the Henneike Column,Willem Briedé,escaped the country and settled in Germany. In 1949 he was tried by a Dutch court in absentia and received the death penalty. The sentence was never carried out; Briedé died of natural causes in Germany in January 1962.
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