Auke Pattist—Executioner of Drenthe

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.

Pattist toasted his extradition failure in 1983

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.

The man in the officer’s uniform of the Dutch Schalkhaar police, on the right in the photo, is Dirk Hoogendam

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.



I am always intrigued in the history of how things come to be. Like who was the first to discover could be turned into a hot beverage. However, as the title suggest this is not a blog about coffee but about my other guilty pleasure, Chocolate.

The history of chocolate is a bit more mysterious then that of coffee.

From Latin America to the modern day, chocolate has come a long way to get to the shops and eventually to you. From where did chocolate originate to how it became the indulgence we cherish and enjoy today.

The history of chocolate began in Mesoamerica. Fermented beverages made from chocolate date back to 1500 BC. The Mexica believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency. Originally prepared only as a drink, chocolate was served as a bitter liquid, mixed with spices or corn puree. It was believed to be an aphrodisiac and to give the drinker strength.

After its arrival to Europe in the sixteenth century, sugar was added to it and it became popular throughout society, first among the ruling classes and then among the common people. In the 20th century, chocolate was considered essential in the rations of United States soldiers during war.

Chocolate is made from the fruit of cacao trees, which are native to Central and South America. The fruits are called pods and each pod contains around 40 cacao beans. The beans are dried and roasted to create cocoa beans.

It is not entirely clear exactly when cacao came on the scene or who invented it. According to Hayes Lavis, cultural arts curator for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, ancient Olmec pots and vessels from around 1500 B.C. were discovered with traces of theobromine, a stimulant compound found in chocolate and tea.

It’s thought the Olmecs used cacao to create a ceremonial drink. However, since they kept no written history, opinions differ on if they used cacao beans in their concoctions or just the pulp of the cacao pod.

Cacao is the Spanish word for chcahuatl, which is what Aztecs called the beans chocolate is made from. It’s thought that English traders misspelled cacao when they brought the beans home, and so cocoa stuck.

The Mayans and the Aztecs believed (and perhaps some people still do. I know I do) that chocolate was a gift from the gods. The Aztecs in particular revered the drink – they gave it to victorious warriors after battle, would use it during religious rituals, and even used cacao beans as currency. To them, cacao beans were more valuable than gold. So maybe money does grow on trees.

The Aztec word for the bitter drink is ‘xocolatl’ which some think the modern word chocolate comes from. It bears a resemblance… sort of. Others think chocolate comes from the Aztec word ‘choqui’, which means warmth.

“Well Dirk” I hear you all say “That is all very interesting, but how did it become a global phenomenon?”

During the 16th century a man called Hernán Cortés travelled to Mesoamerica to establish Spanish colonies, and when he arrived he was greeted with gallons of the spicy drink. He took some home with him to Spain and it became a hit.

Initially, it was often used as a medicine, but its bitter taste led people to try sweetening it. So, some added sugar, vanilla or honey. This made it absolutely delicious, and it soon became very fashionable at the Spanish court.

Chocolate was ‘the’ drink of the European aristocracies – no upper-class home was complete without Chocolate making and drinking paraphanalia.

Up until this point, chocolate had only ever been consumed as a drink. But things started to change in 1828. Coenraad van Houten from Amsterdam was the man who changed the game: he invented the ‘cocoa press’, which could separate the fat from a cacao bean, leaving behind a fine powder.

This powder was much more tasty to enjoy as a drink, and people started adding milk to it instead of water, making it more like the hot chocolate we’d drink today. This method also meant chocolate could be mass-produced, which made it cheaper and so the wider public could buy and enjoy it. Some called this the democratisation of chocolate.

In 1847 British chocolatier J.S. Fry and Sons had the novel idea of recombining the fat and liquor, and adding sugar. He set this in moulds, and voila! The chocolate bar was born.

The chocolate made through this method resembled a mild dark chocolate. The next big episode in the chocolate saga came when Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter put powdered milk in the mix, creating the world’s first milk chocolate bar.

Chocolate’s popularity soared from then on, and it’s never really declined.

Most modern Chocolate is highly-refined and mass-produced, although some chocolatiers still make their chocolate creations by hand and keep the ingredients as pure as possible. Chocolate is available to drink, but is more often enjoyed as an edible confection or in desserts and baked goods.

I love to walk into little Chocolate shops, like Leonidas just to smell the aroma and sample the chocolate pralines.

When I am home in Geleen. I enjoy walking into the specialty Chocolate shop “de Zeute inval” on Bloemenmarkt 34,6163 CG ,Lindenheuvel Geleen. I am greeted with that sweet smell of Chocolate, quite heavenly, I must add.

I am off now to have a bit of Chocolate dipped into coffee


The tragic death of Ola Brunkert.

The name Ola Brunkert will mean very little to most, in fact I only found out about him today. I get these history notification on my phone, today I got a notification telling me it was Ola’s birthday today.

I hear you asking” Who is this Ola Brunkert?” As I stated most of you will not have heard of him before, yet you will have heard him before.

Ola Brunkert was a Swedish drummer who was one of the main session drummers for the pop group ABBA. Brunkert and bassist Rutger Gunnarsson are the only two side musicians to appear on every ABBA album. Ola’s first known ABBA-related session was also the group’s very first single, “People Need Love”.

He was born in Örebro, Sweden on 15 September 1946. Before working with ABBA, he worked often as a jazz drummer but also with acts like Slim’s Blues Gang and Science Poption. Aside from ABBA he recorded with Janne Schaffer, Opus III, Ted Gardestad, Björn J:son Lindh, Jerry Williams, Ingemar Olsson, and others.

He appeared on stage with ABBA at the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 and played with them on their concert tours of Europe and Australia in 1977, North America and Europe in 1979 and Japan in 1980.

He bought a property in the Betlem housing complex in Artà, Majorca, Spain, in the 1980s and lived there for the remainder of his life. It was at his home that he died, less than a year after the death of his wife, Inger, in 2007.

On March 16 2008, he crashed head first through the door in his kitchen at his home on Majorca, wounding his neck on a shard of glass. He managed to wrap a towel around his neck and left the house to seek help, but collapsed in the garden and bled to death.

Police said an autopsy confirmed that Mr Brunkert’s death had been an accident. Mr Brunkert lived alone and there was no sign of a break in, police said.



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.


The Siege of Leningrad

Today marks the 81st anniversary of the start of the siege of Leningrad.

The Siege of Leningrad was one of the deadliest and most destructive sieges in the history of the world – quite possibly the deadliest ever. It would last for 872 days, and there would be more than a million Soviet civilian casualties, plus another million Soviet military casualties and half a million German casualties.

The effect of the siege on the city was devastating . Food shortages were chronic, deaths from starvation, disease and cold were constant and cannibalism occurred throughout the years of the siege. The number of deaths in Leningrad was the single largest loss of life ever known in a modern city.

The Soviets managed to break the siege on 18 January 1943 by opening a narrow land corridor, but it would not be fully lifted until 27 January 1944 when they managed to fully repel the Germans on their drive west.

What is a lesser known fact is that it wasn’t only the Germans who laid siege on Leningrad.

The Finnish army invaded from the north, co-operating with the Germans until Finland had recaptured territory lost in the recent Winter War, but refused to make further approaches to the city. Also co-operating with the Germans after August 1942 was the Spanish Blue Division. It was transferred to the southeastern flank of the siege of Leningrad, just south of the Neva near Pushkin, Kolpino and its main intervention was in Krasny Bor in the Izhora River area.

The population of Leningrad suffered greatly. Despite all the suffering there were still some people who sacrificed their lives to safekeep things that were dear and important to them.

When the German and Finnish forces began their siege of Leningrad, choking food supply to the city’s two million residents, one group of people preferred to starve to death despite having plenty of ‘food.’ The Leningrad seedbank was diligently preserved through the 28-month Siege of Leningrad.

While the Soviets had ordered the evacuation of art from the Hermitage, they had not evacuated the 250,000 samples of seeds, roots, and fruits stored in what was then the world’s largest seedbank. A group of scientists, headed by Nikolai Vavilov, at the Vavilov Institute boxed up a cross section of seeds, moved them to the basement, and took shifts protecting them. Those guarding the seedbank refused to eat its contents, even though by the end of the siege in the spring of 1944, nine of them had died of starvation.

During the siege of Leningrad, a teenage girl Tanya Savicheva, kept a diary. She lost all her family but she herself was eventually evacuated out of the city in August 1942, along with about 150 other children, to a village called Shatki. But whilst most of the others recovered and lived, Tanya, already too ill, died of tuberculosis on 1 July 1944. Below is one her diary entries, it says everything you need to know how awful the siege was.

“Zhenya died on December 28th at 12 noon, 1941. Grandma died on the 25th of January at 3 o’clock, 1942. Leka died March 17th, 1942, at 5 o’clock in the morning, 1942

Uncle Vasya died on April 13th at 2 o’clock in the morning, 1942. Uncle Lesha May 10th, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, 1942. Mama on May 13th at 7:30 in the morning, 1942

The Savichevs are dead. Everyone is dead. Only Tanya is left.”


The World War II Hero Who Saved My Sight


Just before Christmas 2011, I lost sight of my right eye. The retina had become detached, but after two operations, the sight could not be saved, in fact, my eye shrunk dramatically, and I now have a glass shell with an eye painted on it in front of the remainder of my eye.

In November 2014, the retina in my left eye also became detached, so I faced going blind. I had to undergo an emergency operation in a Hospital in Cork which, is 100 km away from my home in Limerick.

In Cork, the consultant surgeon advised me he would be putting a scleral buckle in place to re-attach my retina and to save my eye and sight. The operation was a success this time and my eye was saved.


The man who pioneered this technology was Dr Charles L. Schepens. He was born in Mouscron, Belgium, in 1912. He initially studied mathematics before graduating from medical school in 1935 at the State University of Ghent in Belgium. In 1937, he served as assistant to Dr L. Hambresin in Brussels.

Appointed in 1940, Dr Schepens was a Captain in the Medical Corps of the Belgian Air Force, where he served until the country of the Nazi invasion in May 1940. He escaped to France and worked with the French and Belgian resistance. In 1942, under the nom de guerre Jacques Pérot, he spearheaded secret information and an evacuation pipeline in the Pyrenees under the cover of a country lumber mill near the village of Mendive. He was arrested several times by the Gestapo.

He was first arrested by the Gestapo in October 1940 while he still was in Belgium on false accusations of using a bus to transport Allied pilots out of Belgium. Although he was released ten days later, this experience turned the previously apolitical doctor into an activist, and allowed his office to be used as a post office for underground agents, arranging for the transfer of maps and such information as troop movement. In 1942, a spy in Gestapo headquarters alerted him that he was about to be arrested, and he escaped to Paris.

In an effort to find an escape route to Spain, he and a group of fellow resistance members came across an abandoned sawmill near the town of Mandive in the Pyrenees on the Spanish border. One of the key features was a 12-mile-long cable-car system extending up the mountain and ending near the border. In the mill an effort to find an escape route to Spain, he and a group of fellow resistance members came across an abandoned sawmill near the town of Mandive in the Pyrenees, on the Spanish border. One of the key features was a 12-mile-long cable car system extending up the mountain and ending near the border.

Dr Schepens bought the mill July 1942, with backing from a wealthy French patriot and had it in full-operation by the end of the year. The site became a functioning lumber enterprise, taking orders, delivering wood and meeting a payroll. Not to cause any suspicion Dr Schepens (aka Jacques Perot) developed relationships with the occupying Germans, leading his Basque neighbours to think that he was a Nazi collaborator.

Men, mainly men he helped to escape, who did manual labour around the mill, could secretly ride the cable-car system to the top of the mountain and slip into Spain, often with the assistance of a shepherd named Jean Sarochar.


More than 100 Allied pilots, prisoners of war, Belgian government officials and others made their way out of France over the cable railway. The system also was used to move documents, currency, propaganda and other materials into and out of France.

Everything went according to plan until 1943: That year, a captured resistance agent exposed him. The Gestapo came for him a second time. He escaped before they could arrest him. He had told the Gestapo “it is now 10 o’clock. I have 150 workers idle because they have not been given their orders this morning. Give me 10 minutes with them. I’ll give the orders and come back.”. He then just walked out.

He spent 16 days in the forest before reaching Spain and, eventually, England, where he resumed his medical career.

In the meantime, the Nazis held Dr. Schepens‘s wife and children as bait to lure him out of hiding. However, eventually, his wife and children  made their daring escape, hiking through the mountains to reach Spain, and were reunited with Dr Schepens nine months later in England.

After the war, Schepens resumed his medical career at Moorfields. In 1947, he immigrated to the United States and became a fellow at Harvard Medical School.


He became famous in the ophthalmic community for his work in creating the first binocular, stereoscopic indirect ophthalmoscope (1946) and in treating retinal detachment with an encircling scleral buckle (1953).

If the Gestapo had arrested him the second time, he more than likely would have been executed. Amazing to think of what could have happened to my eye in that case.


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.



Washington Post

Compromise of Nobles-April 5,1566.


In 1566 the Netherlands were still under Spanish rule and was part of the greater Habsburg empire. The ruler of the Netherlands was Philip II of Spain. He had appointed his half-sister Margaret of Parma as his Regent.

Philip was very much opposed to the Protestant teachings of Martin Luther, John Calvin and the Anabaptists, which had gained many adherents in the Netherlands by the early 1560s. To suppress Protestantism he had promulgated extraordinary ordinances, called placards, that outlawed them and made them capital offenses.

On April 5,1566 a covenant of members of the lesser nobility in the Habsburg Netherlands , known as the ‘Compromise of Nobles’, came together to submit a petition to the Regent Margaret of Parma  with the aim of obtaining a moderation of the placards against heresy in the Netherlands. This petition would prove to have a crucial role in the events leading up to the Dutch Revolt and the Eighty Years’ War.


The leaders of the nobles were Louis of Nassau, and Hendrick van Brederode. On 5 April , permission was obtained for the confederates to present a petition of grievances, called the Request, to the regent, Margaret, Duchess of Parma. About 200 nobles marched to the palace accompanied by Louis of Nassau and Brederode. The regent was at first alarmed at the appearance of so large a body, but one of her councillors, Berlaymont, allegedly remarked “N’ayez pas peur Madame, ce ne sont que des gueux” (Fear not madam, they are only beggars).

Afterwards Brederode stated that if need be they were all ready to become beggars for their country’s cause. Henceforth the name became a badge of honor and was used in several configurations during the war.

In the petition the nobles, who presented themselves as loyal subjects of the king, asked him to suspend the Inquisition and the enforcement of the placards against heresy. They also urged the convening of the States-General so that “better legislation” could be devised to address the matter.

The Regent replied to the petitioners that she would forward it to the king and that she would support its requests. Brederode handed over a supplementary petition on 8 April, in which the petitioners promised to keep the peace while the petition was being sent to Spain.

The King Philip II took a long time to reply, but he rejected the petition.

Below is the English translation of the petition;

“To all who shall see these presents, know that we who have put our signatures below
have been told and have learned with adequate assurances that a host of foreigners-men without
any concern for the welfare and prosperity of these Low Countries, with no care for the glory and
honor of God or for the public interest but desiring only to satisfy their own ambitions and
avarice even at the expense of the King and all his subjects, although they falsely pleaded their
great zeal to maintain the Catholic faith and the union of the people-have nevertheless managed
to win over His Majesty by their well-turned remonstrances and false teachings, so that he has
been persuaded, in violation of his oaths and of the hope which he always nourished in us, not
only to refrain from moderating the edicts already issued concerning religion but even to
reinforce them and to introduce the Inquisition among us in all its strength. Not only is this
Inquisition iniquitous and contrary to all laws of God and man, in its barbarity exceeding the
worst practices of tyrants; it cannot but result in great dishonor to God’s name and in the utter
ruin and desolation of all these Low Countries. This would be all the more true because, under cover of a few persons lying hypocrisy, it would destroy all public law and order and all equity,
completely weaken the sanction and respect for the ancient laws, customs, and ordinances which
have been observed from time immemorial, and deprive the States of the country of any freedom to express their opinions; it would abolish all ancient privileges, liberties, and immunities and thereby not only make the burghers and common people of this country wretched and everlasting
slaves of the Inquisitors, who are themselves men of no quality, but would also compel the magistrates, officials, and the entire nobility to submit to the mercy of their inquiries and searches, and in the end it would expose every loyal subject of the King to continued and open peril of his life and property. Not only would the honor of God and the Holy Catholic faith  (which they claim to be defending) be gravely involved therein, but also the majesty [sovereignty] of the King, our head, would be lessened and he would face great danger of losing
his entire state, for ordinary business would come to a halt, the trades would be abandoned, the
garrisons of the frontier towns neglected, and the people incited to continual sedition. In a word,
nothing could result from it but horrible derangement and disorder everywhere. Having carefully weighed all these things and having fully considered and taken into account our callings and the duty to which we are all bound as faithful vassals of His Majesty and especially as men of gentle
birth, being all in. this regard His Majesty’s helpers by our prompt and willing service in
maintaining his authority and greatness and in providing for the welfare and safety of the country, we have come to the judgment, which we still hold, that we cannot fulfill our duty except by eliminating these wrongs while at the same time providing for the safety of our
property and persons so that we may not become the prey of those who wish to become rich at the expense of our blood and our goods under the pretext of religion. For this reason we have
decided to form a holy and lawful confederation and alliance by which we promise to bind ourselves mutually under solemn oath to use all our efforts to prevent the reception or introduction of this Inquisition in any way, open or concealed, under any pretext or in any disguise whatever, whether it be called inquisition, visitation, edicts, or otherwise, but to extirpate and eradicate it completely as the mother and the cause of all disorders and injustices.
We have before our eyes the example of the people of the kingdom of Naples, who have rejected it to the great relief and repose of their entire country. Nonetheless we protest in good conscience before God and all men that we seek nothing which may in any way turn to God’s dishonor or the
diminution of the grandeur and the majesty of the King or his states; on the contrary, our purpose
is only to maintain the King in his state and to preserve in it all good order and law, resisting to
the best of our ability every kind of sedition, popular tumult, monopoly, factiousness, or
partisanship. We have promised and sworn and do now promise and swear to uphold this
confederation and alliance as sacred and inviolable for all time, without any break, as long as we
live. We take God the sovereign lord as witness of our consciences that neither in deed nor in
word, neither directly nor indirectly will we knowingly and willingly contravene this
confederation m any fashion whatever. And, in order to ratify this alliance and confederation and
to make it stable and firm for all time, we have promised and do promise each other full
assistance with our bodies and our goods, as brothers and faithful companions, joining hands so
that none among us and our confederates may be investigated, harassed, molested or persecuted
in any way, either in our lives or our property, for any cause emanation from this. Inquisition or
based in any way upon the edicts favoring it, or indeed because of this present confederation.
And, in the event that anyone, m any way whatever, visit any molestation or persecution upon any of our brothers and allies, we have promised and sworn and do promise and swear to help him with our lives and our property, and in fact to do everything we can, sparing nothing and
avoiding all evasions and subterfuges, just as if we were involved in person; with a specific and
quite express understanding that we will in no way be exempted or absolved from this, our
confederation, because the said molesters or persecutors may try to cover their persecutions by
some other pretense or pretext (for instance, if they claim that they are only punishing rebellion
or some such pretext), until it has been demonstrated in fact to us that these reasons are true. We
maintain this position especially because we hold that in such cases it cannot be claimed that the crime of rebellion has been committed when its source proceeds from a holy zeal and praiseworthy desire to maintain the glory of God, the majesty of the King, the public tranquility
and the safety of our lives and goods. Nonetheless we agree and mutually promise that in such an
event each of us will follow the common opinion of all his brothers and allies, or of those who
will be given such duties, in order that this sacred union may be maintained among us and. that
what will be done will be more certain and stable because it is done with common agreement. In witness whereof and in assurance of this confederation and alliance, we have invoked and do invoke the most sacred name of God, the Sovereign Lord, who created the sky and the earth, as our judge who sees into our consciences and thoughts and knows that this is our decision and resolution. We most humbly pray that by His power from on high He will keep us firm and steady and give us such prudence and discretion of spirit that, always possessing good and
mature counsel, we may achieve our purpose with a good and happy success, bringing glory to
His name, to the service of His Majesty, the King, and to the welfare and safety of the public. Amen”



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Battle of Gibraltar 25 April 1607


For a small nation the Dutch have been involved in a great number of battles and wars, often against nation multiple the size of the Netherlands.

Although the Dutch didn’t win all the battles there were quite a few where they were the victors

On the 25th of April 1607, the Dutch defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Gibraltar. Under the command of Jacob van Heemskerk.Jacob van

A fleet of 26 ships attacked a Spanish fleet of 21 vessels under the command of Don Juan Álvarez de Ávila.The actual event took place during the 80 Years War which began in 1568 as a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces against the sovereign power of the Habsburg Netherlands and therefore against Philip II of Spain. The battle is considered the first and perhaps the greatest of Dutch naval victories against Spain in their fight for independence. The Dutch Admiral Jacob van Heemskerck died during the battle and gained instant immortality in his homeland.

The Dutch defeated the Spaniards by doubling up on the galleons, several of which caught fire and one exploded. At the close of the battle, the Dutch dispatched boats, killing hundreds of Spanish sailors who were in the water.1Battle of Gibraltar

The Dutch lost 100 men including admiral Van Heemskerk. Sixty Dutch were wounded. Depending on the sources, most or all of the Spanish ships were lost and between 3500 and 4000 Spaniards killed or captured. Álvarez de Ávila was amongst the dead.

1880 Pieter van Looy 1607 Bat of gib 2 (2)


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On this day


The bombing of a florist shop that inadvertently caused the death of 583


On this day  44 years ago, at Tenerife-North Airport (formerly Los Rodeos), two Boeing 747’s – one KLM, the other  Pan Am – crashed on a foggy runway. 583 people were killed in what remains the biggest air disaster in history.

Neither of the planed were supposed to be there, they had both been diverted after a terrorist incident at Gran Canaria Airport,

The Canary Islands Independence Movement (CIIM), also known as the Movement for the Independence and Self-determination of the Canaries Archipelago is a defunct independent movement organization that had a radio station in Algiers and resorted to violence in attempts to force the Spanish government to create an independent state in the Canary Islands.


CIIM terrorists bombed a florist shop in Las Palmas Airport on 27 March 1977, seriously injuring 8 people. Members then threatened to explode a second bomb in the airport, forcing police to shut down air traffic while they searched for the bomb.A small bomb was  detonated in the Canary Islands Airport, Spain only injuring one person.

However because of this all flights flying in to the Las Palmas Airport.

KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736 had both been redirected to Tenerife.Both of the 747′ s a were charters. Pan Am had come from Los Angeles, after a stopover in New York,  And the KLM boeing from its home base in Amsterdam.


The two aircrafts were then both on the third runway when the incident occurred. The two flights both taxied onto the runway, with the KLM plane told to hold their position with the Pan Am flight told to follow.

The incident then occurred after the KLM flight took off without proper clearance from the airport.

It wasn’t the only problem, as the Pan Am flight also missed the turning off the runway after mistaking the exit C4 for exit C3 in the foggy conditionsThe KLM flight started to take off despite the runway not being clear and was unable to see the Pan Am flight until the last minute.

A recording from the Pan Am flight heard the captain exclaimed: “G******, that son-of-a-b**** is coming!” with the first officer then yelling: “Get off! Get off! Get off!”.

Despite the Pan Am plane attempting to turn off the runway while the KLM flight pulled up, the two planes then collided on the ground.


One of the 61 survivors of the Pan Am flight, John Coombs of Haleiwa, Hawaii, said that sitting in the nose of the plane probably saved his life: “We all settled back, and the next thing an explosion took place and the whole port side, left side of the plane, was just torn wide open.”

Both airplanes were destroyed in the collision. All 248 passengers and crew aboard the KLM plane died, as did 335 passengers and crew aboard the Pan Am plane,[36] primarily due to the fire and explosions resulting from the fuel spilled and ignited in the impact. The other 61 passengers and crew aboard the Pan Am aircraft survived, including the captain, first officer and flight engineer. Most of the survivors on the Pan Am walked out onto the intact left wing, the side away from the collision, through holes in the fuselage structure.



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SS Navemar-The ship built for 15, but carried close to 1200


SS Navemar was a cargo steamship that was built in England in 1921, was Norwegian-owned until 1927 and then Spanish-owned for the rest of her career. An Italian submarine sank her in the Strait of Gibraltar in 1942.

Navemar is notable for a voyage in 1941 in which she carried about 1,120 European Jewish refugees to the United States in overcrowded and insanitary conditions.

In 1941, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (known as “The Joint”) were desperate to rescue Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia escaping Nazi persecution.


Many held US visas that were about to expire. The Joint’s agents directed them to Seville, where the Navemar had been privately chartered to make the transatlantic crossing. Tickets for the few passenger cabins sold at exorbitant prices. The captain vacated his cabin and charged $2,000 to all who could fit themselves into the small space.Bunks were fitted in the filthy cargo holds, which had previously carried coal.Although attempts were made to clean the ship, there was too little time to complete the task.

Navemar left Seville on 6 August 1941. She called at Lisbon in Portugal, where many of the visas were extended by the US Embassy. After calling at Havana in Cuba she reached New York on 12 September 1941. Many of the passengers had contracted typhus and six of them died in the seven-week crossing,and a seventh died upon arrival in New York.

After her refugee voyage Navemar returned to general trade. On 23 January 1942 the Marcello-class Italian submarine Barbarigo torpedoed and sank her in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Barbarigo_1 (1)

The Spanish Republicans in Nazi Concentration camps


The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was the bloodiest conflict western Europe had experienced since the end of World War I in 1918.

It was the breeding ground for mass atrocities. About 200,000 people died as the result of systematic killings, mob violence, torture, or other brutalities.

The fighting displaced millions of Spaniards. Some 500,000 refugees fled in 1939 to France, where many of them would be interned in camps. 15,000 Spanish Republicans ended up in Nazi concentration camps after 1940.

The Spanish Civil War began on July 17, 1936, when generals Emilio Mola and Francisco Franco launched an uprising aimed at overthrowing the country’s democratically elected republic.The Nationalist rebels’ initial efforts to instigate military revolts throughout Spain only partially succeeded. In rural areas with a strong right-wing political presence, Franco’s confederates generally won out.


They quickly seized political power and instituted martial law. In other areas, particularly cities with strong leftist political traditions, the revolts met with stiff opposition and were often quelled. Some Spanish officers remained loyal to the Republic and refused to join the uprising.

Faced with potential defeat, Franco called upon Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy for aid. Thanks to their military assistance, he was able to airlift troops from Spanish Morocco across to the mainland to continue his assault on Madrid. Throughout the three years of the conflict, Hitler and Mussolini provided the Spanish Nationalist Army with crucial military support.


When the Civil War ended in 1939, with Franco’s victory, some 500,000 Spanish Republicans escaped to France, where many were placed in internment camps in the south, such as Gurs, St. Cyprien, and Les Milles.


Following the German defeat of France in spring 1940, Nazi authorities conscripted Spanish Republicans for forced labor and deported more than 30,000 to Germany, where about half of them ended up in concentration camps.because of their anti-Fascist or Communist political affiliation. They were called the Red Spaniards (Rotspanier) because Red was the color of the Communists.

The Mauthausen concentration camp was the main place where Spanish political prisoners were incarcerated by the Nazis.


By 1941, three years after the main camp opened, 60% of the prisoners were Spanish Republicans.

Up until August 1940, the German and Austrian common-law criminals were the Kapos at Mauthausen; they were assigned to supervise the other prisoners and would typically beat them for the slightest infraction of the rules while the SS guards looked the other way. The Spanish Republicans began to arrive in the camp on August 6th and 9th, 1940; gradually they took over the key positions in the camp from the German Kapos.


The anti-Fascist Spaniards were well organized; they were the only cohesive group in the camp, held together by their political beliefs. Later, when the Communist Czechs and French resistance fighters arrived, they joined forces with the Red Spaniards to dominate the camp. The German criminals had no solidarity and did not act as a group, so they did not remain in control

The majority of the Spanish prisoners at Mauthausen worked in the quarries, but some had administrative jobs. Among the later group were Antonio Garcia Alonso and Francesco Boix Campo,. Boix was sent to Mauthausen on January 27, 1941. Because of his facility with German, Boix initially worked as a translator in the camp,but later also became a photographer.


Garcia arrived in Mauthausen on April 7, 1941. Because he was a trained photographer, Garcia was assigned to work in the camp’s photo lab, Erkennungsdienst.

The SS photographer Kornacz was the only one who took photographs, but he employed inmates to handle the developing, printing and filing of the photo archive. Kornacz was assigned to take mug shots of arriving prisoners and to photograph official visits to the camp as well as the bodies of prisoners who died.

Mauthausen47           (Francesco Boix is on the far left with a camera hanging on his chest)

He instructed his assistants to print five copies of each photograph: one for the camp archive and one each to be sent to Berlin, Oranienburg, Vienna and Linz.

Before Garcia’s arrival in the lab, a Polish prisoner named Grabowski, began developing a sixth print of key photographs, which he hid behind a wooden beam in the ceiling. After Garcia became responsible for developing film and enlarging photographs, he and Grabowski began compiling a secret photo archive.

In 1944 Grabowski committed suicide, and in February 1945 Garcia fell seriously ill and was taken to the camp infirmary where he remained for over a month. Upon his return, he discovered that the secret archive was missing. He questioned Boix, who was the only other person having any knowledge of the archive. Boix admitted that he had taken the photographs, but he said that they were now in the hands of the camp’s Spanish Communist underground. Garcia, though sympathetic to Communism, was accused by some of Trotskyism and was not part of the underground’s inner circle. Garcia was furious, but there was little he could do. He continued to work with Boix saving key photographs, even after Camp Commandant Franz Ziereis ordered the destruction of all negatives during the last week of the war.


The Spanish Communist underground temporarily hid Garcia’s photos in several locales within the administrative complex of the camp while looking for a safer hiding place outside of the camp. They decided to give the photos to the boys of the Poschacher Kommando. This labor brigade, made up of young Spanish teenagers, worked in quarries outside the camp itself. During the last months of the war, the brigade had almost no direct supervision by the SS. Over time, the boys had become friendly with Anna Pointner, an Austrian socialist who lived near their work site. She frequently tossed extra food to the boys and eventually confided her political views to them. Feeling they could trust her, the boys asked whether she would be willing to hide some small parcels for them.

Two boys, named Jacinto Cortes and Jesus Grau, whose job it was to bring food to the Kommando in hampers, gradually transferred the entire archive hidden in these lunch hampers. Anna Pointner then hid the photos in a crevice in her garden wall.

After the war, Boix photographed the liberation with a confiscated German camera. He retrieved the camp photographs, which he later published. Boix testified at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg regarding photographic evidence from Mauthausen.


Some 7,000 of the Spanish Republicans became prisoners in Mauthausen; more than half of them died in the camp.

Mauthausen p6-v6

A graphic novel adaptation telling the story of Francisco Boix titled “Le Photographe de Mauthausen” was published by Belgian publisher Le Lombard, written by Salva Rubio and pencilled by Pedro J. Colombo, in 2016.



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