The escape of Hugo de Groot aka Hugo Grotius.

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Hugo de Groot (AKA Hugo Grotius) born in Delft on 10 April 1583 (the year before William of Orange was murdered). He was the intellectual prodigy of his age, and one of the ornaments of the University of Leyden. Early in life he became associated with Olden Barneveld, and when the struggle between Arminius and Goniarus broke out, he sided with the former, and exerted all his influence on the side of toleration.

Having, only in a less degree than Barneveld, excited against himself the prejudice and hatred of Maurice of Nassau, he was seized, and, at the age of 36, condemned to perpetual imprisonment in the Castle of Lovenstein, near Gorcum.1024px-Slot_loevestein_1619
His escape is one of the most amusing stories in Dutch history. He was not denied books, and at fixed seasons these were changed by sending a large chest to and from. As the months passed, and the strictest search never discovered anything in the chest but books and linen, the guards grew careless. The ingenuity of his wife, who had been allowed to share his imprisonment, turned this slackness to account. She persuaded him on one occasion to occupy the place of the books.

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When the two soldiers whose duty it was to carry out the chest came, they said it was so heavy that “there must be an Arminian in it.” With admirable tact, Madame Grotius replied, “There are indeed Arminian books in it.” Ultimately, after various narrow escapes, he crossed the frontier and reached Antwerp, when he went on to Paris, where his wife joined him. He was never allowed to return to the Netherlands.

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He gave himself up to a great literary work which had been long in his mind, the De jure belli et pads, a treatise which at once gave him enduring fame, but which, like Paradise Lost and The Pilgrims Progress, did very little towards enriching the author. His other noted book was a work on the evidences of Christianity, published in 1627, and entitled De veritate religionis Christiana. He died an exile in 1645. And now the town of his birth honours his memory by giving him not only a tomb in the New Church, but also by placing his statue upon the most conspicuous site within her boundaries, in the very centre of that market-place where so much of tragic and historic interest has passed.

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In the Town Hall hangs a portrait of Grotius by Michiel Janszoon van Mierevelt, the first in time of the great Dutch portrait painters. Delft is also associated with other famous painters, such as Van der Meer, whose picture of his native town is one of the treasures of the Hague Gallery ; Pieter de Hooch, one of the best painters of interiors; Paulus Potter, the great animal painter; and others.

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Safekeeping the Flag

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In 1943, the Jewish family Gans was on their way to the train station because Father Josef, Mother Martha and their four children Abraham, Louise, Emma and baby Harry had received a call-up notice.

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After earlier deferments they were ordered, like many other Jews, to report for internment in the Vught Concentration Camp.

The evening before their departure the Gans family said their goodbyes to neighbours they were quite fond of. Josef Gans gave the family’s Dutch flag to Henny, the girl next door, with the words: ‘I’m giving you this flag for safekeeping, until better times. Hang it outside when we return.’ The next day, Henny accompanied them to the station. The steam train with its passenger compartments was already there and waiting.

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The guards slammed the doors shut. Henny threw one last kiss and waved goodbye to her beloved neighbours.

Years later, after hearing that the entire Gans family was murdered in a concentration camp in occupied Poland, Henny donated the flag to the Synagogue in the town of Winterswijk.

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It is not known if there are any relatives of the Gans family still alive

The heroic village Nieuwlande-the Netherlands

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The population of the isolated village of Nieuwlande  in Drenthe,the Netherlands,increased drastically during the dark days of World War II but the new arrivals rarely were seen in public. Not many people in the Netherlands today know about Drents Jerusalem, Nieuwlande’s nickname. In ancient Jerusalem, a continent away, the village received special acknowledgement in April 1985 as the only community which in its entirety was awarded a honourary Yad Vashem medal for harbouring strangers in its homes.

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A month earlier, a large majority of the villagers had received the Yad Vashem Award individually.

The majority of Nieuwlande’s unregistered people were Jews in hiding who had refused to report to the Nazi’s for deportation to concentration camp Westerbork, less then fifty kilometres to the north. Almost every family in the area around the village had taken in people, some as many as ten.

Resisting the Nazi’s in the former peat bog colony already started shortly after the country was occupied in May 1940. However is was not until local municipal councilor Johannes Post asked Rev. F. Slomp who had served a local church in the 1930s, to come over and speak to the villagers that real resistance began.

That meeting, held at a local church in 1942, was attended by 150 people. Slomp, never one to mince words about the dangers of Nazidom, challenged villagers to do their Christian duty to protect those in harm’s way.

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The village inhabitants resolved that every household would hide one Jewish family or at least one Jew.

Post was one of the first to give Jews a hiding place in his home. Soon he was heavily involved as a regional representative in a group which became known as the National Organization to aid those in hiding (known widely by its Dutch acronym LO). As the number of refugees increased and this type of passive resistance became more widespread, the Germans devised ways to strangle the efforts of their opponents by new and tricky rules for food coupons and rationing, for identity cards and permits. The resistance movement countered these by perfecting counterfeit documents and rubber stamps, to fudge population numbers (at civil registreries) and swapping identities (those of deceased people were swapped with those on the wanted list). One of Nieuwlande’s counterfeit experts was a Jew hiding below a kitchen. Eventually, the resistance movement saw no other option but to raid food rations distribution centres for fresh coupons, rationing documents and the like. The Nieuwlande farmer and municipal politician was elected national leader of the combat units (knokploegen, LKP). An additional activity was springing resistance people from jail. In one such scheme involving a raid on the Amsterdam Prison, Post was betrayed and caught. The Germans did not risk holding their most wanted ‘partizan’ for long, they liquidated him in nearby Overveen. He was shot in the neck the following day, on July 16, 1944. Among those with connections to Nieuwlande who did not see Liberation Day was Post’s brother Marinus, also a resistance leader, who was a farmer near  Kampen. (Another Drenthe village noted for wholesale resistance)

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Life in Nieuwlande itself was fairly safe. The linear community along a canal with numerous smaller drainage branches originally was founded as a peat bog colony but over time had turned to farming and become a homogeneous community. Situated between Hoogeveen and Emmen, Nieuwlande was on the border of several municipalities. A hard-working community, that shared the sense of hospitality and fellowship for which all of Drenthe is well-known.

Another key figure in Nieuwlande’s resistance history was Albert Nijwening, who on his heavy-duty bicycle delivered bread in a wide area which also included Nieuwlande and another strong resistance community Hollandscheveld. Nijwening who by then lived in Hoogeveen was asked by Post if he knew suitable hiding places, at first for men who refused labour conscription in Germany to replace those who were called up for the German army. Soon, Nijwening was also finding homes for a growing number of Jews. Getting people to agree to take in strangers meant they had to come to terms with their fear of getting caught, but once the decision had been made it usually was not difficult to get people to take in additional people. At some addresses as many as ten people were living out of sight. Nijwening’s bread delivery route gave him a very good cover for his resistance work.2017-03-16

In addition to building elaborate hide-outs in homes and barns – double walls, secret entrances, etc. – just in case of unwelcome inspections by Nazi collaborators and Germans, Nieuwlande took quite a few precautions to slow down surprise raids or dragnet campaigns. These would often occur at night, during curfew from dusk to dawn. Many farms  were only accessible via a private bridge across the waterways prompting the families to turn the bridge sideways at night or when danger loomed. Additionally, they removed all the house numbers, creating more confusion to unwelcome strangers. Nieuwlande’s hospitality certainly had its limits.

Remarkably, the village largely was left alone until mid 1944; only a few places had been raided and arrests made. In comparison with other places, where loose talk by otherwise supportive people put collaborators on the trail of resistance groups, Nieuwlanders guarded their secrets well. They were severely put to the test when Nazi-henchmen Pattist and Hoogendam led raids on suspected hiding places over a wide area, causing a reign of terror.

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The Orange dress- The short story of a Jewish family who survived the Holocaust.

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In 1944, a little Jewish girl named Elianne Muller wore this dress made of parachute material – dyed orange – during the Liberation celebration that took place in the village of Neerkant in the Dutch province of Brabant. It went beautifully with her reddish curls. The family Tijssen, Peter and Maria Tijssen had 11 children, who had been hiding the girl, made her this dress for this festive occasion.

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Earlier in the war Elianne spent time in three other hiding places, separated from her parents. Though her father Hein and her mother Rebecca miraculously survived, they completely lost track of their daughter. In 1945 her father placed an appeal in various newspapers describing his daughter’s striking hair colour. The plea was successful: Elianne and her parents were reunited. It was an exception for an entire Jewish family to survive the war.78.-brababants-jurkje

 

The “Jewish-SS” of Westerbork

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Ironically Camp Westerbork had been set up in 1939 to house Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany to the Netherlands.

Following the German invasion of the Netherlands, the Nazis took over the camp and turned it into a deportation camp. From this camp, 101,000 Dutch Jews and about 5,000 German Jews were deported to their deaths in Occupied Poland. In addition, there were about 400 Gypsies in the camp and, at the very end of the War, some 400 women from the resistance movement.1024px-Westerbork-monument2

The Ordenienst, or Jewish police in Westerbork, were universally detested by camp inmates for their cruelty and role in collaborating with the Nazis. Composed of Jews from Holland and other European countries, members of the OD were responsible for guarding the punishment block and generally maintaining order in the camp. The OD consisting of 20 men in mid-1942, grew to a peak of 182 men in April 1943 and stood at 67 in February 1944. Wearing the “OD” badge on the left breast was decreed in Camp Order No. 27 of 23 April 1943.

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The general supervision of the camp was in the hands of the SS and early on they were also responsible for the security in the vicinity of the camp. Daily life inside the camp was overseen by different Jewish work groups, including the Ordedienst  (Order Service). The members of this group, who wore these green coveralls, were responsible for fire safety and internal security.

They supervised the labour gangs, both inside and outside the camp. They also guarded the people scheduled for transport to the concentration and extermination camps. At times the Jewish Order Service was also deployed for razzias (roundups) in Amsterdam

And also  to retrieve the sick from their homes and for instance to empty the Jewish psychiatric hospital the Apeldoornsche Bosch in 1943.Hoofdgebouw_Apeldoornsche_Bosch_(ca._1930)

Needless to say, members of the Orderdienst were not particularly popular among Westerbork’s prisoners and often referred to as the ‘Jewish-SS’. Ultimately, most of the members of the Jewish Order Service were transported as well.

A RING FOR ROZA

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After their hiding place was betrayed, Roza and Siem Vos were deported via Westerbork to the Auschwitz Extermination Camp in Poland on 3 March 1944. They were immediately separated from each other.

Siem ended up in the men’s camp and Roza in the women’s camp. Contact with each other was basically impossible. Despite the appalling conditions Siem managed to get another prisoner to make him a ring with the initials R and S from a piece of old scrap metal. In a roundabout way, the ring was secretly delivered to Roza on her birthday:

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‘Now, more than ever, I am bound to you’ was written in the poem that accompanied the ring.

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In January 1945, the Germans evacuated Auschwitz because of the approaching Russian army. The weakened prisoners were forced to leave, usually on foot through the bitter cold. Many people succumbed during these death marches, including Siem. Roza survived by throwing herself into a ditch. She cherished this ring her entire life.In loving memory of Siem Vos, she gave it as a gift to Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum in 2011.

The February Strike-25 February 1941

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The Netherlands surrendered to Nazi Germany in May 1940, and the first anti-Jewish measures (the barring of Jews from the air-raid defence services) began in June 1940. These culminated in November 1940 in the removal of all Jews from public positions, including universities, which led directly to student protests in Leiden and elsewhere. At the same time, there was an increasing feeling of unrest amongst workers in Amsterdam, especially the workers at the shipyards in Amsterdam-Noord, who were threatened with forced labour in Germany.

As tensions rose, the Dutch pro-Nazi movement NSB and its streetfighting arm, the WA (“Weerbaarheidsafdeling” – defence section), were involved in a series of provocations in Jewish neighbourhoods in Amsterdam.

This eventually led to a series of street battles between the WA and Jewish self-defence groups and their supporters, culminating in a pitched battle on 11 February 1941 on the Waterlooplein in which WA member  Hendrik Koot was badly wounded. He died of his injuries on 14 February 1941.

On 12 February 1941, German soldiers, assisted by Dutch police, encircled the old Jewish neighbourhood and cordoned it off from the rest of the city by putting up barbed wire, opening bridges and putting in police checkpoints. This neighbourhood was now forbidden for non-Jews.

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On 19 February, the German Grüne Polizei(Ordnungspolizie) stormed into the Koco ice-cream salon in the Van Woustraat.

In the fight that ensued, several police officers were wounded. Revenge for this and other fights came in the weekend of 22–23 February, when a large scale pogrom was undertaken by the Germans. 425 Jewish men, age 20-35 were taken hostage and imprisoned in Kamp Schoorl.

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And eventually they were sent to the Buchenwald and Mauthausen concentration camps, where most of them died within the year. Out of 425, only two survived.

Following this pogrom, on 24 February, an open air meeting was held on the Noordermarkt to organise a strike to protest against the pogrom as well as the forced labour in Germany.

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The Communist Party of the Netherlands, made illegal by the Germans, printed and spread a call to strike throughout the city the next morning. The first to strike were the city’s tram drivers, followed by other city services as well as companies like De Bijenkorf and schools.

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Eventually 300,000 people joined in the strike, bringing much of the city to a halt and catching the Germans by surprise.Though the Germans immediately took measures to suppress the strike, which had grown spontaneously as other workers followed the example of the tram drivers.

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it still spread to other areas, including Zaanstad, Kennemerland in the west, Bussum, Hilversum and Utrecht in the east and the south.The strike did not last long. By 27 February, much of it had been suppressed by the German police. Although ultimately unsuccessful, it was significant in that it was the first and only direct action against the Nazis’ treatment of Jews in Europe.

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The statue De Dokwerker in Amsterdam remembering the February strike

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The Sinking of the HLNMS Van Nes

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HNLMS Van Nes was a Admiralen-class destroyer of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The Admiralen class were eight destroyers built for the Royal Netherlands Navy between 1926 and 1931. All ships fought in World War II and were scuttled or sunk..

The Van Nes was laid down on 15 August 1928 at the Burgerhout’s Scheepswerf en Machinefabriek in Rotterdam and launched on 20 March 1930. The ship was commissioned on 12 March 1931

Van Nes escorted the submarine K XIII back to Surabaya to be repaired there after the vessel was damaged as a result of a battery explosion in Singapore harbor on 21 December 1941. Three men were killed in the explosion. They arrived at Surabaya on 6 January 1942

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The HLMNS Van Nes was under command of Captain Charles Lagaay.

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17 February 1942 Van Nes was sunk south of Bangka Island while escorting the troop transport ship Sloet van Beele. Both ships were sunk by aircraft from the Japanese aircraft carrier Ryūjō.

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Many survivors were rescued by seaplanes of the Marine Luchtvaartdienst. However, 68 men ,including the Captain, of Van Nes died

 

 

 

The Supply Chain Management Principles during Market Garden

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This may seem a strange title for a WWII related subject but in fact it is probably more appropriate then you’d expect.

One of the definitions of Supply Chain Management  is “the management of the flow of goods and services,involves the movement and storage of raw materials, of work-in-process inventory, and of finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption”

Replace the word “consumption” with “action” or “combat” and you can apply the principle of Supply Chain management to Operation Market Garden or a great number of other operations during WWII.

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The reason why I chose Market Garden is twofold. Firstly because it a great effect on the country I was born in.Secondly I was the largest airborne operation up to that point and is one of the best recorded mistakes by the allied forces.

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Planning is key to successful supply chain demand and the forecast demand needs to be as accurate as possible. Given the situation and the time this was always going to be a problem.

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Among the controversial aspects of the plan was the necessity that all the main bridges be taken. The terrain was also ill-suited for the mission of XXX Corps.Brereton had ordered that the bridges along XXX Corps’ route should be captured with “thunderclap surprise“.It is therefore surprising in retrospect that the plans placed so little emphasis on capturing the important bridges immediately with forces dropped directly on them. In the case of Veghel and Grave where this was done, the bridges were captured with only a few shots being fired.

The decision to drop the 82nd Airborne Division on the Groesbeek Heights, several kilometres from the Nijmegen Bridge, has been questioned because it resulted in a long delay in its capture.

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In Supply Chain management terms this is deemed to be a “bottleneck”The Bottleneck is the drum (schedule) that controls the throughput of the entire system.In this case the Nijmegen Bridge had become the bottleneck and the speed of the operation was going to be determined by the situation around the Nijmegen Bridge.

Browning and Gavin considered holding a defensive blocking position on the ridge a prerequisite for holding the highway corridor. Gavin generally favoured accepting the higher initial casualties involved in dropping as close to objectives as possible in the belief that distant drop zones would result in lower chances of success. With the 82nd responsible for holding the centre of the salient, he and Browning decided the ridge must take priority. Combined with the 1st Airborne Division’s delays within Arnhem, which left the Arnhem bridge open to traffic until 20:00, the Germans were given vital hours to reinforce their hold on the bridge.

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As part of the planning you have to look at all options and pick the best option available to you,based on statistics and parameters available to ensure the best possible throughput.

Arnhem bridge was not the only Rhine crossing. Had the Market Garden planners realized that a ferry was available at Driel, the British might have secured that instead of the Arnhem bridge. Being a shorter distance away from their western drop and landing zones, the 1st Parachute Brigade could have concentrated to hold the Oosterbeek heights, instead of one battalion farther away at the road bridge; in this case, Arnhem was “one bridge too far”.

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Allied Airborne Units
Killed in action
or died of wounds
Captured or
missing
Safely
withdrawn
  Total
1st Airborne 1,174 5,903 1,892 8,969
Glider Pilot Regiment 219 511 532 1,262
Polish Brigade 92 111 1,486 1,689
Total 1,485 6,525 3,910
Other Allied losses
Killed in action
or died of wounds
Captured or missing
RAF 368 79
Royal Army Service Corps 79 44
IX Troop Carrier Command 27 6
XXX Corps 25 200
Total 499 329

It is amazing to think that a simple excersize in Supply Chain management could have turned Operation Market Garden into a success, of course the term Supply Chain management was only invented in the 1980’s but not withstanding that, proper planning and forecasting could have avoided the many losses and the famine that ensued afterwards.

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https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/09/17/operation-market-garden/

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/05/25/hunger-winter-the-dutch-famine/

I did not think I could link my field of studies ‘Supply Chain Management and Production Control’ with my interest for WWII.

Hoping against all Hope- The stare of desperation.

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It is amazing and in a way disturbing but this girl was born literally minutes away from where I was born and yet I was not aware of her existence or had even heard of her until now.

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Just a few seconds… that’s how long this girl stared into the camera on 19 May 1944 in the doorway of this boxcar in Westerbork, unaware of her fate. The train was about to depart for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Camp in Poland. It is surmised that she was gassed there during the night of 2 August 1944. Her exact identity was unknown for decades, but as the ‘Girl with the Scarf’ she became a symbol of the persecution of the Jews.

Extensive research conducted by the Dutch journalist Aad Wagenaar revealed in 1995 that the girl was not Jewish but in fact Sinti. Her name was Anna Maria Steinbach. She was born on 23 December 1934 in the province of Limburg in the south of the Netherlands. Her parents gave her the Sinti name Settela.Around 245 Sinti and Roma were deported from the Netherlands to Auschwitz. Only 30 of them survived the war. Westerbork’s Camp Commander Albert Gemmeker ordered the Jewish prisoner Rudolf Breslauer to film daily life in the transit camp.

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This still image, originally from that film, has been included in The Second World War in 100 Objects as a remembrance of this often overlooked group of Nazi victims.2.16 minutes into the film.

Setella was born in Buchten (now part of Sittard-Geleen, in southern Limburg,Netherlands) as the daughter of a trader and violinist. On May 16, 1944, a razzia against the Romanies was organized in the whole of the Netherlands. Steinbach was arrested in Eindhoven. That very same day, she arrived with another 577 people in Westerbork concentration camp. Two hundred seventy-nine people were allowed to leave again because although they lived in trailers they were not Romanies. In Westerbork, Steinbach’s head was shaved as a preventive measure against head lice. Like the other Sinti girls and women, she wore a torn sheet around her head to cover her bald head.

On May 19, Settela was put on a transport together with 244 other Romanies to Auschwitz-Birkenau on a train that also contained Jewish prisoners. Right before the doors were being closed, she apparently stared through the opening at a passing dog or the German soldiers. Rudolf Breslauer, a Jewish prisoner in Westerbork, who was shooting a movie on orders of the German camp commander,

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filmed the image of Settela’s fearful glance staring out of the wagon. Crasa Wagner was in the same wagon and heard Settela’s mother call her name and warn her to pull her head out of the opening. Wagner survived Auschwitz and was able to identify Settela in 1994.

On May 22, Setella Steinbach, arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. She were registered and taken to the Romani  section. Those who were fit to work were taken to ammunition factories in Germany. The remaining three thousand  were gassed in the period from July to August 3. Steinbach, her mother, two brothers, two sisters, aunt, two nephews and niece were part of this latter group. Of the Steinbach family, only the father survived; he died in 1946 and is buried in a cemetery in Maastricht.

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After the war, the fragment of seven seconds in Breslauer’s movie was used in many documentaries. The image of the anonymous young girl staring out of the wagon full of fear and about to be transported to Auschwitz became an icon of the Holocaust.

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