Executions by the Dutch resistance, and the aftermath.

There is no denying that the Dutch should have done more, to protect their Jewish neighbours during World War 2. But I am looking at this from a retrospective point of view, hindsight always comes with a 20/20 vision. That’s why I am not able to judge because I really don’t know what I would or would not have done.

However there were some brave men and women who defied the Nazi regime, often at the cost of their own lives.

On October 2, 1944, two Waffen-SS men were shot dead by a resistance group of Baarlo, in the North of Limburg. The SS men had volunteered for the resistance group[ because they were tired of the war. They were exposed by betrayal and killed by the resistance for security reasons.

The execution of Derk Jan Jonker took place on October 2, 1943 in Epe. Jonker was a member of the NSB and was suspected of treason. He was shot dead behind De Koekenberg farm. Jonker was buried with much NSB and WA ceremonial in Epe. No reprisals followed, which was a surprise.

On September 27, 1944, resistance members from Baarlo got into a firefight with German soldiers who wanted to investigate the Boekenderhof ,which was the base of the resistance group.. Three soldiers were shot but the fourth escaped. The farm was immediately evacuated and the resistance hid in the woods. Shortly afterwards, a group of SS men burned the farm to the ground.

In the summer of 1944, Hitler decreed that criminal trials against illegal workers could no longer take place. From then on terror had to be answered with counter-terror. From now on, resistance fighters who turned out to be armed when they were arrested had to be shot on the spot or handed over to the Sicherheitspolizei. They then decided which detainees were eligible for firing. The executions were usually linked to acts of sabotage and attacks by illegal immigrants. From the autumn of 1944, the shootings no longer took place in remote places, such as the dunes, but in public, along the roads and in squares. Passers-by were forced to witness the macabre display.
After Major Tetenburg, a major of the Ordnungpolizei was liquidated in Rotterdam, on 31-3-1945 at 11.15 am, by the resistance. It was followed up on the Tuesday after Easter. with the execution of 20 civilians by the Nazis.

sources

Ernst Knorr-Evil for the sake of being Evil.

I sincerely believe that some people are just born evil. If it hadn’t been for war, their evil ways would probably have been displayed in other ways.

Dr. Ernst Knorr was born Heiligenbeil,Germany on October 13, 1899. He died in Scheveningen, the Netherlands on July 7, 1945he was an SS officer in the rank of SS-Untersturmführer (second lieutenant), but he was also a Doctor.. He led the SD. He was part of Referat IV-A (Bekämpfung Kommunismus) of the Sicherheitsdienst in The Hague and was known as the executioner at interrogations.

If prisoners had to be tortured during interrogations, it was euphemistically indicated that they would call the doctor. His workplace was Binnenhof 7.which is near the Dutch parliament. Until the beginning of June 1941, the communists were only kept under surveillance and deliberately not yet arrested, partly because of this Knorr could be involved in other activities. He was present at the violent interrogation in which the Resistance fighter Sjaak Boezeman was killed.

He was taken to the Binnenhof and interrogated by five SD men, including Ernst Knorr . At 03:15 Sjaak was taken back unconscious to the Oranjehotel, he was in bad shape. The SD’ers claimed that Sjaak tried to cut his own wrist arteries with a razor. When he regained consciousness, Sjaak told the guards that the Germans slit his wrists. That morning Sjaak Boezeman died in his cell. He is the first or one of the first Dutch resistance fighter to be murdered by the Nazis. Albert Schaap, a prison guard at the Oranjehotel prison, testified later:

“I then saw that his back was all wounded, for he was completely covered with bruises and his whole back was covered with blood. He could not speak properly, as his whole face was shattered and the blood was running out of his mouth. “

From the beginning of June 1941 Ernst Knorr was involved in the violent interrogation of communists in The Hague. On September 2, 1941, he was the leader of a team of 3-5 people that interrogated the communist Herman Holstege in the prison of Scheveningen (Oranjehotel) so cruelly that it was expected that he would die. The intention was to learn from Holstege, who had remained silent for a month, the names of his contacts at the communist party leadership in Amsterdam. Knorr penetrated Holstege’s anus with a rubber bat, after which the intestines were tamped. Holstege, however, gave little information and not the names of the leadership in Amsterdam. Holstege died the next day. In view of the preparations in the Oranjehotel, the torture was planned. In a post-war report, this was referred to as stupidity, because it lost the opportunity to track down the party leadership in Amsterdam.

In the course of 1942, Knorr was sidetracked and replaced by Hans Munt. In post-war reports, Munt indicated that these acts of violence were the reason for the changes in position, but in practice they did not mean the end of the torture of communists.

On February 19, 1943, a trap was set up in Delft for the communist resistance fighter Gerrit Kastein. Three SD men were waiting for him in a cafe, while Knorr waited outside in the car. Kastein was arrested and taken to the car. Near the car, Kastein managed to pull out a pistol and shoot. He injured Knorr quite badly; after the cars drove away, a pool of blood remained on the street. Gerrit Willem Kastein jumped out of the window at the Binnenhof on 21 February 1943 but did not survive the fall.

The extremely violent interrogations not only cause the deaths of Sjaak and Gerrit Willem. The valuable secrets they carry are also lost. This goes too far for Ernst’s superiors, as a punishment he is transferred to the Scholtenhuis in Groningen. There Ernst continues his violent practices.

There, too, he stood out for his cruelty. He murdered the resistance fighter Esmée van Eeghen, her body was riddled with bullets, and dumped in the Van Starkenborgh Canal. Van Eeghen is controversial because she fell in love with a German officer, but in spite of this played a significant role in the resistance, especially in Friesland, a role that would ultimately be fatal for her, due to her turbulent love life. The character Rachel Stein from the 2006 film Black Book was based on the life of van Eeghen.

Although van Eeghen was financially independent, she took up a job as a nurse in the Amsterdam civil hospital. In the spring of 1943 she entered into a love affair with the medical student Henk Kluvers.[1] When he was supposed to sign the declaration of loyalty for students in the spring, he went to Leeuwarden to evade this signature. Van Eeghen followed him and supported him and his friend Pieter Meersburg to hide Jewish children on behalf of the Landelijke Organisatie voor Hulp aan Onderduikers (LO) in the north of the country. They saved the lives of at least 100 children.

Klaas Carel Faber, execution command member and escaped war criminal, said about the execution:

“I saw Miss Esmee get out of the car. She had only just gotten out of the car when I saw Knorr firing at Miss Esmee. After the first shot I saw her fall to the ground. I heard she was still screamed. I saw Knorr shoot her ten more times.”

On April 16, 1945, Knorr withdrew to Schiermonnikoog with a number of German soldiers. It was the intention that people would be picked up by boat from Borkum to go back to Germany. It was not until May 27 that a Dutch officer went to the island to demand the surrender. The group was transferred to the mainland on May 30 and locked up in prison in Groningen. Knorr was transferred on June 27 by Canadian Field Security to the so-called Kings Prison in Scheveningen, located in the penal prison.

On July 7, 1945, Knorr was found dead in his cell. He had a piece of rope around his neck. In the cell, however, there was no high fulcrum to hang oneself from. According to statements from other Germans in prison, Knorr had been severely beaten and died as a result. No autopsy report has been prepared. Later, a prison doctor stated that it was technically possible that Knorr committed suicide by attaching the rope low to the wall and strangling himself by hanging over.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/artikel/de-gewelddadige-praktijken-van-folteraar-ernst-knorr

https://peoplepill.com/people/ernst-knorr-1

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/thema/Arrestatie%20Gerrit%20Willem%20Kastein

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Esmee-van-Eeghen/03/0004

The Dutch Bishop who defied the Nazis.

The Roman Catholic church , especially the Vatican, still has a lot of questions to answer when it comes to the Holocaust. However there were some Catholic clergymen, even some high placed ones, who did not keep their mouth shut and defied the Nazis.

Cardinal Johannes de Jong was one of those men. He was ordained to the priesthood on August 15, 1908, and further studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Angelicum in Rome, obtaining his doctorates in philosophy and theology.

On August 3, 1935, de Jong was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Utrecht and Titular Archbishop of Rhusium.

He said he didn’t want to be another Theodor Innitzer, his colleague in Vienna with fascist sympathies. In April 1938, in honour of Hitler’s birthday, Cardinal Innitzer had ordered that all Austrian churches fly the swastika flag, ring bells, and pray for Hitler

De Jong ordered his priests to refuse the sacraments to Nazi Dutchmen. During the Second World War, he was one of the major leaders against the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. On July 26, 1942 Dutch bishops, including Archbishop Johannes de Jong, issued a decree that openly condemned Nazi deportations of Dutch workers and Jews. The Nazis retaliated by seizing 245 Catholics of Jewish descent, including Edith Stein. The Vatican used the Netherlands’ experience to explain its silence during the years of the Holocaust. After the German retaliation, Sister Pasqualina Lehnert, Pius XII’s housekeeper and confidante, said the Pope was convinced that while the Bishop’s protest cost more than two hundred lives, a protest by him would mean at least two hundred thousand innocent lives that he was not ready to sacrifice. While politicians, generals, and dictators might gamble with the lives of people, a Pope could not. -Personally I don’t buy that argument. The pope was the spiritual leader of about a billion Catholics globally, his words would have had an impact.- Bishop Johannes de Jong did not keep silent.

‘It is impossible to talk to this man’, said a high-ranking German official during the war years about the Bishop.

On Sunday, August 3, 1941, two Gestapo men called the archbishop’s palace on Maliebaan in Utrecht to persuade De Jong to withdraw a ‘pastoral letter’ in which he urged his co-religionists to passively resist the Nazification of Dutch society. He had received the men in the most magnificent room of his official residence. There, ‘after an uneasy silence’, he received the order of the Reichskommissar. He informed his guests “with a single word” that he had understood them, but then instructed all bishops to read the pastoral letter as scheduled this Sunday. Aside from the 245 people arrested, the Bishop was fined 500 Guilders, this should be a sign for the Pope too. The Bishop was not arrested, despite defying the Nazis, the Nazis clearly knew that it would have caused problems for them.

One could argue that if the letter had not been read, the 245 would not have been arrested and perhaps Edith Stein, would have survived, but they would have been arrested and send to the camps at some stage anyway. Edith Stein was murdered on August 7,1942 in Auschwitz.

After the liberation in 1945 and the return of the Dutch government, Pius XII named him cardinal as a result of his share in the resistance against the occupation of his homeland and his unwavering stance as church leader. In addition, he was knighted with the highest accolades, the decorations of which are still on display in the cultural-historic museum Sorgdrager in Hollum. On 8 September 1955, Cardinal de Jong died in Amersfoort.

On Tuesday 1 February 2022, it was announced that cardinal Jan de Jong was honoured with the Yad Vashem-medal posthumously, for his resistance against the Nazis and – more in particular – for his ban on Roman Catholics from participating in the deportation of Jews.

sources

https://www.vvvameland.com/practical/general/villages/nes/johannes-cardinal-de-jong

https://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bdejongj.html

Donation

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Englandspiel Tragedy

The Englandspiel was a counter-espionage operation set up by the Germans that lasted from March 1942 to April 1944. Secret agents of the SOE who had been dropped over the Netherlands were often arrested immediately upon landing and forced to maintain radio contact with England. Despite hidden warnings in their broadcast messages, British intelligence continued to send secret agents, eventually over 50 of them were murdered in captivity. The majority in Mauthausen.

Churchill had set up the SOE in 1940 to “set Europe ablaze”, by helping the resistance movements in occupied countries. At its peak it had some 10,000 men and 3,200 women working for it, running agents and arranging resistance and sabotage behind enemy lines. The organisation had many successes, especially in France, but it had some failures, of which the disaster in the Netherlands was by far the worst.

Recently released records show that poor leadership of the Dutch section of SOE sowed the seeds of disaster. In the vital period Major Charles Blizard, who used the codename “Blunt”, headed the Dutch section, though he was replaced by a Major Bingham.

Under SOE’s “Plan for Holland” agents started to be dropped into the Netherlands in 1941. Among one of the first teams parachuted in, on a November night, was Thijs Taconis, a trained saboteur, and his wireless operator, Hubert Lauwers. The German security police then penetrated the embryonic Dutch underground movement and a stool pigeon informed on Lauwers, who was captured early in March 1942.

Portrait of secret agent Thijs Taconis, killed by the Englandspiel.
Born March 28, 1914 in Rotterdam. Sent by SOE, parachuted and arrested March 9, 1942. Died September 6, 1944 at Mauthausen.

He was forced to transmit messages to England, but was confident that SOE in London would spot a false security check. Unfortunately it did not. Shortly afterwards it told him to receive another agent. “Watercress” arrived on 27 March. He was captured and the process went on as further agents arrived. The lack of radio security checks was ignored by SOE in London. It was even stupid enough to radio back to one operator: “You ought to use your security checks,” thereby alerting the Germans to the existence of such checks.

The German operation was called Englandspiel – the England Game – and its chief strategist was Lieutenant Colonel H J Giskes. He reported daily to Hitler through Admiral Canaris, the head of the Abwehr – German intelligence. By April 1943 the Germans controlled 18 radio channels back to London.

H.J Giskes

For about 15 months, SOE’s Dutch section planned the creation of resistance in Netherlands , recruiting and training agents, sending and receiving intelligence and other wireless traffic, the dispatch of supply-laden aircraft, all the time confident that a vigorous underground movement was being built.

A memo of May 1943 says: “The sabotage organisation as planned is now complete. It comprises five groups containing 62 cells and totalling some 420 men. These groups are now well equipped with stores and are ready for action.”

In reality the entire operation was compromised. The files reveal that, up to October 1943, SOE sent 56 agents to the Netherlands of which 43 were given a “reception” by the Germans. Of the 56 only eight survived. Of those captured 36 were executed in September 1944, at Mauthausen concentration camp. Eleven RAF aircraft were shot down in the process. (A later War Cabinet note observed that RAF losses on these missions had been “abnormally high”.)

The phoney network was finally revealed to London after the escape from Haaren concentration camp in August 1943 of two SOE agents, Pieter Diepenbroek and Johan Ubbink – “Sprout” and “Chive”.

Files in the Public Record Office contain the debriefings of “Sprout” and “Chive”, which make clear that the Germans had controlled the Dutch “Underground” movement for more than 18 months.

The Germans realised that their double-cross network had been blown. Giskes signed off with this message to London on April Fool’s Day 1944:

“Messrs, Blunt, Bingham and Successors, Ltd. London. In the last time you are trying to make business in the Netherlands without our assistance. We think this rather unfair in view of our long and successful co-operation as your sole agents. But never mind, when you come to pay a visit to the Continent you may be assured that you will be received with the same care and result as all those you sent before. So long!”

The files also show the courageous “Sprout” and “Chive” were locked up in Brixton Prison upon their return to London in case they were German double agents.

“Sprout” and “Chive” were convinced that the Germans had help from Major Bingham, then the Dutch section’s head. “No one else was in such a good position to `play ball’ with the enemy,” Chive told his MI5 interviewers.

The British author of the memo was clearly angered by the assertion. The two had had the temerity to make an allegations against a British officer, “which it is fair to say they have failed to substantiate”. The two were later released and allowed to join the Dutch Armed Forces.

The SOE post-mortem examination shows that serious doubts had been raised about the network as early as July 1942 but the warning had been ignored by the section’s chief. “Not only, however, does there appear to have been a failure to look the facts squarely in the face but also failure when suspicion had once been aroused to test suspicions.”

England game. Interception of dropped weapons. SD men Hahn and Eenstroth look over the dumped containers with illegal weapons, which were dropped by the RAF shortly before.

Major Blizard had gone by the time of the denouement. Major Bingham was posted Australia.

The Germans’ chief gain from the fiasco was that until just before D- day they thwarted all attempts to build a Dutch resistance movement into Allied plans and to equip it ready for action.

Several files on the SOE in the Netherlands are still withheld.

Below are just some of those brave men. These few were all murdered in Mauthausen on September 6,1944.

Portrait of secret agent Klaas van der Bor, killed by the Englandspiel.
Born: May 24, 1913. Broadcast by: SOE/Plan-Holland. Parachuting and arrest: February 16, 1943. Died: September 6, 1944 in Mauthausen
Portrait of Roelof Christiaan Jongelie, killed by the Englandspiel
Born: 25 February 1903 in Amsterdam. Broadcast : SOE/Plan-Holland. Parachute and arrest : September 24, 1942. Died : September 6, 1944 in Mauthausen.
Portrait of Leonardus Cornelis Theodoris Andriega, killed by the Englandspiel
Born: November 22, 1913 in The Hague. Broadcast : SOE. Parachute : March 29, 1942. Arrest : April 28, 1942. Died : September 6, 1944 at Mauthausen
Portrait of Charles Hofstede, killed by the Englandspiel
Born: December 17, 1918, The Hague. Broadcast: SOE/Plan-Holland. Parachute and arrest : October 24, 1942. Died : September 6, 1944 Mauthausen.
Portrait of Aart Hendrik Alblas, killed by the Englandspiel
Born: September 20, 1918, Middelharnis. Broadcast: MI-6/CID. Parachute : 5 July 1941. Arrest : 16 July 1942. Died : 6 September 1944 Mauthausen.
Portrait of Willem van der Wilder, killed by the Englandspiel
Born : July 1, 1910 in Kelichem. Broadcast: SOE/Plan-Holland. Parachuting and arrest: February 18, 1943. Died: September 6, 1944 in Mauthausen.
Portrait of Pieter van der Wilden, killed by the Englandspiel
Born: 8 May 1914 in Haarlem. Broadcast: SOE/Plan-Holland. Parachuting and arrest: February 18, 1943. Died: September 6, 1944 in Mauthausen.
Portrait of Johannes Cornelis Buizer, killed by the Englandspiel
Born: September 11, 1918 in Almkerk. Broadcast: SOE. Parachuting and arrest: June 22, 1942. Died: September 6, 1944 in Mauthausen.
Portrait of Gerard van Os, killed by the Englandspiel
Born: 2 May 1914, broadcast by: SOE/Plan-Holland, parachuting and arrest: 18 February 1943, died: 6 September 1944 in Mauthausen
Portrait of Jan Emmer, killed by the Englandspiel
Jan Emmer had escaped to England by boat in the autumn of 1941. He became a secret agent and was sent across the North Sea with Felix Ortt by the group Hazelhoff Roelfzema (Soldier of Orange).
Born: April 8, 1917 in Wormer. Broadcast by: MI-6/Contact Holland. Deposed March 12, 1942. Arrest: May 30, 1942. Died: September 6, 1944 in Mauthausen.

The fifty Dutch SOE agents that had been captured by the Germans were transported to Mauthausen concentration camp in September 1944 as allied military forces were advancing into the Netherlands, and eventually executed. Giskes, the Abwehr mastermind of Englandspiel, was arrested by the British, but after the war was employed by the United States during the occupation of Germany.

Some of the officials of the Dutch government-in-exile in London refused to cooperate with SOE when the details of Englandspiel became known to them. They were ordered to do so by the Dutch Prince Bernhard, and a fresh start was made in mid-to-late 1944 under new leadership at SOE. Twenty-five well equipped and trained sabotage teams of two Dutch agents each were parachuted into the Netherlands. However, engendered by Englandspiel the British distrusted the Dutch resistance which prevented it from having an impact in Operation Market Garden, the unsuccessful offensive by allied military forces in the Netherlands in September 1944. The spearhead of the British forces, the First British Airborne Division, was ordered not to cooperate with the resistance. Had it not been ignored, the resistance would have been helpful in providing badly needed intelligence and communications to the division which had to be withdrawn from the battlefield after heavy losses.

Conspiracy theories in the Netherlands alleged that a traitor in SOE caused the Englandspiel and that Dutch agents were sacrificed to conceal allied plans for an invasion of the Netherlands. “For many, it was simply impossible to fathom how the devastation caused by das Englandspiel could have been the result of stupidity and ineptness. “The contrary and more accepted view of M.R.D Foot is that “the agents were victims of sound police work on the German side, assisted by Anglo-Dutch incompetence in London.”

sources

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/spy-fiasco-cost-britain-50-agents-1199631.html

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/thema/Englandspiel

https://europeremembers.com/story/engelandvaarders-and-das-englandspiel/

The farmers from America saving allied pilots,French pow’s and Jewish citizens.

Most of you will think I am talking about the USA when you see the title. However, you’d be wrong. The America in the title is a parish village in the Dutch province of Limburg, known historically for its peat extraction.

The Germans laughed when they read this name in May 1940.

In the village of America in the Peel, on the farm ‘De Zwarte Plak’ of the Poels family, more than 300 allied airmen, 60 fled French prisoners of war, 30 Jews and many other fugitives were given temporary shelter. Much support was obtained from the neighbours, the Smedts and Geurts family. After the liberation, allied soldiers came and went to the farm to see the famous hiding place with their own eyes.

In 1942 and 1943, De Zwarte Plak developed into a reception center for Allied airmen and people in hiding. In August 1943 a conversation started with pilot helpers from Deurne to come to cooperation. During the winter 1943-1944, the residents of De Zwarte Plak became more and more closely involved in the activities of the RVV Resistance Group Deurne due to the help provided to pilots. One or more Deurnese RVV’ers regularly settled on the Antoniushoeve.

The RVV group Deurne, later Knokploeg Bakel (resistance groups) and from September 1944 part of the Internal Forces, had its own shelter on De Zwarte Plak, a storage place for pistols and an air raid shelter under the horse stable of the Smedts family that was used, among other things, to house prisoners. to be temporarily accommodated.

Four men from the resistance group, with Cor Noordermeer as commander, were already present at Tinus Geurts when later, on the intercession of Bert Poels, Nico van Oosterhout and Johan Vosmeer were added. They were housed on the farm at Thei Geurts. This group had previously gone into hiding in Bakel, they were all wanted by the Nazis. It became too dangerous in Bakel, they were afraid of betrayal. Their connection to De Zwarte Plak was Bert Poels which was in relation to hiding and transporting Allied pilots.

The resistance group built its own air-raid shelter. That cellar had been excavated in a hillside against a ditch side. This ditch was 2.5 meters deep, but always dry because of the high terrain. The basement was four by six meters in size, with a plank floor and walls and a ceiling of corrugated iron. The entrance was virtually invisible and accessible via a low section in the ditch, twenty meters away, by walking into the ditch to a hatch of the air-raid shelter that was accessible on the ground floor on the right. When leaving, sand was shoveled onto the hatch. The air-raid shelter contained three or four iron bunk beds from the pre-war Dutch army.

A milk churn had been dug into the moor behind Thei Geurts’ farm. About half way to the vigilante’s shelter. It was a storage place for pistols and ammunition. The milk churn was so deep that after the lid had been placed on it, a suitable thick heather sod could be placed on top. That way the hiding place was invisible. When the sod dried out, a new one was stabbed somewhere further along. This milk churn had remained buried in the moor after the war and was found around 1950 when the moor was reclaimed, which was then converted to a depth of one meter.

There was a weapons instructor who had adapted one of the longer underground bomb shelters (about 20 meters long) for target practice. This air-raid shelter was covered with earth that provided soundproofing. The rear was free of paneling and served as a bullet catcher.

Near the farm of Thei Geurts was a phosphorus storage place. Behind the vegetable garden a hole had been dug in which phosphorus was stored. The phosphorus went into the hole and was covered with soil. This phosphorus came from Allied bombers. These aircraft had been shot down by German anti-aircraft defenses on their way to the Ruhr area above the Peel. Before they crashed, they dropped their phosphorus bombs first. The bombs fell deep into the peat bog and were dug up by the resistance. The phosphorus was bottled and thrown at German freight trains at night. Phosphorus was also strewn in the dark over large piles of straw at the railway stations. When it got light, the straw caught fire.

After Mad Tuesday (September 5, 1944) there were more and more signs that circumstances would change quickly. Signs that De Zwarte Plak would also be in the front line. As a result, all residents had to leave on September 30. The remaining KP members from Deurne left for Deurne again. On October 13, only the Thei Geurts family and some relatives were back at their farm. The rest of the entire area south of the railroad was empty. Three or four weeks later, the Thei Geurts family was brought to Sevenum by the Germans.

Maria Smedts, who transported the Jewish neighbours, was also responsible for feeding all those who had found shelter in “De Zwarte Plak”

These are just some of the Jewish people who took shelter in De Zwarte Plak, unfortunately I don’t know their names.

What amazes me most is that,America, is only 40 minutes away from where I was born, and I had never heard of these brave people until today.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/bronnen?term=de+zwarte+plak

https://www.nationaalarchief.nl/onderzoeken/fotocollectie/af213cfe-d0b4-102d-bcf8-003048976d84

Hanna Van de Voort -Forgotten Hero

Limburg is the most southern province in the Netherlands(there is also a province with that name in Belgium). It was one of the first places to be liberated in the Netherlands. By the end of September 1944 all of the province was liberated.

Hanna Van de Voort was a woman who was born in Meerlo, in the North of Limburg.

During the Second World War Hanna Van de Voort was a maternity nurse in Tienray in Limburg. Encouraged by her mother Marie. Hanna,together with 22-year-old student Nico Dohmen and Kurt Loewenstein in hiding, gave 123 Jewish children a place to go into hiding between 1943 and 1944. It mainly concerned children who were smuggled out of the Hollandsche Schouwburg in Amsterdam, where Jews were gathered for deportation. Almost all of the children were smuggled away by Piet Meerburg’s student resistance group.

The children usually stayed at Van de Voort’s home for a few days, where they were taught Catholic doctrine and about the street plan of Rotterdam. It was made that these children had been orphaned by the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940. All children were given a pseudonym and an identity card from the Central Bureau for Children’s Evacuation from bombed Rotterdam.

After a few days they were placed with farming families in the area. The children were regularly transferred to new locations if they were in danger of being discovered. ‘Aunt Hanna’ and especially ‘Uncle Nico’ – as they were called – kept in touch with the hiders and supported them by encouraging them to persevere. The foster parents received monetary compensation, clothing and footwear. The necessary vouchers for clothing and food came from Amsterdam.

The van Geffen family was one of the foster families. Sometimes things were even difficult to explain to their own children, below is an account of one of the van Geffen’s children.

“Maria was the eldest of the family. Her father was a strict Catholic, with a strong sense of social justice, he owned a shoe store in Tienray. He was active in the resistance as a courier of a resistance paper. Maria initially did not like it that a Jewish girl, named Floortje de Paauw, had been included in the family. So she told the story that the Jews nailed Jesus to the cross. Floortje took revenge by walking on the bleach with her shoes on the white laundry. Eventually It all worked out between those two. There was also a Jewish boy in the family: Daniël Jozeph Cohen, pseudonym Wim Dorn. He survived the war. Floortje participated in everything, went to school and to church. Maria remembers exactly how the Nazis lifted Floortje from bed during the children’s raid in Tienray in the night of July 31 to Aug 1, 1944. She had to dress Floortje. After a big hug, Floortje said to Maria: “I’m not coming back.” She was killed on 6 September 1944 in Auschwitz. After the war, it was hardly talked about at home.”

After a betrayal by Lucien Nahon, a Dutch Nazi, a raid was carried out. In the night of July 31 to August 1, 1944, raids take place on several hiding places that Lucien has provided.

During these children’s raids , Jewish children in hiding were arrested.The employees of the Eindhoven State Police and their helpers in Tienray and surrounding villages carried out the action. At least five children were arrested and deported to Auschwitz. Four of them were murdered in Auschwitz.

Floortje de Paauw (15-12-1933), Wim de Paauw (17-12-1934), Louis van Wezel (16-5-1936) en Dick van Wezel (6-3-1934).

Hanna van der Voort was also arrested during this raid.She was tortured to give information about the resistance, but she gave them nothing. She was released after nine days. Van de Voort suffered permanent damage to her health. She died in July 26,1956.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/thema/Kinderrazzia%20Noord-Limburg

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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The executions on July 9,1942.

On 9 July 1942, nine members of the resistance group De Oranjewacht, ‘the Orange guard'(Orange is the national colour of the Netherlands and the name of the Royal family) were shot in the Fort near Rijnauwen,Utrecht, the Netherlands . Two trials were conducted against the resistance group and nine members were sentenced to death in both trials. On the same day, two so called Engelandvaarders,(England farers) Jan Stam and Petrus Antonius Ravelli were also shot.

The group. De Oranjewacht, consisted of nine members. It was one of the first resistance groups to be captured by the Nazis during WWII. That was in December 1940. They were imprisoned until that terrible July 9, 1942, the day they were executed. One of the members of this group was the Arnhemmer Piet Hoefsloot.

When he was arrested, convicted and executed, he left behind a wife and eleven children. He was then 49 years old. The youngest was so small that she never really knew her father. Only now, decades later, does she get a picture of him through stories about her father. A number of the eleven children at the time are still alive, all well into their eighties and over nineties. Nevertheless, they were all present at Fort bij Rijnauwen to commemorate their father together with other family members. The youngest daughter and two of the other daughters spoke. One read the farewell letter that father Piet wrote to his wife and children a few hours before his execution from his cell in the prison on Gansstraat. The other daughter read a poem entitled, “Saying Goodbye.” A beautiful flower arrangement was laid (see photo) and this intimate ceremony was concluded with a short moment of silence and the common prayer of the Our Father aloud. A photo of the eleven children was left at the memorial stone, as if Father had reunited with his children. Piet Hoefsloot is buried at Moscowa cemetery in Arnhem.

The other victims.

Frans Heinekamp.Born on October 13, 1898 in Arnhem
Executed on 9 July 1942 in Utrecht, Fort Rijnauwen.

Johan Dons: Born on February 26, 1915 in Utrecht
Executed on 9 July 1942 in Utrecht, Fort Rijnauwen.

Evert van den Berg: Born on September 20, 1915 in Hengelo
Executed on 9 July 1942 in Utrecht, Fort Rijnauwen

Hendrik Marinus Emanuel Pieter Maertens: Born on July 20, 1908 in Rotterdam
Executed on 9 July 1942 in Utrecht, Fort Rijnauwen.

Leonardus Lambertus Twijnstra: Born on March 18, 1904 in Leeuwarderadeel
Executed on 9 July 1942 in Utrecht, Fort Rijnauwen.

Petrus Walter Gerardus van de Weijer:Born on October 9, 1889 in Utrecht
Executed on 9 July 1942 in Utrecht, Fort Rijnauwen.

George Hendrik van der Ploeg: Born on October 26, 1889 in Vlissingen
Executed on 9 July 1942 in Utrecht, Fort Rijnauwen.

Johan Herman Jacobus Boerrigter: Born on February 13, 1906 in Djokjakarta, Dutch East Indies(Indonesia)
Executed on 9 July 1942 in Utrecht, Fort Rijnauwen.

During the war around 1700 Dutch men and women who tried to reach freedom in England, over land or by sea, were given the honorary name: Engelandvaarders (Lit. England-farers).

Jan Stam, born in 1916 in the Dutch East Indies, had been a 2nd lieutenant in the artillery in the May days of 1940. He was married and father of one child. In March 1942 the Ravelli couple moved in with them. Peter Antonius Ravelli (1918) was a 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Dutch East Indies Army. For unknown reasons he was in the Netherlands.
Together, both men decided to make an attempt to go to England. In France, however, they were arrested and brought back to the Netherlands. First they were imprisoned in the House of Detention in Scheveningen, then in the prison in Utrecht.
They were tried by the Feldgericht Kommandierenden Generals und Befehlshabers im Luftgau Holland, and sentenced to death. The death penalty by shooting was carried out on 9 July 1942 in Fort Rijnauwen. Ravelli’s widow gave birth to their child a few months later.

These men make me proud to be Dutch. Many looked away and did nothing, these men decided to stand up against an evil regime and paid the ultimate price.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/thema/Fusillade%20in%20Fort%20bij%20Rijnauwen%20op%209%20juli%201942

Semmy and Joop Woortman-Forgotten Heroes

In the past I have been very critical of my fellow Dutch men and women, in relation to the role they played during World War 2. While most opposed the Nazi occupation, they did very little to resist. Of course it is very easy to be critical looking back. In all honesty if I would have been put in that position I would not know how I would have reacted.

I have also written many pieces about the Dutch who collaborated with the Nazis and even joined the SS, for them there is no excuse.

However there were brave Dutch citizens who did resist. Sometimes by just spreading around leaflets, other times in more militant actions. When captured there was a big chance that the death penalty would follow.

Semmy and Joop Woortman were active members of the resistance, they were part of the NV group.

The NV (Naamlose Vennootschap or the Limited) group, was one of several Dutch underground cells involved in rescue efforts to find shelter for Jewish children living in Amsterdam during the German occupation of the Netherlands. Between 1942 and 1943 approximately 4,000 Jewish children were funneled through an assembly center located in the former Jewish daycare center known as the Creche.

The Creche was situated across the street from the Hollandse Schouwburg, the Jewish theater that served as the main holding area for the Jews of Amsterdam prior to their transfer to the Westerbork concentration camp. When Jewish families reported to the theater, children were separated from their parents and sent to the Creche to await deportation. The NV group under the leadership of Jaap Musch and Joop Woortman, focused its efforts on rescuing these children. Since the Creche was not guarded, it was possible for members of the Dutch underground to pick up small groups of children who had been prepared by Jewish staff members inside, and wisk them away by streetcar or other means. The children were then taken to private homes in Amsterdam until they could be transferred to host families elsewhere. Alternatively, the children were taken directly to the railway station and escorted by couriers to their new homes outside the city. They were sent to homes as far north as Friesland and as far south as Limburg. After depositing their charges, the couriers made a point of visiting them periodically to check on their situation. The attitudes exhibited by the host families to the Jewish children ranged from loving to indifferent, and many children had to be moved repeatedly. It is estimated that as many as 1000 Jewish children in the capital were rescued by the combined efforts of all of the underground cells. The NV group is credited with having saved about 250. Sixteen members of the group were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.

Joop and Semmy became increasingly involved in the underground resistance movement. Joop would often go to the train station to look for Jews to take into hiding. When they learned that the Germans had plans to deport all Jewish children to concentration camps, Joop and Semmy concentrated their efforts on saving the Dutch children. They organized a network of people who were willing to hide Jewish children in their homes. Semmy remembered a day in 1943, when the German’s launched a surprise raid of homes in Amsterdam in an attempt to capture Jewish children. Semmy and Joop quickly instructed the children to go to safety at a local day care center, which was run by a German born Jewish nab , Walter Suskind. On the day of the raid, a terrified little boy came to Semmy’s home and she offered to hide him in one of the cupboards in her kitchen. When the Germans searched her house, she pretended to be virulently anti-Semitic and even invited the Germans to share coffee with her. The deception worked and the Germans never found the boy.

Joop Woortman used the pseudonym Theo de Bruin. He was betrayed in 1944 and via Kamp Amersfoort ended up in Bergen-Belsen, where he died on March 13, 1945. Following Joop’s arrest, Semmy carried on his mission. Using the register he kept of the 300 children he placed in hiding, she made sure all of his charges received their monthly stipends and ration coupons. A year after the war the Red Cross confirmed Woortman’s death in Bergen-Belsen. He was posthumously recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1981.

After the war Semmy recalled
“It was difficult to just walk out of the nursery with children because on the other side of the street there were soldiers on guard in front of the Hollandse Schouwburg. But the head nurse at the nursery, Virrie Cohen, would stand in front of the door and tell us if tram 9 was coming.

We’d walk out of the door each carrying a baby under our arm. We’d run alongside the tram down the Plantage Middenlaan and at the next tram stop we’d get in, huffing and puffing. And all the people in the tram would start laughing because naturally they’d seen us, but they never said anything. Well, that’s typically Amsterdam for you…”

Semmy Woortman walks along a street in Amsterdam with her stepdaughter Hetty (left, Joop’s daughter) and her Jewish foster child, Rachel (right).

Semmy married again after the war. She died on February 22,2004 aged 87.

When I come across stories like this, it makes me proud to be a Dutchman.

sources

Semmy Riekerk, The Netherlands

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa21486

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/dutch-rescuer-semmy-woortman-glasoog

https://www.verzetsmuseum.org/en/kennisbank/help-1

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The Organ attic-A secret hiding place

A good Church has an organ, it is not just a musical instrument but sometimes also a statement of grandeur.

During WWII one of these organs also became a hiding place for 3 Jewish families, well more the attic above the organ.

During the Second World War, the Breeplein Church in Rotterdam harboured a secret: three Jewish families were in hiding in the two attics high on both sides of the organ. What began, as was envisaged , as a temporary shelter for six weeks became a refuge for three years. The story of the Breeplein Church is one of courage, hope and trust, a story full of wonders and even the birth of a perfectly healthy baby.

On May 29, 1942, Maurice Kool and Rebecca Andriessen knocked on the door of the sexton of the Breepleinkerk in South Rotterdam. After they both had received a letter from the Nazi authorities telling them to report for ’employment in Germany’, they decided to go into hiding.

The seventeen-year-old Rebecca Andriesse and her 25-year-old fiancé Maurice Kool thought that they could stay together if they were married, so they did so as soon as possible. Rebecca’s grandfather arranged for them to go into hiding in the Breeplein Church. The sexton, Jacobus de Mars, created a hiding place in the attic behind the organ, which could be accessed by a ladder and an “invisible” trapdoor.

Three weeks later, Maurice’s parents called to the church . They too had received a letter and wanted to go into hiding. Shortly afterwards, the pharmacist De Zoete and his wife were hidden in the second attic behind the organ. It became their hiding for 34 months.

The organ will have been quite loud, when it was played. Which probably gave the hiding families some chance to make some noise of their own. However this would only be the case on Sunday mornings, the other days they would have to remain very quiet.

Meijer and Ida Kool, Maurice’s parents, owned a textile shop on the in Rotterdam. Because they were Jewish ,they were not allowed to run a business anymore. Because they had received a letter from the Nazi authorities they also decided to go into hiding. After an unsuccessful attempt elsewhere, they also ended up in the organ attic.

During the day the refugees sometimes left the attic an would go downstairs, but for most of the time they were in their hiding place , where it was very cold in the winter and unbearably hot in the summer.

Six months after the arrival of Meijer and Ida, two more people sought refuge in the attic . The sexton built one one on the other side of the organ, for the pharmacist Chaim and his wife Fifi de Zoete. Their three daughters were placed in other safe houses. Hadassah, one of the girls, was placed with the Van der Leer family, who attended the Breeplein Church services every Sunday. The Brillenburg Wurth family ,Reverend and his wife, made sure that Fifi and Chaim could see their daughter after the service, without Hadassah knowing that this was happening. I think because they may have been afraid that she would say something to others in her enthusiasm.

Thanks to the Resistance in Rotterdam, there was enough to eat for all the refugees as also for all the people helping and protecting them.

Rebecca became pregnant in spring 1943. This may sound like a strange thought but they must have been anxious having sex, to make sure they didn’t make too much sounds .Early January 1944 Rebecca had a baby boy . The Surinamese ophthalmologist Dr. Leo Lashley, the reverend’s wife Gerda Brillenburg Wurth and nurse Riet Dekkers assisted Rebecca during the childbirth. This too must have been nerve wrecking because this also had to be done in silence or at least as silent as possible.

The baby son was named after his grandfather and the sexton but was generally called Emile. The stays with the sexton and his wife.

Their adult daughter came to live with them with her newborn baby. To ensure that the crying baby would not attract attention.

April 14,1945 just three weeks before liberation , Nazi troops raided the church. Someone had told them that there were weapons in the church. The soldiers searched, but found nothing. At that time one of the refugees was playing a game with the sexton and quickly hid under the sexton’s bed. However, the soldiers were so fixated on weapons that they overlooked the rest. The people in hiding were therefore not found.

However the sexton was arrested “Even if they beat him to death, my husband would never betray you” said the sexton’s wife determinedly; and indeed, he did not.

Each person involved in this would definitely been sentenced to death, if they had been caught, luckily they weren’t and they all survived the war

I just want to mention Dr. Leo Lashley the ophthalmologist, who quickly had to become gynecologist, by reading a book on the subject.

He was born on March 24, 1903 in Nieuw-Nickerie, Surinam. He moved to the Netherlands, studied medicine in Utrecht, and obtained his doctorate in 1930 as an ophthalmologist. A little later he married and settled with his family in Rotterdam as an ophthalmologist.

During the war, he joined the resistance and helped a number of people go into hiding in Rotterdam; he also collected food for people in hiding. He successfully delivered baby Emile , the son of Rebecca and Maurice Kool . He went into obstetrics because no other doctor wanted to help Rebecca. Dr. Lashley had eventually go into hiding himself

After the War, he briefly remained active in Rotterdam and in Surinamese associations, but disappointed by racism and discrimination, he moved to Curaçao in 1948. He passed away in 1980.

A report of the Dutch Homeland security stated.

“Immediately after the liberation he fulfilled a very prominent function in the construction of the municipal council here. Being colored, he would have been forced out of this position to a certain extent, which has deeply hurt him,”

A book titled “Invisible Years” was written about this forgotten event. Currently a documentary for the Dutch public broadcaster is also made.

sources

The story of the Organ Attics

https://www.theblackarchives.nl/blog/leo-lashley-een-surinaamse-verzetsheld-die-joodse-mensen-hielp-onderduiken-maar-vervolgens-zelf-werd-gediscrimineerd

https://eenvandaag.avrotros.nl/item/de-orgelzolders-zijn-het-achterhuis-van-rotterdam-drie-joodse-gezinnen-zaten-bijna-3-jaar-achter-he/

http://www.breepleinkerk.nl/orgelzolder

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Dutch Olympian Athletes Murdered during the Holocaust

It is strange sometimes how one thing can draw your attention to another. I did a piece recently on the German national anthem, that led me to look at the Dutch national anthem. “Wilhelmus van Nassouwe”, usually known just as “Wilhelmus” is the national anthem of the Netherlands. It dates back to at least 1572, making it the oldest national anthem in use today.

I mostly associate it with sporting events like the Olympics. It still gives me the goosebumps every time I see the Dutch flagged being raised and the anthem is played during the Olympics, or any other sporting event for that matter. Although the Dutch do punch above their weight when it comes to sport, considering the size of the country. it only hosted the Olympic games once, in 1928. It was held from 28 July to 12 August 1928.

It was the first time that female athletes were competing in the field of gymnastics. Five women on the Dutch Olympic gymnastics team were Jewish: Helena-Lea Nordheim, Ans Polak, Estella-Stella Agsteribbe, Judikje-Judik Simons and Elka de Levie. The team’s trainer, Gerrit Kleerekoper, was also Jewish. The team won the gold medal for women’s gymnastics at the 1928 Olympics, and the Dutch press elevated the women to the status national heroines.

“Everything was taken care of down to the last detail. Nice practice material – not too heavy – logically composed, neatly executed in class, wonderful order and leadership, in one word sublime. …The jury was also enthusiastic and awarded the Kleerekoper corps a total score of 316.75 points, leaving the other teams far behind. With their well-deserved success the gymnasts were the first female Olympic champions in the Netherlands. At a quarter past five, the Dutch flag fluttered above the Olympic Stadium and the National Anthem sounded over the central area. However, the cheers rose when HRH Prince Hendrik stepped forward and shook hands with each of the participants. …and then they, our ladies, to whom we owe the first victory, disappeared under the grandstand to their dressing rooms.”

The Dutch Olympic women’s gymnastics team at the Amsterdam Olympics, 1928. The team won the gold medal. The coach was Jewish, as were five of the team members.The Jewish team members are standing on the first row: From left: Helena-Lea Nordheim (second), Anna Polak (third), Estella Agsteribbe (fourth), Judik Simons (last) and Elka de Levie (second row, first from right). Courtesy of NOC-NSF Gelderland collection

Less then 12 years later that status was forgotten. On May 10 German troops invaded the Netherlands and a few days later the country was fully occupied by the Germans who quickly found collaborators and a Nazi regime was put in place.

Leah, Estella and Elka trained at the “Bato” sports club in Amsterdam, which had been established in 1902 and was one of the largest Jewish sports clubs in the city. In September 1941, the Germans banned Jews from all sports activities, but even after the club’s closure, Jews continued to train and exercise illegally until 1942. From the summer of 1942, Dutch Jews were deported to the East.

Judik Simons married Bernard Solomon Themans in 1935, and they had two children, Sonja (b. 1937) and Leon (b. 1940). After the team’s win, Simons and her husband ran an orphanage in Utrecht, where they lived with their own two children. During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the family was given a chance to escape deportation to the death camps, but Simons and her husband refused to leave the orphans. On March 3, 1943, the entire family and dozens of children from the orphanage were gassed at Sobibor.

Helena Nordheim married Abraham Kloot, and their daughter Rebecca was born in 1933. Lea and Abraham were both hairdressers. In 1943, they were arrested and sent to Westerbork. On 29 June 1943, a deportation train left Westerbork, arriving at Sobibor three days later. The deportees included Helena Kloot, her husband and their ten-year-old daughter, and Gerrit Kleerekoper-the coach of the team- his wife Kaatje and their 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth. They were all murdered. There were no survivors from this deportation. Gerrit and Kaatje’s 21 year old son Leendert was murdered on 30 July 1944 at Auschwitz, according to the Totenbuch des KL Auschwitz-Monowitz (death register)

In 1936, Anna-Ans Polak married Barend Dresden, a tailor, and in 1937 their only daughter Eva was born in Amsterdam. In May 1943, the family was arrested and sent to the Vught concentration camp in the Netherlands. Approximately one month later, Anna and Eva were transferred to Westerbork. On 20 July 1943, a deportation train left Westerbork, arriving at Sobibor three days later. Among the deportees were Anna Dresden and her six-year-old daughter Eva. They were both murdered. There were no survivors from this deportation. Anna’s husband Barend was deported from Vught to Auschwitz on 15 December 1943. He survived the selection, and was sent to forced labor in Auschwitz III: Buna-Monowitz. On 30 November 1944, Barend was murdered at Auschwitz.

In 1928, Stella Agsteribbe competed in the first ever Olympic gymnastics competition for women. Despite placing 13th in the Dutch team selection event, she was elected to compete in the group competition. The Dutch quite comfortably earned the gold in the five-team competition. Individually, Agsteribbe placed 3rd at the Dutch all-around championships in both 1930 and 1934. At the latter event, she competed as Stella Blits, having married Samuel Blits, also a gymnast with her club BATO. Like several of her team mates (Lea Nordheim, Ans Polak, Elka de Levie, alternate Judikje Simons and coach Gerrit Kleerekoper, Agsteribbe was Jewish. During World War II, she was deported to Auschwitz with her husband and children. She was killed shortly after arrival on 17 September 1943, along with her six-year-old daughter Nanny, and two-year-old son Alfred. Her husband, Samuel Blits, died at Auschwitz on 28 April 1944.

Elka de Levie managed to evade the tragic fate of her fellow Jewish teammates, and survived in the Netherlands. She passed away in Amsterdam in 1979.

Mozes Jacobs competed in the men’s gymnastics team. He didn’t win any medals, I believe he came 8th. He taught physical education. He joined the resistance and participated in acts of sabotage and helped those in hiding. On 1 April 1943 he was caught in Vierhouten and held at the house of detention in Arnhem. From there he was deported to Germany via Westerbork. He was murdered on July 9,1943 in Sobibor.

Cornelis Compter was of Jewish descent. He was a truck driver by profession. He competed in the featherweight weightlifting event at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, where he achieve the 19th place. Hewas a memer of the the Hague communist resistance. He was involved in the distribution of the resistance magazine De Vonk. He was arrested on August 4, 1941 by Johannes Hubertus Veefkind, a member of the Hague Police Intelligence Service before the war. Compter was arrested as a result of an infiltration action by Johannes Hubertus van Soolingen, ordered by Mayor De Monchy in May 1940. In March 1942 he was transferred from the Oranjehotel to Kamp Amersfoort. The same month he was transferred to Buchenwald. In 1944 he was transferred to the Nacht und Nebelkamp Natzweiler. In September 1944 he was transferred to Dachau and shortly afterwards to Mauthausen, where he died of exhaustion on 23 February 1945.

Elias Hyman Melkman was a member of the gymnastics association Plato in Amsterdam. He took part as a gymnast in the Olympics of 1928 in Amsterdam. He was murdered in Auschwitz on January 3,1942.

Israel Wijnschenk was also a member of the Dutch men’s gymnast team. He competed in seven events at the 1928 Summer Olympics. He was murdered in Auschwitz on January 31,1943.

Pierre Marie Robert Versteeghwas a Dutch horse rider who competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics and in the 1936 Summer Olympics. In the 1928 Summer Olympics he won the bronze medal in the team dressage with his horse His Excellence after finishing ninth in the individual dressage. Eight years later he finished fifth with the Dutch team in the team dressage and placed eighth in the individual dressage.

Pierre Versteegh trained for the Dutch military, enrolling at the Royal Military Academy in Breda in 1906. In June 1909 he was appointed second lieutenant and assigned to the Third Division in Ede. In the years before World War I, and also after the conflict, Versteegh became an active equestrian participant, winning numerous local competitions. In 1925 he was promoted to captain and in 1936 to major in the Army. In 1931 Versteegh had been awarded the Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau with Swords.

When the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, Versteegh held the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and was also concerned because his wife was Jewish. After the Dutch Army surrendered, Versteegh joined the Dutch Underground, working with the Ordedienst (OD), a fusion of several underground groups. On 2 May 1941 Versteegh was arrested after being found to be a member of the OD. He and several other OD members were kept in the state prison in Scheveningen, later called the Oranjehotel. In March-April 1942 Versteegh and many of his compatriots were tried in Amersfoort, and all were found guilty, and sentenced to death.

On 1 May 1942 the convicted OD members, among whom were included Richard Schoemaker, a Dutch fencing Olympian, were taken by train to Oranienburg, near Berlin, and then transported by truck to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. On 3 May 1942 all of the convicts were executed by firing squad, in groups of 12 each. Pierre Versteegh was among them.

Jan Geert Ankerman was a Dutch field hockey player , he was born in Wommel in Friesland, the Northwest of the Netherlands. He competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics. He was a member of the Dutch field hockey team, which won the silver medal. He played all four matches as halfback.

He did not die in any of the Nazi deathcamps. He was murdered in another concentration camp, by another axis power. He died on December 27,1942 in a Japanese prisoners of war camp in Burma.

Although the Japanese camps were not to the scale as the Nazi camps, they were nonetheless horrific and inhumane and often described as hell on earth

sources

https://www.olympedia.org/lists/3/manual

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/535112/about-elias-hyman-melkman

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/158818/israel-wijnschenk

https://peoplepill.com/people/pierre-versteegh/

https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-jewish-olympians-among-hitlers-victims/

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/sport/dutch-gymnastics-team.asp

https://peoplepill.com/people/jan-ankerman

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