Holland during World War II -- Resistance and the legacy.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
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Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands used crystal meth during the Second World War
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands used the drug perventine, now better known as crystal meth, during WWII. It is reported by Marcel Verburg, who is a legal historian, in his new book about the history of the Ministry of Justice during the years 1940 to 1945. He is not the first to report the drug use, but he is the first to draw attention to it. Cees Fasseur, a royal historian, who died earlier this year, also mentioned it. The drug use may account for the radical change in Wilhelmina`s style of government, which was once attributed to her Romanov ancestors. It is possibly that Queen Wilhelmina made strange decisions or delayed decisions as a result of the drug use. During the war pervetine was sometimes used by soldiers for exhaustion and it was also used as pain medication.
Unique document on Rotterdam`s WWII surrender found at auction
A unique document relating to the capitulation of Rotterdam during WWII has been found at a German auction house. The hand-written document details the second ultimatum made by the German occupiers ahead of the bombardment of Rotterdam, which led to the city`s surrender. The bombardment took place on May 14 as the Dutch negotiator was heading back to his chiefs with information about the second ultimatum. It destroyed almost the entire city centre, killing nearly 900 people and making 85,000 homeless. The papers were found by researcher Gerard Groeneveld and are included his new book about Rotterdam`s role during the war.
The last Dutch survivor of the Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor, Jules Schelvis, dies
The last Dutch survivor of the Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor, Jules Schelvis, has died at his home aged 95. After WWII he worked to document what happened at Sobibor, one of three secret death camps built by the Nazis in occupied eastern Poland. 250,000 people, mainly Jews, were murdered there from 1942-43. More than 34,000 were from the Netherlands. Jules Schelvis lost most of his family in the war and survived six more camps until he was finally freed in 1945.
Amsterdam to repay Jews fined for late rents in WWII
Amsterdam will refund relatives of hundreds of Jews who were fined for being late with their rent during their incarceration in World War II concentration camps. The issue came to light in April 2013 when a student published archive documents in which Jews who had escaped from the concentration camps were billed for arrears on properties belonging to the city of Amsterdam. The city even imposed fines for late rents on houses which had been confiscated by the Nazis and occupied by Germans or members of the Dutch National Socialist Movement, the NSB.
SS assassin Heinrich Boere has died in a German prison hospital aged 92
SS assassin Heinrich Boere has died in a German prison hospital aged 92, two years after starting a life term for killing three civilians in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. He had admitted to shooting in 1944 the pharmacist Fritz Bicknese, as well as bicycle shop owner Teunis de Groot and a third man, Frans-Willem Kusters. Boere had argued that as a member of an SS commando unit tasked with killing suspected resistance members, he risked being sent to a concentration camp if he refused. He spent six decades one step ahead of the law after escaping from a POW camp in 1947 and returning to his birthplace in Germany. Boere, whose father was Dutch and who grew up in the Netherlands, was sentenced to death in Amsterdam in absentia in 1949.
Amsterdam forced Jews to pay rent while in WWII concentration camps
Amsterdam council has vowed to probe revelations that it forced Jews returning from concentration camps to pay rent arrears, even if their homes had been destroyed or occupied by Nazis. The scandal, involving an unknown number of Jews and non-Jews living in city-owned properties, was uncovered by an art history student in Amsterdam`s archives. Less than a quarter of Amsterdam`s Jewish population survived the war, with the Netherlands occupied by the Nazis from 1940 to 1945. `On their return, Jews received letters from Amsterdam council demanding the settling of their back rent,` the art historian, Charlotte van den Berg, 23, explained.
Dutch-born Nazi war criminal Klaas Carel Faber dies in Germany
Klaas Carel Faber, a Dutch native who fled to Germany after being convicted in the Netherlands of Nazi war crimes and lived in freedom despite several attempts to try or extradite him, has died at 90. Faber - whom the Simon Wiesenthal Center last year placed at No. 3 on its list of most-wanted Nazi criminals - was convicted in 1947 of involvement in 22 murders and for aiding the Netherlands` Nazi occupiers during World War II. He was handed a death sentence that was later commuted to life in prison, but in 1952, he escaped and fled to Germany, where he lived in freedom.
96-year-old Dutch woman confesses killing a suspected Nazi-collaborator, who, it later turned out, did not work with the Nazis
A 65-year-old murder mystery has been solved, with the confession of a 96-year-old woman in Holland. On March 1, 1946, Felix Gulje, the head of a construction company in Leiden was shot dead on his doorstep. During the Nazi occupation of Holland, resistance fighters had suspected Gulje of collaborating with the German occupation authorities. In reality Gulje actually aided Jews during the Nazi-occupation. The woman in question, Atie Visser-Ridder, met with two of Gulje`s grandchildren recently to explain what she had done, in the mistaken belief that Gulje had collaborated with the Nazis.
Bavaria refuses to extradite an SS hitman back to the Netherlands in spite of European arrest warrant
Bavaria has refused to extradite a convicted Nazi war criminal back to the Netherlands, from where he broke out of jail in 1952. The ruling comes 6 months after Dutch prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant for Klaas Carel Faber, who is living freely in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt. Faber, a member of a Dutch Nazi SS unit, was sentenced to death by a Dutch court in 1947 for murdering 22 Jews in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. He escaped from Breda prison in the western Netherlands in 1952 with six other former SS men and fled to Germany.
Holland issues arrest warrant for Klaas Carel Faber, a Dutch SS killer, living in freedom in Germany
The Netherlands has issued a European Arrest Warrant for Klaas Carel Faber - a member of the Dutch SS and one of the most wanted Nazis - living in freedom in Germany. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1947 but escaped to Germany in 1952, where he received German citizenship for his service both in the SS and the SD (Sicherheitsdienst, the intelligence service of the SS).
WWII Dutch famine babies` brains aging faster - because their mothers lived on 400-800 calories a day
People who were developing in the womb at the time of severe WWII food shortages do worse than others at mental tests now. Scientists, studying 300 adults who had been foetuses at the time, said the 1944 Dutch famine may have accelerated brain ageing. The Hongerwinter was a 6-month period during which the Nazis restricted food deliveries to the northern Netherlands. By April 1945, 20,000 people had perished as a result of hunger, and expectant mothers lived on 400-800 calories a day. However, the fact that this famine struck a well-nourished population created an unique opportunity to study the effects of malnutrition.
Dutch farmers trekked to Ukraine and Lithuania only to be rejected by the Nazis as "White Jews", not "good Nazis"
A group of Dutch farmers that travelled to Ukraine and Lithuania was turned down as "white Jews". They came from Holland to be good Nazis and help the Germans colonize more land. But the first major research into the Dutch settler movement reveals that their German brethren despised them, calling them "white Jews." 5,000 Dutch farmers travelled to the Ukraine and Lithuania 1942-1945. They were volunteers sent by the NOC, a state body set up by the Dutch NSB party, which took power after the German invasion of the Netherlands. 75% of the Dutch settlers came out of ideology, and the rest because of economic reasons.
Documents prove: Dutch Prince Bernhard was member of Nazi party, in spite of his denials
Prince Bernhard, the father of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, was a member of the Nazi party, a new book reveals, contracting the German-born Dutch war hero`s life-long denials. "Bernhard, a secret history" unveils that the prince was a member of the German Nazi party until 1934, three years before he married Princess Juliana, the future queen of the Netherlands. Historian Annejet van der Zijl has found membership files in Berlin`s Humboldt University that prove Prince Bernhard joined Deutsche Studentenschaft, a National Socialist student fraternity, as well as the Nazi NSDAP and the Sturmabteilung.
Historian: Dutch Waffen SS members participated in committing genocide
Dutch members of the Waffen SS took part in genocide during World War II, historian Evertjan van Roekel said in Dutch history magazine Historisch Nieuwsblad. The Dutchmen in Waffen SS have claimed that they were regular soldiers and didn`t know about the genocide. Roekel has examined the diaries of Dutch SS soldiers in the 5th Panzer Division (Wiking) and found descriptions of how they killed Jews. "Hanging the Chief Rabbi from the tower of the Synagogue in Tarnopol was great" and "The greatest booty fell in to our hands... 13000 living Jewish souls... we didn`t leave them that way, obviously."
Winter in Wartime (Oorlogswinter) by Martin Koolhoven -- Dutch WW2 movie reviewed (Article no longer available from the original source)
"Winter in Wartime" bears resemblance to another Dutch WW2 movie, "Black Book." The time is January 1945, and food is scarce in Nazi-occupied Holland. A 14yo, Michiel wants to play his part in the Resistance. After he sees the shoot-down of an RAF pilot, he sets out to help the pilot, getting more deeply involved in the Resistance, endangering his family. Michiel dislikes of his father, the mayor who tries to gain the good will of the Nazi leaders, and idolizes his uncle Ben, a Resistance fighter. The strength of the movie is the way in which a more complex worldview slowly reshapes Michiel`s fantasies.
Heinrich Boere proud of his Waffen SS service
Heinrich Boere, a member of a Waffen SS hit squad, said at his trial that he was proud about being selected as a volunteer to fight for the Nazis. He recalls his mother waking him up the night in 1940 that Nazi Germany invaded his hometown in the Netherlands and seeing Luftwaffe`s Stuka dive-bombers overhead. Instead of fearing the Nazi bombs, his family was joyful: "(My mother) said `they`re coming` now things will be better. It was better." After the Germans had overrun Holland, he remembers as an 18yo seeing a recruiting poster for the Waffen SS, signed by Heinrich Himmler. He turned up with 100 other Dutchmen and was one of 15 chosen. "I was very proud."
How oil baron Sir Henri`s Royal Dutch Shell company saved the Nazi Party from collapse
Revealed: The role of Royal Dutch Shell as a collaborator and financial supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party via its founder, Sir Henri Deterding. Research has uncovered evidence that Royal Dutch Shell funds by Sir Henri, saved the Nazi Party from collapse. Oil baron Sir Henri - once called "the Most Powerful Man in the World" - had a 4-day meeting with Adolf Hitler at the Eagles Nest in Berchtesgaden. And both Hitler and Hermann Goering sent wreaths to Deterding`s funeral when he died just before the start of World War II. Declassified US intelligence records talk about Royal Dutch Shell as "a Nazi collaborator that used Hitler`s slave laborers".
Playing hide and seek with the Nazis in World War II Holland
For most kids, hide and seek is a thrilling pastime. For John Vandenarend hide and seek maybe saved his life in Holland during the 1940s. John was 15yo when one May day in 1940, German paratroopers landed: "They parachuted outside our town. They took the airbase down and they came in our house. They just took over." During the last years of the war German forces ran low on food and ate whatever they could find, while villagers have to make it on tulip bulbs. German soldiers also begun shipping teenagers to Nazi Germany to work in the factories. John seldom left the house for fear that the Nazis would discover him: "I slept between the floorboards at night."
In Holland football was an escape route from Nazi occupation and world war
The Dutch Resistance Museum is hosting an exhibit (The `40-`45 season) on the football competition that continued during the war. Thousands of Dutch people joined soccer clubs 1940-1945 when the country was ruled by the Nazi Germany. The stadiums were filled - despite the air raids and round-ups. "I did not notice much of the war," footballer Jan Soeurt of the Volewijckers admitted. The fact that clubs were losing their Jewish players was not always seen as such a problem. There was no organised resistance in the sport world. "At that time sport was a kind of escape. It was actually a way of sticking your head in the sand," Jaap van der Lack explained.
Dutch Nazi collaborator Anton Mussert stole millions
His public image was of an incorruptible leader committed to the fascist cause. But a research paper about Anton Mussert, Holland`s chief Nazi collaborator, reveals a greedy man stealing public funds. Mussert - "Holland`s Quisling" - was the de jure leader of the National Socialist Movement (NSB) in the Netherlands during the 1930s and 1940s. Adolf Hitler declared him "Fuehrer of the Netherlands" after the Wehrmacht`s 1940 invasion, though he had little real power. He was executed for high treason in 1946. Historian Tessel Pollmann, who published the research, says Mussert was seen as "an honest man," a cut above the rest of the party`s members.
Heroes or collaborators - Fresh investigation into the Velser Affair
The province of North Holland has agreed to partly fund a new probe into the Velzer Affair, an unclear WW2 case involving the betrayal of communist resistance fighters and collaboration with the Nazi occupiers. So far there have been 12 inquiries into the case as well as dozens of books, including the novel "The Scandal" by Conny Braam, along with several films like "The Girl with Red Hair." But despite all that, the truth has not yet emerged. According to some historians, Velzen`s chief of police and several officers collaborated with the Nazis and some of them were members of the Dutch National Socialist Party (NSB).
Dutch honor a Wehrmacht soldier with a statue of a soldier with the hated helmet
The image of Germans in Holland is showing a glimmer of hope after the Nazi atrocities: In the village of Goirle, a civil initiative has decided to set up a memorial to the German World War II soldier Karl-Heinz Rosch, who gave his life to save two children. The steel helmet is unmistakable: the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany. Now the artist Riet van der Louw has made a statue of a soldier with the hated helmet. And in spite of protests, Dutch citizens have collected thousands of euros so that the memorial can be cast in bronze and put on display. "We will not be honouring the Wehrmacht, but rather the humanity of a young German soldier."
Treasure hunt of illustrated book on Canadian liberation of the Netherlands
When Canadian troops freed western Holland from Nazi rule in May 1945, artist Mart Kempers was among the cheering crowds. Before the year was out, he created a series of visually moving images that captured the moment of liberation for a children`s book "hi ha canada" (1945). Now, after a 2-year treasure hunt, Library and Archives Canada has purchased one of the few existing copies for its 160,000-strong children`s literature collection, after Josiane Polidori found a Dutch antiquarian book store that had a single copy of the book in good but fragile condition.
Heinrich Boere: Dutch Waffen SS gunman dodges jail, ages in peace
Heinrich Boere volunteered for the SS after Holland fell to the German blitzkrieg in 1940. His first victim was a pharmacist. Two more followed on a single day, one gunned down at point-blank range in his doorway, the other on the road. Boere was part of a mostly Dutch Waffen SS death squad tasked with killing fellow countrymen in revenge for attacks by the anti-Nazi resistance. Though sentenced to death (later changed to life imprisonment) in the Netherlands in 1949 Boere has escaped jail so far, as German courts refuse to deport him. Now the case has been reopened in a last-ditch attempt for justice.
104-year-old Nazi-era singer returns to stage: Performed for Adolf Hitler
104-year-old Dutch cabaret singer Johannes Heesters has given a concert in the Netherlands for the first time in 4 decades - with protests and tight security around the theatre. Although Heesters says he never embraced Nazi politics, he performed in Nazi Germany for Adolf Hitler and visited the Dachau camp. Many Dutch people have never forgiven him. "He kept singing for the Nazi regime, for the Wehrmacht, and he earned millions," said Piet Schouten, of a committee formed to protest against performance. Heesters was never accused of being a Nazi propagandist, and the Allies let him to continue performing after the war.
Memoir Recalls a Boy`s View of the German Occupation of Holland
In his memoir "Countdown to Freedom" Willem Ridder recalls a childhood ruled by the experience of the Nazi invasion and the occupation of Rotterdam during the Second World War. He casts the eyes of a young boy on the bombings, the loss of life and property, the hiding, the killings, the starvation and the resistance movement. Ridder saw the freedoms of the Dutch people crushed, from absurd rules that would have been laughable had they not been so ruthlessly enforced, to an utter disregard for human life, like the mass starvations on the winter of 1944-1945.
The Soldier of Orange Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema passes away at 90
An urn of ashes, inscribed Soldier of Orange, will be carried from an aeroplane at Amsterdam airport. For Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands it will be a poignant moment: the return to his native soil of the remains of Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, Holland`s most heroic and decorated World War II resistance fighter. It was Roelfzema, known as the Soldier of Orange because of his close links to the Royal Family, who piloted the plane that brought the Queen`s parents, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard, out of exile and back to Holland after WW2. His wartime exploits are legendary: His autobiography "Soldaat van Oranje" was turned into a film by Paul Verhoeven.
Dutch airline accused of helping Nazis to flee to South America
KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines, is facing calls for an inquiry into its role in helping Nazis to flee to South America. KLM has always denied that it had a policy of assisting Nazis to escape. But papers about Herr Frick: trying to help Germans to cross, without the proper papers, into Switzerland then to Buenos Aires conflict that. "The documents give the distinct impression that KLM was intensively involved," said aviation historian Marc Dierikx. After WWII Argentina provided sanctuary for many Germans, like Joseph Mengele and Adolf Eichmann. A network of Nazi sympathisers organising the escape route was depicted in Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Odessa File.
Canadian Leo Major is a hero who scared 1000 german soldiers (Article no longer available from the original source)
As Dutch people celebrate the anniversary of their country`s liberation, Nic Veenhof has a more vivid image in his mind than most. It was April 13, 1945 that a single Canuck soldier scared 1,000 German occupiers from Veenhof`s town Zwolle. Leo Major is a legend all across the Netherlands. "He captured a German officer and asked him `How many Nazis are still in the city?` and he said 1,000," recalled Veenhof. "So Leo told him `You better pack up and go because we have 17,000 troops outside the city.`" But Major was bluffing. He was all by himself, with his only backup Canadian soldier Willy Arsenault, killed earlier that night.
World War II soldiers get chance to thank underground rescuers
When Clayton David bailed out of his bomber over Nazi-occupied Holland in World War 2, he didn`t know that beyond the clouds was a young woman who would risk everything to save him. After a couple of weeks some of his crewmates were executed or captured by the Nazis, but he was led to freedom by 20yo Joke Folmer, a member of the Dutch underground. David and others who were shot down behind enemy lines got together to thank their rescuers. 33,000 French citizens and 6,000 Allied airmen traveled over the Pyrenees to Spain. Of 47,000 men shot down in the 8th Army Air Force, 26,500 were killed and 18,350 taken POW. Only 2,150 escaped.
Black Book - Resistance by the Dutch during the Nazi occupation
Black Book, Set in the Netherlands during World War II, is a war film with raw violence, intense action and a twisting plot that offers a series of surprises. Breaking records in the Netherlands as the highest-grossing Dutch-made film, it explores underground Resistance by the Dutch during the Nazi occupation. The story`s focus is a woman who forms allegiances with whomever she can in order to avoid capture by the Nazis. Rescued by Resistance fighters, she becomes an arms smuggler, infiltrating Nazi headquarters. Abruptly seizing an opportunity, she seduces a high-ranking Nazi soldier in a move that changes the outcome of several lives.
Black widow, wife of prominent Dutch Nazi collaborator, dies (Article no longer available from the original source)
Florentine Rost van Tonningen, the wife of one of the most prominent Dutch collaborators during the German occupation of Netherlands in World War II, has died at 92. She was a supporter of the Nazi party in the Netherlands during the 1930s, and her husband Meinoud the second highest-ranking member of the Dutch Nazi Party ran the Netherlands` national bank. He was killed or committed suicide in jail while awaiting trial after WW2. She soon earned the epithet `the black widow` due to her continued adherence to Nazi ideology and involvement in Dutch white supremacist circles. She was convicted several times for spreading Nazi literature.
The Reckoning - Documentary on Dutch Nazi Resistance debuts
A local film production company is receiving rave reviews for a film about the Dutch resistance to the Nazis, and members of the resistance who live right in West Michigan. Through words, pictures and interviews, the documentary "The Reckoning" shows how a few Dutch teenagers and 20-somethings defied the Nazis during World War 2. A local survivor`s memories help tell the story, but 87 year old Diet Emmon says she finds a new documentary about the Dutch Resistance to Nazi occupiers difficult to watch. Film producer Corey Niemchick says "They took incredible risks. Many risked their lives."
The February strike in the occupied Netherlands (Article no longer available from the original source)
Every year a gathering is held at the statue of a dockworker in Amsterdam`s Jonas Daniel Meijerplein to commemorate the general strike of 25 February 1941. Unlike other strikes, this one was not for higher pay or world revolution. Instead for the first time in the occupied Netherlands, a city revolted against the Nazis` treatment of the Jews.
Dutch return 267 artworks stolen by Nazis
The Dutch cabinet has shocked museum directors by agreeing to hand over a multi-million-pound art collection stolen by the Nazis in 1940 to the family of its original owners. Some 267 paintings will be returned to the family of the Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker. They include works by the Dutch masters Rembrandt, Steen, Van Goyen, Ruysdael and Van Dyck. Goudstikker was the biggest art dealer in the Netherlands. He fled with his wife and son at the start of the WW2, leaving behind an estimated 1,300 works. About 800 were seized by Field Marshal Hermann Goering and 300 were returned to the government after the war.
Cornelia ten Boom - a leading figure in the Dutch resistance (Article no longer available from the original source)
Like most Dutch, she watched nervously as the Nazi war machine geared up, but she remained hopeful that her country could remain neutral in any conflict. When the Nazis invaded and occupied the Netherlands in May 1940, the ten Boom family soon felt the pressure of the Gestapo. Cornelia ten Boom (1892-1983) became a leading figure in the Dutch resistance. Scores of Jews were spirited out of the country through an underground network she maintained. She never hesitated despite the danger and never gave in to despair even after the Nazis uncovered her network and threw her and her family into concentration camps.
Man recalls his teen years among the Nazis - not a typical war story (Article no longer available from the original source)
It begins simply: "Jan Makkreel spent his teen years in the Netherlands during the Nazi invasion and occupation." A couple of pages later he drops a bomb: "I was labeled a teenage Nazi collaborator." His uncle joined the Waffen SS, the combat arm of Adolf Hitler`s Nazi party, to fight the Russians. His uncle had a friend who became part of the Gestapo, the secret police in Nazi Germany. His uncle asked him to join the Youth Storm in Holland, a group like Hitler Youth, but "that military stuff was not for me," Makkreel said. In 1945, even after his uncle had been shot by a Dutch farmer, Makkreel - labeled "Nazi lover" - remained a target of scorn.
Airman who destroyed Queen Wilhelmina`s palace used as a SS headquarters
Air Commodore Robbert "Bergy" van Zinnicq Bergmann, who has died in Holland aged 87, escaped from that country during its occupation to become a Typhoon pilot flying with the RAF. The rocket-firing Typhoons of Bergmann`s squadron, No 181, were detailed for a special operation on November 4 1944, in which they were to attack the north wing of the Dutch Royal Family`s summer palace, which was being used by the SS as a headquarters.