A Small Light

I finished watching A Small Light last night. It’s on National Geographic and Disney+. It follows the heroic story of Miep Gies and her husband Jan Giesm and others, who risked their lives to shelter Anne Frank’s family from the Nazis for more than two years during World War II.

I highly recommend A Small Light because it gives a different perspective on the Anne Frank story. However, I did have a few observations—not much criticism—but observances.

The actress Bel Powley who plays Miep Gies, starred in a movie a few years ago titled The Diary of a Teenage Girl I suppose you can all see a connection here—I often think that this is the type of diary Anne Frank would have written if the Nazis hadn’t occupied the Netherlands. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is about a 15-year-old girl who becomes sexually active. It might sound odd, but this is something that denied to Anne.

Another observation was one of the last scenes in A Small Light where Miep Gies confronted Karl Josef Silberbauer, the Gestapo officer who was in charge of the raid on the annexe. It appeared that he was slightly reluctant to arrest the Frank family and the others.

On 4 August 1944, Silberbauer was ordered by his superior, SS-Obersturmführer (Lieutenant) Julius Dettmann, to investigate a tip-off that Jews were being hidden in the upstairs rooms at 263 Prinsengracht. He took a few Dutch policemen with him and interrogated Victor Kugler about the entrance to the hiding place. Miep Gies and Johannes Kleiman were also questioned, and while Kugler and Kleiman were arrested and the young secretary Bep Voskuijl managed to escape with documents that would have incriminated the black market of the Secret Annex protectors, Gies was allowed to stay on the premises. She later surmised this was because she recognized and connected with Silberbauer’s Viennese accent.

I am not sure if he was reluctant, All that I have read of him is that he was an ardent Nazi.

Another observation made me think, and this is something I have mentioned before, that maybe the people in the annexe weren’t necessarily betrayed by a person, but perhaps by a noise they may have made themselves. August can be a hot month in Amsterdam, and they did have the windows open from time to time. The drama shows that, especially the younger ones in the annexe, could be rowdy sometimes.

All of this doesn’t matter because the bottom line is none of these people should have had to hide. To should have been allowed to lead their lives like any other human being, because that is what they were, human beings. Anne Frank’s story is a chilling reminder though on how truly evil and deplorable the Nazi ideology was.






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.




The Fellowship of Courage

Usually, when I start a piece with a photo of a Jewish child, it is followed by the tragic story of that child’s short life and death. However, that is not the case this time.

In November 1943, the occupying Nazi regime in the Netherlands raided a guest house. They found a small Jewish girl, three-year-old Miriam Dasberg, the daughter of Rabbi Nathan Dasberg. Miriam had been kept in hiding there, safe from the Nazis. The young girl had been found and was to be deported to the concentration camps, where she would have been murdered.

However, another young person would be one of her saviours. Seventeen-year-old Hein Korpershoek was already a member of the Dutch Resistance. Now he was asked by a friend to rescue the little Jewish girl. The friend was Ans van Dam. She was a Jewish medical student from Hilversum who was part of a resistance group consisting of nurses and students, Jewish and non-Jewish.

Ans asked Hein to help her kidnap the child from the guest house. Hein’s friend Wibo Florissen also volunteered to join him and try to get the little girl before the Germans came back.

Hein and his friend Wibo Florissen disguised themselves as members of the Secret Police and abducted young Miriam from the house where she was being held. The two young men were frightened throughout the operation, but it ended in success when they handed Miriam off to Ans van Dam. He then hid the girl in another secret location. Two weeks later, Ans was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. She survived and later immigrated to Israel.

Miriam ended up in the South of the Netherlands, in the village of Swolgen near Tienray. She was placed by Hanna van der Voort and Nico Dohmen in the home of Leonardus Jacobus Nabben and his wife Maria Gertrudis Vermeulen-Nabben.

Hanna van de Voort, also known as Tante Hanna, was a Dutch resistance fighter during World War II. During the war years, together with Nico Dohmen and Kurt Löwenstein, she placed more than a hundred Jewish children with many foster families in North Limburg and saved them from deportation to the camps.

Miriam and her brother Lex both survived the war.

On 10 May 1995, Miriam Dasberg accompanied by her brother Lex, came to Swolgen for the first time in 50 years to meet her diving-time brothers and visit the Hanna monument, in honour of Hanna van der Voort, in Tienray.

There was a fellowship of at least seven brave and courageous souls who would have faced the death penalty if caught. Yet, they took the risk for a three-year-old who was a stranger to them. It had toyed with the idea of calling this piece The Magnificent Seven, but I think The Fellowship of Courage describes those involved better.

All involved were recognized by Yad Vashem as the Righteous Among the Nations, with the exception of Ans van Dam. It is a pity that Yad Vashem does not recognize the Jewish rescuers and resistant fighters as the Righteous Among the Nations, but I presume they have their reasons.

Many thanks, to Michele Kupfer Yerman, for pointing the story out to me.





Reintje Kosmis. Villain?

Now I will not say if I believe Reintje Kosmis was a villain [or not], but I will leave it up to you to decide. I always try to be as non-judgmental as possible in cases like this.

Reintje Kosmis was born 9 May 1900 in Emmen, the Netherlands.

Survival or betrayal is a diabolical dilemma in times of war. Writer and researcher Paul van de Water wrote a book about more than fifty women in the Netherlands and Flanders who were wrong during the Nazi occupation. One of them was Reintje Kosmis. During World War II she walked the fine line between right and wrong.

Reintje Kosmis had a tough childhood. She was born in Weerdingerveen, close to Emmen. Her father was rarely home. As an inland skipper, he was always on the go. She had a brother and two sisters, but we do not know if she got along well with them is not known.

Things were not going well at school. Kosmis was, to put it mildly, not too bright. She was 12 years old when her parents decided to divorce. Her father and his son, Reintje, left for Amsterdam, and she remained in Drenthe with her mother and two sisters. There had to be food on the table, so the young Kosmis had to get to work immediately. Later they move to Odoorn, where her mother’s new husband resided.

“And there she was guilty of theft,” according to writer Van de Water. Arrested—her punishment was prison for six months. She spent four months behind bars, but her reputation was now known as a thief in Odoorn and the surrounding area.

She decided to leave Drenthe, and head for Amsterdam, where she met her future husband. They were married, but after a few years, she divorced. The new relationship proved difficult and also ended in a divorce. Just before the German occupation, she met Salomon Jacobs, a well-to-do Jewish man. They married in May 1941 and relocated to Groningen.

Salomon Jacobs had previously been married to Adriana van Kralingen. They were divorced on 13 February 1935 in The Hague, when the persecution of the Jews also began. Jacobs was arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where the Nazis murdered him on 31 May 1944. Kosmis was left alone in the house as impoverished as her early years. To earn money to put food on the table, she rented rooms and looked for hiding places for Jews.

She’s betrayed, arrested and thrown into prison. There, she’s told, “You can be released, but we want something in return.” Indeed, Kosmis decided to give something back to the Nazis to be released. She betrayed a transport of Jewish people in hiding. They were all arrested, including their helpers.

Kosmis is released and allowed to go home. In her absence, her home was robbed. She reported the burglary to the police, putting her in contact with Jannes Luitje Keijer. He was a rogue police officer responsible for compiling lists of people considered undesirable. to be handed to the Nazis. He also made lists of places where people were hiding and who helped them.

Kosmis befriends Keijer, and together, they pursue an intimate relationship. In the meantime, the resistance also approached Kosmis. They knew that the police officer was dangerous. The resistance asked Kosmis to get information about Keijer. They killed Jannes Luitje Keijer on 22 April 1944. Whether Kosmis provided the information which led to the murder is not known. However, it’s known that she did go to the head of the Sicherheitspolizei, Robert Lehnhoff.

During a meeting in a hotel, Jacobs-Kosmis informed Lehnhoff that Keijer’s murderer would travel to the West by train the next day.

On the day of the murder, Rijnders, a member of the resistance, had told a friend, Tiba Heeren, that he had met and spoken with Keijer on the train. Heeren passed on this news to her friend Reintje Kosmis, who combined several things. Josef Kindel, a German SD officer and Evert Cornelis Drost, a Dutch SD officer, were instructed to arrest Rijnders, who used the name Iterson, on the train. His papers showed he developed resistance activities in Hilversum and the surrounding area. However, he had nothing to do with the assassination. On the night of 25 April 1944, Lehnhoff, Kindel, Drost and driver Mowinski drove with Rijnders to Ten Boer.

In a quiet place on the Damsterdiep, Lehnhoff shot him from a meter away. On Lehnhoff’s orders, the others present, except for Kindel, also fired at Rijnders. The next day, the local police found his remains near Garmerwolde.

The story of Kosmis wasn’t over yet with the murder of resistance fighter Bernard Rijnders. After Robert Lehnhoff committed the murder, she had an intimate relationship with him. She also continued to rent out rooms. She also scammed Jews by pretending to bring them safely to England.

An example of this is the story of the Wertheim sisters. They had to pay four thousand guilders to Kosmis, who told them she’d get them safely to England. As soon as the sisters arrived in Scheveningen, the Sicherheitsdienst picked them up. Via Westerbork, they arrived in Auschwitz, where, one was murdered, and the other survived. After the war, the surviving sister made a heavily incriminating statement against Kosmis. The double game Kosmis played ended on 8 May 1945, upon her arrest. Six months later, she appeared in court. Not only did Wertheim provide an incriminating statement against her, but also Robert Lehnhoff of the Sicherheitspolizei; the man Kosmis was dating.

The public prosecutor demanded the death penalty, but she received a life sentence instead. Kosmis filed multiple pardon requests; they were all rejected. Her release came 20 years later. Ironically she spent the last years of her life renting out rooms.





Pastor Abraham Rutger Rutgers—Forgotten Hero

I do despair at times when I see how many of my fellow Dutch citizens, were so willing to help the Nazi regime. I know it is easy for me to judge because I was never put in a similar situation. But it is still a puzzle to me that a nation known for its tolerance had so many intolerant citizens.

However, there were also a great number of Dutch men and women who did defy the Nazi occupiers and paid for it with their lives, Pastor Abraham Rutger Rutgers was one of them.

Abraham worked successively as assistant pastor in Düsseldorf in the period 1908-1909. Works as a minister in Tubbergen from 1910, in Lochem 1914-1919, followed by an honourable emeritus status of two years. Later, he worked as a preacher in Usselo in 1921 and Rotterdam during the period from 1932 to 1942. Already his work as a reformed assistant preacher in Düsseldorf (1908-1909), Abraham turned out to have a militant character. His actions against the injustice that some Dutch workers suffered there resulted in his expulsion from Germany. At an early age, Abraham was a convinced anti-militarist, but after a visit to Spain in 1938, he returned to his anti-militarist convictions. As early as 1933, he protested – with other theologians – against the persecution of the Jews in Germany. After the German invasion in May 1940, he fiercely and fearlessly denounced all the injustices of the occupiers from the pulpit. He considered himself called, there and in his catechism, to speak without any restriction and did so. He called Germany a purely imperialist power and Seyss-Inquart a traitor.

Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Reich Commissioner for the Netherlands

On Sunday, September 1, 1940, the day after Queen’s Day, he held a formal Orange (Dutch Royal family are the House of Orange) service, where the entire municipality under his leadership sang the Dutch National anthem with open doors. Fortunately, it ended well. After being called to account several times by the Sicherheitsdienst was arrested on Wednesday, 11 June 1941, after his sermon of Sunday, June 1, 1941 (Whit Monday), and after interrogation in the Oranjehotel in Scheveningen. It was a difficult time for him there. The loneliness, the and uncertainty, the powerlessness drove him to despair. It was only after almost three months that his wife was allowed to visit him for the first time. He stood behind bars like a predator in his cage and burst into tears when he saw his wife, Josephine. Fellow prisoners said that he was of great support to them. After four months of solitary confinement in Scheveningen, he was transferred to camp Amersfoort on Tuesday, October 28, 1941. In Amersfoort, he preached clandestinely on two Sundays. After 14 days, Abraham went to the Dachau Concentration Camp, where he arrived on Friday, 28 November 1941.

On 2 April 1942, they tortured him to death in Dachau.

His resistance wasn’t by using violence or weapons but by using words, uttering his opinion. His words were deemed offensive, even offensive enough to be tortured to death. Let this be a warning.




Remembering Two Dutch Heroes

An estimated 1,800 Dutch citizens attempted to escape to England during World War II. The majority chose to travel via neighbouring countries, while a minority went straight across the North Sea. Many different vessels were used and at least 204 people made the crossing successfully. Most of the attempts were made in 1941 when the Dutch coast was still somewhat accessible. One crossing from Scheveningen was undertaken on 16 March 1941: seven young fishermen from Scheveningen journeyed to England on the shrimp barge Anna KW 96. All of them subsequently enlisted in the Royal Netherlands Navy and survived the war. Four Engelandvaarders (Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema-aka Soldier of Orange, Chris Krediet, Peter Tazalaar and Bob van der Stok) started Contact Holland as a way of improving contact between London and the Dutch resistance. Reliable radio communications were crucial. Dutchmen who had previously ventured across the North Sea as Engelandvaarders were trained as secret agents, ready to return to the Netherlands armed with instructions and Morse code equipment. These secret agents then had to be dropped off on the coast of Scheveningen along with radio gear. Hazelhoff Roelfzema, Krediet and Tazelaar carried out two landings off the coast of Scheveningen during the winter of 1941-42. A number of agents were arrested in the spring of 1942; Anton van der Waals, the most significant Dutch traitor in World War Two, played an important role in this. The Allied secret agents were captured and forced to continue to communicate with England through messages written by the Germans. This was the start of the Englandspiel. Not realising that the agents were sending their messages while in the enemy’s clutches, the British continued sending secret agents to the continent. Upon arrival in the Netherlands, they were immediately captured by the Germans. At the end of the war, most of the secret agents were deported from the Netherlands; 54 did not survive the Englandspiel.

Two of these men were captured respectively 80 and 81 years ago today on 9 March 1942 and 9 March 1943.

Thijs Taconis born in Rotterdam, on 28 March 28, 1914—Mauthausen, was a secret agent with the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. On 15 May 1940, he arrived in England on a fishing boat. In January 1941 he travelled to Canada to enlist. On his return to England, he started his training with the SOE on 28 May 1941. After he was parachuted into the Netherlands on 7 November 1941, he was arrested on 9 March 1942. He was deported to Mauthausen via internment in Kamp Haaren. Here he was executed on 6 September 1944.

Pieter Arnoldus Arendse,

Born: 14 February 1912 The Hague. Dutch agent of the SOE/Plan-Holland. Parachuted into the South of Ermelo and was arrested the same day 9 March 1943. He was executed on 6 or 7 September 1944, in Mauthausen.

The aforementioned Antonius van der Waals (Rotterdam, 11 October was a traitor and a spy for the German Sicherheitsdienst (SD). He played a leading role in the Englandspiel, in which at least 83 resistance members were arrested, thanks to him. After the war, he was sentenced to death for this betrayal. Van der Waals was executed on 26 January 1950 on the Waalsdorpervlakte.






Heroes of the February Strike

The news of the 22 February 1941 raid of 427 Amsterdam Jews made a deep impression on the Amsterdam population. Out of solidarity with fellow-Jewish citizens and resentment of the Nazis’ actions in the capitol, a general strike, was announced for 25 February 1941.

The call, which came from several members of the illegally operating Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN), was spontaneously and massively heard. The strike spread to the Zaanstreek, Haarlem, Weesp, Hilversum and Utrecht.

The February Strike was the most extensive, open mass protest against the persecution of Jews in Europe. In total, at least 4,400 civil servants and work men from the municipality of Amsterdam took to the streets on 25-26 February in solidarity with the persecuted Jews in their city. The trams were standing still, and municipal services were not working. The strike spread to surrounding towns and other parts of the country, but then violence erupted from the Nazis.

Wille, Kraan

Willem Kraan worked in the Amsterdam Municipal Street Building Department, and his friend Piet Nak, who worked for the Sanitation Department, were active members of the Communist Party. On Sunday, 23 February 1941, they initiated a strike in protest against the Germans for the inhuman manner they treated the Jews. They approached as many working people as possible and asked them to strike on behalf of the Jews. The strike did not come off immediately. However, on a Monday evening, Piet made an inspiring speech at the Noordermarkt, and the next day all the services in Amsterdam and some in the neighbouring towns went on strike. It was the first time that non-Jews openly showed their concern for the plight of the Jews. The strike lasted two days before being put down by the Germans. Following the strike, the Germans made a supreme effort to apprehend the organizers, but their identities were never discovered. After a while, Piet was caught in connection with other illegal activities and brutally mistreated. Piet did not break, and when the Germans finally let him go he went temporarily into hiding. On 15 November 1941, Piet, Willem, and their friends were caught. Willem and 17 others were executed, but Piet was released and once again went into hiding. In May 1943, he was arrested and jailed for the third time. In June, he was freed, once again. However, the Germans had treated him so brutally that he was declared unfit for work and could never again hold a regular job. After the war, a bust of Willem Kraan was placed in a street that bore his name. On 31 May 1966, Yad Vashem recognized Wilhelmus Johannes Kraan and Piet Nak as Righteous Among the Nations.

Piet Nak

After the war, Piet Nak started a career as a magician and illusionist under the stage name Pietro Nakaro, also known as Nakaro the Magician. He also remained politically active and was involved in the establishment of the Amsterdam Vietnam Committee (later the Vietnam National Committee) and the Dutch Palestine Committee. In the 1950s, it came to a break with the Communist Party of the Netherlands, which, in his opinion, used the annual commemoration of the February strike for its political gain.

Eduard Carel Frederik Hellendoorn was a painter and Dutch resistance fighter. He was born on 29 November 1912 in Amsterdam. He studied the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (Den Haag) (Royal Academy of Art, The Hague). In 1931 Hellendoorn married Johanna Maria Drayton Lee, with whom he had three children. The couple divorced in 1939. The 1939 exhibition at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum included Hellendoorn’s Onze Kunst van Heden (Our Art of Today).

In 1940 Hellendoorn joined the communist artists’ resistance. In 1941 he took part in the February strike. Subsequently, he was arrested and imprisoned in the Oranjehotel in Scheveningen Hellendoorn and executed on 13 March 1941 at Waalsdorpervlakte.

These were just a few of the heroes of the February strike. They make me proud to be a Dutchman.





February Raids Amsterdam

On 19 February 1941, the German Grüne Polizei stormed into the Koco ice cream salon in the Van Woustraat. In the fight that ensued, several police officers were wounded. The Nazi authorities did not put up with the attack on their police officers. To put an end to the unrest, they decided to hold a raid the weekend of 22 and 23 February. Revenge for that and other fights came and a large-scale pogrom was undertaken by the Germans. 425 Jewish men, ages 20–35 were taken hostage and imprisoned in Kamp Schoorl and eventually sent to the Buchenwald and Mauthausen concentration camps.

The February raids were only a prelude to much worse to come. These men were only the first of some 102,000 Jews from the Netherlands murdered during the Holocaust, a figure that represents 75 per cent of the Dutch Jewish population. Himmler, Seyss-Inquart and Rauter decided to set an example: the first raid on Jews became a fact. On Saturday afternoon, 22 February 1941, a column of German trucks appeared near Waterlooplein. The area was cordoned off, and men were seized in Amsterdam. February 1941 were the first Nazi raid on Jews in Western Europe.

Something that recently became known is that most of the Dutch prisoners, were taken to the Hartheim gas chamber for killing. Their families received false causes of death. Assumptions surfaced that the men had died of lead poisoning in the mines.

Historian Wally de Lang reported 108 murders at Hartheim Castle, a nearby Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Hartheim was also one of the T4 euthanasia centres.

Wally de Lang made it her mission in 2017 to discover the fates of each and every one of the men taken that day. “It was impossible for me to comprehend that 400 people of this town just disappeared without anyone knowing who they were,” said de Lang, who has spent several decades writing about Jewish history in the Netherlands.

The owners of the Koco Ice Cream Parlour were severely punished. Ernst Cahn was executed by the Nazis on the Waalsdorpervlakte, in the dunes near The Hague, on 3 March 1941. Alfred Kohn died in Auschwitz.

The arrests and brutal treatment shocked the population of Amsterdam. To respond, Communist activists organized a general strike on 25 February and were joined by many other worker organizations. Major factories, the transportation system, and most public services came to a standstill. After three days, the Germans brutally suppressed the strike, crippling the Dutch resistance organization.

The February strike was considered the first public protest against the Nazis in occupied Europe and the only mass protest against the deportation of Jews to be organized by non-Jews.





BBC at War

In the last few years, the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) has lost some of its credibility, but during World War II, it was a vital source of information for resistance groups in the Netherlands and other occupied countries.

The caption of the picture above said “January 4, 1944. Jammers and betrayal make listening to the B.B.C. not easy. We listen at night, 11:45 p.m., B.B.C.”

An employee of an illegal newspaper listening to the BBC.

The founders of the first illegal newspapers came to their initiative out of indignation about the German invasion and annoyance about what the equalized newspapers wrote. There was also a need to warn the population against National Socialism and to call for united opposition to the German measures. In 1940 there were about 62 underground magazines and within a year this number rose to 120. Some magazines had succeeded in finding printers and were, therefore, able to abandon the time-consuming stencilling. By the end of 1942, the number of papers had dropped to 96 because many editors of smaller papers considered their activities superfluous when bigger and better editions appeared. In 1943, new illegal newspapers sprang up like mushrooms. These were mainly concerned with translating and distributing the war news received via hidden radios. In total, about 1300 different magazines existed during the occupation years, which together had a circulation of millions of copies.

Due to a lack of radio sets and power, the BBC news had to be brought to the people via the underground. This is where the messages came in.

From the beginning of her exile, Queen Wilhelmina took up her task with great willpower. Uncompromising and with unshakable confidence in the Allied victory, she was able to convey this conviction to others. She constantly advocated the interests of the Netherlands to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt. Her attitude and effort commanded the respect of the Allied leaders.

The message of thanks to BBC radio for the so-called ‘Round the World birthday celebration programme’ broadcast in honour of Wilhelmina during the BBC’s European Empire Programs on 30 August 1941. Her inaction against the treatment of the Dutch Jews before, during and after the war has tainted her legacy somewhat.

The original caption reads: ‘Recording of the B.B.C. news, via a DC receiver as Goes was also without power, for the purpose of the illegal press. Goes.’
Two employees of the illegal magazine ‘Vrije Stemmen’ in Goes are working on the BBC’s news reports.

Radio Orange; Mrs A. A. Koch – de Waard.

The original caption of this photo reads: “BBC European Service: Dutch Section.
The Dutch Section’s principal woman announcer.”

One of the ways, in which Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch government maintained ties with the population in the occupied territory was Radio Oranje. The broadcasts were invariably opened with ‘Hier Radio Oranje, the Voice of the Struggling Netherlands’. In addition to news commentary and entertainment, Radio Oranje broadcasts were also used to pass on code messages to the resistance in occupied territory.

Anyone caught listening to the BBC or other anti-Nazi radio stations could face execution.


The Assassination of A.F. Aan

The Dutch resistance was quite small compared to other countries. It developed relatively slowly, but the February strike of 1941 greatly stimulated resistance. Their actions could mainly be characterized as non-violent. However, there were several assassinations.

The approach of the Allies in September 1944, however, prompted the Dutch resistance to expand and intensify its actions. Not only did the number of acts of sabotage increase, but also the assassinations of Germans, traitors and collaborators. On December 29, 1944, police officer A.F. Aan was shot dead in the Ribesstraat, the Hague, on his way home. He was a member of the NSB, the Dutch Nazis.