The Re-Burial of Hannie Schaft

There were very few Dutch who defied the Nazi occupiers, this is not to judge, because I was never put in that situation and I just wouldn’t know what I would have done. But it is a fact that there were only a few who offered resistance.

Hannie Schaft was one of those few. Born Jannetje Johanna (Jo) Schaft on 16 September 1920. She became known as “the girl with the red hair” (Dutch: het meisje met het rode haar). Her secret name in the resistance movement was “Hannie.”

On 1 March 1945, NSB police officer Willem Zirkzee was executed by Hannie Schaft and her friend Truus Oversteegen, in Haarlem. On 15 March they wounded Ko Langendijk, a hairdresser from IJmuiden who worked for the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), a Nazi intelligence agency.

Hannie was eventually arrested at a military checkpoint in Haarlem on 21 March 1945 while distributing the illegal communist newspaper de Waarheid (literally ‘The Truth’), which was a cover story. She was transporting secret documentation for the Resistance. She worked closely with Anna A.C. Wijnhoff. She was brought to a prison in Amsterdam. After much interrogation, torture, and solitary confinement, Schaft was identified by her former colleague Anna Wijnhoff, by the roots of her red hair.

She was executed by Dutch Nazi officials on 17 April 1945. Although there had been an agreement between the occupier and the Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten (‘Dutch resistance’) to stop executions, she was shot dead three weeks before the end of the war in the dunes of Overveen, near Bloemendaal. Two men, Mattheus Schmitz and Maarten Kuiper, a Dutch policeman, took her to the execution site. Schmitz shot her in the head at close range. However, the bullet only grazed Schaft. She is said to have allegedly told her executioners: Ik schiet beter! (“I shoot better!) after which Kuiper delivered a final shot to her head. Kuiper was sentenced to death after the war.

Hannie was buried in a shallow grave in the dunes. On 27 November 1945, Schaft was reburied in a state funeral at the Dutch Honorary Cemetery Bloemendaal. Members of the Dutch government and royal family attended, including Queen Wilhelmina who called Schaft “the symbol of the Resistance.”

sources

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/21465/hannie-schaft

https://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/3571/Hannie-Schaft-Memorial.htm

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