I cannot decide which is worse, the crimes of Auke Bert Pattist or his remorselessness. Also, the fact that some people saw him as a hero—depresses me.
Auke Bert Pattist was born in 1920. In 1943 he voluntarily entered the Waffen-SS. As an officer, he would be involved in arresting and ill-treating a large number of resistance members, many of whom later died in concentration camps. After the war, he was arrested. In 1946 he escaped from the Koepelgevangenis Arnhem. He was sentenced in absentia, to life imprisonment by the Special Criminal Chamber of the Court in Assen. In November 1978, Pattist was located by Simon Wiesenthal in Oviedo (Spain), where Pattist ran a language school. In April 1979, the Dutch government sent a request for arrest and extradition to Spain, which was initially ignored because Pattist had meanwhile acquired Spanish nationality. In February 1983, Pattist was still arrested and on 9 May 1983, a Spanish court decided that he can be extradited. On 19 May 1983, this court revised its judgment and declared that extradition was inadmissible under Spanish law.
The Pattist case had caused considerable commotion in the Netherlands and had led to questions in the House of Representatives on several occasions. Pattist died on March 21, 2001 in Oviedo.
Born in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, in 1920. He was a convinced National Socialist. His father and mother were members of the NSB. Father was a specialist in vegetable and fruit auctions and industrial cold stores. His mother worked as a training leader for the National Socialist Women’s Organization.
After Auke Pattist had completed his secondary school education, he went straight to the German police academy in Schalkhaar, where everyone who joined the police after May 1941 received a National Socialist education. According to the amateur historian Albert Metselaar from Hoogeveen, “Auke wanted to become an officer, and aspiring officers were mainly trained to act against a resisting population.
After completing his training, he joined the Zwarte Tulpen unit in Amsterdam on October 13, 1942. This police unit was named after the National Socialist and Chief Constable Sybren Tulp, who died in 1942. Pattist’s function was to round up Jews and hand them over to the Germans. In the period from November 1942 to January 1943, his unit rounded up 2,116 Jews in Amsterdam.
In 1943 he joined the Waffen-SS, where, after his service in the Balkans.
In October 1944 he came to Hollandscheveld, together with Dirk Hoogendam and under the leadership of Van Oort, to train Dutchmen, members of the Germanic SS, and Landstorm soldiers. Because people had the impression that there were also many armed ‘Partisans’ in Hollandscheveld and the surrounding area, nocturnal raids and raids were organized from the presbytery of the Reformed Church. At least 175 persons, men, women and children, were mistreated. There was a lot of torture, especially in the school. Some of the prisoners were handed over to the Germans. Eight detainees died.
Resistance actions were followed by reprisal executions among the local population and suspects were extradited to the SD where confessions were beaten out of them. In correspondence with Metselaar, Pattist always denied his involvement in mock executions and torture: “There was hardly any torture with us, at most a few blows, nothing more. That was not necessary. What one did not say, the other said.”
“In September 1944, in the north of the Netherlands, in Drenthe, after the battle of Arnhem, I had to train a company of recruits. We took 80 prisoners and released 40. The others were handed over to the German political police and some were executed,” said Pattist.
Auke Pattist told the ANP that he had joined the Waffen-SS in 1941 at the age of 19. “I was a convinced National Socialist,” said Pattist. He emphatically denies having been guilty of abuse during the war years and says he fought in the Balkans, in Russia and Czechoslovakia.”
About his time in Hoogeveen, Pattist stated: “Because many resistance fighters were hiding in the area around Hoogeveen who regularly attacked us, we combed the area at the time. But I never participated in the persecution of Jews, we were soldiers and not police officers …”
Of torture endured by enemies, he said: “In a period of resistance fighters, it is common to deal with those who want to kill you if you don’t put up a fight”.
“I cannot and will not deny that a lot of inhumane things took place in Hollandscheveld because of us,” Pattist would declare after the war.“ During the interrogations, the detainees were mistreated by hitting them in the face with the flat of their hands or hitting them with the handle of a grenade. It has also happened that the detainees were forced to confess by blows to the face with a karwat. There were no alternatives, the executioner believed. “In a war there are blows. My assignment was to eliminate as many opponents of our system as possible,” Pattist defended himself in a rare 1979 TV interview.
In Oviedo, Spain, Pattist became the director of a translation agency. The Hoogeveen amateur historian Albert Metselaar tracked him down there in the 1990s and started a correspondence with the man who was high on the list of wanted war criminals. Among other things, the work that Pattist had done for the Zaandam-based Dutch state-run military artillery company, A.I., which later became Eurometaal and popularly known as Hembrug, was discussed. ‘In 1972 or 1973, a holiday acquaintance, then deputy director of Hembrug, asked me if I knew guest workers for his factory,’ Pattist wrote to Metselaar. “I placed an advertisement in a provincial newspaper and the next day about 300 people showed up at my door. After an hour I was visited by a police inspector, who drew up a report because the Spanish state had a monopoly on sending guest workers. I was fined 2000 guilders and then immediately called Hembrug.’
The widow of the holiday acquaintance, C. de Rochemont, confirmed the contract when asked. According to Pattist, the fine was reduced to 200 guilders thanks to the Dutch embassy. A delegation of three employees of the Artillery Institutions and an embassy attaché are said to have visited Pattist at home a few weeks later. ‘Together with a delegate from the Spanish immigration service, we inspected guest workers for three days and ate, drank and chatted together. That fine of 200 guilders was entered by Hembrug as operating costs, “said the convicted war offender. “Unfortunately I don’t remember the names of the gentlemen. For me, it was just a translation job. Two years later they came back for business with an arms factory in Asturias. Hembrug had meanwhile been swallowed up by Eurometaal.’ Four years later he had contact with two former A.I. engineers in Oviedo. “Together with two Germans from Dynamit-Nobel and the former Waffen-SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny, we worked together on a treaty with a Spanish gun factory. And all this under my name and address.”
During an interview for the Dutch current affairs program ‘Brandpunt’ in 1994 he showed no remorse. At one stage he said that he did not hate Jews, but any group of people who have been living in a country and refuse to integrate with the general population, like Jews, Arabs, Gyspies, and Turks, clearly he forgot how the Dutch never integrated into any of their colonies, not did he in Spain.
He died in March 2001, aged 80.
Disturbingly there are still people today who see him as a sort of hero.
I noticed these comments on YouTube about Auke.
“Heel duidelijk over intergratie, herken mij zelf ook in deze man, ik ben ook rechts en heb weinig met de invasieve mensen die ons hier het leven zuur maakt, zo monsterlijk vind ik deze man niet, maar goed,de overwinnaar schrijft de geschiedenis!-Very clear about integration, I also recognize myself in this man, I am also right-wing and have little sympathy with the invasive people who make our lives miserable here, I don’t find this man that monstrous, but well, the victor writes history!”
“Ach, het is allemaal al zo lang geleden. Laat zo’n man toch met rust. En het is uitgezocht door een amateur historicus: hoe serieus moet je dat nemen?-Ah, it’s all been so long. Leave such a man alone. And it was researched by an amateur historian: how seriously should you take that?”
“Hij is een held in mijn ogen.Respect, respect.
Wou dat hij mijn schoonvader was.-He is a hero in my eyes.
Respect, respect. Wish he was my father-in-law.”
Thanks to my nephew Stefano for drawing my attention to this war criminal.
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