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.


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.


The bombing of Maastricht

Maastricht is the capital and largest city of the province of Limburg. in the Southeast of the Netherlands. On August 18, the Unites States Army Airforce, attempted to bomb a railway bridge, but it went horribly wrong.

Friday, August 18, 1944 was a warm sunny day that started nicely but ended in a drama when at the beginning of the evening a group of American bombers attacked the railway bridge over the Maas. (Meuse)

The aim was to make the retreat of the German troops more difficult, because the Allies had the wind at their back in France and were doing everything they could to make the escape of the Germans more difficult and to prevent them from bringing in supplies. The fact that this required bombing in populated areas, with a real chance of civilian casualties, was an acceptable risk.
But instead of hitting the bridges, the bombs wreaked havoc on neighboring residential areas. 26 American B-17s dropped about 160 thousand pounds on the railway bridge, but it almost entirely unscathed. It was different in the surrounding neighborhoods where the population paid a heavy toll: 129 deaths, countless seriously injured and hundreds of houses on both banks of the Maas were wiped off the map.

Due to the anti-aircraft fire near the city, most bombers continued to fly at high altitudes. It was virtual impossible to accurately pinpoint the of a precision attack on the bridge,therfore many of the 156 bombs ended up in the wide perimeter of the bridge. Only one direct hit on the target was counted.

Many residents of Maastricht were concerned about the approaching violence of war. Some had decided to take shelter in the caves of the Sint-Pietersberg for the time being.

Trees Dubois was aged 12 when the bombing happened.

In an interview she gave for a local newspaper she recalled the following.

“I was very scared,my father sent me to the bomb shelter. I went out with the neighbor. She returned halfway through to get something. She didn’t survive.”


Hanna Van de Voort—Forgotten Hero

Limburg is the 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, the entire province was liberated.

Hanna Van de Voort was a woman who was born in Meerlo, 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 students Nico Dohmen and Kurt Loewenstein went into hiding and gave 123 Jewish children a place to hide between 1943 and 1944. It was 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 clear that these children had been orphaned by the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940. All children were given pseudonyms and identity cards from the Central Bureau for Children’s Evacuation that was in 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 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 and went to school and to church. Maria remembers exactly how the Nazis lifted Floortje from bed during the children’s raid in Tienray on the night of 31 July 31–1 August 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. On the night of 31 July 31–1 August 1944, raids took place in 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, and four of them were murdered there.

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 on July 26, 1956.



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. Thank you. 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.


Transport to Cosel: Limburg Jews on their way to death.

Before I go into the story of the men, who were put on slave labour by the Nazi regime, I will have to explain what ‘Limburg’ is .Limburg is a province in the southeast of the Netherlands and the northeast of Belgium.

I was born and grew up in the Dutch side of Limburg. The most populated part is the south of the Dutch Limburg, it is also the part that looks completely different then the rest of the Netherlands. There are actually hills there.

The first mass arrest of Jews from Limburg took place on August 25, 1942. Jews under the age of sixty received a call on August 24 to report for “labour-increasing measures”. They were to gather a day later in a school building at the Prof. Pieter Willemsstraat 39 in Maastricht. The summoned Jews therefore had one day to go into hiding or to get a reprieve. Less than 300 instead of the planned 600 people left for Camp Westerbork. Most of the detainees were transported to the East on 28 August. This was the first deportation train to stop in Cosel. Men between the ages of 16 and 50 were taken off the train and taken to Jewish labor camps. Most of the women, children and men between the ages of 50 and 60 were gassed on August 31, 1942 in Auschwitz.

Although I am a native of the province, I was not aware of the fate of these people.

Not all deportation trains with Dutch Jews went directly to the extermination camps and gas chambers. Between August 28 and December 10, 1942, some of the trains to Auschwitz-Birkenau made a stopover in Silesian Cosel (present-day Poland). Here almost all men between the ages of 15 and 55 had to get off the train at the freight station. Where they were put to work.

On 24 August 1942, six hundred Limburg Jews were issued a call-up card by the Dutch police, the municipal police or a constable. They were all under the age of sixty and had to report to the assembly point at the public school on Professor Pieter Willemsstraat in Maastricht the next day.

Only half of them showed up. The group was taken to Camp Westerbork and was largely deported on August 28, 1942. They were part of the first Cosel transport. Another 17 Cosel transports from the Netherlands would follow. Also 21 transports from France and Belgium stopped in Cosel.

The train stopped on August 29 in Cosel, about a thousand kilometers from Westerbork .About 170 men, 75 of whom are Limburgers, were pushed out of the train while being yelled and cursed at . A selection followed, and those who were not been deemed fit for work had to get back on the train. The train continued the journey to Auschwitz ,when it arrived on August 30,1942, the majority were murdered in the gas chambers.

The Limburg men who left Westerbork on August 28 were put on trucks in Cosel and ended up in Camp Sakrau, from where they went to various other camps in the region. Conditions in these camps were very different. The work was very hard, some of the Jewish men died from hunger, exhaustion, illness or accidents.

Abraham Spiero, a survivor who survived a later transport said about the ordeal:

“The train stopped in Cosel. That was a terrible thing there. Humanity stopped here. We, the men up to 50 years old, all had to sit down squatting. When the train had driven away, we were loaded onto trucks like animals.”

The men of the other 17 Cosel transports also ended up in a network of 177 camps near factories and construction sites. Some 1,500 forced laborers make fighter planes and war machinery, they worked in Krupp’s metalworks or IG Farben’s chemical plants.

Others were forced to work in the construction of railways and highways. Which was a big money earner for the German state and the companies.

The men who were no longer able to work were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were gassed.

At the end of April 1943, most of the survivors were sent to Camp Blechhammer. Also father Pinehas Gans and son Philip Gans. They both came from the transport of November 2, 1942. Pinehas and Philip survived for a long time, and end up together in Camp Blechhammer. But when the camp is evacuated on January 21,1945 ,the prisoners are marched to Camp Gross-Rosen by foot. During the march or shortly after arrival at Gross Rosen both Gans men are murdered, on February 5,1945.

The Gans family in 1934 .Right in the picture is Pinehas(Piet)Gans, behind him is his wife and sitting next to him is his son Philip

In January 1945, of the ten thousand French, Belgian and Dutch forced laborers selected in Cosel, about two thousand were still alive. Most are in Camp Blechhammer. Eventually, only 873 men survive, less than ten percent of the men who got off at Cosel. The survival rate of the Dutch is even less, of the 3400 Dutch on the Cosel transports, 193 men survived. This also applied to the Limburg men who started their journey in Maastricht on 25 August 1942. Eleven of the 170 men of this first transport survived the forced labour.

On initiative of some people from Limburg there was finally a plaque unveiled at September 2, 2016 near the former goods store station of pre-war Cosel (Poland) and this as a remembrance of the so called Cosel Transports.



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. Thank you. 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.


Tinus Osendarp—Medal Winning Olympian and Nazi Collaborator

Without a shadow of a doubt, the star of the 1936 Olympic Games was Jesse Owens. But there was another medal winner who became more infamous than famous. He came 3rd behind in the Men’s 100 metres sprint behind Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe and third place in the Men’s 200 metres sprint behind Jesse Owens and Mack Robinson. The name of this double bronze medal winner is Tinus Osendarp.

In the 100 m final, Tinus Osendarp ran 10.5 s just behind the American Jesse Owens’ 10.3 s and Ralph Metcalfe’s 10.4 s. During the medal ceremony Osendarp raised his arm in the Nazi salute. Upon his return home, Osendarp was called “the best white sprinter” by the Dutch press.

Tinus (Martinus) Osendarp was born on 21 May 1916 in Delft, the son of Bernardus Osendarp, owner of a fruit and vegetable export company. The Osendarp family moved to Rijswijk when the VUC football association was flourishing there, with a small athletics department. However, Tinus wanted to become a famous footballer above all else. With his innate speed, he ascribed to a great future on the football field.

Tinus Osendarp started sprinting for fun, and one day a talent scout discovered him. His first success came in 1934, when he placed third in the 200 m at the inaugural European Championships, won by compatriot Chris Berger. Osendarp finished fifth in the 100 metres and won a second bronze medal in the 4×100 metres relay (with Tjeerd Boersma, Chris Berger, and the non-Olympian Robert Jansen).

He increased his popularity by winning the 100 m and the 200 m at the 1938 European Championships in Paris.

He first came under the influence of SS propaganda in Berlin. That became the foundation for his future involvement in National Socialism.

Working as a policeman in The Hague, Osendarp joined the NSB (the Dutch National Socialist Party) in 1941 and the SS in 1943. Working for the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), he was involved with the arrests of various resistance fighters and helping with the deportation of Dutch Jews. The payment for each captured Jewish man or woman was 7.50 Dutch Guilders, [the equivalent of $50 or €42 today]. Many he arrested/betrayed the Nazis murdered.

In 1948, Osendarp’s sentence was 12 years in prison. Instead, he was allowed to carry out his sentence by working in the coal mines in the Southeast of the Netherlands to support his family.

Convicted Nazis on the way back to the camps they stayed in after working in the Maurits Coal mine, (The photo is the street where I grew up.)

Osendarp was released in early 1953 and moved to Limburg to work in the mines. In 1958, he became an athletics coach at Kimbria in Maastricht, and then from 1972 on, he was a coach at Achilles-Top in Kerkrade. He died in 2002 at the age of 86 in Heerlen. Although he was a relatively minor perpetrator—I think the sentence was too lenient. I would have sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole.



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. Thank you. 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.


Who is an immigrant? I am one.

The buzzword nowadays is “immigrants” and in hardly any context it is used in a positive way. Here is the thing though, who is an immigrant?

This is just a micro snapshot in history. It is basically a background of my family well at least from my Mother’s side.

The picture at the start of the blog is a picture of the marriage certificate of my maternal grandparents. They got married on December 28,1915.

The groom Durk Jager, the bride Tetje Hoekstra. They lived and were married in a small village in Friesland, in the Northwest of the Netherlands. The village Harkema-opeinde was part of the wider municipality of Achtkarspelen.

It was a rural place and there was not much work to be got. In Limburg, in the Southeast of the Netherlands, there was plenty  of work though. This was because of the ‘black gold’, coal . In the early part of the 20th century. Between 1906 and 1926 coal mines were opened in the most southern province bringing with it job opportunities, not just only in the coal industry but also in the wider economy.

The biggest and the last one to be opened was States mine Maurits in Geleen, which opened in 1926.

That was the call for my grand parents to pack up things and uproot the family for a journey southward to Geleen. Even though the Netherlands is just a small country, in the 1920s a journey like that was the equivalent of emigrating to the US or Canada nowadays.

I used the term emigrating because that is what they were doing. The place they were going to was alien to them. Coming from Friesland they had their own language, a different culture and also a different religion, Friesland being a predominantly Protestant province where Limburg was a predominantly Catholic province. Even the landscape was different.

The new immigrants arrived in Limburg and had to adapt to a new way of life.My Grandparents weren’t the only ones to leave Friesland, because of the lack of work in Friesland a great number of Frisians chanced their luck in the hilly area of the Southern part of Limburg.

I am an immigrant too, because I left that same hilly area of southern Limburg for the emerald isle, Ireland. I emigrated because of my wife, who had emigrated from Ireland to the Netherlands 6 years prior.

In 1997 we decided to move to Limerick in Ireland.

So many people have immigrated over the centuries, when you go back far enough in history you will discover that most of us come from an immigrant background.

So next time someone talks in a disparaging manner about immigrants , just remember they maybe talking about you or your family.

(originally posted on January 15, 2019. Reposted with minor amendments January 10,2022)


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


Silvain Wolf-Just a holiday trip

Silvain Wolf was just a footnote in history. But his story is an important one to tell.

He was born on October 7,1902 in Beek, a small town in the province of Limburg, in the South East of the Netherlands.

In 1930 he moved to nearby Sittard, where he got a job with his uncle Adolf Wolf- In the shop Wolf & Hertzdahl. (Which is a shop I often passed when I worked in Sittard.)

On August 25,1942 Silvain got the call to report for labor in Germany. He wanted to hide but was too late. He was initially sent to Westerbork. In Westerbork he wrote a few letters to his family. Below is part of the text of one of those letters.

“We are all good… Mrs van de Hors is keeping well too. Sophie(his sister) needs to remain tough, or do something else……. We had red cabbage and rotten unpeeled potatoes, and will disappoint more often.

You all keep strong, it is just a Holiday trip”

That last line says so much. He was still anticipating a return home. This was because the Nazis had created the illusion that all wasn’t that bad. On August 28,1942 he was put on a transport to Auschwitz.

But Silvain and other men were taken off the train in Kosel ,about 80 km away from Auschwitz. From labor camp Kosel the men were sent to other camps ,after that theirs and Silvain’s fate is unknown. There is only a footnote saying ‘Died in middle Europe’ not even the date is known. They put Silvain’s date of death on April 30,1943 but that is a fictional date.

He was punished and killed because he was Jewish.



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. Thank you. 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.


Cycling in WWII-The story of 2 cyclists, one hero, one traitor.

German troops invaded the Netherland in May 1940. The Nazi regime stayed in power in the the Netherlands until May 1945. Although the southern provinces had already been liberated in the autumn of 1944.

Despite the occupation, for many life went ahead as usual, at least to an extend. Sporting events were still allowed by the Nazi occupiers. I have often wondered why that was, but of course sports were ideal for propaganda purposes. It created an illusion to show the citizens that the Nazis weren’t all that bad. Also sports functioned as a distraction.

Cycling has always been popular in the Netherlands. Many Dutch still use the bicycle as their preferred means of transport. But also in a sporting sense it has always been popular and there have been many successful Dutch cyclists throughout the decades.

It is no wonder therefor that the Dutch continued to organizes cycling events like the Cauberg Criterium, which was an annual race in the most south Eastern part of the Netherlands , the province of Limburg, in the town of Valkenburg.

Two cyclists who would have competed in these races were Jan van Hout and Cor Wals.

Jan van Hout was a professional cyclist between 1933 and 1940. He was born in Valkenburg on October 17,1908.

He made quite a good living as a cyclist. With the money he earned as a cyclist he was able to buy a pub in Eindhoven. When the Nazis occupied the Netherlands he closed his pub, he did not want to serve any drinks to the Nazis. He was a fervent anti Nazi. After he closed the pub Jan and his wife Anneke decided to join the Dutch resistance. They were involved in providing aid to refugees and people in hiding.

A few months before liberation Jan was arrested during a raid. He was sent to Neuengamme concentration camp where he died on February 22nd 1945.

Cor Wals was a Dutch cyclist, born February 26, 1911 in The Hague.

As early as 1931 Cor got contracts for the six-day races in Chicago and New York and made a name for himself as a six-day driver in the following years. Because of his unparalleled sense of balance, which stopped him from falling of the bike , he was nicknamed “Slingerplant” (Dutch: creeper). He took part in 39 races, of which he won seven, five of them with Jan Pijnenburg . In addition, he was three times Dutch master of the stayers(aka The pacemaker race, an endurance discipline of track cycling)

He was a fan favourite. However on July 21, 1941 during one of those stayers races, he took off his jacket and to the shock of the spectators ,they saw he was wearing a shirt with the SS symbol. He also gave the Hitler salute.

After winning the championship, he was whistled and booed during his lap of honor and cushions were thrown at him. He decided after that not to race again and to focus on a military career with the SS.

Initially he fought at the eastern front but he ended up working as a guard in several concentration camps. There was a rumour that he worked in Neuengamme when Jan van Hout was there, but this has never been verified.

After the war he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but he was released in 1952.

He opened up a clothes shop in Eindhoven . One day Anneke van Hout-Louwers walked into the shop to buy some clothes for her son, Cor chatted with Anneke and cupid struck. The couple got married. Anneke van Hout-Louwers was the widow of Jan van Hout, there was a public outrage about the newly married couple. People were disgusted that Anneke married a traitor. The couple moved to Belgium soon after, they returned to the Netherlands in 1981.



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. Thank you. 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.


Risking life to save lives. The brave Dutch who saved Jewish children.

Jaap Musch

There is a lot of rightful criticism about how the Dutch dealt with the Jews during WWII. A lot more could have been done, there is no question about that. But, it is easy to say these things in retrospect. If you are faced getting killed for a simple act of defiance , you might just think twice before you take action.

The noble thing is always to do the right thing, but the right thing can sometimes cost you your life.

However despite that there were men and women who looked past that, and even at risk of losing their own life they still did the noble thing and saved as many lives as they could.

The above picture is of Jaap (Jacobus) Musch, he and his brother set up a resistance group named NV(Nameless Partnership-It also is used in business as Company) Jaap Musch was a dedicated and religious man who came from a family of strictly Calvinist Christian in Amsterdam, When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, he worked as Lab technician. In July 1942 when he and his brother Gerardus saw what was happening to their Jewish neighbours they decided to take action and set up NV  the group dedicated to helping Jewish children find hiding places.  Not only nearby but all over the country, they had to journey sometimes to Friesland , at the Northwest to the Limburg in the south east of the Netherlands, it was especially in the south of Limburg where they managed to save the children, Often hiding in plain sight.

Jaap was captured in September 1944 and was executed. His brother Gerard was arrested on May 9,1944  in Amsterdam while in possession of five ration cards. He was tortured and sent to a concentration camp, but survived the war, and married Wilhelmina Vermeer another NV member who also had survived.

In total the group saved 231 children who all survived the war and the Holocaust.

Rather then write a lengthy essay on the group. I will be posting pictures of some members of the group and some children they have saved below. In this week of remembrances of Liberation and Victory, lets not forget the remember the oft forgotten heroes, the Nameless ones .

The group was awarded Righteous among the nations by Yad Vashem


Ida  Groenewegen van Wijk member since 1943


Willem en Truus Vermeer members since 1943

Willem enTruus

Stella en Beccie Hamerslag, 2 sisters saved by NV


Leo Vogel, saved by the NV


Dick Groenewegen van Wijk, member of the NV since 1943


Marianne Braun, Jewish member of the NV , since 1943


Members and ‘hidden’ children saved by the NV in the garden of the Vermeer family, in Brunssum. Limburg the Netherlands.


Gerard Musch Co Founder of the NV group


Joop Woortman aka Theo de Bruin, co founder of the NV group


Semmy de Bruin, member of the NV group since 1943


Some of the saved children defiantly spelling out the letters NV in a field in 1943.



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. Thank you. 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.