Unusual WWII Facts:Part 14

pilots_american_8th_bomber_command_1942

During World War II, the now-legendary VIII Bomber Command (often referred to as the Eighth Air Force) served as the principal American force assembled to attack Germany from the air. For several critical years in the early and mid-1940s, B-24 and B-17 bombers—the Flying Fortresses—from the “The Mighty 8th”, often in tandem with Royal Air Force fighters, crossed the Channel and hit strategic towns and cities in Nazi-held Europe

First crewman is wearing the RAF Type B flight helmet (famously used during the Battle of Britain), the second crewman is wearing a USAAF B-6 type shearling helmet. The mask is an early A8-B type used by bomber crews mostly from before the war up to about 1943 when it was phased out by more modern systems. The A-8B was a constant flow oxygen mask, patterned after the original design by Boothby, Lovelace, and Bulbillion (the mask was originally known as the BLB mask). It covered the mouth and nose and also had a rebreather bag attached to concentrate the oxygen for enrichment.

Both crewmen wear the famous B-3 type shearling jacket. Aviators in WWII bombers came to rely on their B-3 jackets as they often flew for 8-9 hours in unpressurized cabins, where air temperatures could drop to more than 60 degrees below zero (-53 Celsius). The bomber was vital to the crew’s comfort as the crimp of the sheep’s wool created insulating air spaces, naturally retaining heat and absorbing excess moisture generated by the body. It remains one of the warmest and most insulating bomber jacket ever made. Both crewmen also are sporting RAF type MK VII goggles with flip down sun visors.

dutch_woman_and_german_sodier_1944

A Dutch woman is seen here with her husband, a German soldier that she had married during the German occupation of the Netherlands. Refusing to leave his side, she marched with the German prisoners to the Prisoner of War holding center. Picture taken in Walcheren, Zeeland, the Netherlands. November 1944.

Following the refusal of the Dutch government to return after the German invasion, the Netherlands was controlled by a German civilian governor, unlike France or Denmark which had their own governments, and Belgium, which was under German military control. The civil government, the Reichskommissariat Niederlande, was headed by the Austrian Nazi Arthur Seyss-Inquart. The German occupiers implemented a policy of Gleichschaltung (“enforced conformity”), and systematically eliminated non-Nazi organizations. Not all Dutch offered active or passive resistance against the German occupation. Some Dutch men and women chose or were forced to collaborate with the German regime or joined the German army (which usually would mean being placed in the Waffen-SS).

After the war, some accused of collaborating with the Germans were lynched or otherwise punished without trial. Men who had fought with the Germans in the Wehrmacht or Waffen-SS were used to clear minefields and suffered losses accordingly. Others were sentenced by courts for treason. Dutch women who had sexual relations with German soldiers were publicly humiliated. Some were proven to have been wrongly arrested and were cleared of charges, sometimes after being held in custody for a long period of time.

htiler_helga_goebbels_1

Helga was the oldest of Goebbels’ six children and notably his favorite. Goebbels was proud of his eldest daughter and would go straight to her cot as soon as he returned from his office, to take her on his lap. Helga was a “daddy’s girl” who preferred her father to her mother. She was reported to have been a lovely baby who never cried and just sat listening uncomprehendingly to the Nazi officials with “her blue eyes sparkling”. It was not unusual for Hitler, who was fond of children, to take her on to his own lap while he talked late into the night. Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda Quandt had 6 children: Helga Susanne, Hedwig Johanna, Helmut Christian, Hildegard, Holdine Kathrine and Heidrun Elisabeth – all starting with the letter H (allegedly after Hitler).

nazi_rally_argentina_1938_1

Before the war Argentina hosted a strong, very-well-organized pro-Nazi element that was controlled by the German ambassador. In the spring of 1938, some 20,000 Nazi supporters attended a “Day of Unity” rally held at the Luna Park stadium in Buenos Aires to celebrate the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria into the Third Reich.

kamikaze-pilots-posing-with-a-puppy-on-the-day-before-their-suicide-missions-1945

Photo shows Corporal Yukio Araki (age 17 years old) holding a puppy with four other young men (age 18 and 19 years old) of the 72nd Shinbu Corps. An Asahi Shimbun cameraman took this photo on the day before the departure of the 72nd Shinbu Corps from Bansei Air Base for their kamikaze mission in Okinawa.

under-british-military-escort-two-captured-luftwaffe-crewmen-walk-out-of-the-london-underground-1940

Under British military escort, two German Luftwaffe crewmen, an Unteroffizier (Subordinate Officer, or Corporal) and an Oberleutnant (the highest ranking Lieutenant Officer) who bailed out over the English countryside and were taken as POWs during a bombing raid emerge from the London Underground onto the city streets as shocked Londoners look on. The unorthodox travel arrangements for the two POWs on public transportation probably served as a good propagandistic photographic opportunity, as the image would be widely disseminated and seen by a nation beleaguered by constant aerial assaults during the Blitz.

deputy-mayor-ernst-kurt-lisso-and-his-family-after-committing-suicide-by-cyanide-to-avoid-capture-by-us-troops-1945-1

Deputy Mayor Dr. jur. Ernst Kurt Lisso, his wife Renate Stephanie, in chair, and their daughter Regina Lisso after committing suicide by cyanide in the Leipzig New Town Hall to avoid capture by US troops. April 18, 1945.

actress-marlene-dietrich-kisses-a-soldier-returning-home-from-war-1945

This photo shows Marlene Dietrich passionately kissing a GI as he arrives home from World War II. It seems that the guy on the left holding her up is enjoying the view. It was first published in Life Magazine with the caption: “While soldiers hold her up by her famous legs, Marlene Dietrich is kissed by a home-coming GI”. Photo taken by Irving Haberman.

simone-segouin-the-18-year-old-french-resistance-fighter-1944

Members of the French Resistance are photographed in the midst of battle against German troops during the Liberation of Paris. We see a man in makeshift army fatigues to the left and a young man on the right. Then, most strikingly, we see a woman in shorts, a patterned top, and a military hat in the center. The photograph of this young female fighter would become a symbol of women’s involvement in the Resistance.

Her name was Simone Segouin, also known by her nom de guerre Nicole Minet. When this photo was taken she was 18 years old. The girl had killed two Germans in the Paris fighting two days previously and also had assisted in capturing 25 German prisoners of war during the fall of Chartres. In 1944, at the height of the Nazi occupation of France, she joined the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (Free-shooters and Partisans, or FTP) – a combat alliance made up of militant communists and French nationalists. Simone was very much in the latter camp. Her father was a huge inspiration – a decorated soldier who had fought in the Great War – and she was intensely proud of her country.

body-of-frozen-soviet-soldier-propped-up-by-finnish-fighters-to-intimidate-soviet-troops-1939

Finnish defenders sometimes, though very rarely, took fallen frozen Russian soldiers and posed them upright as psychological warfare. Although rare, a few cases have been documented. Common Russian soldiers and Finnish troops had a great deal of respect for the dead and would allow both parties to retrieve and bury their dead in peace and would make impromptu ceasefires for such occasions. Each party also buried the dead of the opposing side, left a stick on the ground marking the burial site and all the tags intact that would identify the dead.

Roosje Glaser- The Dancing Queen of Auschwitz.

uitje-met-dansschool-19421-880x543

With all the horrible stories we have heard about Auschwitz it does happen that every once in a while we come across a more ‘lighthearted’ tale. By chance I came across the story of Roosje Glaser.

Even before Nazi racial laws turned her into a wanted person in her native Netherlands, Roosje Glaser had limited patience for rules.

A lighthearted and sometimes frivolous Jewish dance instructor who loved jazz music and the company of handsome men, Glaser ignored the 1940 Nazi takeover of Holland and the murderous anti-Semitism it brought. When she couldn’t ignore it, she mocked it.

An amateur photographer whose Aryan looks allowed her greater mobility than other Jews, Glaser not only flouted Nazi laws that forced Jews to wear yellow stars, but used to pose for photographs with unsuspecting German occupation soldiers next to cafe signs that read “no Jews allowed.”

 

Her flamboyant defiance eventually got Glaser sent to Auschwitz. But at the death camp, that same trait helped her survive as a dance instructor to the SS until she staged a clever escape. The remarkable life story of Roosje Glaser, who died in 2000, was only recently documented in a new biography about her written and published in Britain this year by her Dutch nephew.

“On the one hand, it seems that at times she didn’t understand the severity of her situation,” said Paul Glaser, the son of Roosje Glaser’s brother and author of “Dancing with the Enemy.” “On the other hand, she survived by seizing a series of opportunities that show she knew what she was doing.

 

Roosje Glaser’s first act of defiance was to remove the letter J from her passport, which authorities stamped on the documents of Jews after the Nazi takeover.

In violation of Nazi racial laws, Roosje Glaser continued to run her successful dance school. She even made it into the cinema reel in 1941, as part of a Nazi-era item that was meant to show that Amsterdam’s cultural scene was unhampered by the occupation.

Rosie (ex-)husband Leo reports her to the Kultuurkamer. Rosie is forced to close her thriving dance school.
Leo and his brother Marinus betray Rosie to the commissioner of police and the mayor. Rosie is arrested and handed over to the SS who lock her up for six weeks

t2_2-1963-met-leo-300x300

Summoned and marked by authorities, Glaser was unable to find a venue for the graduation ball of her dance class of 1942. So she had the graduation in a barn in the countryside.

Ignoring the summons, she stole another woman’s passport and moved to a different city, living under a false identity in a boarding house run by a German woman who was married to a Dutch Nazi. Then a former lover betrayed her to the authorities — this time for payment.

Initially she and her mother are send to Camp Westerbork .

wster

Determined not to be send to Poland she befriends the leader of her barrack, she demonstrates a tap dance for him which results in getting her job as a nurse. She then gets her mother transferred to the hospital and gets her father, who had been sent to the camp previously, a job in the kitchen.

Later she works as a private secretary of Jacob Haan, an SS officer at the camp.She started a relationship with Jacob Haan, he advised her that it probably would be better to change her maiden name to her ex Husband’s last name Crielaars, which is a catholic name.

Eventually despite all her efforts she gets send to Auschwitz.

In Auschwitz she ends up in Block 10 ,a cellblock  where women and men were used as experimental subjects for German doctors. The experiments in Block 10 ranged from skin testing for reaction to relatively gentle substances to giving phenol injections to the heart for immediate dissection.

220px-auschwitz_mengele_block_10

Here she uses her charm and her dancing skills and she refuses to further part-take in the experiments, but rather then being killed for it, she gets send to Birkenau. Did experiments conducted on her rendered her unable to bear children.

At Birkenau she is tasked to comfort and to set at ease those who are send to the gas chambers.

As a fluent speaker of German and accomplished administrator, Glaser landed a position as an assistant to a German officer at Auschwitz.

“She had charm and she spoke to the Germans like she was one of them, like a classmate. She lacked that victim mentality,” said Paul Glaser, who interviewed his aunt for the book close to her death and has spent the past 15 years gathering additional materials about her extraordinary life story.

Using what he called “natural charm,” Roosje Glaser began giving her German bosses dance lessons after hours, sometimes together with their girlfriends or the dreaded Aufsehrinnen – female guards

27dde8c600000578-3051101-image-m-1_1429730584858

This gave her some privileges like extra rations of bread which she shares with other inmates.

At the start of 1945 Roosje and other inmates are sent to another camp, due to the imminent arrival of the Soviet troops. In this camp the Swedish Red cross is handing out food parcels. Her married name, Crielaars had a Scandinavian ring to is so she decides to go with it,because of this she ends up in an exchange program between Danish prisoners and German POW’s. She then ends up in a refugee camp in Sweden

At the refugee camp in Sweden,Roosje Glaser began giving dancing lessons to other displaced persons like herself.

roosje_glaser_bij_de_loonse_en_drunese_duinen

Disappointed by the Dutch treatment of her, she had been betrayed twice and ironically the only help she received in the Netherlands during the war was from a German woman and her Dutch Nazi husband. she decided to stay in Sweden after the war. Where stayed until 2000 the year she died.

 

 

 

Schiermonnikoog-The Forgotten Island

 

Although the Netherlands was liberated on the 5th of May and VE day was on the 8th of May. It took more then a month after the official liberation of Europe for this Island at the north of the country to be liberated.

It was on the 11th of June 1945 before Schiermonnikoog was freed from German occupation, making it the last place in Europe to be liberated.

Schiemonnikoog is an Island situated in the “Waddenzee”-Wadden Sea,which is an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea. It lies between the coast of northwestern continental Europe and the range of Frisian Islands, forming a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands

Ironically another Island in the Wadden Sea,Texel, was considered the last battle field in Western Europe.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/02/29/forgotten-history-europes-last-battle/

13-09-29-nordfriesisches-wattenmeer-ralfr-05

Schiermonnikoog was the last place in the Netherlands to be liberated from the Germans after WWII. It took until June 11 to free the Dutch island. Why? The Canadians simply didn’t have time to free the island before that.

During the War, the German Army heavily fortified the island as part of the Atlantic Wall defence line, and the number of German troops came to equal the island’s native population of 600. Towards the end of the war, hundreds of SS troops, along with members of the SD, fled to the island, reinforcing the German contingent already there.

After the German surrender, the Germans on the island failed to accept the surrender, but the Canadian forces responsible for the sector that included the island did not attack them to force their surrender. After several months of negotiations the German commander did agree to respect the surrender and the German soldiers were evacuated to Wilhelmshaven in Germany. On 11 June 1945 the island became the last part of Europe to be liberated from Axis occupation by the Allies

Several RAF planes had been brought down during the war on the Island, the German occupiers did pay respect to the airmen who died on the island. Below are pictures of  a military funeral of 3 RAF men by the Germans in 1942. The funeral was for The crew of 415 Squadron’s Hampden AT245 – 28th of June 1942.

 

 

Schiermonnikoog also encountered another big problem. A group of 125 dangerous SS and SD commanders took refuge on the island after the liberation of the City of Groningen in April. This in an attempt to escape from there by boat back to Germany. This group, among them Robert Lehnhoff,  reigned the Scholtenhuis in Groningen during the war with their terror and were widely feared.

robertlehnhoff

Needles to say that the 650 islanders were not pleased with the situation. Even the 600 German soldiers who were encamped on the island during the war were scared of this group.They were given the name “Beulen van Groningen”-Torturers of Groningen.

page_1

The German commander on the island decided to house the group on a farm (the Kooiplaats) outside of the town on the island. The Talsma family who owned the farm had to flee the farm without taking anything

The German reinforcements on the island made Allied plans to disarm these troops risky at best. With the war over for weeks already, the Canadians did not want to spill more blood. A member of the Dutch resistance ended the impasse however when he, disguised as an Allied negotiator, approached the German commander with surrender instructions. The Germans fortunately took the bait, allowing for their peaceful evacuation to Wilhelmshaven in Germany, they were however sent to the jail in Zoutkamp on the 31st of May.

It took till June 11 before the liberation was official with the transportation of the 600 other German soldiers from the island.

Donation

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. Thanks 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

$2.00

 

The Liberation of Mesch-the Netherlands

eng_-_limburg2_248538a

This day marks the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Mesch. The first village in the Netherlands to be liberated.

It was more than three months after the Normandy landings when the men of the Thirtieth Infantry Division, Old Hickory, commanded by Captain Kent, crossed the Dutch-Belgian border at ten o’clock in the morning on September twelfth, 1944.

Much of France and Belgium had already been liberated, and the Allies were trying to advance to the Westwall or Siegfried Line, the defence line that the Germans had built along their border.

old-hickory

In Mesch, people could hear the loud rattling of the German troops clearly retreating with horse-drawn carriages filled to the brim with everything and anything of value that they could find.

School teacher Sjef Warnier, who lived in Mesch, told a reporter about his first encounter with the liberators.

“There was a machine gun firing on the school playground. Suddenly there was silence.” When he went to look, he saw a German soldier standing with his hands in the air. He was being held at gunpoint by an American. The only thing Sjef Warnier could say was “Welcome in Holland”.which made him the first Dutchman to be liberated.

Leon Pinckaers (89) still lives in his childhood home in Mesch, the southernmost town in the Netherlands. “The Americans came across that meadow on the afternoon of September 12, 1944,” he recalled, pointing out the window. “They were followed by a jeep and it drove straight across the river Voer.”On the picture below Leon is the boy next to the man with the high hat.

2016-09-12-2

The family hurried outside and shook hands with their liberators. Mother Pinckaers was perhaps the most relieved of all. She was a refugee from the Belgian town of Visé, which had been all but burnt to the ground in 1914 by the advancing Germans. In May 1940 she had seen how ten inhabitants of Mesch, including her own husband, were rounded up for execution by the Germans on suspicion of sabotage. The execution was cancelled at the last minute, and the village had been quiet since.

Before the family saw the first Americans there had been fighting on the Belgian-Dutch border a mile away from ten in the morning. “Later we could see the dead Germans lying in the beet field.”

Leon Pinckaers doesn’t recall any jubilant celebrations that day. The village was still very much on a war footing. The meadow where units of the 30th Infantry Division emerged on September 12 later served as an assembly point for American jeeps and trucks. Elsewhere broken German tanks littered the road. The erratic German V2 rockets were still coming overhead. Later an American plane crashed in the village.

locatiemesch

A white brick monument with brass plaque commemorates the liberation.

1340799454mesch

Donation

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. Thanks 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

$2.00

Johan Westerweel: Forgotten Hero

joop

Johan (Joop) Westerweel (January 25, 1899, Zutphen – August 11, 1944, Vught) was a schoolteacher and a Christian anarchist who became a Dutch World War II resistance leader, the head of the Westerweel Group.

Westerweel along with Joachim Simon and other Jewish and colleagues, helped save in the region of 200 to 300 Jewish lives by organizing an escape route, smuggling Jews through Belgium, France and on into neutral Switzerland and Spain. He was arrested on March 10, 1944, after leading a group of Jewish children to safety in Spain, whilst on his way back to the Netherlands at the Dutch/Belgian border. He was executed at Herzogenbusch concentration camp(Kamp Vught) in August 1944.

800px-kamp_vught_1945

Johan (Joop) Westerweel began his teaching career in the Dutch East Indies, but was expelled for refusing to be drafted into the army because of his pacifist convictions. His strict Christian background – his parents belonged to the Derbists, a non-consensual sect of Protestantism – instilled in him a sense of justice for all and a belief in the basic goodness of mankind. Upon his return to the Netherlands Westerweel began teaching in a school at the Werkplaats in Bilthoven, where the progressive and innovative educational methods of its founder, Kees Boeke, were applied. In Bilthoven, the Westerweels came into contact with Jewish refugee children who had arrived in Holland during the 1930s, mostly from Germany. In 1940, Joop and his wife Wilhelmina (Wil), moved to Rotterdam, where Joop was offered a position as principal of one of the Montessori schools.

By 1942, the couple had four children.

 

 

 

Nevertheless they dedicated their lives to helping others, and had been taking Jewish refugees into their home. Joop’s colleague and friend from the Werkplaats, Mirjam Waterman (later Pinkhof), introduced him to a group of young halutzim (Zionist pioneers) in Loosdrecht, near Amsterdam. Joop recognized a sense of idealism and strong principles in this group and felt a great affinity with them. When the Loosdrecht group received a tip-off from the Jewish Council on August 15, 1943 that they were about to be deported, Joop and his friends, who became known as the Westerweel group, were on hand to provide hiding places for each of the 50 members. 33 out of this group survived the war; the others were deported after betrayal.

Realizing that hiding was not sufficient to save the Jews, the Westerweel group began devising ways to help them escape from Dutch territory. In December 1943, Joop led a group of halutzim to France. At the foot of the Pyrenees, in a dramatic address to the young halutzim he was about to leave, Joop urged them to remember the suffering in the world at large. He implored them to accord freedom and dignity to all inhabitants of a future Jewish State. “No more war,” were his final words as they parted company.

Later that month, Wil was arrested during an attempt to free Lettie Rudelsheim (later Ben Heled), one of the most active halutz members, from the Scheveningen prison. Following his wife’s arrest, Joop placed his four children with friends of the family, quit his post at the Montessori school, and went underground. On March 11, 1944, Joop and his co-worker Bouke Koning were caught at the Belgian border with two Jewish women whom they were escorting. Joop was imprisoned in the Vught camp and tortured. He soon became a spiritual leader for many of the prisoners – his unfailing high spirits in the face of the brutality of camp life gave those around him hope and strength. His last communication with the outside world was a poem, entitled “Avond in de Cel” (Evening in the Cell), written in July 1944. The poem was full of optimism, speaking of the beauty of nature and a life of fulfillment and inner conviction. On August 11, 1944, Joop Westerweel was executed in the Vught concentration camp. His wife, who was in the same camp, had to witness her husband’s execution. She survived the camps and returned to her family after the war.

One of the Westerweel children, Marta, settled in Israel, where she met many of her father’s survivors.  “I was three-and-a-half years old when my father was arrested and five years old when he was executed. I never really knew him. In the Netherlands I was a fatherless child; here in Israel I became my father’s daughter”, she says. It was from the survivors that she heard stories about her father. “I know the survivors endured terrible tragedies”, she says, “but in a way I envy them, because they knew my father.

On June 16, 1964, Yad Vashem recognized Johan Gerard Westerweel and his wife, Wilhelmina Dora Westerweel-Bosdriesz, as Righteous Among the Nations.

04

 

 

Donation

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. Thanks 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

$2.00

Sources

Yad Vashem

NIOD

 

Stop that Island! The remarkable story of HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen

300px-HMAS-HRMS_Abraham_Crijnssen

Without trying to blow my own trumpet, or in this case my countries trumpet, it is a well know fact that the Dutch are among the most inventive people in the world. As was the case with the crew of the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen(and HMAS Abraham Crijnssen for a while)

Sometimes in life, the guy with the drunken, so-crazy-it-just-might-work ideas hits one out of the park and saves the day.This seems to be what happened in 1942 aboard the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, the last Dutch warship standing after the Battle of the Java Sea.

HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen was a minesweeper of the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN). Built during the 1930s, she was based in the Netherlands East Indies when Japan attacked at the end of 1941. Ordered to retreat to Australia, the ship was disguised as a tropical island to avoid detection, and was the last Dutch ship to escape from the region. On arriving in Australia in 1942, she was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as HMAS Abraham Crijnssen and operated as an anti-submarine escort. Although returned to RNN control in 1943, the ship remained in Australian waters for most of World War II. After the war, Abraham Crijnssen operated on anti-revolution patrols in the East Indies, before returning to the Netherlands and being converted into a boom defence ship in 1956. Removed from service in 1960, the vessel was donated to the Netherlands Sea Cadet Corps for training purposes. In 1995, Abraham Crijnssen was acquired by the Dutch Navy Museum for preservation as a museum ship.

HNLMS_Abraham_Crijnssen_Oct_2011

­

After the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies in 1941 and their decisive defeat of a combined Dutch, British, Australian, and US naval force, the remaining Dutch ships in the East Indies were ordered to flee to Australia. Many Dutch ships were either scuttled or fell prey to Japanese warships or aircraft patrolling their escape routes.

However, the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, a tiny minesweeper with little in the way of offensive armament or speed, was able to successfully escape to Australia because the captain came up with a crazy scheme. He disguised the entire ship as a small island.1a-ship-disguised-as-island-rawAlthough the Abraham Crijnssen was a relatively small ship, it was still a big object—approximately 55 meters (180 ft) long and 7 meters (25 ft) wide. So the crew used foliage from island vegetation and gray paint to make the ship’s hull look like rock faces.

­

Moving only at night, the ship was able to blend in with the thousands of other tiny islands around Indonesia, and the Japanese didn’t notice the moving island. The Abraham Crijnssen was the last Allied ship that escaped the Dutch East Indies.

indonesia-map

.The ship was based at Surabaya in the Netherlands East Indies when Japan invaded in 1941.Following the Allied defeats at the Battles of the Java Sea and Sunda Strait in late March 1942, all Allied ships were ordered to withdraw to Australia.Abraham Crijnssen was meant to sail with three other warships, but found herself proceeding alone.

To escape detection by Japanese aircraft (which the minesweeper did not have the armament to defend effectively against), the ship was heavily camouflaged with jungle foliage, giving the impression of a small island Personnel cut down trees and branches from nearby islands, and arranged the cuttings to form a jungle canopy covering as much of the ship as possible.Any hull still exposed was painted to resemble rocks and cliffs.To further the illusion, the ship would remain close to shore, anchored and immobile during daylight,

(see if you can spot it)

HRMS_Abraham_Crijnssen_disguised_as_a_tropical_island

and only sail at night She headed for Fremantle, Western Australia, where she arrived on 20 March 1942; Abraham Crijnssen was the last vessel to successfully escape Java, and the only ship of her class in the region to survive.

270px-Aerial_view_of_Fremantle

The Crijnssen managed to go undetected by Japanese planes and avoid the destroyer that sank the other Dutch warships, surviving the eight-day journey to Australia and reuniting with Allied forces.

japbom

After arriving in Australian waters, the minesweeper underwent a refit, which included the installation of new ASDIC equipment.

ASIC.png

On 28 September, the minesweeper was commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Abraham Crijnssen.She was reclassified as an anti-submarine convoy escort, and was also used as a submarine tender for the Dutch submarines that relocated to Australia following the Japanese conquest.The ship’s Dutch sailors were supplemented with survivors from the British destroyer HMS Jupiter and Australian personnel, all under the command of an Australian lieutenant.

300px-HMS_Jupiter_1940_IWM_A_238

The wardroom tradition of hanging a portrait of the commissioned ship’s reigning monarch led to some tension before it was decided to leave Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands on the bulkhead instead of replacing her with King George VI of the United Kingdom, which was installed in the lieutenant’s cabin.

It was agreed however that Miss Hayworth was worthy of wardroom status and she was installed on the bulkhead opposite Queen Wilhelmina.

While escorting a convoy to Sydney through Bass Strait on 26 January 1943, Abraham Crijnssen detected a submarine on ASDIC. The convoy was ordered to scatter, while Abraham Crijnssen and HMAS Bundaberg depth charged the submarine contact.

300px-HMAS_Bundaberg_107177

No wreckage of the suspected submarine was found.A pair of hastily released depth charges at the start of the engagement damaged the minesweeper; several fittings and pipes were damaged, and all of her centreline rivets had to be replaced during a week-long dry-docking.

Abraham Crijnssen was returned to RNN service on 5 May 1943, but remained in Australian waters for most of World War II.On 7 June 1945, the minesweeper left Sydney for Darwin, with the oil lighter (and former submarine) K9 in tow.On 8 June, the tow cable snapped, and K9 washed ashore at Seal Rocks, New South Wales.

HMAS_K9_(AWM_P04979002)

Abraham Crijnssen was used for mine-clearing sweeps of Kupang Harbour prior to the arrival of a RAN force to accept the Japanese surrender of Timor.

The ship was removed from the Navy List in 1960. After leaving service, Abraham Crijnssen was donated to the Sea Cadet Corps (Zeekadetkorps Nederland) for training purposes. She was docked at The Hague from 1962 to 1972, after which she was moved to Rotterdam. The ship was also used as a storage hulk during this time.

In 1995, Abraham Crijnssen was marked for preservation by the Dutch Navy Museum at Den Helder.She was retrofitted to her wartime configuration.

Amazingly I was able to find out most of the details of the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, even which pictures hang in the wardroom, but I could not find out any crew members name and most importantly who came up with the idea. If anyone knows please let me know.

Donation

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. Thanks 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

$2.00

IJje Wijkstra and Durk Tabak, 2 shady characters.

The Netherlands is generally known as a peaceful country with relatively little crime and especially the 2 most Northern provinces Friesland and Groningen, which are both rural areas would not be known for brutal crimes and yet 2 of the most notorious crimes in the country took place there. As far as my memory serves me one of the crimes is the 1st recorded mass murders in the country.

 

IIje Wijkstra

Wijkstra-4-2

For all the non Dutch speakers, don’t even attempt to pronounce the name. For all the non Frisians and Groningers, the same applies.

He was born on the 4th of July 1885 in Doezum(Groningen) as the youngest of 7 children, which was actually an average size family in those days.

After primary school IJje started an apprenticeship as a bricklayer, aside from that he would also go poaching with his father. He certainly knew how to handle a gun.

In 1928 he started an affair with Aaltje Wobbes, the wife of his friend Hendrik Wobbes, who was in jail for theft at the time.It is rumored that Aaltje had a great influence on IJje, after they have spent 2 weeks together in Aaltjes house, the pair decided that it was best they move into IJje’s place and leave Aaltje’s 6 children behind.

Because of the abandoning of the children, a judge ordered to apprehend Aaltje en bring her in for questioning.On the 18th of January 1929,two communal policemen (Aldert Meijer and Mient van der Molen) and 2 state policemen (Herman Hoving en Jan Werkman) were sent to arrest her.

IJje was aware of the arrest order and waited for the police to come with his rifle.220px-Saginaw-M1

It was -18 Celcius that day. IJje shot all 4 police officers and got injured himself,albeit just lightly.

After the murders  he burned the house and took Aaltje to his nephew.

iije

IJje tried to escape to the City of Groningen but on his way to the hospital he wass caught.

In April 1929 IJje was convicted to life by a court in Groningen  but after an appeal in Leeuwarden (the capital of Fiesland)  the sentence was reduced to 20 years.

In 1941 he was transferred from the states prison in Leeuwarden to an asylum for the mentally disabled in Eindhoven, why this was, is unclear but the Germans had invaded the Netherlands at that stage and they probably  had a different agenda, IJje died in the asylum in 1941 due to tuberculosis . I suspect the Nazi’s may have conducted some experiments on him.

In 1980 a movie was made of that fateful day in 1929, called “Het teken van het beest” the English title is “the Mark of the beast”

teken

Below a picture of the graves of the 2 states police officers.

220px-090321_Graven_slachtoffers_IJe_Wijkstra_Esserveld_Groningen_NL

Durk Tabak.

300px-Tabak-60

As a kid I heard this name and his story being mentioned a lot in my family, probably because there is a possibility I am related to him.

Durk was born on Wednesday 10 December 1902 in Harkema, Achtkarspelen, he was a son of Johannes Johannes Tabak and Antje Minnes Folkerstma.

Durk died on Friday 16 September 1949 in Surhuizum, Achtkarspelen, age 46.

He was a good friend of IJje Wijkstra. This is something I couldn’t understand until recently. Durk was living in Friesland and IJje was a resident of the province of Groningen. Even though the Netherlands is a small country at the start of the 20th century, in a rural area with little to no cars and even less public transport, the distance to me seemed substantial.

Apparently Durk taught IJje to play the accordeon.

300px-Tabak-60-1

However when I looked closer at a map recently , I noticed that Harkema was at the very east of Friesland and Doezum was at the very west of Groningen, in fact the 2 places are so close that the distance can be done by foot.

Anyway  Durk Tabak was a double  murderer and a musician. In 1930, Tabak was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he had stabbed the 29 year Jan van der Meulen to death in a café in Drachten.

Durk Tabak was a draughtsman by trade , but was also a gifted accordeon player..A few years after being released, he shot his mistress Grietje Groenland-Hayema in Augustinusga. After this horrific deed, he committed suicide by shooting himself through the head.

Because he had been an exemplary prisoner he could have been released in 1943 but because of the German occupation and of fear he would be drafted into the German army, Durk opted to remain in  prison.

Durk died on Friday 16 September 1949 in Surhuizum, Achtkarspelen, aged 46. He shot himself after killing his mistress Grietje Groenland-Hayema.

Durk is also one of the main characters in the movies “the Mark of the beast”

 

Forgotten History:Sergeant Leo Major-One Eyed Hero

leo-major-2

This man is true inspiration to me in a very personal way.Like me he had only the use of one eye, but unlike me he risked his life many times.

Leo Major was a French Canadian man born in 1921. He probably didn’t think he was going to be more of a hero than the average soldier when he joined up with the Canadian Army at the start of World War II—supposedly he simply joined up because he wanted to show his father, with whom he had a shaky relationship, that he could do something to be proud of.

Léo Major DCM & Bar (1921 – 12 October 2008) was a French Canadian soldier in the Régiment de la Chaudière in World War II.

RegimentdelaChaudiereMembersTrainingInWinter1945

He was the only Canadian and one of only three soldiers in the British Commonwealth to ever receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal twice in separate wars.

Distinguished_Conduct_Medal_-_Victoria

On the night of 13 April 1945, Major single-handedly liberated the city of Zwolle in the Netherlands from German army occupation.This action earned him his first Distinguished Conduct Medal. He received his second DCM during the Korean War for leading the capture of a key hill.

Major died in Longueuil on 12 October 2008 and was buried at the Last Post Fund National Field of Honour in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. He was survived by: Pauline De Croiselle, his wife of 57 years; four children; and five grandchildren.

During a reconnaissance mission on D-Day, Major captured a German armoured vehicle (a Hanomag) by himself. The vehicle contained German communication equipment and secret German Army codes.

hanomag

Days later, during his first encounter with an SS patrol, he killed four soldiers; however, one of them managed to ignite a phosphorus grenade. After the resulting explosion, Major lost one eye but he continued to fight.

He continued his service as a scout and a sniper by insisting that he needed only one eye to sight his weapon. According to him, he “looked like a pirate”

Major single-handedly captured 93 German soldiers during the Battle of the Scheldt in Zeeland in the southern Netherlands.During a reconnaissance, whilst alone, he spotted two German soldiers walking along a dike. As it was raining and cold, Major said to himself, “I am frozen and wet because of you so you will pay.” He captured the first German and attempted to use him as bait so he could capture the other. The second attempted to use his gun, but Major quickly killed him. He went on to capture their commanding officer and forced him to surrender. The German garrison surrendered themselves after three more were shot dead by Major. In a nearby village, SS troops who witnessed German soldiers being escorted by a Canadian soldier shot at their own soldiers, injuring a few and killing seven. Major disregarded the enemy fire and kept escorting his prisoners to the Canadian front line. Major then ordered a passing Canadian tank to fire on the SS troops.

He marched back to camp with nearly a hundred prisoners. Thus, he was chosen to receive a DCM. He declined the invitation to be decorated, however, because according to him General Montgomery (who was giving the award) was “incompetent” and in no position to be giving out medals.

210px-Bernard_Law_Montgomery

In February 1945, Major was helping a Chaplain load corpses from a destroyed Tiger tank into a Bren Carrier.

 

 

 

After they finished loading the bodies, the padre and the driver seated themselves in the front whilst Major jumped on the back of the vehicle. The carrier soon struck a land mine. Major claims to have remembered a loud blast followed by his body being thrown into the air and smashing down hard as he landed on his back. He lost consciousness and awoke to two concerned medical officers trying to assess his condition. He simply asked if the Chaplain was okay. They did not answer, but loaded him onto a truck so he could be transported to a field hospital 30 miles (48 km) away, stopping every 15 minutes to inject morphine to relieve the pain in his back.

A doctor at the field hospital informed him that he had broken his back in three places, four ribs, and both ankles.Again they told Major that the war was over for him. A week went by and Major had the opportunity to flee. He managed to get a ride from a passing jeep that drove him to Nijmegen, a town where he had previously met a family. He stayed with that family for close to a month. He went back to his unit in March 1945. Technically, Pte Major would have been AWOA (Absent Without Authority). There is a lack of sources regarding how Major was able to avoid punishment.

 

In April 1945, Major’s regiment was approaching the city of Zwolle.  His commanding officers asked for two volunteers to do a reconnaissance run and report on the  number of German troops patrolling the city. If possible, the volunteers were also asked to get in contact with the Dutch resistance as the Chaudiere regiment was to start firing on the city the next day. At the time, Zwolle had a population of around 50,000 people and it was likely that innocent civilians would number among the casualties.

Zwolle_33902

Along with his friend Willy Arseneault, Major started to creep toward the city. Willy was killed by German soldiers around midnight after the pair ran across a roadblock.

 

 

 

Reportedly, Willy was able to kill his attacker before dying himself. Understandably angry, Major picked up his friend’s machine gun and ran at the enemy, killing two of the remaining German soldiers; the rest fled in a vehicle.
Major continued on and soon ambushed a staff vehicle and captured the German driver who he had lead him to an officer drinking in a nearby tavern. He informed the officer that Canadian forces would begin firing heavy artillery on the city, resulting in the deaths of many German soldiers and Zwolle civilians alike. He didn’t mention that he was alone.

Afterwards, Major gave the man his gun back and, with that seed of knowledge soon to be spread throughout the German troops, he immediately began running up and down the streets shooting a machine gun and tossing grenades. The grenades made a lot of noise, but he made sure to place them where they wouldn’t cause much damage to the town or its citizens.

In the early hours of the morning, he stumbled upon a group of eight soldiers. Though they pulled a gun on him, he killed four and caused the rest to flee. Major himself escaped the confrontation without injury and only one regret: he later stated he felt he should have killed all of them. 

As he continued his campaign of terror throughout the night, the German soldiers began to panic, thinking a large body of Canadian forces were attacking them.  By 4 a.m., the Germans had vanished. An entire garrison—estimated to have been made up of several hundred soldiers—had been made so afraid of nothing more than a single, one-eyed man that they fled the town. The city of Zwolle had been liberated without the need for the death of civilians or many of the soldiers on both sides of the lines that would have taken part in the messy battle.

Rather than fall asleep after running around the city in the wee hours of morning avoiding German gunfire and causing all kinds of mayhem, Major enlisted the help of several Dutch civilians to retrieve the body of his friend Willy. Only after his friend’s body had been recovered did Major report to his commanding officer that there was “no enemy” in the city.Major found out later that morning that the Germans had fled to the west of the River IJssel

ijssel.jpg

and, perhaps more importantly, that the planned shelling of the city would be called off and his Régiment de la Chaudière could enter the city unopposed. Major then took his dead friend back to the Van Gerner farm until regimental reinforcements could carry him away. He was back at camp by 9:00 am. For his actions, he received the Distinguished Conduct Medal.The Canadian army marched in to the sound of cheers rather than gun shots. For his actions at Zwolle, Major received a Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Léo Major fought in the Korean War, where he was awarded a bar to his Distinguished Conduct Medal for capturing and holding a key hill (Hill 355).

This position was being controlled by the Third US Infantry Division (around 10,000 men) when the 64th Chinese Army (around 40,000 men) lowered a decisive artillery barrage. Over the course of two days, the Americans were pushed back by elements of the Chinese 190th and 191st Divisions.

They tried to recapture the hill, but without any success, and the Chinese had moved to the nearby Hill 227, practically surrounding the US forces. In order to relieve pressure, LCol J.A. Dextraze, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion Royal 22nd Regiment, brought up an elite scout and sniper team led by Léo Major. Wielding Stenguns, Major and his 18 men silently crept up the hill. At a signal, Major’s men opened fire, panicking the Chinese who were trying to understand why the firing was coming from the center of their troops instead of from the outside. By 12:45 am they had retaken the hill.

However, an hour later two Chinese divisions (the 190th and the 191st, totaling around 14,000 men) counter-attacked. Major was ordered to retreat, but refused and found scant cover for his men. There he held the enemy off throughout the night, though they were so close to him that Major’s own mortar shells were practically raining down on him.

For three days his men held off multiple Chinese counter-assaults until reinforcements arrived. For his actions, Major was awarded the bar to the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

 

 

“I fought the war with only one eye, and I did pretty good.”

leomajor1
In Zwolle a street was named after him with a subtext on the street sign saying “Canadian first liberator of Zwolle (1921–2008)”

Leo_Majorlaan

(the picture is taken by Jocely Major, whom I presume is either a daughter or grand-daughter)

It just goes to show that one man can make a difference.

Donation

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. Thanks 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

$2.00

Arthur Seyss-Inquart: A dangerous fool

Arthur-Seyss-Inquart-1940

Arthur Seyss-Inquart was a dangerous fool for thinking that the Dutch population would subscribe to the Nazi ideas, although there was a substantial minority in the Netherlands who did endorse the National Socialist philosophy , the majority of the Dutch did not follow Hitler’s ideas.

 

Arthur Seyss-Inquart(22 July 1892 – 16 October 1946) was an Austrian Nazi politician who served as Chancellor of Austria for two days – from 11 to 13 March 1938 – before the Anschluss annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, signing the constitutional law as acting head of state upon the resignation of President Wilhelm Miklas.

Wien, Arthur Seyß-Inquart, Adolf Hitler

During World War II, he served the Third Reich in the General Government of Poland and as Reichskommissar in the Netherlands. At the Nuremberg trials, he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death.

Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the son of a teacher, was born in Stannern, in Austria, on 22nd July, 1892. The family moved to Vienna in 1907 and Seyss-Inquart studied law before joining the Austro-Hungarian Army. During the First World War he saw action against the Russian Army on the Eastern Front and in Italy before being badly wounded in 1917.

After the war Seyss-Inquart became a lawyer in Austria. He developed extreme right-wing views and joined the German Brotherhood.

A strong advocate of Anschluss, Seyss-Inquart became a state counselor in May 1937. The following February Kurt von SchuschniggKurt_Schuschnigg_1934 appointed him minister of the interior and served as chancellor for a brief spell in March, 1938, before Hitler took control of the country.

Seyss-Inquart has a series of jobs under the Nazis including governor of Ostmark and minister without portfolio in Hitler’s cabinet. When the German took control of Poland Seyss-Inquart served as deputy governor under Hans Frank. In May 1940, he became Reich Commissioner of the Netherlands.

 

Seyss-Inquart drafted the legislative act reducing Austria to a province of Germany and signed it into law on 13 March. With Hitler’s approval he became Governor of the newly named Ostmark, with Ernst Kaltenbrunner his chief minister and Josef Burckel as Commissioner for the Reunion of Austria (concerned with the “Jewish Question”).

Seyss-Inquart also received an honorary SS rank of Gruppenführer and in May 1939 he was made a Minister without portfolio in Hitler’s cabinet. Almost as soon as he took office, he ordered the confiscation of Jewish property and sent Jews to concentration camps. Late in his regime, he collaborated in the deportation of Jews from Austria.

Following the invasion of Poland, Seyss-Inquart became administrative chief for Southern Poland, but did not take up that post before the General Government was created, in which he became a deputy to the Governor General Hans Frank.

Hans_Frank

He fully supported the heavy-handed policies put into effect by Frank, including persecution of Jews. He was also aware of the Abwehr’s murder of dozens of Polish intellectuals.

Following the capitulation of the Low Countries Seyss-Inquart was appointed Reichskommissar for the Occupied Netherlands in May 1940, charged with directing the civil administration, with creating close economic collaboration with Germany and with defending the interests of the Reich. Among the Dutch people he was mockingly referred to as “Zes en een kwart” (six and a quarter), a play on his name. He supported the Dutch NSB and allowed them to create a paramilitary Landwacht, which acted as an auxiliary police force.

Other political parties were banned in late 1941 and many former government officials were imprisoned at Sint-Michielsgestel.

beekvliet_sint_michielsgestel_large

The administration of the country was controlled by Seyss-Inquart himself and he answered directly to Hitler.He oversaw the politicization of cultural groups from the Nederlandsche Kultuurkamer  “right down to the chessplayers’ club”, and set up a number of other politicised associations.

He introduced measures to combat resistance, and when a widespread strike took place in Amsterdam, Arnhem and Hilversum in May 1943, special summary court-martial procedures were brought in, and a collective fine of 18 million guilders was imposed. Up until the liberation, Seyss-Inquart authorized the execution of around 800 people, although some reports put this total at over 1,500, including the executions of people under the so-called “Hostage Law”, the death of political prisoners who were close to being liberated, the Putten raid,

raid

and the reprisal executions of 117 Dutchmen for the attack on SS and Police Leader Hanns Albin Rauter.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1982-1021-509,_Hanns_Rauter-edit

Although the majority of Seyss-Inquart’s powers were transferred to the military commander in the Netherlands and the Gestapo in July 1944, he remained a force to be reckoned with.

There were two small concentration camps in the Netherlands – KZ Herzogenbusch near Vught, Kamp Amersfoort near Amersfoort,

and Westerbork transit camp (a “Jewish assembly camp”) Anne Frank stayed in the hut shown to the left(replica) from August until early September 1944, when she was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

1024px-Hut-AnneFrank-Westerbork

There were a number of other camps variously controlled by the military, the police, the SS or Seyss-lnquart’s administration.

These included a “voluntary labour recruitment” camp at Ommen (Camp Erika). In total around 530,000 Dutch civilians forcibly worked for the Germans, of whom 250,000 were sent to factories in Germany. There was an unsuccessful attempt by Seyss-Inquart to send only workers aged 21 to 23 to Germany, and he refused demands in 1944 for a further 250,000 Dutch workers and in that year sent only 12,000 people.

Seyss-Inquart was an unwavering anti-Semite: within a few months of his arrival in the Netherlands, he took measures to remove Jews from the government, the press and leading positions in industry. Anti-Jewish measures intensified after 1941: approximately 140,000 Jews were registered, a ‘ghetto’ was created in Amsterdam and a transit camp was set up at Westerbork. Subsequently, in February 1941, 600 Jews were sent to Buchenwald and Mauthausen concentration camps. Later, the Dutch Jews were sent to Auschwitz. As Allied forces approached in September 1944, the remaining Jews at Westerbork were removed to Theresienstadt. Of 140,000 registered, only 30,000 Dutch Jews survived the war.

When the Allies advanced into the Netherlands in late 1944, the Nazi regime had attempted to enact a scorched earth policy, and some docks and harbours were destroyed. Seyss-Inquart, however, was in agreement with Armaments Minister Albert Speer over the futility of such actions, and with the open connivance of many military commanders, they greatly limited the implementation of the scorched earth orders.At the very end of the “hunger winter” in April 1945, Seyss-Inquart was with difficulty persuaded by the Allies to allow airplanes to drop food for the hungry people of the occupied northwest of the country.

manna

https://dirkdeklein.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/operation-manna-and-operationchowhoundending-the-dutch-famine/

Although he knew the war was lost, Seyss-Inquart did not want to surrender. This led General Walter Bedell Smith to snap: “Well, in any case, you are going to be shot“. “That leaves me cold“, Seyss-Inquart replied, to which Smith then retorted: “It will

250px-Lieutenant_General_Walter_Bedell_Smith,_

Before Hitler committed suicide in April 1945, he named a new government headed by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz in his last will and testament, in which Seyss-Inquart replaced Joachim von Ribbentrop, who had long since fallen out of favour, as Foreign Minister. It was a tribute to the high regard Hitler felt for his Austrian comrade, at a time when he was rapidly disowning or being abandoned by so many of the other key lieutenants of the Third Reich. Unsurprisingly, at such a late stage in the war, Seyss-Inquart failed to achieve anything in his new office.

He remained in his posts until 7 May 1945, when, after a meeting with Dönitz to confirm his blocking of the scorched earth orders, he was arrested on the Elbe Bridge at Hamburg by two members of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, one of whom was Norman Miller (birth name: Norbert Mueller), a German Jew from Nuremberg who had escaped to Britain at the age of 15 on a kindertransport just before the war

London, Ankunft jüdische Flüchtlinge

and then returned to Germany as part of the British occupation forces.Miller’s entire family had been killed at the Jungfernhof Camp in Riga, Latvia in March 1942.

jungfe

At the Nuremberg trials, Seyss-Inquart was defended by Gustav Steinbauer and faced four charges: conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war crimes; and crimes against humanity.

During the trial, Gustave Gilbert, an American army psychologist, was allowed to examine the Nazi leaders who were tried at Nuremberg for war crimes. Among other tests, a German version of the Wechsler-Bellevue IQ test was administered. Arthur Seyss-Inquart scored 141, the second highest among the defendants, behind Hjalmar Schacht.

Seyss-Inquart was acquitted of conspiracy, but convicted on all other counts and sentenced to death by hanging. The final judgment against him cited his involvement in harsh suppression of Nazi opponents and atrocities against the Jews during all his billets, but particularly stressed his reign of terror in the Netherlands. It was these atrocities that sent him to the gallows.

Upon hearing of his death sentence, Seyss-Inquart was fatalistic: “Death by hanging… well, in view of the whole situation, I never expected anything different. It’s all right.”

He was hanged on 16 October 1946, at the age of 54, together with nine other Nuremberg defendants. He was the last to mount the scaffold, and his last words were the following: “I hope that this execution is the last act of the tragedy of the Second World War and that the lesson taken from this world war will be that peace and understanding should exist between peoples. I believe in Germany.”

Before his execution, Seyss-Inquart had returned to Catholicism, receiving absolution in the sacrament of confession from prison chaplain Father Bruno Spitzl.

bru

His body, as those of the other nine executed men and the corpse of Hermann Göring, was cremated at Ostfriedhof (Munich) and the ashes were scattered in the river Isar.

Anton de Kom, son of a slave and resistance fighter.

Anton-de-Kom

It is a well known fact that the Dutch like the British, French and Portuguese were a colonial power for centuries. The Dutch influence is still noticeable around the globe.

One of the Dutch colonies was Surinam a small country (but yet considerably bigger then the Netherlands) in South America between Guyana(former British Guyana) and French Guyana.

A fact that a lot of Dutch historians appear to overlook or ignore that the Dutch were also one of the biggest slave traders in the world.Slaves were also used in Surinam by the Dutch for the rich colonial occupiers, this was until 1 July 1863 when the Dutch, like other European countries abolished slavery.

Cornelis Gerhard Anton de Kom Born  22 February 1898 (1898-02-22) Paramaribo, Suriname. Died  April 24, 1945, Sandbostel, Germany.Was the son of a former slave.

A Surinamese resistance fighter and anti-colonialist author.

De Kom was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, to farmer Adolf de Kom and Judith Jacoba Dulder. His father was born a slave. As was not uncommon, his surname is a reversal of the slave owner’s name, who was called Mok.

De Kom finished primary and secondary school and obtained a diploma in bookkeeping. He worked for the Balata Compagnieën Suriname en Guyana. On 29 July 1920 he resigned and left for Haiti where he worked for the Societé Commerciale Hollandaise Transatlantique. In 1921, he left for the Netherlands.

Tijdlijn-19202

He volunteered for the Huzaren (a Dutch cavalry regiment) for a year. In 1922 he started working for a consultancy in The Hague. One year later he was laid off due to a reorganization. He then became a sales representative selling coffee, tea and tobacco for a company in The Hague, where he met his future wife, Nel. In addition to his work, he was active in numerous left-wing organizations, including nationalist Indonesian student organisations and Links Richten (Aim Left)

De Kom and his family left for Suriname on 20 December 1932 and arrived on 4 January 1933.

Tijdlijn-1933-Aan-boord

From that moment on he was closely watched by the colonial authorities. He started a consultancy in his parents’ house.Where the people from Surinam could complain about the poor living conditions they were subjected to. The colonial occupiers saw him as a threat and were afraid he might cause a revolt.

Anton-als-activist-held-of-oproerkraaier

 

On 1 February he was arrested while en route to the governor’s office with a large group of followers. On both 3 and 4 February his followers gathered in front of the Attorney General’s office to demand De Kom’s release. On 7 February a large crowd gathered on the Oranjeplein (currently called the Onafhankelijkheidsplein). Rumor had it that De Kom was about to be released. When the crowd refused to leave the square, police opened fire, killing two people and wounding 30.

On 10 May De Kom was sent to the Netherlands without trial and exiled from his native country. He was unemployed and continued writing his book, Wij slaven van Suriname (We Slaves of Suriname) which was published in a censored form in 1934.

wijslavenvansurname2edr

De Kom participated in demonstrations for the unemployed, traveled abroad with a group as a tap dancer, and was drafted for Werkverschaffing (unemployment relief work), a program similar to the American WPA, in 1939. He gave lectures for leftist groups, mainly communists, about colonialism and racial discrimination.

After the German invasion in 1940, De Kom joined the Dutch resistance, especially the communist party in The Hague. He wrote articles for the underground paper De Vonk of the communist party, mainly about the terror of fascist groups in the streets of The Hague (much of their terror was directed against Jews). On 7 August 1944, he was arrested. He was imprisoned at the Oranje Hotel in Scheveningen, and transferred to Camp Vught, a Dutch concentration camp.

In early September 1944, he was sent to Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen, where he was forced to work for the Heinkel aircraft factory.

Heinkel_Logo

De Kom died on 24 April 1945 of tuberculosis in Camp Sandbostel near Bremervörde (between Bremen and Hamburg), which was a satellite camp of the Neuengamme concentration camp.

He was buried in a mass grave. In 1960, his remains were found and brought to the Netherlands. There he was buried at the Cemetery of Honours in Loenen.

De Kom was married to a Dutch woman, Petronella Borsboom. They had four children. Their son, Cees de Kom, lives in Suriname.

Tijdlijn-1926-Trouwfoto

The University of Suriname was renamed The Anton de Kom University of Suriname in honor of De Kom.

LogoAntonDeKomUniversiteit

 

The University of Suriname also erected a statue in honor of Anton de Kom on the campus.

 

Anton de Kom was listed in De Grootste Nederlander (The Greatest Dutchman/Dutchwoman) as #102 out of 202 people.

In Amsterdam Zuidoost a square is named after him, the Anton de Komplein. It features a sculpture of Anton de Kom as a monument to his life and works, sculpted by Jikke van Loon.

Anton_de_Komplein_Amsterdam_Zuidoost_03_PM07

The  Surinam government print money bills in honor of De Kom .

kom geld

Pictures courtesy of the Family archive.