De Nederlandsche SS- The Dutch SS

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Although the majority of the Dutch citizens hated the German occupiers, there were many who saw an opportunity in the situation they found themselves in.

This is the story of approximately 7000 cowards who found it more favorable to pledge allegiance to an evil regime than to the country they were born in raised in, the Nederlandsche SS(Dutch SS).

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The Nederlandsche SS was formed on September 11, 1940. On November 1, 1942 the name was changed to Germaansche SS in Nederland (Germanic SS in the Netherlands). The Nederlandsche SS in total counted about 7,000 members and was primarily a political formation. In addition it served as a reservoir for the Waffen-SS. They dressed in black uniforms that were based on those of the German SS.

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In a meeting on June 9, 1940 between A.A. Mussert and Gottlob Berger of the German SS-Amt,

Mussert was ordered by Hitler to recruit Dutch men for the Wiking division of the Waffen-SS. The Dutch volunteers would get their own regiment, the Standarte ‘Westland’.

There were four reasons why the formation of extension of Himmler’s SS in the Netherlands was important. First, the SS wished, as a result of Himmler’s desire for expansion, to take an important position in the conquered countries. Second, the SS thought it to be of great importance for the recruitment of volunteers for the Waffen-SS. The Nederlandsche SS could not only serve as a pool of reserves, but also had an important task for creating a foundation from which future recruitment could take place. Third, the Nederlandsche SS served to push Mussert in the desired direction of a Greater Germanic Reich. Finally, the formation of a Nederlandsche SS was of great propaganda value.

At first Mussert refused to cooperate, but he had to make concessions to the German authorities to retain his own position. Despite his failure to cooperate and even advising NSB members not to serve in the SS, the unit was still established. The Germans got fed up with his half-hearted attitude and threatened to advance Meinoud Rost van Tonningen to his position, forcing Mussert to agree with the formation of the Nederlandsche SS, as a variant of the Allgemeine SS.

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On September 11, 1940 the Dutch SS was formed by Mussert, formally as Afdeling XI (Department XI) of the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging (National Socialist Movement, the NSB) making Mussert the theoretical leader of the department. Henk Feldmeijer, a protégé of Meinoud Rost van Tonningen was appointed “Voorman”. In practice, Feldmeijer reported to Rauter and Heinrich Himmler, completely bypassing Mussert and his NSB.feldmeijer

Feldmeijer sought more and more integration with the German Allgemeine SS. A training school was opened for the Dutch SS at the Avegoor estate in Ellecom in the Spring of 1941.

On 1 November 1942 the name was changed to Germaansche SS in Nederland  This change emphasized that it was the Greater German aspect rather than the Dutch – that was of greater importance.

By the end of 1944 the Germaansche SS in Nederland only existed on paper, thanks to the changing tide against the Germans and their supporters as the war drew to a close.

As the Nederlandsche SS was supposed to be an elite corps, not everybody was allowed to become a member. There were selections based on race, attitude to life, personality and physical condition. To become a member, the candidate (SS-maat, a translation of the German SS-Anwärter) had to satisfy the following conditions:

  1. Aryan descent proven to the year 1800 (1750 for the officers). The candidate had to give his word of honour that he knew nothing of any non-Aryan ancestors.
  2. No dishonorable criminal convictions.
  3. At least 1.72 m in height.
  4. Physically healthy, confirmed by medical examination.
  5. Age 18-30. Exceptions were made for those who were true national socialists before May 9, 1940.
  6. Pledge of unconditional loyalty to all superiors.

A thorough series of physical and genealogical examinations and investigations were made on each applicant. Only after these were successfully concluded did the candidate officially become an SS-Man.

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They had a propaganda magazine called “Storm” which had slogans and ‘inspirational’ messages  like “Vreugde in Arbeid” (Joy in work) or “De macht van een gedachte” (The power of a thought)

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About half of the Dutch SS did go on to serve in the Eastern front, for those who survived the east front and those who had remained in the Netherlands were tried  in the Netherlands as war criminals and collaborators. Those who weren’t sentenced to death, were imprisoned in camps.

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By early 1950’s most of the Dutch SS men were released, however they were still hated by the general population. They had also lost their citizenship and were often cast aside by their families. Some of them joined the French and Spanish foreign legions while others tried to regain citizenship by fighting in the Korean war under the UN banner.

I deliberately called them cowards because that is really what they were, It puzzles me how they could volunteer,knowing what happened to their fellow country men,women and children.Some historians say we judge them too harshly, I don’t subscribe to that point of view.

 

 

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I betcha you didn’t know they were Dutch

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This is a small deviation from my usual blogs, just a bit fun trivia.

The Netherlands , a small country with a population of 17.1 Million. Famous for its flowers,vegetables,artists and industry.

But I betcha you did not know these were Dutch.

Bobby Farrell

Dancer and singer with the 70s/80s disco band Bomey M.

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Van Halen

The 2 brothers Eddie and Alex van Halen, founders of the Rock band van Halen

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Mata Hari

Famous WWI exotic dancer and Spy. Born Margaretha Geertruida

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DJ Tiësto

Born  Tijs Michiel Verwest a Dutch DJ and record producer.

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Audrey Hepburn

Born in Belgium in 1929. Although her mother was a Dutch Baroness, Hepburn’s childhood fell on hard times in her teen years when the Nazi’s took over Arnhem, NL while she and her mother were there. They ultimately suffered malnutrition, even grinding tulip bulbs as bread flour to survive. At 16, she was a volunteer nurse during the Battle of Arnhem, and worked with the Dutch Underground. After liberation and a few movie roles in Europe, she headed for Hollywood.

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Jane Seymour

Born in England. With a Dutch Mother and Jewish Father, she spent much time growing up in Vught, NL and speaks fluent Dutch. Actress and producer, she is known for the TV series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”, the James Bond movie “Live and Let Die”, “Wedding Crashers”, several mini-series and TV movies, and has over 220 credits to her work. Seymour has twenty-two award nominations and nine wins, including two Golden Globe awards and an Emmy.

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Sittard & Geleen during WWII

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To most of you the names of these 2 towns will mean virtually nothing but it is where my roots are. I was born and raised in Geleen.

Sittard-Geleen  is a municipality in the southeastern Netherlands. It was formed in 2001 from the former municipalities Sittard, Geleen and Born.

The Netherlands was a neutral country, during WWI this neutrality had not been breached, however on the 10th of May 1940 the Germans breached the Dutch neutrality by invading the country.

Below are some pictures and stories of the period just before the start of WWII,during and after WWII of the Geleen Sittard regions and its surrounding villages.

Church wedding of a dutch Soldier in 1939 at the St Catharina Church,Grevenbicht. His comrades form a guard of honor.

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Dutch soldiers on parade on the Market square in Sittard, shortly before the invasion. Dutch troops had been mobilized for the eventuality the Germans would invade

 

10th of May 1940. German occupying troops are taking a toilet break. On the background the Church of Sittard can be seen.

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German occupying forces on the Market square in Sittard, with the City Hall in the background.

German troops on Steenweg in Sittard  heading for the station

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In April 1941 it becomes compulsary for every Dutch citizen age 15 years and older to carry an ID card, as required by the German occupiers.The ID card would include address and finger prints of the ID holder.

This is the ID card of Anna, Barbara Augenbroe from Geleen.

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The Dutch resistance manufactured many false identification papers to save fellow resistance members or Jewish citizens.The papers below are from Viktor Handgriff, alias A.T.J. Boumans , a Jewish immigrant who lived in de Pesch straat in Geleen at the time.As far I am aware he survived the war and passed away in 1977.

 

 

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Friendly Fire

On October 5 1942 approximately 30 bombers of the RAF carried out a bombing raid between 21:55 and 23:10, killing 83 and severely injuring 22 other. Leaving about 3000 people homeless.

 

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/01/20/forgotten-history/

 

Warren Kappen.

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T/5 Warren R. Kappen, son of Robert E. and Mildred Patanude
Kappen, who was 24 years of age at the time of his death, was born March 28, 1920, at Unionville. He completed his 8th grade education and at the age of 14 went to Detroit to live. He was employed as a welder with Ceco Steel Co. when
he entered the army Nov. 26, 1941. He trained at battle Creek, at Fort Knox, Ky., and in Carolina before going to the African Theatre in 1942. In 1943 he went to England
and as part of the 67th Armored Regiment(Hell on Wheels), 2nd Armored Division went on to the European mainland with the first invasion.He died in Geleen on the 18th of September during the liberation of the town.

Monday Sept 18, the first American tanks drive in to Geleen and are cheered by an ecstatic crowd , Op de Vey.

After the war some of the German prisoners of War and especially the SS troops were made to work in the coal mine Staatsmijn Maurits in Geleen

These pictures are dared October 1948. They show SS officers on the way back from the mine to the POW camp, Graetheide,just outside Geleen.

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https://dirkdeklein.net/2017/06/11/the-heroes-of-geleen-the-fallen/

 

 

 

 

The Fall of Lange Jan

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Lange Jan(Long John) was the name of the 135 meter(442ft) tall chimney of the former coal mine “Oranje Nassau 1” in Heerlen in  the province of Limburg in the south east of the Netherlands.

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It had been erected in 1937/1938 and had been dominating Heerlen’s skyline. To put it in perspective the Big Ben tower in London is 96 meters (314ft)

The “Oranje Nassau I” had stopped production in 1974 therefore the tall chimney did not use any purpose anymore, The decission was therefore made to demolish the “Lange Jan” on the 21st of August, 1976.

However “Lange Jan” was not going away without a fight and plotted revenge by falling in the wrong direction after the explosives had been ignited,bringing down with it several power  cables.

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The people from Limburg are very proud of their traditions therefore to commemorate the event they arranged for a symbolic funeral procession and even printed some prayer cards.

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Dunes of Death

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Waalsdorpervlakte, in the dunes by the Dutch seaside village of Scheveningen, was one of the most notorious spots during the Second World War. On this desolate sand plain more than 250 people were killed by the Germans.

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Most were members of the Dutch Resistance who risked their lives in the struggle against the Nazi occupier. In their last moments they walked across the sand, were bound to wooden poles and waited for the firing squad to line up. The shots that followed put an end to their lives. The first execution carried out here was on 3 March 1941 when the Germans shot Ernst Cahn, who had organized Resistance activities from his ice cream parlour in Amsterdam.

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In 1945, out of respect and appreciation for the fallen, five large memorial crosses were fashioned from the wooden execution poles. These wooden crosses were replaced by bronze copies in 1981.

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Marion Pritchard-Van Binsbergen- WWII Hero-Real Girl power.

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Dutch hero Marion Pritchard-Van Binsbergen died at the age of 96 in Washington on December 11th, 2016.

Marion Pritchard, (née van Binsbergen; was a Dutch-American social worker and psychoanalyst, who distinguished herself as a savior of Jews in the Netherlands during the Second World War. Pritchard helped save approximately 150 Dutch Jews, most of them children, throughout the German occupation of the Netherlands.In addition to protecting these people’s lives, she was imprisoned by Nazis, worked in collaboration with the Dutch resistance, and shot and killed a Dutch Nazi.

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Marion Pritchard grew up in the Netherlands, the daughter of liberal judge Jacob van Binsbergen, who was on the board of regents for the prisons of Amsterdam. Her parents encouraged her to express her feelings and to expect honest answers from them. She recalled going to school with Jews in every class and reported that they were “considered Dutch like everyone else”. At age 19, she enrolled in a school for social work in Amsterdam

When the war started in May 1940, she was studying social sciences at the University of Amsterdam.

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During her social work studies, Pritchard (then van Binsbergen) was arrested while staying overnight during curfew with friends, who—unbeknownst to her—had been distributing transcripts of Allied radio broadcasts, and was imprisoned for seven months.

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A year later, when the Germans began with the mass deportation of Jews, Marion intervened again. Along with 10 friends, she started a resistance that helped Jews find places to hide, getting them food stamps and false identities.

She then took on more dangerous activities when she was tasked with delivering a package to a home in the northern part of the country. Along the journey, she was given a baby girl by a stranger. Upon reaching her destination, she found out that the people she was supposed to deliver the package to had been arrested. She then took shelter with a man and his wife, originally not part of the operation, who agreed to take care of her and the baby

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Marion also managed to hide Fred Polak and his three children for over three years in a home outside Amsterdam. When Germans raided the home with a Dutch police officer, she hid the Jewish family under the floor. The Dutch officer returned and found the family. Marion shot him to protect them and hid his body, with the help of a local mortician, by burying it in a coffin that already contained someone else.

After the war she joined the United Nations and helped refugees who were displaced from their home. Here she met her husband Anton Pritchard, a US Army officer. They moved to the United States, where she continued to work with refugees.

Rotterdam Razzia

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In the early hours of 10 November 1944, 8,000 German soldiers flooded the streets of Rotterdam. They lay a cordon around the city, took up position on the bridges and squares and shut down the telephone service. They distributed pamphlets ordering all men ages 17 to 40 years to report for tewerkstelling (employment in the service of Germany.

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The men were instructed to bring specific things they would need and to wait on the street with their luggage. All other residents were told to stay inside their homes until the raid was over. For two days, the Germans searched through the city: street-by-street, house-by-house.

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There was no escape possible. Aktion Rosenstock was the German code name for what took place that day: the largest razzia (roundup) carried out by the German occupier in the Netherlands during the Second World War.

To put this into context, the south and the East of the Netherlands had been liberated a few months before.

In the icy rain, 50,000 men (from a total population of 600,000) were taken away to work as slave labourers.

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One of them was Gerard Pakker. He was sent to a coal mine near the German city of Essen. In January 1945, he managed to escape. After a roundabout journey lasting two months, penniless and in tattered clothing, he finally arrived home. The first thing his mother exclaimed was: ‘Oh poor child, just look at you!

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Surviving the 1944-45 Famine

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The Dutch famine of 1944–45, known as the Hongerwinter (“Hunger winter”) in Dutch, was a famine that took place in the German-occupied part of the Netherlands, especially in the densely populated western provinces north of the great rivers, during the winter of 1944–45, near the end of World War II. A German blockade cut off food and fuel shipments from farm areas. Some 4.5 million were affected and survived because of soup kitchens. As many as 22,000 may have died because of the famine.

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Thirteen malnourished babies were taken in by the clandestine Princess Margriet Babyhuis (Lit. Baby House) in Groningen because of the widespread famine in Amsterdam. A group of ladies from Groningen, acting on the initiative of Sieneke Bones, decided to help these infants through the hard winter. People in Groningen supported the project with money and food.

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The mothers faced a difficult choice: watch your child waste away or hand your baby over to complete strangers all the way in the north of the country? What was unique about this place is that the mothers got a letter almost every week describing the progress of their little ones: first words, teething, et cetera. Lots of those letters were saved, along with the entire administration of the Babyhuis, which was just one of the initiatives in a large-scale operation to save children during the Hungerwinter .

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Primarily through the help provided by lots of churches, around 50,000 children from cities in the west of the Netherlands were cared for in the northern provinces. This most likely saved the lives of thousands.

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World War 2 “Drag Queen”

One out of every five inhabitants of the town of Aalten located in the Achterhoek, the so-called back corner in the east of the Netherlands bordering Germany, was in hiding there during the Second World War. The occupier was on constant look out for people on the run, Jews or young men trying to avoid work in the labour camps. Even the churches in town were not safe.

On 30 January 1944, two were raided simultaneously: the Westerkerk (Western Church) and the Christian Reformed Church. The catch was considerable: forty-eight young men were arrested and transported via the Dutch city of Arnhem to the Amersfoort Concentration Camp or to the prison in Scheveningen: Oranjehotel (Hotel Orange). Gerrit Hoopman (19) was the only person who managed to escape from the Westerkerk, thanks to the help of a Mrs Visser-Taal, who had been evacuated from the Dutch seaside village of Scheveningen when German forces seized the city for strategic purposes. She discreetly passed her cape, this bonnet and her traditional overskirt to him. Disguised as a fisherman’s wife, Hoopman left the church arm-in-arm with her and rode off on a men’s bike

(picture below Mrs Visser -Taal ,on the left, and her daughter,-Neeltje)

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Paying the price for sleeping with the enemy.

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Freedom! Suddenly Dutch flags were hanging all over the place and people were singing and dancing arm-in-arm in the streets. But pent-up emotions were also unleashed: ‘Kraut whores’, girls and women who had consorted with the Germans during the war, were targeted. They were dragged from their homes, marched through the streets, jeered and spit at in the days following the Liberation.

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This happened all over the Netherlands. Under the watchful eye of overjoyed spectators, their hair was cut off, their heads shaved and at times even smeared with tar. This was done with a hair clipper like this one, which was most likely used in Amstelveen on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

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An eyewitness from the city of Haarlem described what happened: ‘The girl’s head was shaven unevenly. She was clenching her teeth in anger. Then she had to hold a bouquet of flowers and some guy thrust her arm into the air and forced her to keep time while people in the crowd sang the traditional Dutch rallying cry Oranje Boven (Lit. Orange on top). An older woman was then pulled out of the line. She tried to defend herself; was incredibly angry. The people around me were laughing hysterically.’

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