The Return of a Hero

Sometimes, because of my criticism of my fellow Dutchmen and women, I do forget that there were a great number of heroes too. Men and women who risked their lives to speak out against the Nazi regime and help others in need. The last few days, I have tried to get a bit of a balance. This post is about another one of those heroes.

Dean Jozef Teulings was already negative about National Socialism in the 1930s, and he remained so during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. In his sermons, he advised his parishioners to try to get out of compulsory labour. On 22 April 1942, Teulings was arrested by the SD because he had taken propaganda posters for the Youth Storm, the Dutch equivalent of the Hitler Youth, off the wall of a school.

The arrest was photographed from the window of the rectory

On 28 April 1942, the Sicherheitsdienst arrested Teulings. He was sent to Dachau Concentration Camp and imprisoned for three years. In the camp, he celebrated his twenty-fifth year of priesthood in the presence of a large audience of other interned priests.

In August 1944, his Nijmegen parish received the last sign of life.

After the liberation, on 5 May 1945, Chaplain Schellekens, Chaplain Wim van Helden and border guard officer Van der Krabben decided to travel to Dachau to see if they could find Dean Teulings and also Rector Rooyackers from Den Bosch. They arranged for a car, papers, materials and petrol and arrived in Dachau after the two-day journey.

The Allies did not allow them entrance to the camp because of typhus. The next day they manage to enter. They came across a French priest who told them he had seen Dean Teulings that morning. They also meet a Dutch resistance fighter named Pim Boellaard.

When they pass Barrack 20, to their amazement, they encountered—a seriously weakened but still mentally strong—Dean Teulings, who they manage to smuggle out with a ruse, together with Pim Boellard and Rector Rooyackers. On Sunday, 13 May 1945, around seven o’clock in the evening, the message arrived in Nijmegen that Dean had returned to town.

He was welcomed home festively in his church on Groenestraat in the Hazenkamp district of Nijmegen. Still wearing his prison uniform, he climbed onto the pulpit and addressed the parishioners.

sources

https://www.75jaarvrijheid.nl/artikel/2277920/katholiek-verzet-in-nijmegen

https://www.75jaarvrijheid.nl/artikel/2277920/katholiek-verzet-in-nijmegen

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