The picture above is of Wim Henneicke, a bounty hunter and collaborator. His wasn’t driven by hate or by a warped sense of nationalism, but by greed. Wim Henneicke was part of the group called “Colonne Henneicke.” The Colonne Henneicke, officially the Hausraterfassungsstelle, was a group of Dutch collaborators who were active as bounty hunters in the period between March and October 1943. The group consisted of more than fifty Dutch people who were paid to hunt Jewish people in hiding and was led by Wim Henneicke. In the six months that the organization existed, it was responsible for the deportation of eight to nine thousand people.
They were paid 7,50 Dutch guilders (the 2023 equivalent would be $62 or €58) for each Jew that was caught, regardless if it was a man, woman or child.
One of their victims was Charles Salomon Viskoop, born on 17 February 1943. In December 1943, two members of the Kolonne Henneicke found Charles Salomon at his hiding place. He was ten months old at the time. He was murdered on 28 January 1944, in Auschwitz just over a month before his first birthday.
However, Henneicke did not live to see the end of the war. On December 8, 1944, he left his home in Amsterdam in the morning and was shot dead by an unknown member of the Amsterdam resistance.
I want to focus on 2 more members of the Colonne Henneicke.
Bernardus Andries Riphagen, known as “the Dutch Al Capone,” was even more unscrupulous than his American gangster counterpart. The man was a criminal through and through. Riphagen’s fingers were in a lot of pies in the Dutch criminal underworld, from prostitution to extortion to murder. He spent two years in the United States, first working for Standard Oil and then getting in touch with local criminal groups.
During the war, Riphagen continued with trading and expanded his business by working with the Germans as an intermediary agent of the intelligence agency of the SS, the Sicherheitsdienst (or SD), in The Hague. As more anti-Jewish policies were introduced, the collaboration between Riphagen and the Germans became more and more lucrative. When Jewish people were arrested, their property, stocks, jewellery and cash were taken before the arrestees and the remaining household items were handed over to the Germans.
Riphagen ran clandestine roulette houses, offered “ladies of pleasure” to accommodate high German officials and traded in currency, gold and diamonds on the black market with his old friends from the Rembrandt Square such as Joop Out, ‘Manke’ (Criple) Toon Kuijper, Harry Rond and Gerrit Verbeek. Having climbed the ladder from an undercover agent to a bona fide employee, Riphagen decided to join the Devisenschutzkommando (DSK), part of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. The most important function of the DSK was to counteract the increasing instances of black market trading in shares. Another function was to gather the Jewish possessions that had escaped the German currency regulations. Members of the DSK received 5 to 10% of the possessions gathered in return for their work. In reality, however, most of the goods discovered ended up in the hands of individual members. From 1943 onwards Riphagen was part of the ‘Column Henneicke’
It is believed that Riphagen personally executed of Wim Baggers and John Even, two resistant fighters. Baggers and Even were arrested in September 1944 and handcuffed to each other on the Amsteldijk with a shot to the neck they were executed.
The commemoration took place three weeks after the liberation.
He managed the flee the Netherlands after the war.
Always as slippery as an eel, in February 1946 Riphagen escaped, leaving his wife and son behind without a second thought. Rumour has it that his underworld friends smuggled him across the border in a hearse. Another theory is that two Dutch secret service men, Frits and Piet Kerkhoven, organized his escape to Belgium with a hearse. From Belgium, he spent three months travelling to Spain by bicycle.
When Riphagen reached Spain in May 1946, the authorities in Huesca stopped him due to a lack of necessary identification. He was imprisoned, but again luck never left him. He was released on bail with the help of a Jesuit priest. Shortly after that, Frits Kerkhoven gave him clothes and shoes, which were hidden in the necessary papers as well as diamonds that Riphagen had previously left with Kerkhoven.
When justice finally discovered his location in Madrid, Riphagen flew to Argentina with a friend on March 21, 1948. The Dutch ambassador to Buenos Aires at the time, Floris Carcilius Anne Baron van Pallandt, filed an extradition request. However, it was denied by the Argentina Judicial Authorities due to a lack of evidence–again, the crime against humanity got away scot-free.
Riphagen was never extradited to the Netherlands. Always gregariously silver-tongued, he maintained friends in high places. One was a member of the Argentine Supreme Court, Rodolfo Valenzuela, who also served as secretary to President Juan Perón.
Thanks to Valenzuela, Riphagen soon befriended the presidential couple. He kept in close contact with Perón until his death. Belgrano, a district of Buenos Aires, soon became his home where he ran a photo-press business. Also, he supported the Perón secret service whenever he could.
When Perón was removed from power, Riphagen returned to Europe where he spent his time travelling, especially in Spain, Switzerland, and Germany. He kept the company of wealthy women who could support his expensive tastes and continued to talk his way through life. His last known address was in Madrid.
Finally, in 1973 Dries Riphagen, probably the worst Dutch war criminal, died of cancer in Montreux, Switzerland.
Netflix released a movie about Riphagen a few years ago
Sera de Croon
De Croon was known to be particularly fanatical and sadistic, he mistreated Jews and even personally brought Jewish babies to the Germans. At parties he liked to show a captured pre-war holiday film of a Jewish family that he himself had reported. After the Colonne Henneicke was disbanded because the work was done, De Croon moved to the east of the country. He was especially good at infiltrating various resistance groups and was behind the arrest of several resistance members. In Nijverdal, for example, the resistance member Herman Kampman was arrested and later shot.De Croon abused many of his victims.
After the liberation, De Croon couldn’t be found at first. He was finally arrested in 1948 and sentenced to death in 1949. However, this sentence was not carried out after Queen Juliana pardoned him. First his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, later this sentence was commuted to 21 years, of which he only had to serve two thirds. As a result, he was released again in the early 1960s. De Croon was traced to Alicante in Spain in 1983, where he died in 1990 from lung cancer.
It was Sera de Croon who delivered 10 month old Charles Salomon Viskoop to the Nazis.
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