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|Suriname in WW II
Suriname in WW II
Twee militairen: Hugo Desire Ryhiner en Harry Frederik Voss
Other military men and women (A-Tjak, Alvarez/Alvares, Balinge, Van Bazel, Burgzorg, Chateau, Van Eick, Emanuels, Gitz, Heidweiller, Van Helvert, Hilfman, Van der Hoogte, Huiswoud, Juta, Meijer, Netto, Del Prado, Salm, Spreeuw, De Vries, Vrieze, Wesenhagen, Wiers, Wooter)
A group of marines from Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands-Indies (Dissels, Kenson, Koulen, Kroes, Meeng, van Meerveld, Menig, van Niel, Renar, Wijngaarde, de Windt, Arloud)
Fallen in the Dutch Merchant Navy (Askel, Alie, Beelds/Beeldstroo, Boldewijn, Bijnaar, Chateau, Cruden, Elmont, Emnes, Van Exel, Flu, Gesser, Kerster, Klooster, Markiet, Mecidi, Moore, Muller, Naardendorp/Naarendorp, Olff, Oostburg, Parisius, Pools, Rolador/Colader, de Rooy, Slagtand, Smiet, Stelk, Vrieze, Wikkeling, Woiski)
Names from the Resistance (Bosschart, Bijleveld, Does, Ezechiëls, Fernandes, P.C. Flu, H. Flu, Gitz, Jüdell/Van Es, Kanteman, Lashley, Lichtveld, Lu-A-Si, C. van de Montel, Van de Montel-Boeken, L.H. van de Montel, Nods, Nods-van der Lans, F. Rijk van Ommeren, H.N. Rijk van Ommeren, H. Rijk van Ommeren, L.H. Rijk van Ommeren, De la Parra, Rodriguez, M. Samson, Samson-Ezechiëls, P. Samson, A. Samson, Tolud, Wittenberg, Wolff)
Surinam jazz-musicians in The Netherlands (1940-1945) (van Kleef, Johnson)
Sources / More reading
Suriname in WW II
Map of Suriname, including disputed border territories
(source: www.suriname.nu - thanks to Mr. Lutz)
Bauxite and the allied forces
In 1916 the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) had bought the then known bauxite fields in Suriname – especially around Moengo, along the river Cottica. Bauxite is an ore which is used for the production of aluminium and therefore for building airplanes for example. Because of the War export increased. Not far from Paramaribo, in the district of Para, since 1938, along the Suriname River, Alcoa was preparing a new establishment. Between the company and the capitol the still existing, only 'highway' in Suriname was built. In February 1941 governor Kielstra opened the Paranam Factory (see www.alcoa.com). The Netherlands-Indies company Billiton also appeared. In 1943 Surinam mines provided 60% of the US need for bauxite. One year later though production in the US state of Arkansas started and the Surinam share diminished.
Bauxite mining in Moengo (picture: Bos & Van Palen, Illustrated Atlas)
The Surinam teacher of history Heinrich Ernst Helstone (1926-2010) explains how bauxite was transported. Because the Surinam river beds during those days were not deep enough, ships were only loaded for about 30-40%. From Moengo they proceeded, via the neighbouring Cottica and Commewijne Rivers, to the mouth of the Suriname River and on to Trinidad. There a second shipload was needed before the voyage to Mobile in the State of Alabama could start. Mobile was the North-American place of transfer. The crews of the ships were not Surinamese. Most of the crew were from British Guyana and Trinidad, officers were Norwegian etc.
After war's outbreak the United States did not want this strategic ore and the Alcoa installations to fall into enemy hands. That fear was very real. French-Guyana was controlled by the pro-German Vichy-government and there were many German immigrants in South America. Therefore president Roosevelt, on the 1st of September 1941, still before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor provoked the American declaration of war, offered Queen Wilhelmina to station 3,000 infantry and anti-aircraft defence troops in Suriname. The Dutch wartime government and governor Kielstra were surprised but had to accept the 'offer'. The military would formally be under Dutch supreme command and be funded by the Dutch. The first troops arrived on November 25, 1941. By year's end they numbered 1,000, and in 1943 over 2,000 soldiers. In September 1943 the US replaced the white troops by Puerto Ricans.
Entry US-troops, November 1941 (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org)
Mr. E. Bleijert (1943) remembers a song of street singer Halfway. It went like this: 'Many Americans / were seen in those avenues / with their young ladies / walking side by side. / The finest was for sale / people were so crazy / about what that Yankee offered'. The latter didn't apply to everybody. According to Mr. C. Mehciz (1929) some people complained to the Americans about the condoms found on the streets on Sunday when they went to church. The churches organized a committee against moral decline. The complaints had little impact.
American presence had a liberating effect, economically and cultural. The black population was usually treated in an old-fashioned colonial way. The Netherlands had yet to implement the Atlantic Charter (9 August 1941), proclaiming the abolishment of colonialism after the war.
EBS-building, the American military home during the war
(picuture: www.verzetsmuseum.org / eigendom: Dagblad Suriname)
Until 1943, troops stationed in Suriname were white, but the men loved to have fun with Surinam teenage girls. At the current location of the Surinam energy company (EBS), there used to be the American military home, with the Stagedoor Cantine. This was one of the places of entertainment. Prostitution flourished. A month before the visit of the Dutch princess Juliana from Canada, territorial commander Meyer ordered a raid, at which 97 young men ('gang members') and 76 young women ('prostitutes') were arrested (7-8 October 1943). They were interned without any further investigation or trial until the end of 1944. One of the men, A. Oostwijk, was shot on 19 July 1944 after a (repeated) attempt to escape.
US-soldiers with Surinam girls (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org)
Despite everything, the American soldiers brought life and a sense of the modern age to the neglected colony that now had been impoverished by the global economical crisis. Helstone, 15 years old at the time, recalls how their arrival in the harbour caused a sensation in town. Military ships unloaded modern trucks. With bulldozers they went for Mosquito Boiti in the Zorg en Hoop neighbourhood. They built barracks and a small airfield - which still exists. The small airport Zanderij, where in 1933 the first Dutch postal plane 'De Snip' had landed, was extended into a usable military basis and airfield. The road leading to it, the 'path of Wanica', was made suitable for trucks and tanks by covering it laterite, a bauxite-rich local soil.
To The Netherlands, Suriname had always been a 'money losing colony'. With a bit of luck individual slave owners, administrators of plantations and gold diggers could make a fortune, but the colonial government ('Lantie') was destitute and often asked the 'motherland' to plug holes in the budget. In 1935 the Dutch minister of Colonies, Colijn, lamented in parliament: "Everything that has been attempted in Suriname, it all simply failed." (http://home.iae.nl). In Suriname the following quote of Colijn is known: "Let's just inundate the colony".The 'East', the Netherlands Indies, on the contrary was very profitable and flourished. Young Surinamese signed up for six years work in the Indies as teachers. Others joined the Royal Netherlands-Indies Army (KNIL). In Suriname itself there was no perspective at all. Helstone remembers the exclamation 'teki konkomero', 'take a cucumber'. Together with a small case of clothes, a testimonial of good conduct and some money it constituted the travel luggage. People also moved to the United States, the Netherlands, Curaçao and Aruba, or mustered into ocean-going trade. In London, on the 7th of December 1942, Queen Wilhelmina held a speech, in which she promised self-government after the war to the Netherlands East-Indies, Suriname and 'Curaçao'.
Aid for The Netherlands
War monument Suriname. In the background the current presidential palace. This monument was, according to the inscription, initially dedicated to the 'Surinam volunteers of war 1944-1947'. Thus partially to those who were deployed in the liberation and re-colonization of Indonesia (picture: Pim Ligtvoet, 2007).
From the beginning of the war money was raised in Suriname (and in the other colonies) for buying a fighter plane for the Allied efforts (‘Spitfire-fund’).
At the 5 May gathering 2008 in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost (CEC building), Mrs Stoffels and other elderly Surinam ladies told about the cent they had to bring to school every Monday morning. The song they sang at school went as follows:
'Children don't forget your Monday cent
Children don't forget
Whatever happens or will occur
Children don't forget your Monday cent'.
Initiated by J. Wijngaarde, journalist of the newspaper 'Suriname' 38.000 Surinam guilders were raised in 1940-1941. Philatelist Paul Daverschot for that matter believes it was 28.000 guilders and also mentions that this was just enough to buy 1 Spitfire. According to the website of the Verzetsmuseum the fighter, of course, was given the name 'Suriname'. Daverschot also writes about special postage stamps (Filatelie, October 2007).
Stamp aid campaign (source: Filatelie, October 2007).
Between 30 August and 31 December the Surinam postal services, following the Netherlands-Indies where they were printed, issued special stamps with surcharge. Proceeds went to the Prince Bernhard Fund, which bought with it Spitfires and other military goods for the Allies. The Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) mentions on its website that the Fund in fact bought a destroyer, 'to replace the Van Galen, which was sunk during the May days of 1940'. (see: www.verzetsmuseum.org). Other gifts were made during and at the end of the war. After the liberation the first ship to leave for Amsterdam from Paramaribo carried aid goods from the Surinam population, mainly collected by women.
Gratitude monument Siva square (artist: Mari Andriessen)
(picture: Pim Ligtvoet, 2007).
In 1955 Queen Juliana unveiled a gratitude monument. Three girls represent the Creole (left) and Hindustani (right) Surinamese, who hold their arms around the back of the Dutch people (middle). The small heads on the pedestal represent the smaller ethnic groups of the country: Lebanese, Marron and Javanese. Native Surinamese and Chinese seem not to be there. The dedication on the back side reads: 'The Netherlands gratefully remember the aid during the years of war 1940-1945 and after that given by Suriname as a feeling of solidarity'.
Writer Cynthia McLeod, daughter of the last governor of Suriname, in her ‘Memories: Suriname – war – Holland – Suriname’ (1993) recalls the aid campaign. ‘Clothing, especially clothing. Not worn of course, oh no, which Surinam mother would send worn clothes to Holland? ... it had to be especially warm, so people bought flannel and sewed. Also the families who had to make ends meet gave … and other things. Boxes full of peanut cookies, coconut cookies, gomma cookies were stuffed in crates and sent on, and don't forget the cocoa, our own, nutricious, homemade cocoa, that was just what those poor children in Holland needed to regain their strength. K’e Poti! Would they still remember? … Ah, I think they already forgot a long time ago’.
German missionaries and teachers
At the start of the war governor Kielstra had all male Germans past the age of fifteen imprisoned in Fort Zeelandia. Mr. Mehciz remembers this was announced through a 'proclamation'. The friar of his school explained the meaning of the word. The 'announcement by the authorities' implied that Holland was at war with Germany, and therefore Suriname as well. The subjects of the German Reich in Suriname were considered enemies.
The proclamation of war (source: www.verzetsmuseum.org)
A week after their imprisonment in the small Zeelandia Fort, the about fifty men went to the roman-catholic mission boarding school at group of about fifty men were transported to the Roman-Catholic mission boarding school at the Copieweg, 15 kilometres from town, along the railroad to Zanderij. Both the boarding school and railroad are now gone. After a while the German women and children were interned at the old plantations Mariënburg and Voorburg. In June 1941, behind the monastery at the Copieweg, twelve family barracks were readied, and the women and children moved in. Thus 134 people from German descent, six Surinam partners and three NSB'ers (members of the Dutch pro-German National Socialistic Movement) were detained.
Barrack at the present Copieweg (picture: Pim Ligtvoet, 2007)
Most prisoners were missionaries and teachers from the Evangelic Brother Community (EBG), known as ‘Herrnhutters’, and their families. They were held in great esteem by the population. Thanks to their efforts for the slaves in the nineteenth century, their church became the church for the Surinam Creoles. The 'mofo koranti', rumours among the people street, says some fanatic nazi's were among them. In fact the Brother Community still was governed from Hernnhut in Germany, where count Von Zinzendorf founded the movement in the 18th century, but there appears not to have been any strong support for Hitler at all. In the Zeelandia Fort they were under guard of the white KNIL military settled there.
Barrack Copieweg, drawn by Aleander Gebhardt (July 1940) (picture: Wereldoorlog in de West, p.74)
The provision of bread in Paramaribo, strongly dependent on the large EBG-firm Kersten at the Domineestraat, came to a halt by the internment. Ever since their arrival in 1732, the Brother Community considered it their task, besides missionary work among Indians and inland Creoles, to earn their daily bread, so why not bake it yourself. Under the leadership of Christoph Kersten a factory was established at the Domineestraat, with a bakery where friar Heijdt and slave Primo ruled. In May 1940 the government seized Kersten & Co and changed it into a Limited Company. By happy chance two engineers from Wageningen, who hadn't manage to get back to Holland in time, De Kraker and Reitsma, were asked to run the company. According to Helstone they did this in an excellent way.
Detail EBG-column Domineestraat/Steenbakkerstraat (picture: Pim Ligtvoet, 2007)
Almong those interned was the crew of the German ship the 'Goslar'. This vessel already arrived in the Paramaribo harbour during the mobilisation (October 1939). Helstone, at that time at a German mission school, remembers he liked talking to the Germans. Before the internment the crew, under great public interest, sank the ship, not far from the 'flat bridge', the ferry to Meerzorg. The wreck to this day belongs to the harbour panorama of Paramaribo.
Wreck ‘Goslar’ in front of Wijdenbosch bridge (picture: Pim Ligtvoet, 2007)
Sanitary conditions at the Copieweg and in Mariënburg were reasonable, but there were rumours about malaria and tetanus. The German Reich responded by taking prominent Dutch as hostages. Former Surinam governor dr. A. Rutgers was imprisoned in Buchenwald. In August 1941 three internees escaped: Alexander Schubert, Anton Boysken and Heinz Scharfenberg. Guarding was intensified but the treatment of prisoners stayed within the rules of the Geneva Convention.
After the war the German missionaries and teachers were expelled from Suriname. Thousands of Surinam citizens, dressed in white as a sign of mourning, accompanied their departure from the Copieweg to the KNSM-landing stage in Paramaribo. According to Heinrich Helstone the driving force behind this expulsion was not only the colonial Dutch government. The Dutch branch of EBG, in Zeist, rather wanted German supervision over EBG to disappear. And in Suriname there were non-German missionairies like the Danish Hans Peter Jensen, his fellow Danish Legêne and the Swiss Raillard, who promoted the departure of their brothers in faith.
The group of men, women and children proceeded with the later troop ship SS Bloemfontein to Curaçao, where other Germans were picked up. In Holland they were interned in Mariënbosch near Nijmegen and from there spread over the different zones of post-war Germany. As Helstone recalls, some of the missionaries stayed in Suriname. The Swiss consul A. Gonzenbach visited the Surinam camps during the war as a solicitor for the German subjects. Through his mediation some could migrate in 1945, at their own request, to Venezuela. One of them was called Zickmantel.
Internment of critics
Otto Huiswoud (picture: www.suriname.nu)
During the first war years governor Johannes Coenraad Kielstra had also 177 left wing revolutionaries, nationalists and other opponents arrested. One of the most famous was Otto Eduard Gerardus Majella Huiswoud (1893), interned in January 1941. Huiswoud, who in 1910 migrated to the United States, was the only black among the founders of the American Communist Party. He had been active as a ‘Komintern’-man, international propagandist. After a kidney operation he left the United States on 15 January 1941 for his country of birth. The captain of his ship, the Pygmalion, informed the harbour police, who arrested the passenger and interned him at the Copieweg. There Huiswoud protested against the combined detainment of nazi's and anti-fascists, German Jews and missionaries. The protest was successfull: the nazi's were henceforth detained separately. During his over eighteen months of imprisonment Otto Huiswoud made a good impression on the attorney general, and people like Bos Verschuur (who had been elected into the State Council in April 1942) constantly pleaded for his release.
After a meeting in 1942 in New York between his lawyer Stevens and the governor, Huiswoud was freed in October 1942 after signing a declaration of non-activity. Otto lived with a daughter from his sister and was held under a kind of house arrest. In 1947 he moved to Amsterdam with wife Hermine Dumont (see: Maria Gertrudis Cijntje-van Enckevort, The life and work of Otto Huiswoud, diss. 2003).
W. Bos Verschuur, late 1920 (picture: www.leoglans.nl)
Probably the most famous prisoner of the Copieweg was Wim Bos Verschuur, artist, teacher, politician ('Being our own boss'), union man, member of the State Council and indefatigable critic of the governor. He published the newspapers 'Vigilance' and 'The Whip'. In 1943 he drafted a petition for the London-based cabinet of war, to get the governor fired because of his supposedly pro-German sympathies. Kielstra then had Bos Verschuur detained at the Copieweg, separately from the Germans. He refused to give any explanation for this to the State Council, upon which seven of the ten elected members of the Council decided to resign. Young admirers of Bos Verschuur demonstrated and were also arrested. The colonial elite feared an uprising and informed London accordingly.
Governor J.C. Kielstra (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org)
Kielstra was honourably dismissed early January 1944 and moved to Mexico. The actions for release continued and in October 1944 the new governor, J.C. Brons, had 'uncle Wim' set free - though he had to refrain himself from political activities. Bos Verschuur was knighted in 1947.
Heinrich Helstone took drawing lessons from Bos Verschuur at the Zinzendorf school. He didn't learn to draw all that much, young Heinrich wasn't very gifted, but that wasn't the only reason. Verschuur continuously spoke about the many things that occupied his mind. Among them the design of a new type of shoe, the performance of football clubs like 'Forward' and 'Cicerone', and his peculiar slogan for the State elections of 1942: 'Don't vote for a bushes man but for Bos 'ur man'. Mr. Bleijert also followed Bos Verschuur's lessons and was very much inspired by him. He remembers people waving from the train to the prominent prisoner at the Copieweg.
More on Otto Huiswoud, Wim Bos Verschuur and other interned at www.suriname.nu
Right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 1941) 146 residents in two penal camps on Java, Netherlands-Indies, were interned in Suriname. Most of them had German surnames and were, rightfully or not, arrested on charge of membership in the East-Indian National Socialist Party. Among them was a second cousin of the Dutch writer Multatuli, dr. E.F.E. Douwes Dekker, who fought colonialism, and there were supporters of the later 'Father of the Fatherland' Soekarno. On 21 Januari 1942 they were assembled in a big steel cage aboard the ss Tjisadane. Around the cage explosives were installed. Should the ship be attacked, the prisoners would be eliminated by igniting the explosives from the lifeboats. The ship however arrived unharmed on the 21st of March 1942 (see www.wikipedia.org, www.nationaalarchief.nl and www.prinsesirenebrigade.nl). A similar transport from Sumatra to the British Indies was hit by Japanese bombs almost immediately after departure. The 472 Germans interned were abandoned on the slowly sinking ss Van Imhoff (see Netherlands Indies - homosexuals). After a stay in Fort Nieuw-Amsterdam and Fort Zeelandia the prisoners from the Indies were transferred to the former inland plantation Joden Savanne. In summer 1942 they were kept together with some conscientious objectors from South-Africa. The conditions in 'the green hell' were degrading. Initially surveillance was done by the marines. One of the so called militiamen who worked there, Max Valdink, about the guards: ‘They were pure criminals’.
Guno Hoen (1922-2010), sports journalist and former militiaman, with veterans badge
(picture: Pim Ligtvoet, 2007)
Another militiaman, corporal Guno Hoen (1920), said the only thing they did was standing on guard. Prisoners would warn them when they dozed off. "Then they shouted: there's the commander!". After some time the militiamen were given leadership, which meant a real improvement. Mr. Mehciz also remembers a song the conscripts sang when they marched into town: 'At Joden Savanne / there are no girls / send me back / to my dear Paramaribo'.
Murders at Fort Zeelandia
Late 1942 some prisoners had to clean the guards' toilets with their bare hands. After they refused they were confined in a remote wooden cell barrack. The decided to escape during the night from 4 - 5 November. The plan was thought up by the later cartoonist Lo Hartog van Banda (1916-2006), who was released on the 4th of November because of his birthday. The other four escaped without him, after having sawed a plank out of the back cell. They were caught and interrogated by the military and territorial commander Johan Kroese Meyer in Paramaribo at Fort Zeelandia, and sentenced to death. While being returned to their cells, two of them were shot at close range, because of suspicous movements (6 November 1942). They were L.A.J. van Poelje and engineer L.K.A. Raedt van Oldenbarneveldt. With the other two, C.J. Kraak and KNIL soldier Stulemeijer the disguised execution failed. The latter put out the word that they refused to open Jewish graves to search for jewelry (www.wikipedia.org). In May 1943 J.K. Meyer was transferred by the London government (because of something completely unrelated) and was made commander of the ground forces in Australia from July 1943 until August 1945. There, in 1944, the Surinam volunteers would come in. The group of internees from the Indies ended their imprisonment in the social club Halikebe, nowadays hotal Torarica. Only in July 1946 they were released, without any form of trial. They received a compensation of 500 guilders.
J.K. Meyer (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org)
J.K. Meyer was never prosecuted for the double murder. In 1948 he was promoted from major to general major and for his battle against the nationalists in Indonesia he received the Military Willems Order. He established himself in United States where he received the Legion of Merit, in the seldom granted officers class. The attorney general of Suriname, Grünberg, performed an in situ investigation in 1949. His report disappeared. The Netherlands concluded in 1950 that 'crimes' were committed, but dropped the subject. In 1994 minister Voorhoeve (sort of) apologised to attorney A.G. Besier of the relatives.
www.onderscheidingen.nl (look at Decorati for Meijer)
NRC, 17 November 2006, 'The camp overseas' about: Twan van de Brand: 'The Penal Colony. A Dutch concentration camp in Suriname'. Balans 2006.
Interviews by Pim Ligtvoet wit Heinrich Helstone, C. Mehciz and E. Bleijert, Paramaribo 2007
Black outs, trenches and magazine clubs
Because the government was expecting bombers - though no German or Japanese planes were ever seen - from a certain date during the war all lights had to be out during the night (globally between 7 and 7 o'clock). These were the black outs. Homework was done at candle light. The very common gas lights and rare electrical bulbs were put out or were wrapped in material like kite paper and textile. Young Helstone helped the already older teacher Annie Groenewegen with this kind of 'blackening'. Bicycles with lights on were suddenly prohibited. Kielstra even was preparing for an attack or battle in town. In several places 'trenches' were dug. Mr. C. Mehciz (1929) explaines these were actually hide outs between two wooden walls where on the left and the right of it sand had been dumped. The were built on the axis of some major roads, like the Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat, the Waaldijkstraat and the Hofstraat, in the neighbourhood of Ondro Bon. Traffic was hardly obstructed because at that time there were only about 50 cars in Suriname. Everyone knew all the plates, including their owners. Under the leadership of one of the now extensive military groups, exercises were held per neighbourhood. After a triple sirene of three signals citizens were to proceed to the nearest trench. There they stayed for until the signal 'clear' was given. The government and the military commander clearly overestimated the possibilities of the Germans in South America, and after a while the exercises stopped.
Annoying during the war was that almost nothing came from Holland anymore, not even reading matter. Schoolboy Helstone therefore founded an American magazine club, with magazines like Time, Look and Life.
Visits from the House of Orange
Suriname and the Antilles where the only parts of the Kingdom not occupied by Germany or Japan.
Princess Juliana at the Red Cross in Paramaribo, November 1943
(Source: www.npogeschiedenis.nl, Feb. 2008)
In October 1942 Prince Bernhard, was the first member of the Royal Family in a hundred years to travel from London to Curaçao, Aruba and Suriname. The prince visited on the 24th of October the oil refinery of Aruba and flew on to Suriname. There he stayed from 26 - 28 October. He visited the Higher German Synagogue (27 October) and the bauxite mines
Plaque Higher German Synagogue as a remembrance to the royal visit
(picture: Pim Ligtvoet, 2007).
In 1943, from Canada, princess Juliana followed. From 2 - 9 November 1943 she was in Surinam. Earlier her plane flew over Sint Eustatius and Saba (see chapter of Antilles). In Surinam princess Juliana visited the cantine of the Militia where she also met the Womens Voluntary Aid Corps. She also visited the women of the Red Cross. In the district of Commenwijne she was received by enthusiastic delegations from maroons. At Paranam she visited the bauxite company Alcoa. See the film on www.npogeschiedenis.nl/speler.program.7075663.html
Welcoming parade at the Gouvernementsplein, Paramaribo
The US-troops which were in the welcoming parade for the princess were almost entirely made up of Puertoricans at that time. One of them was Manuel Rey Gonzalez. From October 1943 until July 1944 Gonzalez was captain of the Military Police in Paranam (e-mails Mrs. Connie Everhart and Nelida Frontéra, Oct-Nov. 2014).
Right from the start of the colonization, there had been Jews in Suriname. There was a Portuguese and a Higher German Congregation which in 1940 together numbered about a thousand persons. Traditionally they were part of the white (and mixed) elite. In 1890 for instance, half of the members of the States of Suriname, were Jews. Even so from the end of the 18th century on, their position in society declined. This is show in the dissertation of Wieke Vink, 'Creole Jews, Negotiating Community in Colonial Suriname'(11 September 2008). Dr. Vink concludes that, during the late 18th and early 19th century, the Surinam Jewish community changed from a social-economical elite with a separate legal status, into a increasingly marginalised religious community. As a religious-ethnic group they constantly had to negotiate about there position in the colonial balance of power (Source: De Ware Tijd, 17 September 2008). Plans by the United States and by the Jewish Colonization Society in the late thirties to let European Jews emigrate to overseas territories of the European countries, like to the Saramacca-area in Suriname, were considered too expensive by the Dutch governors in the Antilles and Suriname. They were supported on this by the Jewish community itself.
Adelaar-Fürth family, around 1938. Standing from left: Willy (Wilhelm Meijer), Freddy (Frederika Sophie) and surviving son Ernst Henri; sitting Eduard and Else (Elisabeth)
This however failed to keep some impecunious Dutch Jews from coming to Suriname just before or early during the war. Ernst Henri Adelaar (Deventer, ca. 1911) was the only one of the Adelaar-Fürth family to survive the Shoah by settling in Suriname in 1939. His parents had a drapery business in Deventer; there were two more adult children. After the war Ernst Adelaar married Sara Ruth Aptroot (London, 1913). The couple had two children and at least four grandchildren. The wife and two children from the originally Polish Arie Lew (Leo[n]) Pajgin (Grodno, 1888) from The Hague, managed to escape to Suriname after his death in 1941 (Source: Joods Monument).
As soon as the war broke out, the two Jewish congregations brought their valuables to safety outside the synagogues. Among the interned of May 1940 there were seven Jews with a German or Austrian background. War progress was followed very closely and, unlike Holland the first deportation of Dutch Jews on 15 July 1942 was taken very seriously. One month later, on the 15th of August, the two synagogues held a common service, followed by a demonstration the day after.
On the 2nd of December 1942, the Christian churches (EBG, Lutherian, Roman Catholic and Dutch Protestant) prayed for the 'suffering people of Israël' and on Friday 11 December a special service was held by the moslim community, which was attended by Jewish representatives. The Central Committee on Jewish Interests in Suriname, then organized on the 30th of December a protest meeting in the Bellevue Theatre against the 'complete extermination of Jews in the occupied countries'. The chairman of parliament spoke and a speech by the governor was read. The Committee did not pick this day randomly. It followed an appeal by the Palestine Higher Rabbinate after Hitler ordered the extermination all Jews in occupied Europe by 31 December 1942. On the 1st of July 1943, when it was assumed the last deportation from the Netherlands was completed (the last trains actually rode in September 1944 - ed.), a day of mourning was held.
ss Nyassa (foto: pensarnaodoiaiai.blogspot.com).
Mid 1942 the Dutch War Government asked Suriname to admit a thousand Jewish refugees from Vichy-France who were threatened with deportation. The governor and States consented, but first wanted to arrange housing for the refugees. Before it was finished Hitler put an end to the independence of the Vichy-government. On 24 December 1942, 123 refugees from Portugal arrived with the Nyassa. On the 5th of January 1943, 55 others from Jamaica with the ss Cottica of the Dutch KNSM. Those aboard the Nyassa were diamond traders who lived in Antwerp in 1940 and managed to flee via France and Spain to neutral Portugal. The group met with a warm welcome, first in the Chinese society Kong Njie Tong at the Steenbakkersgracht (nowadays Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat). In October 1943 they were able move to housing built on the former cemetery Jacobusrust. Children attended their own school.
Kong Ngie Tong-sociëteit, 2006 (foto: www.nospang.com)
After the war the Parliamentary Inquiry (1951) was harsh on the dismissive attitude of the governors in the West. Many more Jews could have been taken in. For a list of Jews, mostly born in Paramaribo, who died in the Holocaust and the war in general, see the separate paragraph on Surinam Jews.
Militia, City Guard, Country Guard and the KNIL
In 1942 the colonial gouvernment set up a form of military service based on the already (since 1939) existing voluntary 'Militia' in Suriname. It applied to men between 18 and 43 years and at first was met with little enthusiasm. Eventually the corps in Suriname would number 5,000 men.
Historian Helstone ascribes the interest to the pressure of the economical crisis under governor Kielstra on the ordinary man and woman. Military service provided an income that, be it low (2 - 2,5 guilders a week), still was a regular income. One was also provided a uniform, gun and a military cap, and could make promotion. Medical checkups held in the Country Hospital went on for days. The doctors tested blood for malaria and filaria (elefantiasis). 30% of the recruits were dismissed. Overall hygiene was poor. Many people in town still lived in the old slave houses in the backyards of middle class houses, 'yard-houses', where the 'kalaka skotu', the cockroach police, every now and then cleaned up. Only the water supply was reasonable. The better-off families had running water, the others could at least use the tap in the yard and on the street. The water quality was (and is) so good, that it surprised the Americans. The approved recruits were quartered in Zeelandia and on a field at the Gemenelandsweg, Hindus were housed in a building from 'Coco' Nassy. The Militiamen exercised on the Orange square (nowadays the Independence Square) and drove around in jeeps. They guarded Paramaribo, the border districts Albina and Nickerie, the bauxite mines and bauxite transport.
In 1940 Mr. Mehciz lived in the Wagenwegstraat across the Oranje School. This, just like the Selecta School in the Heerenstraat, Court Charity at the Burenstraat, and a terrain at the back of the Country Hospital, was appropriated as military quarters. He heard the trumpeteer play the reveille. After getting up the roll was called and the ill and punished were mentioned. The children sang songs along with the trumpet: 'the doctor's here / the doctor's here / the doctor's HERE'. And also 'Are there more punished / then they report to the guard / they must get out / they must get out'. There was a working schedule, with a separate one for the punished. Mr Mehciz remembers the conscripts sometimes practised at the firing range in the Cultuurtuin. They were also put to work at construction projects like the road between Albina and Moenga and the section between Paramaribo and the Saramacca River ('the garrison path').
In order to get enough schools to serve as barracks for the Militia, the government reduced the number of students, Mr. Mehciz recounts. Because there was no free higher education in Suriname after high school, many students just kept coming. They tried to still get their diplomas or to pick up some further education. Now, every student reaching 18, had to leave school. Boys became conscripts straight away. Young teachers and doctors were also called up. At the de-mobilisation of 1945, 23-year old soldiers without a diploma, were sometimes sent back to school. Others found a job despite lacking a diploma. And some tried to join the Dutch army. That was not simple for they hardly had had any military training during their service in Suriname.
The City and Country Guard (m/f) lines up (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org).
A voluntary part of the Militia was formed by the 'City and Country Guards'. They patrolled the border with French Guyana and remote areas and were to report possible spies.
Women also served at the City and Country Guard, the Women's Voluntary Aid Corps (300 women), with commander L. Stahel-Jordi. They worked at the Harbour Office, the Transport in the Tropics, the Telephone Company or a storehouse, but also learned to shoot and exercise. They were drilled by the marines and were quartered in the Cultuurtuin (the 'Kul'). Heinrich Helstone remembers that the women's unit, shortened as BBM, also was translated to mean 'Bigi Bille' of 'Bigi Bobi' Girls. They wore non-traditional clothes like trousers and overalls. To the women it was a pleasant time, with a lot of community sense and a reasonable income.
Also in the 'West' a unit of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL) was stationed; in May 1940 there were 200 KNIL soldiers in Suriname. They were head quartered at fort Zeelandia. A well-known Dutch Surinam KNIL-man was captain Hugo Desiré Ryhiner (see paragraph 3 Military). Helstone remembers a few of the names from Surinam KNIL soldiers: Latour, Getrouw and Netto (see Other Military men and women). They had a nice uniform and a regular income. KNIL men from the Indies also served in Suriname. They were known as 'liplappers'.
Womens Aid Corps and Womens KNIL Corps
A small group of Surinam women were also in military service. Some belonged to the group of 37 volunteers of the Womens Aid Corps who left in September 1944 from the US, the Antilles and Suriname for England. Among them was the trained nurse lieutenant Anne van Trikt, the civil servant Ro Wildschut, Anita Zorgvol, Annie Hiemcke, Carmen Goede and Jeanne Stifft (www.suriname.nu). In England they nursed wounded soldiers, in Belgium and the southern Netherlands they attended to the wounded and other injured, and after the war they worked in the Buiten Gasthuis for the starved Amsterdam population. Other women entered service, mainly as nurses, in the Women's KNIL Corps. Among them was teacher Theophilia Berkenveld who worked at the office of the marine intelligence. ‘We found out we were also there to amuse the men. They couldn't shoot all of the time... The soldiers needed girls to dance with’ (also see section 'Verhalen' (Stories) on this site).
Dutch Legion, Princess Irene Brigade
Already in August 1940 the exiled Dutch government conscripted all Dutch men between 19 and 36 years of age in the 'free' parts of the world to join the service in a ‘Dutch Legion’. Only a few recruits were taken in. Little success, but not in Suriname.
Appeal for volunteers (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org).
In summer 1941 Hugo Pos attracted 400, mostly creoles, as volunteers for the Dutch Legion. They were refused though, for fear of tensions, which might arise between them and South-African volunteers. In August 1941 the Royal Dutch Brigade, already training in England for several months, was given the name of princess Irene. The later territorial commander J. Kroese Meyer, a KNIL major, was staff officer. Prime minister Gerbrandy also did not want any ‘niggers in the Irene Brigade’ (Minister Council 1 juli 1944), but despite of this about 15 Surinamese joined the brigade. They were especially active in the liberation of Europe (see below). This also applies to a group of 9 Surinamese men who in their search for a job started working in Curaçao and then signed up with the marines - see the paragraph about them further below. The Princess Irene Brigade had a Dutch detachment in Paramaribo. They were quartered in the Selecta school in the Burenstraat. The troops formed, together with the Dutch marines, the staff of the Militia. The were held in low regard though by the Militia. Black military could not have promotions and were, by some of the men from the Irene Brigade, beaten all too easily.
Apart from the Surinam and Dutch units and the 2.000+ US-military, there also was a group marines from the Netherlands Indies, who had traveled as guards with the earlier mentioned 146 detainees from the Netherlands Indies. A small number of Surinamese worked as naval men to protect the harbour. The military and para-military groups brought a garrison character to the capital.
Gunner (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org).
After the occupation of the Netherlands-Indies by Japan early 1942, the government appealed directly to young Surinam men to join the fleet. About 200 volunteers reported as 'gunners' on merchant ships or to guard the Paramaribo harbour. Jacques Marius Lemmer sailed three years as a gunners commander on the ship Fort Orange. It transported, in convoy, arms, ammunition and food to the allied forces in Europe. The work on board was dangerous, the working conditions miserable and initially food only consisted of potatoes, no rice. Hugo Pos* also was a gunner for some time, on the 'Flora'. During the war 48 ships from the KNSM (Royal Dutch Shipping Company) were sunk; as a result 247 crew lost their lives. The plaque at the Waterkant lists 29 names of sailors, most of them from gunners (see below).
The liberation of Western-Europe
During the invasion of Normandy the Princess Irene Brigade was put ashore as part of the British army in augustus 1944. Part of this Brigade were the Surinamese Willy Wooter, Henri van Helvert and Leo Alvarez. They fought as paratroopers against a.o. German child soldiers. On Dutch soil the brigade took part in the liberation of areas around Tilburg and Hedel. Corporal Leo Alvarez was hit in the head at Oirschot by grenade shrapnel and died on 27 October 1944. A bullet grazed Willy Wooters neck at the Waal bridge, and Henri van Helvert lost a leg in the attack on a German machine-gun nest. The name Alvarez appears on the plaque at the Waterkant (see below and at 'Other military men and women').
The liberation of the Netherlands-Indies
Camp Casino Australia (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org).
KNIL-military from Suriname and the Antilles were deployed against Japan from the Netherlands Indies. Many of them were made prisoner of war. The highest decorated Surinam-Dutch military, KNIL sergeant Harry Voss, was shot in Sumatra in May 1943. Another KNIL soldier died in Thailand in the fall of 1943, during labour at the notorious Burma Railroad. Nine military died in September 1944 on board the Junyo Maru, a ship that was used by the Japanese for the transport of prisoners of war, but with no markings as such. Among them was Bert Huiswoud, brother of the Surinam revolutionary Otto Huiswoud. Other Surinamese worked for the navy. In the spring of 1942 a Surinam navy pilot crashed at the coast of Borneo, near Balikpapan, and another navy pilot died shortly after the war in Djakarta (during the Bersiap period) - see the paragraph Other military men and women. 15 fallen soldiers are listed on the war monument at the Waterkant in Paramaribo.
For the battle against the Japanese the 'pre-war' KNIL military were augmented by hundreds of volunteers. They came from 'the West' or were mobilised Dutch from non-occupied territories and Papua's from New Guinea. Suriname and Antillian could only be sent to the battlefields of Europe and Asia on a voluntary basis. The Surinam States refused to change the constitution to permit compulsory service abroad. In 1943 between 150 and 200 volunteers responded to the recruiting campaigns of the KNIL and the Royal Navy. Most went to the Netherlands Indies. At the end of 1944 three detachments of volunteers went to Australia, about 450 recrutes. They were incorporated in the front forces. The Dutch ground commander was J.K. Meyer (see above) who had been 'kicked upstairs' from Suriname.
Australia was not exactly a paradise for non-whites. At that time it very much resembled the South Africa of the apartheid. Two Surinam-Dutch companies fought in New Guinea (January 1945) and in Borneo (May-July 1945) in an Australian 50,000 men strong army. In New Guinea they had to track down the Japanese in the jungle. In Borneo, together with Australian and English troops, they recaptured the oil harbours of Tarakan and Balikpapan. Six Surinam KNIL volunteers were killed. There names are unknown. Originally the war monument at the Waterkant in Paramaribo was dedicated to the fallen Surinam volunteers.
Employment against or with the Indonesian battle for freedom
After the capitulation of Japan general Mountbatten did not want any Dutch troups on Java. Despite of this in October 1945 some KNIL-companies went. Surinamese taking part in this, sometimes got into a moral dilemma. In those days jurist Hugo Pos, who in 1941 escaped occupied Holland, worked for the Dutch Legion recruiting agency in Canada and Suriname, and served as a gunner on a merchant ship, at that time working for Netherlands Indies Civil Administration. He was used to see Germans, Japanese and everyone who supported them, as the enemy. ‘When the Indonesian revolution broke out this pattern completely changed’. To save their own lives KNIL men fired at nationalists.
Military Semmoh: ‘… only later on we realised how crazy it was for one colony, trying to loosen its ties, to oppress the other one’. He once surrounded a group from which a man called: ‘Don't shoot, I'm a Surinamese’. Still he got shot. William Watson refused to fire at nationalists: ‘In Suriname you had neighbours from Java. I didn't want to fight my neighbour. That's it’. Watson knows about one Surinamese for sure, to defect deliberately. ‘His name was Esseboom. He must be living there now, just like a Surinamese Poncke Princen’.
In late 1946 Surinam soldiers were sent to Holland, there were enough white men and volunteers in service. They were awaited by armed MP's and transported to the KNIL-depot in Kijkduin. In February 1947 the group arrived in Paramaribo. After initial enthusiasm they were given a nasty look: often they could not find jobs and they were blamed for being in the battle against Indonesian nationalists. Some veterans served again in Indonesia or Korea. In 1961 an urn with soil frome the Korean war cemetery Tanggok was placed at the War Monument at the Waterkant. Later on the Korean community of Suriname erected a memorial in honour of two fallen Korean fighters J.W. Bandison and H.G. Seedorf at the other side of the monument.
Surinam veterans of war
In the Weekly paper of Suriname (22 May 2003) Surinam ex-military Fred van Russel confirms the above specifications. The former union leader is chairman of the Federation of Veterans and Ex-military. He estimates during WW II about 200 Surinam soldiers have died in battle. About the contribution of women he says: ‘Fifteen Surinam women served in the KNIL as nurses and another eight went via England to [by now freed parts of] Belgium and the Netherlands’.
Van Russel fights with about 70 other surviving Surinam veterans for payment of non-received allowances and pay and for compensations which were given to veterans with a Dutch passport. In July 2003 allowances were given to 580 Surinam veterans. One could also obtain a war veterans pass and a medal.
Earlier, after a protest march of 'Recreation for Surinam Veterans of War’ (ROS) in which a big hole was cut out of the Dutch flag (1985), the veterans and the Surinam ambassador were also invited to the National Remembrance Day at the Dam in Holland. Veteran Semmoh: ‘When we tell we as Surinams also fought in the Second World War we are only met with disbelief’.
Plaque on the war monument in Paramaribo (picture: Volkert Laurens Laan)
On the 4th of May 2006 the Surinam authorities unveiled a plaque with 63 names from the Second World War. The plaque was attached to the existing war monument at the Waterkant. President Venetiaan was unable to attend the ceremony. But the American ambassador was there. The plaque was too small for all known names. Therefore it was decided to take four categories with a limited number of names: military men (13), resistance fighters in Holland (11/12), Jewish victims (10) and sailors (29). A small plate with 9 names of military and resistance fighters presumably was mounted on the side of the monument later on. All names are also on the monument, except for Waldemar Hugo Nods. About him and the other fallen military, resistance fighters and Jews, more information can be found in the paragraphs Anton de Kom, Harry Frederik Voss, Other military, Fallen sailors from the merchant navy, Names from the resistance and Surinam Jews.
Fallen military (13)
Harry J. van Bazel
Leo L. van Eick
Albertus C. Heidweiller
Egbert J. Huiswoud
Johan F. Netto
Desire G. del Prado*
Willem A. Spreeuw
Hendrik J. Wiers
Leo Alvares* (2)
Willem M. Burgzorg*
Eddy H(erman) Chateau (2)
Fallen resistance fighters in Holland (11/12)
Samuel F. Abraham
Frank Rijk van Ommeren
Lodewijk H. Rijk van Ommeren
Jozef N. Rodriquez* (2)
Charles D(esiré) Lu-A-Si (2)
Iwan H. Kanteman
Anne D. Bosschart*
Henry H(ans) Flu (2)
Albert Wittenberg (2)
Anton de Kom (2)
Nicolaas W(alter) Gitz (2)
Abraham S. Fernandes*
Surinam Jews murdered and killed by gassing (10)
Elina Bueno de Mesquita-da Costa
Daniël E. Gomperts
Bernard Israël Levie
Hartog J. Pos
Flora M. Samson
Julia M. Bueno Bibaz
Rachel Martha Polak
Seafarers, fallen by torpedoes (29)
H.H. van Exel
F.F. de Rooy
P.S.: The summary on the plaque is a selection. Also not all Jews died of gassing. Nor did all sailors die of torpedoes.
The spelling of some names differs* from the spelling by the War Graves Foundation (www.ogs.nl) and the Amsterdam KNSM monument:
- With www.ogs.nl:
A.J.H. Askel: van Aksel
R.C. Colader: Rolador
Desire G. del Prado: Desiré
Harry Vos: Voss
Leo Alvares: Alvarez
Willem M. Burgzorg: Jacques Burgzorg; his date of death is nog 19/11/1946 but 19/11/1945
Jozef N. Rodriquez: Rodriguez
Anne D. Bosschart: Anne A. (Anne Anton)
Abraham S. Fernandes probably is the same person as Samuel F. Abraham
- With KNSM:
A.J.H. Askel: Aksel
A.W.I. Naardendorp: Naarendorp
W.H. Beelds: Beeldstroo
H.H. Exel: van Exzel
I.P. Flu: J.P.
J.D.L. Wikkeling: J.L.D.
With thanks to Volkert Laurens Laan who provided the information about the monument and to William Man A Hing for corrections.
Anton de Kom
KOM, Cornelis Gerhard Anton de (known as: Anton, Antoine), the with communism sympathizing Surinam revolutionary and writer, was born in Paramaribo on 22 February 1898 and died in camp Sandbostel near Bevern über Bremervörde (Germany) on 24 April 1945. He was the son of Adolf Damon de Kom, small farmer and golddigger, and Judith Jacoba Dulder. On 6 January 1926 he married Petro nella Catharina Borsboom; together they had a daughter and three sons. Aliases: Adek, Adekom.
Two dark coloured camp prisoners from Neuengamme clear out debris in Hamburg-Hammerbrook.
During the Second World War De Kom provided copy and information to the illegal CPN-magazine (communist party of the Netherlands) De Vonk and, being averse to any sectarism, to the same magazine with the same name from the International Socialist Movement. Tom Rot from the latter magazine valued De Kom for his contacts with a group, which deliberated about the future of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 7 August 1944 De Kom was arrested on the streets. At his home pamphlets and a crystal receiver were confiscated. After a few days in Scheveningen prison, De Kom went on transport to camp Vught. He must have been considered a 'heavy' case, because of his solitary confinement in the bunker. On September 6 he went on transport to camp Oranienburg, later on to Neuengamme. There is a picture of camp prisoners in the inner city of Hamburg, with possibly De Kom on it (the dark coloured man in the back). The evacuation of this infamous camp eventually proved to be fatal. De Kom died on 24 April 1945. Only in 1960 his remains were identified and buried on the Loenen cemetery.
Source picture: www.kz-gedenkstaette-neuengamme.de
With thanks to John Brouwer de Koning.
Grave of Anton de Kom (picture: www.ogs.nl)
In 1982 he posthumously received the resistance remembrence cross. In the late sixties interest in De Kom and his work revived, also thanks to the detective work from his daughter Judith. Since 1983 the university of Suriname bares his name. On 24 November 1990 at the Anton de Kom-plein in Amsterdam Zuidoost a plaque was unveiled by the artist Guillaume Lo A Njoe and on April 24, 2006 a wooden sculpture by artist Jikke van Loon.
On the 4th of May 2006 the Surinam governement attached a plaque to the war monument in Paramaribo. On it is the name of Anton de Kom as one of the 11 resistance fighters who died in the Netherlands (see below). Earlier, in 1986, a memorial was placed in front of the house of birth of Anton de Kom. The inscription says: Sranang / My Homeland / Once I hope / to see you back / On the day on which / all distress / will have ebbed away.
In remembrance of Anton de Kom, 22 February 1986.
Anton de Kom memorial, with Diana, occupant of the house of birth of A. de Kom
(picture: Pim Ligtvoet, 2007)
De Koms youth took place in a common neighbourhood in Paramaribo, Frimangron ('ground of the freed men'). Within this firm, catholic family De Kom stood out as being very studious. He read a lot and heard out the elderly about the time of slavery. His father still was born in slavery. The family name is derived from Mok, the plantation owners' name. After primary school and the Paulus secondary school, De Kom received his diploma in bookkeeping. He had a thorough knowledge of the English language, and a diploma in German, knowledge in French (conversation) and a sound knowledge of 'Negroe-English' and 'Papiamento', common languages on the Antilles. For four years he was an employee at the Balata Company 'Suriname' and 'Guyana'. On 29 July 1920 he resigned and left as a working passenger on a ship to Holland. For a year he served in The Hague at the Hussars, and then took a job as an assistant-bookkeeper. After being laid-off because of 'reorganization', until his departure for Suriname De Kom worked till the end of 1932 as a sales representative in coffee and tobacco. At his work and at the athletics field he was given many prizes, but he wouldn't take any insulting remarks about his color or about Suriname.
About 1926 De Kom, who was by that time frequenting left wing and Indonesian-nationalistic circles, started to collect material for his book about the colonial history of Suriname, which would make him famous. In February 1927 he visited the foundation congress of the League against Imperialism and Colonial Oppression in Brussels. During the now following years De Kom developed towards the communist movement. Here he found a hearing, as shown by the Communist Guide of 4 May 1929, where 'our Surinam comrade Adek' in his speech urged 'that there will be searched for a connection between Indonesia and Suriname, because the power lies within the co-operation between the oppressed peoples'. Increasing political and journalist activities won't keep De Kom from maintaining in contact with Surinam workers leaders like L.A.G. Doedel and Th.G. de Sanders. His article 'Terror in Suriname' in De Tribune (The Stand) 10 September 1932 was distributed in Suriname as a pamphlet. In it he criticized the prohibition of the just erected Surinam General Workers Organization (SAWO) and halving the wages of the Javanese contracters. He felt the slogan 'Suriname apart from Holland-now' among the Surinam proletariat was met with response.
Back to Suriname (January-May 1933)
De Kom's long cherished wish to return to Suriname, was strenghtened by his mother's illness. On arrival on 4 January 1933 an enthusiastic crowd awaited the De Kom family. Also the authorities, who were kept informed by the Dutch Central Intelligence Service, were at the ready. Three detectives kept an eye on him ever since. De Kom was shocked by the empoverishment in his country. He was denied having any public meetings. He therefore decided to start a consultancy firm in his father's yard. 'Maybe I'll succeed in taking away some of this discord which was the weakness of the colored, maybe it won't be entirely impossible to make negroes and Hindostanis, Javanese and Indians, understand how only solidarity can unite all sons of mother Sranang in their battle for a decent human life.'
House of birth of Anton de Kom, A. de Komstraat (Frimangron)
Picture: Pim Ligtvoet, 2007
The rush to the De Kom's yard was, despite ongoing intimidation, unheard of. With interpreters they tried to keep the flood of contractors from speaking to De Kom. Among Javanese also was hope for De Kom helping them with their remigration. He firmly declined the offer from the maroons to provide him with weapons. 'For me it was all about organization, not a bloodbath.' This was exactly the danger to happen because of the provocative attitude from the police on 1 February. When De Kom demanded to speak to the governor, he was arrested. The writings from De Kom which were taken during house search, never showed up again. As an answer to the ongoing demonstrations the state of emergency was declared and on 7 February 1933 the surging crowd in front of the Office of the Public Prosecutor was dispersed with four salvoes. Two persons died and 22 were heavily injured (eight creoles, eight Javanese and six Hindostanis). In Holland Communist Party member of parliament D. Wijnkoop plead in vain for De Kom to be set free, who to his knowledge 'never joined any communist organization'. Also he gave publicity to a nine items consisting political program circulating in Suriname. In it, apart from independence of state and nationalization of property abroad, another series of democratic and social demands were mentioned. On the 10th of May, after more than three months of imprisonment, De Kom was banned to Holland without any form of trial.
‘We slaves of Suriname’ (1933-1934)
Hundreds of workers, who were kept informed by 'De Tribune', welcomed the De Kom family in IJmuiden and Amsterdam. At the national congress of 'Links Richten', at the end of May, De Kom was welcomed with the 'International' song and chosen as an editor. By common assent the subscription was started to 'Wij slaven van Suriname'. Because of interference by the Dutch Intelligence the publication took place only as late as in 1934. In 'Wij slaven van Suriname' (Amsterdam 1934, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1986, 1999, 2003, 2005) De Kom rewrote Surinam history from the viewpoint of the oppressed. Fierce in its accusation, surprisingly personal in phrasing his convictions. 'It's taking a long time before I had myself freed from all obstacles in the obsession, that a negro always and unconditionally had to be inferior to any white.' Black self-consciousness, in his words self-respect and belief in proletarian unity, are central concepts. In the pre-publication 'Our heroes' in 'Links Richten' of May 1933 he held up as an example the around 1769 successful, but in history ignored freedom fighters Boni, Baron and Joli-Coeur to the Dutch proletarians: 'you, who aren't part of the debt of the oppressors, because you were oppressed yourselves, will love the advocates for our freedom and their portraits will be carried with you in your parades next to those of Lenin on the day, the huge balance with capitalism has been cleared'. This argument isn't mentioned in the book. Also A.S. de Leeuw pointed out, in his review in 'De Tribune (1934.2.12), that the only logical conclusion - independence - is missing in the censured edition. How much has been taken out can not be checked anymore, because the original manuscript was lost during the war. Despite the efforts of E. du Perron no French translation was made, but a German version was published, translated by Augusta de Wit (Moscow 1935; Zürich 1936), and later on a Spanish translation (Havana 1981) and an English one (London 1987). Later on Jef Last gave the impression that he was the actual author of the book. The magazine 'Buiten de perken' refuted this in 1964-1965.
Appearances and articles
In the summer of 1933 De Kom wrote four articles about the situation in Suriname in 'De Tribune'. It is well known from police reports he spoke at meeting from the Communist Party and the League. These reports also state he was in contact with the also shadowed Surinam Komintern-man Otto Huiswoud, editor of the European edition of The Negro Worker. In June 1934 De Kom supplied an article about Suriname for this magazine. Once he managed to read from his book for VARA-radio. This happened accompanied by music, but not without corrections in his text by order of the Radio Broadcast Supervision Committee. During speeches De Kom greatly impressed young communists, whom he met at an equal basis. One of them, Nico Wijnen, who worked with him illegally during the war, called him a born teacher: someone who gave himself too little credit because of his desire to help others, and someone who on the outside stayed calm and patient, but in fact was all nerves. Since his banishment from Surinam De Kom was unable to find a job. The family had to live on the dole. De Kom worked on at least two novels and at a film script. Only fragments survived. Later on a selection from his poems was compiled in Strijden ga ik ('Battle I will', Leiden 1969).
More about ANTON DE KOM
Lou Lichtveld (Albert Helman)
Albert Helman in and H. Marsman behind the pram, about 1926 (Picture: www.dbnl.org)
Lodewijk Alphonsus Maria (Lou) Lichtveld (Paramaribo 1903-Amsterdam 1996), better known by his writers-name Albert Helman, descended from the colored elite of Suriname. He was part Indian. As a twelve year old boy Lodewijk came to Holland for a study to become a priest (at the famous boarding school Rolduc, also small-seminarium of the diocese of Roermond. He soon quit his study and went back to Suriname. He attended a musical education and worked as an organ-player and composer. Albert Helman came back to Holland in 1922. Here he received an education as a teacher and he also studied music. After that he became a journalist and a music critic. He joined the group young Catholics of the magazine 'De Gemeenschap' (The Community). Later on he turned his back to Catholicism.
In 1926 he wrote, in the tradition of Multatuli, his first big work: South-West-South (1926). It deals with Suriname, which he glorifies, and about the negligence by the colonizer, Holland. His best known work, in this style, is 'De Stille Plantage' ('The quiet plantation', 1931). He would write a lot more novels, essays and poems. From 1932 until 1938 he lived in Spain. During the civil war he choose part (and fought with) the Republicans.
For the NRC and the Groene Amsterdammer (Dutch newspapers) he reported about the struggle for survival of the republic against fascism. After the defeat of the democrats (1938) at first he flees to North-Africa and Mexico, but by 1939 he's back in Holland. Now he's concerned about the fate of the German speaking Jewish refugees. By commission of the Committee on Special Jewish Interests he writes the book ‘Millions-suffering’. Just before the war, during mobilization, he's invited to give a speech before soldiers in Gilze-Rijen, but this is prevented by high-ranking military authorities.
As Lichtveld was so well-known as an anti-fascist there was nothing else for him to do but to go into hiding. He falsified personal documents, published resistance verses and protested at Reichs Commisioner Seiss-Inquart against the foundation of the so-called Kulturkammer, where artist where forced to become a member of. He wrote in the illegal magazine 'Vrije Kunstenaar' ('Free Artist') and was after the arrest of sculptor and resistance man Gerrit van der Veen in 1944 his successor at the editorial office. Lou Lichtveld also had contact with Surinam resistance, probably also with Anton de Kom. During the Second World War he wrote also under other aliases like: Joost van den Vondel, Friedrich W. Nietzsche, Hypertonides, N. Slob and Nico Slob. He was a member of the 'Grote Raad van de Illegaliteit' (Grand Council of Illegality).
Drawing by Jo Spier on the cover of 'Schakels', ed. Cabinet to the vice minister president, 1963 (www.surinaamsmuseum.net)
After the war he was a member of the Emergency Parliament and until 1961 had various political functions in Suriname, for example Minister of Education and Public Health from 1949-1951, chairman of the Auditors' Office and president of the Bureau Public Reading. The last years of his life he was almost blind. He kept writing at high-age, by the motto: 'An old cock makes a powerful bouillon'. Albert Helman died in 1996 in Amsterdam. It's harrowing on his death not even one publisher had an advertisement placed.
Hugo Pos (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org)
Hugo Pos was born on 28 November 1913 in Paramaribo and died 11 November 2000 in Amsterdam. "He was the second son of Coenraad Simon Pos, a prominent Surinam practitioner (locally trained lawyer) and magistrate. His mother Abigaël Morpurgo, came from a prominent Surinam family of printers. Though his grandfather on his fathers side was an orthodox Jew and his father chairman of the Jewish Church Council, he was brought up very liberally. He attended the Conradi school and when he was eight he went to the neutral Hendrik school. On his fourteenth he crossed the ocean to Holland. In Alkmaar he attended high school and then he engulfed himself in the student life in Leiden to do his study of law in between booze and flirting, with an interruption of a few months in Paris, were he studied comparative law. At the capitulation of the Netherlands after the German invasion in 1949, Pos immediately tried to get away. The second attempt succeeded."
He managed to get by boat via Delfzijl to Finland, where he was given a visa for Japan by the Russian consul. Eventually he ended up in England, where he trained to be an officer (boekenblog.blogspot.com). In 1941 he came into contact with the recruiting agency of the Dutch Legion in Canada. Pos went to Suriname and after a speech for 'Waakt Suriname' recruited 400 to 500 mostly Creole volunteers, who nearly all were dismissed. Minister H. van Boeyen did not want to take them in, presumably because of the white volunteers from South-Africa, who were preferred. Some of them persisted and were hired into the Princess Irene Brigade.
During the spring of 1942 'he reported to the merchant navy as a Militiaman', according to Van Kempen. The merchant vessel 'Flora', his ship, was torpedoed, but he survived the adventure. He returned to Suriname, where he became a secretary to the Commission of the Militia. In 1943 he started as a civil employee to the Netherlands Civil Administration (NICA), who aided the Americans at the liberation of Indonesia. After the war he was sent on secondment as captain and military Judge Advocate General in Timor. He was also involved in the trials of Indonesian rebels, though he admitted later on having wrongly assessed the revolution and motives of the Indonesians (boekenblog.blogspot.com). "Shortly after Pos was put in charge of the investigation on war crimes of the Japanese in neutral Portuguese Timor. In Tokyo and Yokohama he worked as a prosecutor at the International Court on 'minor war crimes'" .
Three brothers Pos, all dentists, are on the list of Surinam Holocaust victims (see Surinam Jews).
"In 1948 Pos returned to Holland. For a short while he worked for the Netherlands Bank, the KLM and as a lawyer, but in 1950 again returned to Suriname, now being a registrar of decree, for jurisdiction. He became a judge and in 1960 attorney general. Already soon after his arrival in Suriname, he became a chairman of the theatre company Thalia. From 1961 unti 1965 he was a member of the Cultural Advisory Board for the Kingdom. He was part of the editorial office of Vox Guyanae and published by the name of Ernesto Albin in the magazine Soela.
In 1964 Pos returned for good to the Netherlands, where he brought new life to Caribiton, a foundation that tried to rouse cultural life among Suriname and Antillean immigrants. He was part of the Sticusa Board (1965-1978), was until 1974 a member of the Amsterdam Court, until 1983 councilor and vice-president of the court of The Hague. After his retirement at the age of seventy he became the first chairman of the Country Bureau against Racism. He was in the Profession Board of the Literature Foundation, the Complaint Commission Participation of the city of Amsterdam and lectured at the School of Law. During the December murders in 1982 in Suriname, two of his former students Hoost and Riedewald died, which brought him to accepting the chairmanship of the Foundation for aid to the relatives of the victims of the December murders."
Hugo Pos in 1998 (picture: R. Tjoe Ny)
After his retirement in 1985 Hugo Pos started to write out full. In 1995 his autobiography In Triplo was published. In 2006 his play 'The tears of Den Uyl' (1988) was performed in Holland and in Suriname. One of the actors was the later minister of development cooperation Koenders.
Principal source: Michiel van Kempen, administrator of the Pos' literature inheritance, on www.dbnl.org/tekst.
Hugo Desiré Ryhiner
Ryhiner was a captain in the KNIL and was in 1939 travelling from the Netherlands-Indies to Suriname.
KNIL-detachment at the Dam, because of the re-burial of Van Heutsz (1927). Picture: www.wayneolivant.karoo.net
Because of the declaration of war by England and France to Germany, when it invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, the Netherlands, though neutral, also mobilized its troups. Ryhiner was assigned as an officer to a unit. This unit was ordered in the May-days of 1940 to stop the German advance to a dynamite depot in Overschie, north-west of Rotterdam. Already at the Willems Bridge across the Meuse it came to a fight. The high-command ordered them though to stop the bloodshed, although the Dutch weren't on the loosing side. The troups were taken prisoner of war. Hugo, the only one with a black skin, was threatened with kicks and got shot in the back. As by a wonder the shot was absorbed by his thick winter-coat, according to Tony Wong in his book on Surinam veterans of war.
Later during the war Ryhiner went into hiding and joined a resistance group from The Hague. He did courier work, distributed illegal newspapers like 'De Waarheid' (The Truth) and 'Je Maintiendrai' (I will maintain), and got hold of food coupons.
After betrayal he was arrested by the Sicherheitsdienst and imprisoned in Darmstadt. He did penal servitude on a broken railway. Because of the advancement of the Russian army early 1945 prisoners were being dragged from camp to camp. Hugo suffered from hunger oedema. With others he managed to escape. Together with other prisoners, forced laborers, civilians on the run and Nazi's, they roamed to the American controlled area. They are met with distrust and put behind barbed wire, where they are left forgotten. In March 1945 he succeeded in getting on a transport to France. Via Belgium, in a bad fitting American uniform, he was back again in the country where he had been in 1939 for traveling on to Suriname.
Information from the website www.onderscheidingen.nl :
Rijhiner, Hugo Desire
Born in Paramaribo on 8 March 1905, died in the Military Hospital in Utrecht on 6 January 1991. olt d.Inf.KNIL (24-06-1939), btgw. etn.d.Inf.KNIL (25-01-1947 KB 12), res-kpt ML (16-10-1950), e.o. 01-01-1954. Knight 4th class of the Military Willems-Order; K.B. no. 41 of 26 June 1946. Under-lieutenant of the Infantry of the KNIL.
The Willems-order was awarded to him with the following motivation:
"Has distinguished himself during battle by excellent deeds of courage, tact and loyalty, by moving on forwards to the Germans with a constant and complete disregard of the heaviest enemy fire on the 12th of May 1940 at Overschie. He was able to inspire the few entrusted to his command, by which to the outnumbering, heavily and better armed enemy serious losses were sustained. When part of the reinforcements sent to him with an ensign (which part of it never had been under fire) hesitated, he managed, by giving himself the example, to make them go foreward. This all was done, despite the pains as a result from a ricochet-shot in one of his upper-legs, and his immense fatigue. When later on a part of his unit tried to flee, on behalf of his captain he took control again managed to assemble his men again, preventing anything worse."
Harry Frederik Voss
Born in Paramaribo (Suriname) on 12 March 1912. Executed at Kota Tjane on 29 May 1943. Soldier with the infantry of the KNIL (30-10-1934), sergeant from 31 October 1940).
Known decorations: Knight 4th class of the Military Willems-Order (K.B. no. 45 of 8 August 1950; posthumously). On the plaque at the war monument in Paramaribo his name, spelled as Vos, is among the 12 soldiers mentioned.
According to Ad van den Oord the Japanese invaders after their victory on 8 March 1942, wanted to make use in various ways of the captured Dutch military, including Voss. They wanted information, and also wanted them to train Indonesians for the Japanese army. Sergeant Voss, despite being tortured, refused any collaboration.
The motivation for awarding him the Military Willems-order also includes the equal treating of Indo-Europeans and Indonesians:
“Distinguished himself by committing excellent deeds of courage, tact and loyalty in the battle against the enemy, first as a prisoner of war in a camp at Lawe Segalagala (Atjeh), co-signing in May 1943 a petition with the request to withdraw the decision, in which Indo-Europeans were considered to be Indonesians and therefore had to serve as 'Heiho' soldiers in the Japanese army, and to decide otherwise to declare Indo-Europeans to be Dutch prisoners of war and as such being treated, which had the result that the signers of this petition were imprisoned by the incensed Japanese.
Further on by his persistent refusal to serve in the Japanese army, therefore being transported on 28 May 1943 to Kota Tjane in order to be executed, in full view of the entire population.
Further on, when a Japanese officer being impressed by his loyalty and firmness offered him a final favor, loudly proclaimed in Maleisian, so everyone was able to understand it: "Japanese, I want a red-white-blue flag wrapped around my chest and then you can fire."
Furthermore, when his wish was granted and he was granted another favor, let the Japanese know they were no fair soldiers, because they wanted him to betray his Queen; that they might think they had won the war, but the victory in the end would be to the allies and that, as long as there was only one Duychman alive, they would have no peace in this country.
Finally by, when the Japanese wanted to blindfold him, refused this in a courageous way with the words: "I'm a Dutchman and not afraid to die", and, after having several shots already fired at him, still living, loudly called: "Long live the Queen", until another shot ended his life, after which his body was thrown into the Alas river the next morning.’
Other military men and women (25)
Part of the war monument in Paramaribo (picture: Pim Ligtvoet)
Apart from the two decorated military men above (Ryhiner and Voss), an additional 10 persons are mentioned on the website. Also the names of the military persons on the plaque at the war monument in Paramaribo are added, as well as some members of the Princess Irene Brigade.
Marcel Gerardus A-Tjak (Paramaribo, 18 July 1917), was awarded the Vliegerkruis (Flyers Cross) in 1948. Reason was his participation as observer during bombarding missions of a squadron of Fokker C-X biplanes against the German invasion in May 1940. Marcel A-Tjak studied in the Netherlands and was mobilized as reserve second lieutenant. Seated behind the pilot the observer also was the one to release the bombs and to fire the machine gun when necessary. The first action was on the day of the invasion at the Waal harbour (10 May), the second and the third at the Grebbeberg (13 May).
Course of life
Marcel A-Tjak was the son of a mixed couple. His father, James George A-Tjak (1888), second generation Chinese Surinamese, was book-keeper at the Koloniale Vaartuigen (Colonial Fleet). He was a catholic and had the Dutch nationality. His mother, Jeane Victoria Favery (1889), came from a family of early released slaves born in freedom. Some Favereys had slaves of their own. After his education at the MULO (1935) Marcel came to the Netherlands. He continued his education at the HBS (Amsterdam, 1935), the HTS (1937) and after the war the Technische Hogeschool (University of Technology) in Delft (1948). Ir. A-Tjak worked for the Billiton Company in Indonesia, for companies in Holland and finally for the mining department of the University of Technology in Delft (1968-1981); during the last years as a professor.
Before the war Marcel A-Tjak, as a conscript, was trained as an observer for a year. A later colleague and friend, Dick Lewis (1914), talks about observer/flight gunner. In practice observing also meant signaling, navigating, photography, firing the machine gun and dropping bombs. "Aiming was done by estimating by sight when you released a maximum of eight fifty kilo bombs. Later on we were given a bomb aiming device, which peeked through a hole down in the fuselage. Communicating with the pilot - to the left or to the right - was done by tapping him on the back. He than reduced speed and looked back, after we shouted to each other'. Firing finally was done by the observer with a machine gun, mounted on the back of the plane." (De Vliegende Hollander - The Flying Dutchman. Monthly magazine of the Royal Air Force of the Netherlands. March 2009, p. 18-19) (www.defensie.nl).
10 May 1940
Lewis recounts that on the first day of the German invasion he was woken up at half past three in the morning by the German Luftwaffe. The Heinkels 111 were supposedly on their way to England but made a turn at sea near Bergen and bombed the airfield of the Militaire Luchtvaart with the Fokkers G1 standing there. All but one all twelve fighters burned down. The light weight Fokker C-X's (C-10) of the Strategic Reconnaissance (StraVerVa) stood near the side of a forest further on and were not damaged. The observers and their pilots taxied them to the airfield and managed to get airborne. Five are on their way to the Waal harbour near Rotterdam. Lewis, with formation leader Hofstede in the '713', flies with two more C-X's to Valkenburg. Marcel A-Tjak sits as an observer in the '709' with pilot Pleij. Dick Lewis writes down the five surely were in trouble with Messerschmitt planes patrolling the area. In the Waal harbour airspace they are given a hard time by German fighter planes. On their way to Bergen two C-X's have to make an emergency landing. "The plane of my friend Marcel A-Tjak was riddled with bullets but they managed to land safely." During the days afterwards the fragile planes practice in flying low above the ground. With help from the ground-staff the C-10's are soon up and flying again.
Fokker C-X 712 and 705 (source: www.waroverholland.nl)
Author A.M.A. Goossens made a reconstruction of the air defense at the Grebbe line ... during the early days of May in 1940 (www.grebbeberg.nl - article p. 89-93). In the article the role of reservist A-Tjak is well described. At 3.47 hours 4 C-X's take to the air. In the lead plane 705 are Marcel A-Tjak and career pilot 1st lieutenant Hofstede. They are on their way for the largest Dutch air mission in the early days of May 1940: an attack at the German artillery near Wageningen who are harassing the Dutch troops at the Grebbe Line. The formation of biplanes flies over the Zaanstreek to Buiksloot where they are joined by 7 fighter planes. After Weesp they see, as later on described by reservist Postma, a man frantically waving in a railway signaling post. Above Rhenen the C-X's climb to 350 meters and just outside of Wageningen, near the Oranje Nassau Oord estate, the observers drop their boms on the German batteries. The fighter planes are also taking part in the bombing. The forest catches fire. The little squadron also fires at people. The German air defense returns fire but all eleven planes manage to return. On their way back they receive fire from a Dutch car convoy. The mission is accomplished and at 5.01 hours the biplanes have returned to Bergen.
Because of the severity of the situation at the Grebbeberg, mission command decides for a second bombardment by C-X's and fighter planes. The captain of StraVerVa asks for volunteers. All reservists report. As the command plane turns out to be out of order, Postma becomes commander. Marcel A-Tjak is his observer. They fly the 705. The formation, entirely consisting of reservists, leaves Bergen at 11.22 hours. In Buiksloot 5 fighter planes are joining in. The squadron sees Rhenen burn. They climb. A-Tjak uses the bomb aiming device, taps the shoulder of his pilot and drops his bombs on the German positions. Anti-aircraft fires back. Postma uses the machinegun. On the motorway Rhenen-Wageningen there are German troops. A-Tjak also takes pictures. The Dutch formation isn't seriously damaged and the pilots and their observers safely return in Bergen at 12.40 hours. The pictures taken by Marcel are developed in private house De Flierefluiter, but will not be used. Despite the succesfull missions the battle at the Grebbeberg was already decided in favor of the Germans.
After the war four members of the C-X-formation are decorated. Sibren Jan Postma and Dick Lewis receive the Bronzen Leeuw (Bronze Lion). Robert Hofstede and Marcel A-Tjak receive the Vliegerkruis (www.onderscheidingen.nl).
Communication with Mr. William L. Man A Hing, author of Sranan Roots - prof. ir. M.G. A-Tjak. (in: Wi Rutu, Tijdschrift Surinaamse Genealogie, dec. 2009)
Edouard L. Alvarez Grave Leo Alvarez in Eindhoven
(picture: www.prinsesirenebrigade.nl) (picture: www.ogs.nl)
Edouard Leo Alvarez/Alvares (Paramaribo, 11 June 1910) was one of the Surinam members of the Royal Dutch 'Princess Irene' Brigade. Name on war monument in Paramaribo. 'Niggers' (prime minister Gerbrandy) were initially refused in this unit with foreign, also South-African, volunteers. They were mainly trained in England (Congleton), but recruits were trained in Canada (Stratford) as well. A monument in the Stratford city park reminds us of that period. Richard van de Velde, author of the Prinses Irene Brigade website, reports: Edouard Alvarez lived in New York and belonged to the ones who were trained in Canada. On 19 August 1941 discipline and leadership were up to acceptable levels and prince Bernhard consented to the brigade bearing his youngest daughters name. They had to wait until the invasion to go into action. Eventually this happened in 1944, on the birthday of princess Irene, August 5. At last the brigade left to participate in the invasion of Normandy and to join the troops which would later cross the Dutch border. Later that year they fought near Tilburg. 'Corporal Leo Alvarez was, standing in the tower of his armored car, near Oirschot, hit in the head by grenade shrapnel and died on 27 October 1944' (Ad van den Oord, p. 76). Van de Velde wrote to our site Alvarez's car struck a landmine. He was the only crew member mortally wounded. On the website of the Princess Irene Brigade the episode Tilburg the fight on 25 October, which led to his death, is described:
"On Wednesday 25 October at about 7.00 hrs, the 46th Brigade of the 15th Scottish Division advanced from Oirschot on to the eastern side of Tilburg. In the main time Fighting Unit II of the Princess Irene Brigade tried to, from the south moving on to Hilvarenbeek, force a breakthrough at Broekhoven. This place served as a basis for the actual charge on Tilburg. (...) At the small river Oude Ley the Germans had set up an advance defense line and had good armor defence material at their disposal. Because of enemy fire and the marshy and very open terrain , the tanks couldn't advance. Scout cars were ordered back to the Recce headquarters, but their bearings were taken and they were swamped with German artillery fire. By this G. Dijkstra fell and many were wounded. At a certain moment infantry were also unable to advance and they dug in. After powerful artillery and mortar fire on the Germans, the advanced post was disabled, at the cost of another three dead (J. Buytelaar, E. Alvares and A. Berkley) and a great number of wounded."
His grave is at the local cemetery of Eindhoven (K.K. 5-185). His name being written as 'Alvares', his rank as 'conscript'- see www.ogs.nl.
Nurse Charlotte Petronella ('Nelly') Balinge, born in Paramaribo on 7 October 1896. Died in Amsterdam on 28 May 1995. Resistance Star East-Asia 1942-1945. Retired head-nurse of the Military Medical Service.
Harry Julius Anton van Bazel (Paramaribo, 4 February 1895), medical doctor in Bandoeng, reserve army surgeon. Aboard the Junyo Maru, name on war monument in Paramaribo.
From the occupied areas in East-Asia 68,000 prisoners of war and civilians in total were transported in ships to other parts of the Japanese Empirium. During the sea transports thousands lost their lives by lack of fresh air and food, and most of all by attacks from the Allies. The ships also transported weapons and were from the air unrecognizable as prisoner transports. An infamous transport was that of the Junyo Maru; all fifteen 'hell ships' had a name ending in Maru. On 16 September 1944 the Japanese ship Junyo Maru with over 6,000 people on board, left from Tandjung Priok, Java. 4,200 of them were Javanese forced laborers, 'romushas'. The others were Dutch (including Surinamese), British, Australian and American prisoners of war. They sailed with unknown destination through the Street of Soenda, along the west coast of Sumatra. On 18 September, near the harbour of Bengkulu, the ship was torpedoed by the British submarine HMS Trade Wind. It sank and only 880 people survived. It was to become the third largest shipping disaster ever (also see section Netherlands Indies). Among the dead were 9 Surinam military of the Royal Dutch Indies Army (KNIL).
Grave Willem Burgzorg in Menteng Pulo (picture: www.ogs.nl)
Willem M. Burgzorg. Name on war monument in Paramaribo. On the site of the War Graves Foundation is a person with the same family name but with a different first name: Jacques Burgzorg (Paramaribo, 7 April 1916). He was a corporal in the 18th squadron of the Navy Air Force, which operated during the war with Mitchell bombers from Australia. Burgzorg died on 19 November 1945, after the end of the war, in Djakarta/Batavia, during the Bersiap period (see section Netherlands Indies on this site). He is buried at the Dutch war cemetery Menteng Pulo. On the cross the name is written as Burgzong.
Eddy Herman Chateau (Paramaribo, 11 July 1915) served as a signaling mate in the 320th squadron at the Royal Navy Reserve (KMR) - dep. Navy Air Force Service. Name on war monument in Paramaribo. He was on patrol with two other Hudson's on 30 August 1941 in the 'Eslawreker' (Hudson V 9063) near the Norwegian coast. After the plain was damaged by German Bf 109-hunters it had to make an emergency landing at sea. Three of them found their seaman's grave, among them Eddy Chateau. The two survivors were made prisoners of war by the Germans. His cousin Max Chateau (27 December 1913) also had a seaman's grave. He was one of the two 4th engineers on the steamer Hobbema which was, on 3 November 1942, or in the early morning of 4 November, in convoy from the US in the Atlantic, torpedoed by the U-132 (see www.ogs.nl). Of the crew, 28 men died, among them nine Englishmen. Eddy was from his mother's side a cousin to Bert and Otto Huiswoud (see below).
Leo van Eick (picture: Roy van Eick)
Leo Ludwig van Eick (Paramaribo, 17 April 1919), soldier of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army. Aboard the Junyo Maru (see Van Bazel), name on war monument Paramaribo.
Dr. Bernard Jacob Emanuels, born in Paramaribo on 3 May 1898. Died in Amsterdam on 14 December 1978. Resistance Star East-Asia 1942-1945. Army surgeon in the KNIL.
Eelo Gitz, born in Paramaribo on 7 March 1922. Died on 11 April 2012.Officier in the Order of Oranje Nassau, Resistance Star East-Asia 1942-1945. Cadet-ensign of the Infantry of the KNIL. Also many other decorations.
Albertus Carolus Ferdinand Heidweiller (Paramaribo, 17 March 1896), soldier. Aboard the Junyo Maru (see Van Bazel), name on war monument Paramaribo. N.B.: his wife, Alice Emmelina Olivia Heidweiller-Cruden (Nickerie, 19 November 1896) died on 24 December 1944 in Bandoeng. Her presumed brother, C.C.U.S. Cruden, died in 1942 near Willemstad (see Sailors).
Henri A. van Helvert belonged, as did Leo Alvarez and Willy Wooter, to the Princess Irene Brigade. They landed in August 1944 in Normandy in a para commando group, which was part of the artillery and armored cars unit. Corporal Van Helvert was severely wounded at actions near Hedel and lost a leg.
Village centre Hedel, April 1945 (picture: www.prinsesirenebrigade.nl)
The site of the Princess Irene Brigade pictures the actions at Hedel. The Dutch unit at that time, led by colonel A.C. de Ruyter van Steveninck, was part of the 116th British Brigade, led by brigadier C. Philips. Unacquainted with the still shaky agreement of 22 April 1945 between Seyss Inquart and Montgomery about an armistice to enable food transports to the west, they decided to go for an 'Operation Orange'. The British Royal Marines and the Prince Irene Brigade would respectively cross the Meuse at Alem and Hedel. Together they would advance on the important bridge near Zaltbommel. The operation started on 22 April at 24.00 hrs. The first reconnaissance expedition of the Brigade had been held in the night of 19/20 April. The banks were mined. During the patrol on 21st of April, one of the men lost a leg. Op April 23 the attack on Hedel - all civilians having been evacuated - started. The Germans offered fierce resistance. Men fought from door to door. But the Brigade succeeded. The march through to the British failed though. The Brigade had to face the loss of three dead and seven wounded. Also the Royal Marines had losses and were unable to keep their bridgehead. The goal to reach Zaltbommel was given up. But they wanted to keep Hedel. On April 24 it was quiet. Both parties brought in reinforcements. For the Brigade these were still inexperienced recruits from Bergen op Zoom. But in the middle of the village a mine exploded under a Bren gun carrier, resulting in one dead and three wounded. On April 25 the Germans attacked and threatened to surround the command post with mainly recruits. Captain De Roos decided to relieve them. This succeeded, but resulting in another nine dead and thirty wounded. Van Helvert personally destroyed two German machine gun nests. Most men from his group lost their lives with the attack on a third one, he himself lost a leg. The Brigade wanted to continue fighting, but at 12.00 hrs they were ordered to retreat to the other side of the Meuse.
It turned out to be that the food transports to the starving west of Holland was endangered by Operation Orange. Montgomery already had the Royal Marines retreated on 24 and 25 April, and now also ordered the retreat of the Princess Irene Brigade. This was the last, and rather tragic, deployment of the Brigade during the war.
Entry of the Princess Irene Brigade in Utrecht, with a Surinam soldier on the box
Henri van Helvert was decorated with the Bronze Lion by prince Berhard, during the farewell parade on 13 July 1945 in the Clingendael barracks in The Hague. This applied to 'acts of great bravery, leadership and loyalty'. His decoration, one of the five Lions, was the same as for the colonel of the Brigade. The Brigade as such was rewarded the Military Willems Order. Men who served the Irene Brigade were permitted to wear an orange-blue flute cord on their uniform ('invasion cord').
Mozes Monasch Hilfman, born on 12 December 1903 in Paramaribo. Died in Amstelveen on 3 April 1988. Resistance Star East-Asia 1942-1945, Officers-cross XV. Directing army surgeon second class in the KNIL.
Nico ('John') van der Hoogte, born in Paramaribo on 16 September 1916. Died in Antjol (Java) on 7 April 1942. Resistance Star East-Asia 1942-1945. Employee at the Netherlands-Indies Radio Broadcasting Company.
Egbert ('Bert') Julius Huiswoud (Paramaribo, 17 March 1890), sergeant Fourier. Aboard the Junyo Maru (see Van Bazel), name on war monument Paramaribo. He was a brother of Otto Huiswoud, a Surinam revolutionary. They were cousins of Eddy Chateau, whose mother was a Huiswoud (see above).
Henri Marinus Juta, born in Paramaribo on 10 October 1912. Died in 1984. Pilots-cross. Officer-sea observer third class of the Royal Marine Reserve. Many other decorations.
Willem Meijer (Paramaribo, 9 August 1899), ls. soldier. Aboard the Junyo Maru (see Van Bazel), name on war monument Paramaribo.
Johan Frits Netto (Paramaribo, 1 December 1895), sergeant. Aboard the Junyo Maru (see Van Bazel), name on war monument Paramaribo.
Desiré Guillaume del Prado (Paramaribo, 22 May 1907), ls. soldier. Aboard the Junyo Maru (see Van Bazel), name on war monument Paramaribo.
Gerlof Berthy Salm, born in Paramaribo on 11 September 1896. Many decorations including the War Remembrance Cross 3.
Willem Adolf Spreeuw (Paramaribo, 18 August 1888), under-lieutenant. Aboard the Junyo Maru (see Van Bazel), name on war monument Paramaribo. N.B.: a presumed relative, Arie Hendrik Willem Spreeuw (Paramaribo, 25 December 1914), died in Tjimahi, Indonesia, on 15 July 1947.
René Henri Jules de Vries, born in Paramaribo on 5 August 1913. Died at the roadstead of the oil port of Balikpapan, aboard the H.MS. Flying Boat 'X 14' (Dornier Do 24K), on 22 January 1942. De Vries was fourth helmsman for the Merchant Marine, with the Royal Packet Company (KPM) and lieutenant at sea 2nd class of the Royal Marine Reserve (KMR). From 22 January onwards Dutch and American troops were patrolling to beat off the Japanese attacks on the oilfields of Balikpapan. De Vries probably was overtired. Pilot-cross with honorable mention, later on replaced by the Bronze Lion. (also see www.ogs.nl - only mentions Pilot-cross). Name not on war monument in Paramaribo.
Anton Christiaan Johannes George Vrieze (Paramaribo, 15 February 1888), was a infantry sergeant in the KNIL. As a prisoner of war he was put to work by the Japanese occupier at the notorious Burma Railway. He died on 19 October 1943 in Chungkai, nowadays Thailand, and was buried there on the War cemetery (9A8). Name on war monument in Paramaribo, incorrectly spelled as W.A. Vrieze and sailor.
W.M. Wesenhagen (picture: M. Nederlof)
Wesenhagen, Wilhelm Martin, born in Paramaribo on 21 January 1893. Died in The Hague on 10 May 1964. Resistance Star East-Asia 1942-1945. Reserve army surgeon first class.
W.M. Wesenhagen's father was a general practitioner in Paramaribo. Wilhelm Martin studied medicine in Utrecht and then went to the Netherlands-Indies. His second wife was Johanna Lamaker and together they had two daughters. At the outbreak of the war he was a reserve army surgeon first class. After capitulation of the KNIL he tried to maintain his practice as a garrison doctor for as long as possible. In July 1943 after some wandering he ended up in barrack 18 of the Baros camp at Tjimahi (ed: also see Verhalen (Stories) - Brugmans). He came in charge of the barracks where dysentery patients were housed. He managed to smuggle in medicines for them, assisted prisoner who were about to receive a physical punishment (and sometimes managed to prevent these punishments by power of persuasion) and smuggled messages from outside about the development of the war inside. In January 1945 he was caught and brought to the Kempeitai (Japanese military police, similar to the SS) on the charges of espionage. After being 'interviewed' under ill-treatments he was sentenced by the Military Court Martial at Batavia to 3 years imprisonment and was put to jail in the Tjipinang-prison at Batavia. Here he went on the same way as in the Baros camp. End July 1945 he was transported to the Soekamiskin prison at Bandoeng.
At KB nr.46 of 23 May 1950 he was awarded the Resistance Star East-Asia 1942-1945. The motivations were: "Has distinguished himself by strength of mind, steadfastness and public spirit in a remarkable manner during the period of Japanese occupation."
About 1949, when it was clear Indonesia was going to be independent, he went to The Hague. Especially old-Indies veterans in The Hague were his patients, among them people he managed to keep alive during his time in the camp. He died on 10 May 1964 in The Hague.
With thanks to Mrs. Marjo Nederlof (granddaughter).
Hendrik Jan Wiers (Paramaribo, 9 April 1894), medical doctor in Bandoeng, army surgeon 1st cl. (KNIL). Aboard the Junyo Maru (see Van Bazel), name on war monument Paramaribo.
Willy Wooter (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org)
Willy Wooter, together with Leo Alvarez and Henri van Helvert, belonged to the Princess Irene Brigade, which was landed in August 1944 in Normandy. They were part of a para command group, attached to the artillery and armored cars unit. Between late September and early October 1944, the Brigade was in an area south of Nijmegen. They were to guard bridges across the Meuse and, from 6 October, from Horssen, bridges across the Meuse-Waal Channel at Heumen (Malden) and Neerbosch (Nijmegen). At one of these bridges Willy Wooter was grazed by a bullet in his neck. (see also Henri van Helvert)
Database John T.S. Brouwer de Koning
A group of marines from Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands-Indies
(With thanks to Paul Koulen)
From the Dutch marines (Suriname 9, the Netherlands Antilles 1 and the Netherlands Indies 1) who together were on their way to the invasion area of North-West Europe and who participated in de liberation of the South-Netherlands Paul Koulen, son of Frank Koulen, traced a lot of information. From this the following paragraph has been put together. His research is still running. Any additions will be welcomed.
US Department of Labor, Immigration en Naturalisation Service, List of alien passengers ss Cottica in New York, 14-7-1944. Coll. Paul Koulen
In the third volume of the standard work 'De Koninklijke Marine in de Tweede Wereldoorlog’ (The Royal Navy in the Second World War' has an interesting message with the year 1944. ‘4 July a transport of 3 officers, 4 non-commissioned officers and 11 men van Curaçao to New York (by s.s. Cottica) with different destinations (including 10 West-Indies marines for the U.K.).’(note 1).
So, on 4 July 1944 ten marines from Suriname and the Antilles are on their way from Curaçao to England. Who are they? And how was their voyage?
S.S. Cottica (KNSM), Coll. Kustvaartforum.com
The first part of the voyage is on board of the s.s. Cottica (1927), a ship of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Stoomboot-Maatschappij (KNSM), named after the Surinam Cottica-river.
As usual in these circumstances the ss Cottica is part of a convoy. Even in this time of war German submarines are still active. The captain links up with a convoy of 12 mostly US ships which leave Trinidad on 2 July, via Aruba for Guantanamo op Cuba and will sail close to Curaçao. Also two American cargo ships link up from Curaçao. From Aruba the US tanker Gulf Hawk joins the group. On 7 July the s.s. Cottica sails from Guantanamo Bay to New York in an even more multinational convoy of 12 merchant ships (note 2)
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) checks out the militairy men on 14 July by extensive forms. This produces a lot of information. The INS counts in the second class a 'fireman’ van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Marine (RNN), ten members of the Netherlands Marines Corps and one ‘gunner’ of the KNSM. Nine marines are Surinamese, one Antillian and one from the Netherlands Indies. The nine marines are considered to be of the ‘African’ and the ‘fireman’ of the ‘East-Indian' race or people’. From the form it is also clear that the marines are both fluent in Dutch as in the English.
S.S. Cottica, music salon 1st class. Coll. www.geheugenvannederland.nl
First and second class
Paul Koulen, the researcher who collected the information in this paragraph, discoverd that the eleven coloured military men all sailed in ‘Second Cabin’. Corporal Marinus van Niel, non-commissioned officer, but ‘fair complexian’, with ‘black hair’ and ‘black eyes’, is not allowed to travel first class, because he is not a Dutch, but colonial citizen. KNSM- gunner Ruurd Kamstra, of the Dutch ‘people or race’ and with ‘blond hair’ and ‘blue eyes’, does not have a rank and also stays in a 'second cabin’. His colleague Jacob Wakker, 2nd motorist of the KNSM, was assigned a 'First Cabin’.
Also seven white officers and non-commissioned officers stayed there; two of them are ground force officers (‘RNA’). The Brittish Navy commander John A. Wall, who went on board in Curaçao with his wife Marjorie, was also in the same section and acted as commanding officer.
Just like the two Dutch lieutenants Cornelis Glavimans en Adriaan van Oss, and one non-commissioned officer of the land forces Cornelis de Gast, the marines from the colonies receive in New York a transit visa for the U.K. It is not known which ship brought them there on the 12th of August.
In England Frank Koulen, and probably also his fellow marines, are stationed aboard the Marine Depot ship ‘Oranje Nassau’ and after that on the Hr. Ms. ‘Jacob van Heemskerck’. From August 1941 until 1945 the ‘Oranje Nassau’ is in use as a boarding facility and she is moored at Holyhead in the Nort-West of Wales. On 14 June 1944 the Jacob van Heemskerck arrives in Gladstone Docks of the Cammel Laird shipyard in Liverpool and stays there for a year for repairs. It lies 150 kilometers from Holyhead. Both ships therefore are not considered as a transport possibility for the marines from the U.S. to England or from there to Boulogne-sur-Mer.
Battle of the Scheldt Mouth
One can assume the entire group of marines were transported to Boulogne end September-early October, to take part in the operations to liberate The Netherlands. From one of them, Frank Koulen, it is known that he is officially stationed on 20 October at the marine base Naval Party 3004 in Terneuzen. From here he takes part in operations to secure a safe passage on the Scheldt to Antwerp for the allied transports (2 October-8 November 1944). Also the surveillance of this area until the end of the war will have been one of their tasks.
Football team of marines in England or Terneuzen (1944) Coll. www.marinematen.nl
Who are they?
1. Hedwig Emmie Deserée Dissels
(Paramaribo, 8 Dec. 1921 – Amersfoort 18 Febr. 2005)
Swearing in of Hedwig E.D. Dissels (left) as a Lieutenant (1-1-1971). collectie www.marinedigitaal.nl
Hedwig Dissels is born in the capital of Suriname as son of Philippus William Dissels (1877) and Rosalina Jacquelina Creebsburg. He attends school in Paramaribo and receives a diploma, at that time an extraordinary occurance for colonial citizens. He is not able to find a job in Suriname so therefore he moves to the Netherlands Antilles. In 1940 he joins the Marine Corps in Curaçao. In 1944, like the others of the ‘Cottica group’ he is deployed in Zeeuws-Flanders.
Dissels has an active militairy career and is sent three times to Curaçao. In Amsterdam on 18 February 1953 he marries Jantina Westerbeek (note 9). The couple have two children. When the frigate M. van Speyck in 1958 calls in at his homeland, he is for the first time back since 1940, as a sergeant of the marines. In 1962 Dissels is involved in the hostilities preceding the devolution of New Guinee to Indonesia. In 1971 he is, together with mr Koops, sworn is as a lieutenant 2nd klasse (LTZVK) – see picture.
Dissels retires at the age of 53. The last years of his life he lives in Maarn. Thirty years later, on 18 February 2005, he dies in Amersfoort. Hedwig Dissels received the Ridder van Oranje Nassau decoration.
2. August Johan Kenson
(Paramaribo, 16 October 1923 – Terneuzen, 13 May 2010)
Changing of the guard at Waterfort, 4th from the left corp. Kenson (1948). Maritiemdigitaal.nl
August is born on 16 October 1923 in Paramaribo. He is the son of Theodorus Albertus Jacques Kenson (Paramaribo, 27 November 1883) and Johanna Cornelia Henar (Paramaribo, 12 August 1891). Also he probably went to Curaçao for a job and is registered with the Marine Corps. In October 1944, just like the marines on the ss Cottica Chris, August ends up via the US, England and Boulogne-sur-Mer in Terneuzen, where he is deployed in the Battle of the Scheldt Mouth. In 1948 Kenson is back in Curaçao where he serves as a corporal at the Waterfort Barracks (see picture). Probably he will also have been sent to Indonesia and it is sure he served in New-Guinee.
In 1956 August Kenson marries in Hilversum with Geertruida ten Haken. The couple has one son. Due to an injurie from the war he early retires from service. After that he works as a civillian for the Ministry of Defence. From 1978 the family lives in Goes. When his wife dies on 30 May 1990 August Kenson moves back to Terneuzen. There he dies on 13 May 2010 at the age of 87.
3. Franklin (‘Frank’) Alwin Koulen
Nieuw Nickerie, 2 July 1922 - Terneuzen, 15 September 1985
Frank Koulen (1950?). Coll. Paul Koulen
Franklin Alwin Koulen is born in the capital of the district Nieuw-Nickerie, at the border of Suriname and British Guiana, as son of Wilhelmina Koulen (1903) and Reinier Meerzorg (1899). The couple is not married. When Wilhelmina Koulen dies in 1934, her twelve year old son Frank moves to the orphanage ‘Bonifaas’ of the Fraters van Tilburg in Paramaribo. During that time it is just in the state of being reformed into a boarding school with the name St. Joseph (note 5). Soon his musical talents become evident. He plays the trumpet in the home orchestra, 'De Trekkers'. Frank will stay faithful to his trumpet.
Home orchestra ‘De Trekkers’ of the boys orphanage St. Joseph, Paramaribo (around 1935). Frank Koulen is second on the left. Coll. Paul Koulen
In 1940 Frank Koulen moves to Curaçao where he works for the Curaçaoen Handelsmaatschappij and the Isla refinery of Shell. From 1 October he is a gunner at the training ship Van Kinsbergen (note 6). The cannon boat was from 30 July for a short time in Paramaribo. Colonial subjects are not full citizens and therefore compulsory service. But they can be volunteers in service. Af first Hr. Ms. Van Kinsbergen is involved in the allied task to take control in the Carribean over enemy ships; German, Italian, French, Danish and others. In July-August 1941 the ship is for maintenance in a dry-dock in Liverpool. The command changes and 60 marines from the Prinses Irene Brigade come aboard. During the first week of October the ship is in Paramaribo. After return in Willemstad the Van Kinsbergen is mostly involved in escorting the convoys between Trinidad, Venezuela and Florida. After the attack at the oil tanks in Curaçao on 19 April 1942 by the German U-130 she also joins the hunt for this submarine - see also Van Niel. During the autumn of 1942 the ship is fitted in Norfolk, Virginia (USA), with equipment for detecting and fighting submarines. Now her main task is cooperating in anti-submarine operations and rescueing crews.
Hr. Ms. Van Kinsbergen in the Annabaai at Curaçao. Source: www.marinematen.com
On 1 March 1943 Frank Koulen signs a six year contract with the Marine Corps Mariniers. After a period with the Dutch troops in succesively ex country house Habaai, fort Waterfort and the marine barracks Parera, he leaves on 4 July 1944 with a group of marines on the ss Cottica via New York for England. Already hundreds of Dutch marines are gathered there from all over the world: Curaçao, Aruba, Suriname, England and the sailing navy (note 7). Frank Koulen arrives on 12 August 1944 in England aan.
There he is promoted to marine 2nd class. For a short period of time he is a crew member of the depot ship Oranje Nassau (in Holyhead North-Wales) and of the Hr. Ms. Jacob van Heemskerck, which will stay in Liverpool for repairs until the end of the war. In September-October 1944 he lands with his unit in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. He is sent to the ‘Battle of the Scheldt Mouth’ (2 October-8 November 1944). On 10 October he officially is put under command of the Commander of the See Forces in The Netherlands. In Terneuzen a court building, shortly before that still the 'Ortskommandantur', is transformed into a naval basis, under the name of Naval Party 3004. There he stationed on 20 October. Frank stays in Terneuzen. He will have witnessed the visit of Queen Wilhelmina on 14 March 1945. It is her second day in the liberated Netherlands.
Queen Wilhelmina inspects the guard in Terneuzen (14-3-1945). Coll. www.marinematen.com
Half a year later, on 1 October 1945 Frank is promoted to marine 1st class. From January 1946 until September 1946 he is in Tilburg where he, initially temporary, is promoted to the rank of corporal, after which he serves in Amsterdam, Bergen op Zoom and Volkel. On 11 January 1947 he marries in Terneuzen to Vera van den Bruele (1921). The couple have seven children.
On 28 Augustus 1947, after a three day stay in Tilburg, Koulen is aboard the Kota Inten’, a cargo ship which during the war was transformed into a transport ship for troops. Against his wil he is sent to Indonesia. He is attached to the 'Marines Brigade’. This was a separate unit within the Marine Corps which was specifically founded in 1944 to free the Netherlands-Indies from the Japanese occupation. In 1944 about 90 Surinamese and Antillian Marines were recruted as volunteers and sent for their traing to camp Lejeune in North Carolina (VS) gestuurd. From the USA they are immediately sent to Australia and from there on to the Netherlands-Indies. England and Australia would slow down the deployment of the Brigade in Indonesia, because they were convinced it would lead to complications, after the declaration of independence by Soekarno on 17 August 1945.
Marines Brigade in the Netherlands Indies (1947-1950). Circle arond B.J. Jansen. www.verouden.pijnackerweb.nl
Frank Koulen was a ardent anti-colonialist and refused to fight in Indonesia. Instead of fighting, he worked in a cantine of the marines, which later became convenient for his catering career in the Netherlands. His temporary rank as a sergeant, from 1 September 1948, is not continued but even withdrawn because of his refusal to join the fight in Indonesia. Like many Surinamese military Koulen was convinced Soekarno and Indonesia had the perfect right to demand self-determination. This was layed down in the declaration of intent of the United Nations and was also promised by Queen Wilhelmina, in her radio speech on 7 December 1942 about the Atlantic Charter. In it she promised that after the war the arrangement of the Kingdom will be made on a basis of equality. In May 1949 Frank Koulen returns with the troops ship ‘De Groote Beer’ to the Netherlands. There he arrives on 7 Juni.
Amsterdam, 24-10-1949. Disembarkation De Groote Beer. Picture: Fokke de Haan (ANP), www.nuentoen.nl
According to his service records Franklin Alwin Koulen serves in Rotterdam, with the Marine Depot, and on Hr Ms ‘Veere’ – though this minesweeper would be built only in 1956. Maybe the marine airbase ‘Veere’ near Flushing is ment. On the ‘Veere’ he is demoted to corporal, his rank as a sergeant withdrawn. On 3 November 1949 he receives the Oorlogsherinneringskruis (War Remembrance Cross) with buckle for special actions within the force, Krijg te land 1940-1945 (Ground Force).
On his request Frank is honourably dismissed from duty on 1 July 1950. Seven years and four months after he started service. After parting from the marines Frank moves to Terneuzen.
Frank Koulen in 1975. Coll. Paul Koulen
Both his wife and he work in the wool and stockings family business in the Noordstraat. In 1957 Frank opens at the other side of the street a lunchroom, ‘Porgy & Bess’. Soon this grows to be a music and jazz club, which organises Streetparades en the yearly Scheldt Jazz Festival. Big names like Chet Baker and Art Blakey appear on stage. In 1981, for the first time in 41 years, Frank visits Suriname for a holiday, together with his daughter. During that trip he also visits Barbados and Grenada, where a son works. On 15 September 1985 Frank dies, after a short illness. The jazz club is continued by enthousiastic visitors (see www.porgyenbess.eu).
4. André Walter Kroes
(Paramaribo, 30 Sept. 1920 – Goirle, 11 Nov. 2009)
André Kroes is a son of John Karel Hendrik Kroes and Viola Desiré Mathilde Dompig. During the thirties he moves to Curaçao and works for the Shell refinery. Then he joins the Marine Corps. In October 1944 together with his fellow marines he is in Terneuzen. André is transferred to Tilburg. There he meets his future wife Maria van Bladel (1930) who is ten years younger.
Also Kroes is sent under protest to Indonesia and he will stay there for two years and nine months. On 29 March 1949 during his stay in Indonesia, he marries Maria van Bladel by proxy. Frank Koulen is a witness. After return to The Netherlands the marriage is celebrated in church. Again Frank Koulen, also back from Indonesia, is witness. Just like Koulen Kroes was also troubled with his forced deployment in Indonesia and shortly after his return he leaves the Marine Corps. He takes up his old profession as a metal worker and specializes in fine metal. Kroes has the great privilege to return on holidays to Suriname in the seventies and to see his parents again after 35 years of separation.
He will always stay in Tilburg. The couple have three children. André Kroes dies on 11 November 2009 in Goirle at the age of 89.
5. Frans Henri (‘Boy’) Meeng
(Linggapura, Netherlands Indies, 7 Dec. 1917-San Mateo, Cal. USA, 10 May 1962)
Frans is born in Linggapura on middle-Java, in the former Netherlands Indies. His father is the Indies-Dutch Henri Meeng, born in Tangjung Pinang (14 November 1898). This harbour town is far from Java, on the Riau archipelago, below Singapore. Linggapura belongs to the Brebes District (middle-Java). During the fourties Henri sr. works in a sugar factory in this district, in Banjaratma. His mother's name is Roepiati. She is born on 25 Januari 1896 in Dongbang. A town with that name is in Thailand, but this could also be a mistake in writing. Roepiati dies on 2 November 1960 in Zwolle. Her husband already died earlier, in 1951 in Jakarta.
It is know that ‘Boy’ Meeng attends a Technische School for five years, probably in middle-Java. In 1941 it is also war in the Netherlands Indies. When the Japanese army destroys the American naval base Pearl Harbor (Hawaii) on 7 December 1941 and also simultaneously lands in Thailand and on the Malay Peninsula, the Netherlands declare war to Japan and announce a total mobilization. On 1 January 1942 Frans has to report in Surabaya. As a conscript-stoker 3d class (‘milicien’) he is in service with the Dutch Navy. He probably will have been stationed at the Navy Base. After the disastrous battle in the Sea of Java (27 February) he belongs to the technicians being evacuated from Java. There is no time to loose. On 2 March he leaves with the m.s. Sloterdijk from the at that time still unoccupied harbour of Tjilatjap. About two week later, despite heavy Japanese attacks on fleeing Dutch ships, Melbourne in Australia is reached. From there Frans travels via Cape Town to New York aboard the passenger giant Queen Elisabeth which has been converted by the British into a troops ship. During this passage he is assigned to the anti-aircraft guns. On 19 May the ship arrives in New York. From there he travels to New Orleans. Now Meeng is assigned to a ‘Higgins’ destroyer (H-7), which is on 26 August together with four other destroyers in Curaçao. There he is stationed on the Parera naval base. There he works as a stoker and later as a stoker-oilman with the Destroyer Service.
The H-7 and H-8 in New Orleans before leaving for Curaçao. Source: www.maritiemdigitaal.nl
When Frans Meeng on 4 July 1944 embarks in Willemstad for the voyage to England and the European war zone he is a ‘stoker’ or ‘fireman’ 1st class with the Royal Navy. Immediately after arrival in England the Naval Head Quarters in London assign him to the former minelayer Hr. Ms. Medusa. At that time the ship serves as a auxiliary ship to the Depot ship Hr. Ms. Stuyvesant in the small harbour of Holyhead (Wales). There it will stay probably until the end of Augustus 1945. On 2 September Frans is sent into the next war, against the Indonesian struggle for independence. With the minelayer Hr. Ms. Willem van der Zaan he sails from Rotterdam to the Netherlands-Indies. Early April 1946 he is assigned to the cruiser Hr. Ms. Jacob van Heemskerck and about two months later to the Hr. Ms. Jan van Brakel. This is the Mines Services mother ship. His demobilization is on 1 March 1948 in the Netherlands Indies (Batavia). On 12 July 1947, for his role during the Second World War, he receives the War Remembrance Cross with buckle for ‘Krijg ter Zee 1940-1944’ (War at Sea).
In 1949 Frans Meeng is still in Surabaya, because on 9 March he marries the 22 year old Maud Joosten (Surabaya, 11 Jan. 1927). Shortly after the couple moves to The Netherlands and lives for some time in Drunen and Amstelveen.
After his term of service he starts working for the technical department of the KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines). On 14 Januari 1962 the couple emigraties to San Mateo, a suburb of San Francisco, USA. For months later, at the age of 44, Frans Meeng dies. He leaves no children behind. After his death Maud Meeng-Joosten returns to the Netherlands where she lives in The Hague.
6. Wulferd Harry van Meerveld
(Paramaribo, 26 Dec. 1919 – Barneveld, 21 Nov. 2003)
Wulferd is born as son of Antoinette Dolstra (1896-1967) and Otto van Meerveld (1889-1933). In October also he ends up via New York, England and France in Zeeuws-Flandes, where he takes part in the Battle of the Scheldt Mouth.
On 11 October 1945 he marries in Terneuzen with Wilhelmina Jansen from Axel. The marriage is dissolved in 1948. In 1956 he marries in Leiden with Catharina Nieuwenhuisen (1920). She dies 1991. From both marriages there are no children. Little is know about Wulferd's career. He dies on 21 November 2003 in Barneveld.
7. Christiaan (‘Chris’) Rijnhard Menig
(Plantation Topibo, Upper Para, 6 Jan. 1917 – Middelburg, 28 April 2009)
Chris is born on plantation Topibo, house number 5, as son of Lucretia Bertholina Menig (18 Nov. 1890). The plantation is at the upper course of the Para-creek, about 35 km south of Paramaribo. According to the census in 1921 Lucretia is the second child in a family with two more daughters and three sons. Her parents are Markus Hendrik Menig (Plantation Overtoom, 1856) and Anna Klaartje Napoleon (Plantation the Drie Gebroeders (Three Brethren), 1865). Christiaan is not on the lists (note 8).
When he is of school age, he starts living with an aunt in Paramaribo so he can attend school, which is not possible in Topibo. Like many job-seekers from Suriname he probably moves to Curaçao during the thirties of the last century. Chris becomes a security guard with the Shell refinery. After that he signs up as a volunteer for the Marine Corps.
In October 1944, just like the other passengers of the ss Cottica, Chris Menig ends up via the US, England and Boulogne-sur-Mer in Terneuzen. There he takes part in the Battle of the Scheldt Mouth. On 13 March 1946 Chris marries the then 21-year old Pieternella (‘Nelly’) Schalk from Terneuzen. The couple have five children. Chris Menig forced to take part in the 'policing actions' in Indonesia, which troubled him for the rest of his life. Until his retirement though, he stayed a marine with the rank of sergeant-major. Chris dies on 28 April 2009 at the age of 92 in Middelburg. Nelly dies on 6 August 2010.
8. Marinus van Niel
(Peperpot, 21 June 1910 – Rotterdam, 29 Maart 1991)
Marinus is born in Peperpot as son of Friderich Charles André van Niel and Bok Midem. The plantation Peperpot, south of Meerzorg and opposite of Paramaribo, is one of the oldest plantations in the country. At that time Friderich van Niel, in 1903 supervisor of the Cultuurtuin in Paramaribo, and special agent of police in the nearby neighbourhood of Wolffenbuttel, is a supervisor of the fields (note 3). His father therefore had a executive position.
In 1937 Marinus is already in The Netherlands where he will have met his Rotterdam bride-to-be. From September 1939 he is in Curaçao. There, in August 1940 he is as Marine 1st class with the land detachment of the Navy, which controls the coastal battery. Two months earlier he marries, probably by proxy. His wife is the eleven years younger Johanna Maria Zaanen (1921) from Rotterdam. The couple have two daughters and a son.
. De Bullenbaai met de installaties van de Curacao Oil Terminal. Source: www.curacao-encyclopedie.com
In the early morning of 19 April 1942 the German submarine U-130 under the command of Captain Lieutenant-At-Sea Ernst Kals, takes the tanks of the refinary at Bullenbaai under fire. Van Niel, as 31-year old commander of the gunners at the bay, does not wait for instructions and immediately returns fire. This makes Kals to quickly leave the waters around Curaçao. The firing of the U-130 causes no serious damage to the tanks or fire, which could have led to a disaster and Van Niel instantly is promoted to Corporal of the Marines. After an incident the promotion is said to have been withdrawn.
On 4 July 1944, still as a corporal and as commander of seven Surinam and one Antillian marines, they are aboard the ss Cottica. Though being a non-commissioned officer, he travels with them second class. A striking example of the mentality is the nickname that was given to him by white officers at that time because of his dark complexion: ‘Snow White’ (note 4).
In September-October 1944, just like other marines of the Cottica van lands in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, and is deployed in Zeeuws Vlaanderen in the Battle of the Scheldt Mouth. After the war he is in service at the Marine barrack in Bergen op Zoom, Rotterdam, Uden, Katwijk and Doorn. Marinus stays a marine until his retirement. He dies in Rotterdam on 29 March 1991.
9. Humphrey Michael Ferdinand Renar
(Paramaribo ca. 1923 – 22 Jan. 2008)
Humphrey is born in Paramaribo around 1923. He probably joined the Marine Corps in Curaçao and like other Surinamese marines from there ends up with the ss Cottica via the US, England and France in Terneuzen. It is likely he there married Elisabeth Maria Johanna de Fouw (1920) from Terneuzen. He also must have stayed for some time in Amsterdam. Humphrey Renar dies on 22 January 2008 in Paramaribo.
10. George Albert Donald Wijngaarde
(Paramaribo, 27 febr. 1923 – Vlaardingen, 2005)
Marriage photograph of George Wijngaarde and Pieternella van Boven (1945). Coll. Mariniersmuseum (marinedigitaal.nl)
George in the capital of Suriname as son of Betsy Pauline Wijngaarde. Like his fellow marines of the ss Cottica he arrives in September-October 1944 in Boulogne-sur-Mer and is from Terneuzen involved in the battle of the Scheldt Mouth. In Terneuzen in December 1945 he marries Pieternella van Boven (1926). They have two sons and two daughters.
George Wijngaarde (l) alignes the unit at the marines barracks in Bergen op Zoom (1945) Coll. Mariniersmuseum (marinedigitaal.nl)
Wijngaarde stays in The Netherlands and works as a corporal among other places at the marine barracks in Bergen op Zoom (1945, see picture). He is brought into action in the 'policing actions' in Indonesia. He receives his Dutch passport on 3 May 1947 in Surabaya, as a corporal. In the period 1958-1962 he participates in the fightings in New Guinee. George Wijngaarde stays with the corp until his retirement.
Adjutant of the Marines George Wijngaarde at Bureau Oostplein in Rotterdam (1970). Coll. Marinemuseum marinedigitaal.nl
Wijngaarde eventually becomes an adjutant. He dies in 2005 in Vlaardingen.
11. Cornelis Macarius [Cornelio Macario] de Windt
As only Antillian and being the youngest in the ss Cottica group of marines, Cornelio travels with hiw fellow marines via New York, England and Boulogne-sur-Mer to Terneuzen. Only little is known from his later career. He probably went back to Curaçao to join the police. He might be the same person as Cornelio Macario de Windt, mentioned in the book by Liesbeth van der Horst, Oorlog in de West - Verloren (War in the West - Lost, 2004, p. 64).
N.B. Hennij Adolf Arlaud
(17 February 1919- 30 August 2000)
This lieutenant with the Marines is on a picture from 1970, together with four other persons from Surinamese or Antillian descent who serve or served in the Royal Navy. Two of them were on the ss Cottica; H.E.D. Dissels and G.A.D. Wijngaarde.
Hennij Arlaud is a son of Nicolaas Jean Arlaud (Boven Commewijne, 15 Dec. 1871) and Catharina Leentje Doornkamp (Boven Commewijne, 19 Nov. 1881)(note 10). In 1910 N.J. Arlaud was the owner of plantation Hazard at the upper stream of the Commewijne river. Today the national park Copi lies south of it. In the time of slavery, during the 19th century, the Doornkamp family lived on this plantation. Hennij was married to Johanna Beatrice Rozenblad (Paramaribo, 1920). Arlaud dies in Voorschoten in 2000.
From left to right: lieutenant 2nd class Hennij Adolf Arlaud, a civillian, lieutenant 2nd class Hedwig E.D. Dissels, a civillian, adjutant George A.D. Wijngaarde. Collection www.marinedigitaal.nl
1. De Koninklijke Marine in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, deel III: De strijd in de Caraïbische wateren, hfdst.7, p.20. The Hague, Bureau Maritieme Historie, 1955 (short: Marinemonografie Curaçao en Suriname)
2. See http://www.convoyweb.org
3. See De Almanak voor Suriname 1904, 1915 en 1916 on www.dbnl.org and 'Onze West' (22 Aug. 1903) in: Nieuwsblad Uit en Voor Suriname, 22.214.171.124/cgi-bin/imageserver/imageserver.pl
4. Suggested by C.J. van Asbeck, at the time the 'eldest officer present' in Curaçao, before the Governemental Commission of Enquiry 1940-1945 (1956)
6. www.go2war2.nl; www.netherlandsnavy.nl
8. http://www.pinasroots.nl/plantages/plantage topibo - bewoners 1921.html 9. Was there on 22 May 1950 an earlier marriage, with Mavis Irene Kross? www.kross.biz/page4.php
10. Adresboek Suriname 1910 see www.dbnl.org; about Doornkamp see www.docstoc.com
Fallen in the Dutch Merchant Navy
(names on plaque of war monument in Paramaribo)
KNSM monument in Amsterdam (picture: www.geocities.com)
At the KNSM monument in Amsterdam, KNSM-lane 311, at the entrance to the Kompaszaal, are 247 names. From the 29 Surinam names on the plaque in Paramaribo, 25 are also on this monument.
'Already in the thirties the Dutch government had ordered by law that in case of war the Dutch ship holds could be claimed. The Shipping, a commission from the government in London, had the supervision on routes and cargoes. Thus Gerbrand Broeder as a member of the merchant navy commuted for years between Great Britain and Africa; munitions on the way there and palm oil on the way back. In total the allied had 600 sea ships and 200 coasters at their disposal, sailing under Dutch flag. Over 18,000 crew were on these ships; 12,000 of them Dutch.
Fallen Surinam sailors Dutch Marine navy (picture: Volkert Laurens Laan).
The losses were considerable. Almost half of the number of ships was lost and over 3,000 persons on board lost their lives.' (Newspaper De Volkskrant, Bart Jungmann, 3 May 2006).
K.W.L. Bezemer, author of a standard work on the merchant navy in WWII, writes 387 Dutch ships were lost, during which almost 2,100 crew died. The part of the Dutch merchant navy in supplying Britain and the many fronts was very important (History of the Dutch merchant navy during the Second World War, Agon 1990 - see www.dynamicdeezign.be/forum).
A.J.H. van Askel(war monument Paramaribo: Askel, KNSM monument: Aksel)
ss Simon Bolivar (Source: wrecksite.eu)
Alfred Johan Hendrik van Aksel (Paramaribo, 26 October 1903) was sailor on the ss Simon Bolivar (1927, KNSM). He died on 18 November 1939 aboard this passenger ship or drowned in the English Channel. The luxury ocean steamer, sailing with 400 people of whom 129 were crew, was on it's way from Amsterdam to Paramaribo.
The ship, following a safe route, ran near Harwich into two sea mines. Since 1 September Great Britain was at war with Germany and the mines were led by the Germans in the Thames Mouth. By the explosions, ten minutes apart, many people died straight away, including captain H. Voorspuiy. Also rescue vessels en sos equipment were out of order. Shortly after the explosions the ship sank. 84 people died, or maybe even 102 (according to wrecksite.eu). Among them there were 24 children. From the crew at least 22 people died, among them Alfred van Aksel (36). H.M. Mecidi was the second Surinamese victim (see below). The disaster made a big impression in the neutral home country..
www.ogs.nl (van Aksel)
A. Alie (not on KNSM-monument)
ss Van Riebeeck (Bron: www.maritiemdigitaal.nl)
Little is known about mr. A. Alie. He was one of the 12 or 13 crew members of the merchant ship Van Riebeeck which was, on 8 January 1942, suddenly attacked by a Japanese submarine. His rank was 2nd mandoer, supervisor. The ss Van Riebeeck (Koninklijke Pakket Maatschappij, KPM, 1902) was on it's way from Pasuruan, near Surabaya, to Singapore. The ship sailed along the south coast of Java.
South-west of Ciacap (Tjilatjap) the ship was attacked by artillery fire by the I-156 (Ohashi), and sunk. It happened on 8 January during the evening. No survivors are known. On 8 December of the year before, the Netherlands had declared war to Japan. The first large attack on the Netherlands Indies was about to happen on 10 January, on land, at Tarakan in Celebes. The action against the Van Riebeeck, and during the morning in the same neighbourhood on the ss Van Rees, was the prelude. From the ten persons mentioned on the site of the Oorlogsgravenstichting only the place of birth of mr. Alie is known: Suriname.
W.H. Beelds/Beeldstroo (war monument Paramaribo: Beelds)
ss Telamon (Bron: www.wrecksite.eu)
Wilfred Hugo Beeldstroo (Paramaribo, 20 August 1922) was servant on the freighter Telamon. The ss Telamon (KNSM, 1928) was on 24 July 1942 under captain C.G. Niemann and 36 other crew members on it's way from British Guyana to Trinidad.
About halfway of it's voyage the ship was attacked by the German u-boat U-160. At a quarter to three in the morning it was hit, stern, starboard, by a torpedo. Within three minutes the Telamon broke in two and sank. A part of the crew, 14 people, were able to bring themselves into safety on rafts and were rescued later on by a British merchant ship. The other 23, including the captain, drowned. One of them was Wilfred Beeldstroo, the younges crew member (19). Among the other crew members who drowned were 6 Surinamese: H.H. van Exel, E.G. Muller, Naarendorp, A.C.A. Parisius, R.C. Rolador and A.G. Woiski. Humphrey van Exel and Reinier Rolador were not even twenty.
For more information about them see below.
ss Amazone (Bron: www.arendnet.nl)
Marius Petrus Bijnaar (probably Paramaribo, 25 May 1906) was sailor on the ss Amazone. The KNSM-ship (1922) under captain J.P. Giltay was at the end of April 1942 with a cargo of mainly coffee and oil on it's way from Cura çao to New York. There were 25 crew members aboard, among them one armed marine. The voyage went via Haiti (29 April) to Key West.
On 6 May 1942, 9.35 hrs, along the coast of Florida near St. Lucie, the ship was hit on port side by a torpedo. The attack came from a German submarine, the U-333. The Amazone sank within two minutes. 11 people were picked up by the American destroyer PC-484 and brought to Miami gebracht. The 14 others drowned, among the Marius Bijnaar. Another two victims were from Suriname: Eduard Moore and Edwin Stelk (see below). Six of the victims were from Curaçao, three from Bonaire. Also a sailor from Venezuela and a Dutch marine (Dordrecht) died; marine Jan Kip.
For more information about Antillian victims see The Netherlands Antilles.
C.E.L. Boldewijn (not on KNSM monument or on uboat.net or ogs.nl)
Max Chateau (not on monuments Paramaribo and KNSM)
ss Hobbema (Bron: www.uboat.net)
Max Chateau (Paramaribo, 27 December 1913) was 4th engineer aboard the ss Hobbema. This original American ship (1928) was donated by the British War Transport to the Dutch gouvernment and received the name of a Dutch painter. End October early November 1942, with a crew of 44 under captain Arie van Duijn, it transported 7000 tons of freight and ammunition from Newport News (Virginia) via New York to Belfast. The Hobbema was part of a convoy (SC-107).
Just after midnight, on 4 November, the German submarine U-132 attacked the convoy that was sailing more than 600 km below Greenland. Three of the ships took a hit: the Hobbema, the Empire Lynx and the Hatimura. A torpedo struck the Hobbema in the engine room. The engines came to a stop, the lights went out and the ship began to sink. 16 crew members managed to bring themselves into safety on lifeboats and rafts. Later on they were picked up by the American tug boats Uncas and Pessacus and survived.
The captain and 27 crew members went with the ship. Among them was Max Chateau (28). Another Surinamese crew member who had a seaman's grave was Hugo Kerster (see below). Also eight British and one Canadian were among the dead.
A cousin of Max was Eddy Herman Chateau (see militairy men).
R.C. Colader - see Rolador
Julian Dèsiré Cruden (Distr. Coronie, 2 November 1913) was waiter on the merchant ship Poseidon. The KNSM crew list states 'clerk'. Just like the about 30 other crew members he drowned, after a full hit by a German torpedo, in the Atlantic Ocean near Barbados, on 28 May 1942 (28 years). About the ship and the attack the following information is known.
This KNSM ship, 2000 tons, built in 1921, sailed at the end of May 1942 under captain Willem Klijn (1893 - originally from Terschelling) with a cargo of ballast from Trinidad to New York. During the morning of 28 May they were over 250 km north of Barbados. Boatswain Arend Bakker (also from Terschelling) already worked from 1929 on at the Poseidon. Execpt for these two there were another 15 Dutch civilians aboard, most of them high ranking: first mates, engineers, wireless operator or steward. There also was a gunner from the Marine corps, the young Cornelis Langerhorst from Baarn. The Poseidon had no escort. The ship also had 11 Dutch 'subjects'. The came from Suriname (5), Bonaire (3) and Cura çao (3). The Surinamers had different positions, the Bonairians were mainly sailors and the de Cura çaoians provided the cook.
On the crew list of the Kroonvaarders website there are three more sailors. C.B. Rafael is also known from another ship, the ss San Nicolas. C. Millan came from Cura çao or Bonaire. A. Basden was a British subject, from Bermuda. The last two names are absent in other sources. Together with these three the crew of the ss Poseidon add up to a maximum of 31 persons. The sources I (ed.) have consulted mention 32. I can only find 28 crew members.
On 28 May 1942 around 5.00 hrs in the morning the ship was attacked by the German submarine U-155 under captain Adolf Cornelius Piening (1910), but the torpedoes missed. At about half past five the Leutnant-Kapitän launched a second attack. There was nothing the gunner could do. The Poseidon was hit near the mast. shortly after the kettle exploded and the ship started to sink at the rear stern. All crew members died. Other Surinamese victims were C.L. Emnes, J.P. Flu, E.M. Klooster and L.C. Smiet (see below).
For more information about the six victims from Bonaire and Cura çao see the Netherlands Antilles.
Sources: www.kroonvaarders.nl/oorlog/poseidon.html (crew list KNSM)
www.uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship1714.html (crew list 2)
www.ogs.nl (victims site Oorlogsgravenstichting) www.4en5mei.nl/herinneren/oorlogsmonumenten/monumenten_zoeken/oorlogsmonument/1510 (names on KNSM monument)
Jan Rozenburg, Herdenking Cura çao 70 jaar in oorlog, Amigoe (18-2-2012) www.amigoe.com (names of 150 Antillian victims)
Johan van der Wal. 'We vieren het pas als iedereen terug is': Terschelling in de Tweede Wereldoorlog (2007). Appendix 1. Dissertations.ub.rug.nl
ss Triton (Bron: www.maritiemdigitaal.nl)
Max Elmont (Paramaribo, 8 February 1923) was sailor on the ss Triton which, coming from Demarara (British Guyana), left the harbour of Trinidad on 28 May 1942 to be on its way to New York. The ship (KNSM, 1928) under captain Barteld van Dijk took roughly the route of the ss Poseidon (see J.D. Cruden), which was sank that morning by a German submarine. The cargo of the Triton consisted of bauxite and timber. There were 36 crew members. 29 Dutch, among them a few colonial subjects, 4 British, 1 Spaniard, 1 Venezolan and 1 passenger from the US. Servant J. Beeldstroo probably was a family member of Wilfred Beeldstroo who was two months later on baord of the unfortunate ss Telamon.
During its voyage the captain followed the instructions of the British Naval authorities. When on 1 June in the east a flare was observed, immediately followd by cannon fire, he took a 180 degrees turn to avoid the presumable submarine. But on 2 June at 2.55 hrs the Triton was attacked by the German submarine U-558. It had been waiting from the last night until the darkest hour, because it had discovered an artillery gun at the back stern. The ship which had taken a full hit caught fire. Still the captain tried to escape at full speed and called for help by radio. Meanwhile the artillery gun fired back, but was eliminated soon. By jamming the radio the Germans also disabled any wireless traffic. In this situation the captain decided to give up all resistance and ordered the crew to disembark the Triton to the three remaining lifeboats. Four crew members, among them the gunner, were missing and probably died by fire or bullets. Captain Krech of the U-558 now resumed firing and around 4.00 hrs the burning Triton dissappeared into the waves. It happened at 470 km sout-west of the Bermuda's.
After this the submarine approached the lifeboats. Captain van Dijk and the approachable crew members were interrogated, initially in English. When it turned out Van Dijk also spoke German, the contact improved. Van Dijk asked for help for the injured. When it showed that the artillery gun had not fired at the U-558 by his orders, the Germans indeed rendered assistance. The helped searching for survivors. The body of 1st engineer J.P.J. Lensorf was found, next to a destructed raft. Also they gave directions how to reach land, in Puerto Rico. During the voyage there 2nd engineer J. de Graaf died - he was given a seaman's grave. After three days, on 5 June, the remaining crew and the captain were picked up by the American merchant ship Mormack Port. They were brought to New York where they arrived on 9 June. The wounded were transported to the Marine Hospital at Staten Island.
There were 6 casualties. All of the Dutch or Dutch subjects, except for the Portugese sailor da Silva. As date of death they all have 2 June. Max Elmont was the only Surinamese victim (19 years).
Cornelius Leonard Emnes (Distr. Lower Para, 28 March 1916) was stoker on the ss Poseidon (KNSM). The KNSM crew list mentions him as a sailor, 'able seaman' is mentioned on u-boat list. Just like the around 30 other crew members he drowned after a German torpedo hit, in the Atlantic Ocean near Barbados, on 28 May 1942 (26 years).
For more information see J.D. Cruden.
H.H. van Exel (Exzel on KNSM monument)
Humphrey Hartwich van Exel (Paramaribo, 28 March 1916) was deckhand aboard the ss Telamon (KNSM) when it was, on it's way to Trinidad, hit by a German torpedo on 24 July 1942. He is among the 17 drowned crew members who's names are known. Humphrey was the youngest of them (18 years).
For more information see W. Beeldstroo.
Johan Philip Flu (Paramaribo, 7 May 1912) was stoker aboard the ss Poseidon (KNSM). Just like the around 30 other crew members he drowned after a German torpedo hit, in the Atlantic Ocean near Barbados, on 28 May 1942 (30 years).
For more information see J.D. Cruden.
In the Dutch resistance the medical doctors P.C. Flu and his son Henri Flu played an important part (see paragraph Names from the Resistance).
The S.S. Bodegraven (picture: www.dynamicdeezign.be)
Harry Hugo Walther Gesser (Paramaribo, 31 January 1898) was oilman on the ss Bodegraven (KNSM). On this ship on 16 May 1940 the art dealer Jacques Goudstikker fled from IJmuiden to England, with destination South-America; he died on the ship because of a fall into the ship's hold. In July 1944 the ship, under captain B.A. Molenaar went from Beira (Mozambique) via Durban in South-Africa to England. On 2 July at 1.30 hrs, 200 miles south of Monrovia (Liberia) the Bodegraven took a torpedo hit near the engine room from the German submarine U-547. The ship started sinking after 12 minutes. The 63 crew members and the 48 passengers managed to bring themselves into safety in the three undamaged lifeboats. The Germans interrogated them and took the captain as a hostage. One of the lifeboats ended up near Grand Bassa in Liberia, the passengers of the two other lifeboats were picked up by navy vessels. In Freetown (Sierra Leone) 6 passengers and 3 crew members turned out to be missing. The 4th engineer (Dutch), the fireman (British) and oilman Harry Gesser, who were working below deck during the attack. They have 2 June 1944 as date of death. All passengers were South-Africans, except for one British person.
Hugo Willem Marinus Kerster (Lower Commewijne, 8 December 1912) was 'tremmer', coleman and assistant stoker on the ss Hobbema. With a crew of 44 it transported under captain Arie van Duijn end October early November 1942 7000 tons of cargo and ammunition from Newport News (Virginia) via New York to Belfast. Shortly after midnight, on 4 November, the German submarine U-132 attacked the convoy, which was sailing over 600 km south of Greenland. During this attack the Hobbema was also hit. Hugo Kerster (29) was one of the 28 missing persons.
For more information see Max Chateau.
Eduard Klooster (Paramaribo, 2 October 1894) was oilman on the ss Poseidon (KNAM). Just like the around 30 other crew members he drowned after a German torpedo hit, in the Atlantic Ocean near Barbados, on 28 May 1942 (47 years).
For more information see J.D. Cruden.
ss. Ceres (picture: www.dynamicdeezign.be)
John E. Markiet was 'mess room' servant on the steamer Ceres of the KNSM, which left on 4 March 1943 in convoy from New York to Curaçao. At 2½ days from their destination they concluded from signals from another ship in the convoy that an attack was at hand. This materialized on 13 March. Wheelhouse, cards room and radio cabin were hit and the Ceres started to sink. Crew and passengers went into lifeboats and onto rafts. During this operation some ended up in the water. John Markiet, as well as a colleague, could not be found again. The remaining people were picked up by a warship and on the same day dropped off on Curaçao. the site of uboat.net only knows the name of the captain, H.C. Elderenbosch.
Anton Johan Mecidi (Paramaribo, 19 October 1903) was, according to old information, oilman on a merchant ship. This happend to be the ocean steamer ss Simon Bolivar. He was stoker and one of the 129 crew members. On 18 November 1939 the ship ran into two German sea mines, in the Thames Mouth. The explosion caused enormous damage and the ship sank. Also Anton Mecidi (36), who was below deck, did not survive. His name is not mentioned with the 21 crew on the site of the Oorlogsgravenstichting noemt. In total 84 or 105 persons died.
For more information see A.J.H. van Aksel.
Eduard Eugene Moore (Paramaribo, 21 March 1920) was servant on the ss Amazone. The KNSM ship (1922) was at the end of April 1942 from Curaçao on it's way to New York. On 6 May 1942, the ship was hit on port side by a torpedo. The attack was made by a German submarine, the U-333. The Amazone sank within two minutes. Eduard (22) drowned, just like 13 other crew members.
For more information see M.P. Bijnaar.
Erik Gordon Muller (Paramaribo, 19 October 1913) was clerk aboard the ss Telamon (KNSM), when it was hit on 24 July 1942 on it's way to Trinidad by a German torpedo. He belongs to the 17 drowned crew members who's names are known. He was 28 years.
For more information see W. Beeldstroo.
A.W.I. Naarendorp (oorlogsmonument Paramaribo: Naardendorp)
Anton William Isidor Naarendorp (Distr. Cottica, 20 June 1910) was 'tremmer' or coleman and assistant stoker, aboard the ss Telamon (KNSM) when it, on 24 July 1942 on it's way to Trinidad was hit by a German torpedo. He belongs to the 17 drowned crew members who's names are known. Anton was 32 years.
For more information see W. Beeldstroo.
J.A. Olff (not at KNSM-monument, nor on uboat.net or ogs.nl)
Grave of R.R. Oostburg (picture: www.ogs.nl)
Reinhard Richard Oostburg (Paramaribo, 2 October 1912) was stoker on a merchant ship. He died on 2 April 1942 in or near Durban, South-Africa. His body was buried there; his grave is at the Stellawood cemetery.
ss Telamon (picture: www.dynamicdeezign.be)
Alexander Charles Ascanus Parisius (Paramaribo, 30 January 1897) was stoker on board of the ss Telamon (KNSM). He found his seaman's grave on 24 July 1942 (45 years). The merchant ship was torpedoed east of Trinidad by a German submarine, the U-160. 23 sailors died, among them Alexander Parisius.
For more information see W. Beeldstroo.
A possible family member, Lodewijk Rudolf Arthur Parisius (1911-1963), was during the war jazz musician in Amsterdam (see section Jazz musicians).
W.M. Pools (not on the websites of uboat.net or ogs.nl)
R.C. Rolador (war monument Paramaribo: Colader, KNSM monument: Rolader)
Reinier Cornelis Rolador (Paramaribo, 30 November 1922) was sailor on board of the ss Telamon (KNSM) when it was hit on 24 July 1942 on its way to Trinidad by a German torpedo. He belongs to the 17 drowned crew members who's names are known. Reinier was one of the youngest (19).
For more information see W. Beeldstroo.
F.F. de Rooy/Rooij
ss Beemsterdijk (picture: www.arendnet.nl)
Frederik Ferdinand de Rooy (Paramaribo, 20 December 1906) was stoker on the ss Beemsterdijk. On 26 January 1941 it was on its way from Greenock to Cardiff in the channel of Bristol. The Beemsterdijk was seriously damaged by an allied mine. The crew went into the lifeboats, but because the ship stayed afloat, they all went back on board. The day after, on 27 January, the ship suddenly started listing. It quickly sunk. 39 people on board drowned, among them Frederik van Rooy (34).
ss Medea (Source: www.wrecksite.eu)
Harris Archibald Slagtand (Paramaribo, 4 March 1917) was stoker on board of the ss Medea (KNSM, 1917). The ship, with 28 crew members and a cargo of - among other things - 220 crates of dynamite, had left New York on 24 July 1942 and via Key West on its way to Venezuela and Curaçao. It sailed in convoy, WAT-13.
In the early morning of 13 August (5.07 hrs) a German submarine attacked the convoy, which was near Guantanamo (Cuba). First the U-658 fired two rounds of two torpedoes, after that one from the back stern. Three hours later, 8.05 hrs, the submarine attacked again. The German captain believed to have hit two vessels, but only the Medea took a hit, already at 5.00 hrs. The torpedo entered on port side and caused a big fire. The engines broke down and the ship sank within 5 minutes.
The American escort ship picked up 24 men and brought them to Guantanamo. From the five dead men only four are known by name: two sailors and a stoker from Curaçao (see Netherlands Antilles) and Harris Slagtand from Paramaribo (25). One of the five men died in Guantanamo, the others are known as missing.
Leonard Eduard Smiet (Paramaribo, 3 August 1918) was waiter on the ss Poseidon (KNSM). Just like the other about 30 crew members he drowned, after a German torpedo hit, in the Atlantic Ocean near Barbados, on 18 May 1942 (23 years).
For more information see J.D. Cruden.
Edwin Arthur James Stelk (Paramaribo, 24 November 1912) was stoker on the ss Amazone. The KNSM ship (1922) was at the end of April 1942 from Curaçao on its way to New York. On 6 May 1942 the ship was hit on port side by a torpedo. The attack cam from a German submarine, the U-333. The Amazone sank within two minutes. Edwin (29) drowned, just like 13 other crew members.
For more information see M.P. Bijnaar.
W.A. Vrieze (not on KNSM monument)
ss Tjileboet (picture: www.dynamicdeezign.be)
Johan Ludwig Daniel Wikkeling (Paramaribo, 10 December 1920) was stoker on board of the ss Tjileboet, of the Royal Java-China Packet Lines (KJCPL). This merchant ship, sailing in an allied convoy (ON-145) from Belfast to Bahia (Brazil) was torpedoed on 29 November 1942, in the middle of the Atlantic, 600 miles from Sierra Leone, by the German submarine U-161 (0.37 hrs).
The attack started the day before at 09.00 hrs but was first beaten off. Captain J.W. Kroese sailed towards the submarine using the artillery guns and had forced the u-boat to submerge. There were even 6 gunners on board. But the actual escape, in heavy rain, outside the convoy and traceable by its s.o.s.-signals, failed shortly after midnight. Two torpedoes from the U-161 made the Tjileboet explode. The fragment fell within a kilometer range of the ship.
The entire cres, 62 persons, went down with the ship. There were nine British and an Australian on board, except for an older sailer and Johan Wikkeling (21), all within the age of 16-18 years. Wikkeling was the only one from Suriname (21 years).
www.ogs.nl; e-mail of 15 June 2006
A.G. Woiski (monumenten Paramaribo and KNSM: Woisky)
Adalbert Gustav Woiski (Paramaribo, 7 September 1908) was stoker on board of the ss Telamon (KNSM), when it was hit, on 24 July 1942 on its way to Trinidad, by a German Torpodo. He belongs to the 17 drowned crew members who's names are known. Adalbert was 33 years.
For more information see W. Beeldstroo.
Adalbert Woiski was an older brother of Max Woiski sr. (1911-1981), who was a jazz musician in Amsterdam during the war (see paragraph Jazz musicians). Franz Woiski and Albertina Woiski-Wenner Gerdeman had eight children. Besides Adalbert and Max these were Daisy, Hélène, Alma, René, Ewald and Franzje.
Names from the resistance (26)
Ad van den Oord mentions in 'Todays immigrants & Yesteryear's war' a number of people in the resistance from the world of workers and intellectuals. Some are also mentioned on the website www.suriname.nu. Some are also on the plaque of or the added plate on the Surinam war monument at the Waterkant/Independence Square in Paramaribo. This paragraph also gratefully uses the information on the website of the War Graves Foundation, the book 'World War in the West' (Liesbeth van de Horst, 2004), the Suribook 'Sonny Boy' from Annejet van der Zijl (2006) and the website of the Netherlands Literature. For Anton de Kom, Lou Lichtveld (Albert Helman) and Hugo Pos see separate paragraphs.
Anne A. Bosschart (picture: oranjehotel.nationaalarchief.nl)
Anne Anton Bosschart (Paramaribo, 5 October 1897). Name on war monument Paramaribo. He was the director of an Amsterdam advertising agency. From 1937 on he was active against the rising fascism. Already at the beginning of the war he united a large number of small illegal groups: the Committee for Free Holland (oranjehotel.nationaalarchief.nl). On 16 December 1940 he was arrested and brought to Scheveningen prison. There he was severely ill-treated. At first given a lifetime sentence, he eventually was sentenced to death in 1941. The execution was on 29 September on the Bussum Moor between Hilversum and Laren. His body was buried at the local cemetery of Rozendaal. On the plaque in Paramaribo he is, in the list of resistance men, incorrectly mentioned as Anne D. Bosschart (see above).
Hendrikus Johannes Bijleveld (Paramaribo, 17 September 1914). Union of Surinam workers in The Netherlands. He was a Surinam-Dutch metal worker and took part in the resistance. During a search in his house explosives were found. During imprisonment, probably in Fort De Bilt, he was badly ill-treated. Bijleveld was executed on 11 November 1944 in Utrecht (30 years old). His grave is at the Roman-Catholic cemetery St. Barbara.
Wilhelm Does (Suriname, ...). Union of Surinam workers in The Netherlands. He was married to a Jewish woman, Jet Wallage. He was injured during a resistance action, but survived. She, Jewish but of a mixed marriage, was arrested and set free after a couple of months.
Noville Arthur Ezechiëls (Suriname, 1910). He was a marine and in May 1940 took part in the battle for the Meuse bridges near Rotterdam against the Germans. Ezechiëls became active in the illegal body of order officials (OD), together with other ex-military. In May 1943 he was betrayed and arrested. He was taken to camp Amersfoort and different other German camps, but managed to escape.
Abraham S. Fernandes (pictures: oranjehotel.nationaalarchief.nl)
Abraham Samuel Fernandes, operator of the refinery Dubbs near the Bataafse Petroleum Company (BPM, now Shell). He was an early member of the resistance group the 'Geuzen' and died in Scheveningen prison. Name on war monument Paramaribo. Fernandes is probably mentioned twice on the plaque as Samuel F. Abraham and as Abraham S. Fernandes. For more information see section Surinam Jews.
Paul Christiaan Flu (Suriname, 1884) contributed much to the improvement of health care in Suriname during the years 1908-1911. In 1921 he was appointed to the chair of tropical hygiene in Leiden. This made him the first Surinam professor. Just like his colleagues professor Cleveringa and Meijers he openly dedicated himself to the freedom of education. In Augustus 1942 he was taken hostage by the Germans. On 3 Januari 1944, immediately after an attack on the NSB-director (Dutch nazi) of the regional job centre, which organized the forced labour in Germany, professor Flu together with 31 other prominent people from Leiden was transported to the hostage camp St. Michielsgestel. A few other Leiden men were shot the day after in Leiden: a headmaster, the deputy headmaster of Leiden grammar school and the general practitioner Hans Flu*, son of the professor. Later professor Flu was transported to camp Vught. Professor Flu died in December 1945 broken, seven months after liberation. The Medical Scientific Institute in Paramaribo bears his name.
Henri H. Flu (picture: www.gymnasiumleiden.nl)
Henri ('Hans') Herman Flu, Weltevreden, 6 October 1912. Son of professor P.C. Flu*. As a young boy Hans Flu came to Leiden, Holland with his parents. He attended grammar school (Stedelijk Gymnasium) and studied medicine. In 1940 he became a general practitioner, also in Leiden. Hans already had been in conflict with the Germans several times before. In 1941 he had beaten a soldier that troubled his wife. Later on he provided many men with a medical exemption for the 'Arbeitseinsatz' in German factories. On 4 January 1944, during the afternoon consulting hours Hans Flu was summoned to leave by car to the German ‘Ortskommandatur’. The day before fifty fellow citizens, including his father, had been arrested and transported to the St. Michelsgestel hostage camp (see above). On this day the Nazi's, as a deterrence, executed three 'Silbertanne' murders: execution in the streets of well known citizens. Except for the doctor also headmaster Douma and deputy headmaster De Jong were taken in (see www.vlietkaap.nl). From the Kommandatur Flu was brought to a car to, subsequently, via a large detour through town, be shot by pistol shots at the cross Rijksstraatweg-Endegeesterstraat, near the 'three white poles' - according to the reconstruction by his son Peter Flu. 'He was on the run', the Sicherheitspolizei declared. The occupier prohibited any speeches on his funeral. A street near the Academic Hospital in Paramaribo is named after him. His name is on the war monument in Paramaribo, with the resistance fighter in the Netherlands (twice). Also in Leiden a street is named after doctor Hans Flu.
Grave of Nicolaas Walter Gitz (picture: www.ogs.nl)
Nicolaas Walter Gitz (Paramaribo, 18 April 1921). Nico was a helmsman student. To evade the forced labour in Germany, he went into hiding in Varsseveld, with the ladies Jolink. During a razzia on 16 February 1944, he was discovered, together with 6 Jewish people in hiding with the ladies. A German soldier ill-treated one of the ladies Jolink. Gitz stepped in. In the shooting that followed he was shot by a member of the police section of the Dutch Nazi's. His grave is at the Dutch war cemetery Loenen in Apeldoorn. His name on the war monument in Paramaribo with the resistance fighters in Holland (twice).
Ab Jüdell (picture: www.judell.nl) Ab Jüdell at later age (picture: www.tweede-wereldoorlog.org)
Ab ('Bill') Jüdell ('Alexander William van Es') (Suriname, 1925-1983). The half-Jewish Ab Jüdell as a young boy already went to Holland, where he lived with his parents in The Hague. Despite his young age, Ab became a prominent member of the resistance of The Hague. He used many aliases. 'Alexander van Es' was arrested in 1943 and sent from Scheveningen prison to camp Vught. There he was bought out. Meanwhile the The Hague resistance group had moved to Rotterdam, because the Germans were close to capturing them. Also the Aruban student Boy Ecury* already had become a member of the The Hague fighting resistance. On the 5th of November Boy was arrested in Rotterdam. As it turned out later, the leader of the armed resistance group in South Rotterdam, Kees Bitter, was a traitor. At the end of the war Ab was part of the Special Brigade and later on of the Storm Troops. They made contact with the allied forces and prepared the transition to the post-war period.
On advice of prince Bernhard, Ab Jüdell after the war established himself in Suriname. There he became a representative of the ANP (Dutch General Press Agency) in the Carribbean. When the ANP was renamed to SNA (Surinam News Agency) he became the director. Jüdell also played a big part in the foundation of the Liberation Council of Suriname, led by Dr. Chin A Sen. The council was founded after the December murders (8 December 1982) and resisted the Bouterse dictatorship. Ab Jüdell died on 21 November 1983 at the age of 58. See www.tweede-wereldoorlog.org and the website of his great granddaughter Jaleesa Alicia: www.judell.nl. They contain an interview with Ab in De Ware Tijd from 1981. From the interview:
'I was still a schoolboy at the age of about fifteen when I started to work in the resistance. We started with a group of seven boys from my street, all at the age of 15 - 17. Later on, when we had become an official armed resistance group, our group was extended with boys from other parts of The Hague. From the original seven boys in our group only four got to the end of the war. The others were caught and shot. One of the survivors couldn't cope anymore and got mentally disturbed by the constant pressure.
Already early on I was involved in the resistance, actually from the first day of the German invasion on. We lived near the airport and I was watching it from the balcony. Near the dunes was a Dutch position. Suddenly I saw behind the dunes a couple of Germans crawling towards them. I ran down and warned the Dutch boy and told them to watch the balcony from where I could signal directions. From the balcony I yelled and waved my arms, after which the Germans took the balcony under fire, so I had to flee...
At the end of 1941, early 1942, the German attitude completely changed. Razzia's became an every day business, more and more Dutch went into hiding, which caused a great deal of work. The armed resistance group had become a professional group. It was about much more than beating up the occasional Dutch fascist (NSB). Food coupons and weapons were more important. Usually we stormed post offices and distribution centers just after opening or just before closing hours, when the vaults weren't locked yet. Also we were active in spreading news. The broadcasts of Radio Orange and the BBC were stenciled and distributed. Here I first started in journalism. I helped with editing and distributing. Stencil machines and paper were brought from schools and printing-offices. We took care of getting people in hiding to safe-places and providing ration coupons and money. Getting people to safe-houses was a tricky business. Once you were caught, you were dead...
When the number of people in hiding increased, the demand for money and coupons also increased. The number of people in the resistance also increased, which caused a demand for more weapons. The assaults only brought us a small number of weapons, so the Dutch government in London had to step in. A special squadron was employed for night flights and dropping containers... The droppings were very important. The containers were packed with sten guns, ammunition, hand grenades, pistols, explosives, sabotage materials, cigarettes, chocolate, sugar and biscuits. Sometimes a dropping went wrong. Containers dropping in the wrong place, or we were surprised by German soldiers. Then we had to fight...
My arrest (in 1943) was an accident. The Germans held a razzia and I just walked into their trap. I had just become 18 and had been busy with my armed group and was late getting home... The Germans took me to the police station of Loosduinen and I was severely interrogated. Later on I was, together with others, transported to Scheveningen prison, nicknamed the Hotel Orange... In the 'hotel' I was interrogated for hours, but kept denying, I knew nothing about the resistance, people in hiding, absolutely nothing. At a certain day I was set free and heard my comrades bribed some of the Germans."
Iwan H. Kanteman (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org)
Iwan Hugo Kanteman (Albina, 7 January 1908). Union of Surinam workers in The Netherlands. He came in 1933, at the height of the economical crisis, as a sailor to Holland. In 1939 he lived in Amsterdam where he also worked as a mechanic. During the May days of 1940 he fought in the Dutch Army. From 1943 he was active in the resistance of the Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN); he distributed the illegal Waarheid (Truth), other pamphlets and raised money to support people in hiding (Sol Fund). After betrayal Kanteman was arrested on 10 June 1944 and detained in the prison at the Weteringschans. From there he ended up in the camps of Vught, Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald. He died on 19 March 1945 in the sub-camp Langenstein, from exhaustion. A square was named after him by the city of Amsterdam-Osdorp. His name is on the war monument in Paramaribo with the resistance fighters in the Netherlands.
Leo Lashley (Suriname, 1903) studied medicine in Utrecht and became an eye specialist in Rotterdam. He was the chairman of the local doctors union and protested as such against the establishment of the Nazi Doctors Chamber in 1942. He became active in the resistance and provided people in hiding with safe addresses. After several arrests he went into hiding himself. Late 1944 he assisted the railway strikers and joined the inland forces. After the war he was, as a doctor, involved in the trials for collaboration. In 1948 he became a doctor in Curaçao. After retirement he returned to Holland where he died in 1980.
Leo Lichtveld (Suriname, lll - 1992). He worked as a dentist at the Zaanweg in Wormerveer and was a member of the Zaans Verzet (Resistance). His resistance name was Bram. In the same KP-group were Rev. J. van der Hoek (alias 'Hakkie'), curate De Bouvere, mr H.P.J. Rijkenberg (alias 'Her', group commander), mr Tjemme Groot, mr Henk de Wit, mr Ber M. Vet, mr Gerrit A. Gras ('Kleine Jan'), mr Jaap Boot, mr Jan Kee and mr Klaas van Delft. Herman Rijkenberg was assistant manager of the Bureau of Distribution, office at the Wandelweg, and therefore had to deal with faked and extra distribution cards for people in hiding. The Wormerveer Resistance was led by Dick Bus who lived, just as Leo Lichtveld, at the Zaanweg.
The resistance group from Wormerveer in the playing grounds of school D. Upper row: Siem Biersteker, C. Bruijn, Aat Biersteker, Cees Pels, J. Groenenberg, unknown, Ber Vet, Wim Blank, Piet Gorter, Jo Klaver, Klaas van Delft, Hein Bootsman, unknown, Pim Overman, Giel Broek, Jan Kee, Henk Zwart, Pim Göbel. Middle row: unknown, Leo Lichtveld, Corrie Koomen, Piet IJff, Herman Rijkenberg. Bottom row: Aat de Wit, [de Goede], Jan de Wit, Nol van Herkhuizen, Freek Beekhoven, Gé van Swieten, Klaas Gorter, Wouter Kramer. Source: www.hvwormerveer.nl
In his retrospect Jaap Boot writes that in 1944 he was in charge of the KP-group. Besides Dik Bus, Jo van der Hoek, Leo Lichtveld en Herman Rijkenberg, he also mentiones Jan de Barbanson, Rinus Bibbe, Wim Blank, Jan Jobse and Jan van der Maden. A picture made after the liberation shows 30 men and 1 woman (left from the middle). On her left hand side supposedly is Leo Lichtveld.
Sources: Wereldoorlog in de West and Mr. Frits Rijkenberg (South Africa, Sept.-Oct.2009); Margo Gras (Oct.2009); website Historic Club Wormerveer, www.hvwormerveer.nl; Jaap Boot, Na vijftig jaar (1995) - with thanks to Erik Schaap.
Charles Désiré Lu-A-Si, (Paramaribo, 13 December 1911).
C.D. Lu-A-Si (artwork: Gert Faken, SSG)
His name is also written as Lo A Sji. His mother was Paulina Juliana Lu-A-Si (Paramaribo, 1880); who his father was isn't known. Paulina Juliana was the daughter of Margaretha Madelijntje Sympson (1859), as a 4 year old girl freed from slavery at the Berg en Dal plantation, and mr Lu-A-Si. He probably was a Chinese contract worker. Paulina Juliana was member of the Dutch Reformed church.
In 1931 Charles Desiré came to Holland. For a short while he lived in The Hague, but he mostly stayed in Amsterdam, where he married Rachel Frankfoorder (1914) in October 1936. Charles and Rachel went to live at the Oudezijds Achterburgwal 9-III. There Rachel becomes well acquainted with major Alida Bosshardt (famous Dutch Salvation Army member). On the marriage certificate the profession of Charles is stated as percussionist and for Rachel as office clerk. Since 1928 she had been working at the Bijenkorf department store. If Lu-A-Si was a musician this corresponds to a note on his card in The Hague, where he declares, among other professions, to be an artist. At his arrest in 1941 his profession is electric welder. On 6 February 1937 the couple had a son, Désiré Charles, first name Dees. Dees has curly ginger hair.
Charles Lu-A-Si is considered to be a member of the Bond van Surinaamse Arbeiders (Union of Surinam workers), which in 1936 published the booklet: 'Surinamers in Nederland: tegen onderdrukking en rassenhaat' (Surinamese in The Netherlands: against oppression and racial hate). It is certain that at that time he was a member of the Communistische Partij Nederland (CPN - Dutch communist party) and also a party official, as his wife stated after the war.
She also wrote that Charles ‘immediately after the occupation engaged in spreading illegal publications, plastering walls with pamphlets and being very active in the February strike’ [this was a massive, communist led protest in the wider Amsterdam area against the anti-Jews measures on 25 February 1941). In the Resistance his nickname was 'Shanghai Express'. On 25 June 1941, three days after Nazi-Germany invaded the Soviet-Union, hundreds of communists were arrested. Most of them were interned temporarily in Camp Schoorl, from where they were sent on to the notorious Camp Amersfoort in August and October. After that Lu-A-Si ended up, like political prisoners such as the Indonesian student Sidartawan (see chapter Indonesia), in the German concentration camps Neuengamme (near Hamburg) and Dachau (near Munich). His agony ended in Auschwitz, possibly because he was married to a Jewish woman. There he succumbed on 15 November 1942. Probably because his place of death was Auschwitz, his name is on the sites of Joods Monument and Dutchjewry. Charles Desiré Lu-A-Si was 30 years old when he died. His name is mentioned twice at the War Monument in Paramaribo.
Like all Jewish employees, Rachel Lu-A-Si-Frankfoorder was fired during 1941 by the German ‘Verwalter’ of the Bijenkorf department store. In June 1941 Charles disappeared to the camps. Rachel was also involved in illegal activities but still remained a free citizen. As a Jewish woman in a mixed marriage she was not as much in danger as other Jews. But the moment she officially became a widow, she lost this protection. With help from her friend in the Resistance Eddy van Amerongen and major Bosshardt she found a safe address for Dees during winter of 1942/43 in Rotterdam. Initially with a woman with good intentions. But when she married a man who physically abused her, it became a very difficult time in hiding for Dees.
Rachels parents, Jonas and Marianne Frankfoorder-du Bruin were caught during the spring of 1943 and gassed on 16 April 1943 in Sobibor. During a trip by train from Rotterdam to Amsterdam Rachel was caught by a Dutch SS-member on grounds of possessing forged identity papers. Her arrest was roughly at the same time as the arrest of the family of Otto Frank, in August 1944. Also she was sent to the penal barrack of Westerbork and put on transport to the Polish Auschwitz. There she was selected for work. At the evacuation of the camp because of the approaching Red Army (end 1944, early 1945) she ended up, with the notorious death marches, in Bergen-Belsen, Germany. There she saw the sisters Frank again. Those prisoners of Bergen-Belsen who were still alive, were sent away during the spring of 1945, because of the approaching western front. Rachel was in the train that went to the Czech Theresienstadt, were she was freed on 7 May by the Soviet army.
After the war
After returning to Holland Rachel married her friend from the Resistance Eddy van Amerongen (1912). The couple and Désiré lived at the Grevelingenstraat 34-I in Amsterdam. The family had a second child there, Mimi, and Désiré Charles married. In 1950 they emigrated to Israel ('alya'). There Désiré adopted the name Jitschak Arnon and with his wife Sjaan they had several children. Eddy van Amerongen became a publisher. He died in 1992 in Tel Ha-Shomer. Rachel contributed to the Willy Lindwer documentary 'The last seven months: women in the trail of Anne Frank'(1988). The last years of her life Rachel lived in Beht Juliana in Herzlia. She died on 19 April 2012.
1) Biographicals: William L. Man A Hing, Charles Desiré Lu-A-Si (1911-1942). Srananman als verzetsstrijder en medeorganisator Februaristaking. In: Wi Rutu. Tijdschrift voor Surinaamse genealogie 8/2 (dec. 2008), p. 29-34. Also see: Liesbeth van der Horst, Wereldoorlog in de West. 2004, p. 144; Ad van den Oord, Allochtonen van nu & de oorlog van toen. 2004, p. 64)
2) Bond van Surinaamse Arbeiders: see Michiel van Kempen, Een geschiedenis van de Surinaamse literatuur (2006) (www.dbnl.org)
3) For Sidartawan: see www.antenna.nl/wvi/nl/dh/geschiedenis/sidarta.html
4) e-mail Henk Penseel, 22 July 2014
5) summary of Carol Anne Lee's, The hidden life of Otto Frank on Wordpress (http://ckean.wordpress.com/2007/09/22/crushed-flowers-how-the-nazis-murdered-edith-margot-and-anne-frank
Christiaan, Louise and Bora van de Montel (source: Affolterproductions.nl)
Chris van de Montel (Suriname, 1926), Hendrika van de Montel-Boeken (Amsterdam, 28 November 1905), Louise Henriette (Suriname, 1926) and Bora. Union of Surinam workers in The Netherlands. This especially in Amsterdam active union during the thirties already had called for resistance against the everywhere in Europe uprising fascism. During the war many members joined the resistance. Chris was a tie cutter, his wife was Jewish. The couple hid people in hiding in Chris' workshop. After betrayal he was arrested on 3 March 1943; his wife, their two daughters and a niece on 12 July that year. According to the publication 'Vogelvrij. De jacht op de joodse onderduiker' (Outlawed. The hunt for the Jewish in hiding) (Sytze van der Zee, 2010, p. 426) all family members and a niece were arrested on 8 March 1943. This happened in a house at the Ruyschstraat in Amsterdam. Detectives of the Sicherheitsdienst were put on their trail by the Jewish neighbour below, Roza Busnach and her Surinamese lover Willy Braams. Van der Zee also relates that Roza and Willy afterwards looted the house, which left Roza with a pouch of silver coins, jewellery and a black Persian coat that she sold for 220 guilders. (Information by Ad van den Oord, March 2010).
Mother, Louise and Bora van de Montel (source: Affolterproductions.nl)
Chris ended up in the camps Vught and Sachsenhausen, from which he returned very ailing. Hendrika died on 31 January in Auschwitz. The eldest daughter Louise Henriette (17) was detained in Vught, Bergen-Belsen and Ravensbrück. She survived, married a fellow-prisoner from camp Vught and started a career as a singer. In 1993 the Anne Frank Foundation made a video film about her life (www.tijm.nl).
Added plate on war monument/independence square
Waldemar Hughes Nods (Paramaribo, 1908) and Rika Nods-van der Lans (The Hague, 1891). Waldemar was the third child of Jacobus Theodorus Gerardus ('Koos') Nods and Eugenie Elder. He was born in Paramaribo on the 1st of September 1908. His mother was a descendant from the Scottish planter and his black mistress and was part of the light-colored black elite of Paramaribo. Koos Nods had a Creole Indian complexion and was not 'colored up'. With luck in gold mining he had become one of the richest men in Suriname, so he was able to marry in 1902 a good party: Eugenie, Sunday school teacher of the Lutheran Church. Though Nod's fortune, because of the outbreak of the world war and diminishing income from the gold finds, strongly decreased, and he himself disappeared adventuring in Brazil, the children attended the best schools and the family lived in a beautiful house at the Waterkant (nr. 76) - next to the Suriname river. However dangerous the river was, Waldemar loved swimming, and knew the unpredictable sea inlet very well. After his mother died Waldemar was brought up by his mother's sister Marie. In October 1927 she sent him for his study to Holland. He could stay with his half-brother Dave Millar, financial director of the young KLM, and his wife Christien. They didn't get on very well, and after a year Christien sent the young Surinam to her niece Rika van der Lans (The Hague, 29 November 1891). She lived separated from her husband, Willem Hagenaar, and three of their children. Together with the youngest, Henk, she lived in The Hague. Between Rika and Waldemar a relation started, from which in November 1929 a son was born. He was given his father's name, first name Waldy. His parents also called him Sonny Boy, after a well known song from Al Jonsons' film Singing Fool.
Rika, Waldemar (and Waldy), Scheveningen 1936 and just before the war
(pictures: from 'Sonny Boy', page 48 and 50)
Because of his study Waldemar came to Holland, but the couple had no money. As soon as possible he tried to get his diploma in trade and commerce. He achieved it early 1931. Through Dave Milliar he got a job as a trainee bookkeeper at the Holland Mortgage Bank. Rika decided to start a boarding house in Scheveningen. After a few years she also succeeded. Boarding house Walda at the Gevers Deynootweg 32-34-38 became a favorite address for variety artists, military on leave from the Indies and German holiday makers. In March 1937 Rika and Waldemar married. A year later they moved to a new address, near the beach at Zeekant nr. 56.
Early in the war little had changed for the family. Dark colored Surinamese did not have a particularly hard time, and boarding guests kept coming. But in the spring of 1942 the occupier decided to evacuate Scheveningen. A defense line against a possible invasion from the enemy had to be built along the shore: the 'Atlantic Wall'. Some streets and houses were demolished, including Zeekant 56. The family had to move to Rijswijk, but succeeded in returning to Scheveningen, to the Stevinstraat. Meanwhile Waldermar had a job with the Department of Economics.
Late 1942 more changed. Rika was a religious Catholic and probably through church came in contact with Kees Chardon, the 'small lawyer' from Delft. Kees led the group LO, the national organization for help to people in hiding. Most of all he tried to find safe places for the the most difficult group: the Jews. On 15 July the first transport of Jews from Amsterdam to Auschwitz had started and for the first time large groups of Jews arrived. Also in the region of The Hague Jewish citizens were taken out of their houses and sent on to Westerbork. The boarding house of Rika and Waldemar was an ideal distribution centre for people in hiding and became a refuge. Another address in The Hague was the house of Ru Paré who, together with her friend, tried to save Jewish children (see the Netherlands - Homosexuals in war and resistance".
For a year everything went fine. In August 1943 the evacuation of Scheveningen was continued, but Rika found a new home, this time two floors in the Pijnboomstraat 63. During the winter of 1943-1944 she had three people in hiding: the deserted Dutch SS Gerard van Haringen and the Jews Herman de Bruin and Dobbe Franken. The police corps of The Hague had many Dutch Nazi sympathizers (NSB) and a separate 'Jew crew', which hunted Jews for premiums. For catching a Jewish person in hiding they received 'head money'. Maarten Spaans was in charge. In January 1944 they sniffed out a rumor about people in hiding at the Pijnboomstraat. On January 18 the group Spaans raided the house and arrested everyone there. The trail led them eventually to Kees Chardon. Rika and Waldemar were imprisoned in Scheveningen prison, the 'Hotel Orange', in cell 382, resp. cell 403.
During interrogation Rika was badly ill-treated. They tried to find out if she had a leading role in a network. Waldemars role was estimated a minor one, which was true. On the 23rd of February he was sent on to camp Vught. Camp leaders put him to work near Roosendaal, where camp prisoners had to dig a tank canal. On the 1st of May the sentences were pronounced for the 'group Chardon'. Kees and Rika were give life sentences. Waldemar was sentenced to imprisonment for the duration of the war. On the 10th of May Rika also came to camp Vught. Nine days later Waldemar was transported to concentration camp Neuengamme near Hamburg. As in other camps, the political prisoners were shadow leaders of the camp. These got Waldemar a job at the 'post office', the bureau where letters and parcels came in. He was not too badly off and sometimes managed to write a letter to Rika and Waldy, and receive letters from them. Rika managed to get comparable political contacts and a job at the Philips command. Working for Philips offered some protection.
After the Allied invasion in June 1944 everyone believed the war would soon be over. Early September it seemed the liberation of the Netherland had started. National-socialism however started a last ditch offensive and put everything into place to eliminate as many Jews and political adversaries as possible. Most of Vught was evacuated on the 6th of September 1944. Rika ended up in camp Ravensbrück. She worked there for Siemens but attracted dysentery in February 1945. The sick were moved to other parts of the camp, where they were left by themselves and died, or they were gassed. Rika Nods-van der Lans died in March 1945.
After his former work Waldemar managed to get a job at the administration of the camp weaving mill. This added to his chances of survival. Around New Year 1945 a new camp mate arrived: Anton de Kom*, also married to a Dutch woman. He had no connections in the camp and was, at the evacuation of camp Neuengamme, sent in a large group to Sandborstel, were he succumbed on April 24. Waldemar belonged to the 'Funktionshätlinge', who had to leave the camp in the last group (April 29). They were sent to Lübeck and housed in the former luxury ocean liner 'Cap Arcona', meanwhile in use as a refugee ship. There were 600 men staff and the stay was a blessing to the thousands of prisoners.
The war was almost over now. Hitler was dead and capitulation negotiations were in a final state. The allied were afraid though the rest of the German troop would flee by ships to Norway, and made an attack plan for the Baltic Sea. On the 3rd of May British Typhoons bombed the German ships in the harbour of Lübeck, and also hit the Cap Arcona. Over 8.000 people died. Waldemar had jumped into the ice-cold water in time and swam with little difficulty to the shore. Around 5 o'clock in the afternoon he felt ground beneath his feet, between Felzhafen and Neustadt. Together with another drowning person he waded to the beach, when machine guns fired. Child soldiers of the Hitler Jugend fired at the swimmers and killed Waldemar Nods. He was 36 years old.
His name, as the only Surinam resistance fighter in Holland, is not mentioned on the war monument at the Independence Square. He is mentioned on a later added plate with nine names, nailed to the side of the monument. The other six resistance fighters and two military are also on the plaque which was attached to the front side of the monument on the 4th of May 2006.
Source: Annejet van der Zijl, Sonny Boy. Suriboek 2006
The brothers Rijk van Ommeren
The member of the Colonial States of Suriname, Harry Johan van Ommeren, died on 31 October 1923. In June 1925 his widow migrated to The Netherlands with their 4 children. In The Hague, where they established themselves, the eldest son, Humphry Norbert, joined them. The four sons ended up in the Scheveningen prison and two of them lost their lives. Also their sister Jacqueline Rijk van Ommeren was an active member of the Resistance; this must have been outside of The Hague.
Unveiling of the Brothers Rijk van Ommeren Bridge, The Hague -Leidschenveen (2012). Coll. Rijk van Ommeren family.
On 14 February 2012 the mayor and aldermen of The Hague decided to name a bridge after the Rijk van Ommeren brothers, in the Leidschenveen neighbourhood with streets named after resistance heroes. On 18 April of that year the plaque of the bridge was unveiled by the alderman Sander Dekker, in the presence of relatives of the brothers. The bridge is situated between the Bob Oosthoeklaan and the Gerard Doggerlaan.
- Sjoerd Meijer (relative), e-mails January and March 2016
- www.eerebegraafplaatsbloemendaal.eu/Dbase/Biografie_O/Frank_Rijk_VAN_OMMEREN.html - www.erepeloton.nl/grafgegevens/FRijkvOmmeren.html - www.haagsebeeldbank.nl/afbeelding (all four of the brothers) - Corien Gloudemans, De Documentatiedienst van de Haagse politie in de Tweede Wereldoorlog (The documentation department of the The Hague police during the Second World War), in: Die Haghe 2012, p. 55-103 (noot 73-77)
Frank Rijk van Ommeren (Paramaribo, 4 November 1918)
Frank Rijk van Ommeren (picture: Haagse Beeldbank)
Helper of people in hiding
Frank, pseudonym ‘Christiaans’, was a clerk at the Rotterdamsche Bank in The Hague and worked from November 1943 as assistent-accountant. Just like his older brothers Humphry and Lodewijk, he was active in the Landelijke Organisatie voor Hulp aan Onderduikers (LO) (National Organization for Help to People in Hiding). He searched for hiding adresses and food coupons for fellow Jewish countrymen. The Nationaal Steunfonds (NSF) (National Support Foundation) of banker Walraven van Hall provided benefits to people in hiding. Frank was in the The Hague district researcher of the NSF and payed out the benefits. From February 1944 he especially dedicated himself to department J (Jews) of the Foundation. He took care of a number of Jewish persons in hiding. On 28 February 1944 he was arrested and detained for a month. He was released because lack of evidence. Shortly after Frank married his financée Titia Bleiji. She was a courier for the ‘Vrije Verzetsgroep De Griffie’ (Free Resistance Group The Registry), which was led by Frank's brother Humphry.
After September 1944 Frank also started helping his older brother. Just at that time Humphry had become head of the Inlichtingendienst (Intelligence Department) and Contactbureau of the Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten (BS) (Home Forces) The Hague. As a courier he took messages to the contact adressess of the organizations which were co-operating in the BS: the Ordedienst (OD) (the Order Group), the Knokploegen of the LO (KP) (Armed Resistance Team) and the Raad van Verzet (RvV) (Resistance Council). In the afternoon of 12 October 1944 he called at the Laan van Nieuw Oost-Indië 240, the adress of KP-leader Willem Hanegraaf. Interesting to know: already before May 1940 Willem was 'in resistance'. He undertook a robbery at the Head Post Office of The Hague in order to obtain a mail bag with correspondence of the NSB (National Socialist Movement) vicar Van der Vaart Smit. This way he wanted to prove the vicar was a German spy. Frank had sabotage orders for Willem with him and two telegrams from London. In the house though, the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police) was waiting. Frank was apprehended and brought to the Scheveningen prison, the ‘Oranjehotel’.
Grave of Frank Rijk van Ommeren (picture: www.ogs.nl)
On 6 November 1944 Frank, together with Willem Hanegraaf and the Antillian Resistance fighter ‘Boy’ Ecury, was shot on the Waalsdorpervlakte. The execution was two days after his 26th birthday and seven months after his marriage. Titia remained active in the Resistance, just as her mother. After the war Frank received a grave at the honorary cemetery Bloemendaal in Overveen. His name is on the war monument in Paramaribo with the Resistance fighters in The Netherlands.
Harry ('Harti') Rijk van Ommeren (Paramaribo, 4 March 1913)
Harti Rijk van Ommeren (picture: Haagse Beeldbank)
Harry did all kinds of odd-jobs for the The Hague resistance. Together with his brother Humphry he was arrested on 27 December 1944 at Thomsonplein 5. There Titia Bleiji's mother lived, the mother-in-law of his brother Frank. The Delta Group, which Humphry was the leader of, had a meeting there that night. Harry was released in February 1945. After the Second World War he became a lawyer in The Hague. Harry Rijk van Ommeren died there on 4 April 1996.
Lodewijk Hendrik Rijk van Ommeren (Paramaribo, 4 September 1917)
Henk Rijk van Ommeren (picture: Haagse Beeldbank)
From early on Lodewijk was a member of the The Hague resistance and worked, as his brother Frank, for department J ('Jews'). He was assisted by his brother Frank. Also Lodewijk was arrested on 28 December 1944. He ended up in the 'Oranjehotel', the prison of Scheveningen, and was transported from there via camp Amersfoort to Neuengamme in Germany. Lodewijk Rijk van Ommeren succumbed on 15 April 1945 in Kommando Uelzen near camp Neuengamme, where he was buried. His name is on the war monument in Paramaribo with the resistance fighters in The Netherlands.
Humphry Norbert Rijk van Ommeren (Paramaribo, 7 July 1906)
Humphry Rijk van Ommeren (picture: Haagse Beeldbank)
Humphry worked in The Hague with the Centraal Bureau voor Statistiek. Already in 1940 he became active for the The Hague resistance. The group he led was named after his family, ‘Rijk van Ommeren’, and was also named the ‘Vrije Verzetsgroep De Griffie’ or ‘Bureau Nauta’. Jan Nauta was one of the pseudonyms used by Humphry. He also called himself Prillwitz-Beck and Fortuin (or Fortuyn). Titia Bleiji, later on the wife of Frank Rijk van Ommeren, was a courier with the group.
In 1943 Humphry was, together with his brothers Henk and Frank, involved with supplying Jewish people with hiding adressess and coupons in the province of Zuid-Holland. They worked together with the LO, the National Organization for Help to People in Hiding. The Rijk van Ommeren Group also undertook espionage activities. During that time Humphry quit his job and went into hiding.
In 1944 the Resistance in The Hague was hit by a big wave of arrests. The Home Forces executives had to regroup, which resulted in the nationwide combining of the Order groups, Resistance Council and Armed Resistance Teams, which took place from September 1944. The Home Forces were also named 'Delta’. Commander was colonel Henri Koot in Amsterdam. Humphry became his aide in The Hague, with the special task to lead the Inlichtingendienst (Intelligence Service) and the Contactbureau. On 10 October the various The Hague Resistance groups made him leader of the The Hague Delta group. The The Hague section Rolls Royce of the courier group closely co-operated with them.
Two days after Christmas 1944, during a meeting of the Delta group in the house of Mrs Bleiji, Thomsonplein 5, a raid took place. They were members of the commando-Leemhuis, which closely worked together with Sonderkommando Frank. That day or the following day, ten illegal workers were arrested, among them Humphry, Harti and Henk Rijk van Ommeren. They were transported to the ‘Oranjehotel’. Harti was released, Henk was sent to Neuengamme and Humphry was detained until the end of the war in Scheveningen.
After the war Humphry told his son Herman that Friederich Frank especially came to the Scheveningen prison to ‘instruct the people there in how to interrogate the arrested'. Humphry was chosen as the experimental subject. It was, to his relief, 'a stringent but correct police interrogation. No force was used.'
After the war
After the liberation Humphry Rijk van Ommeren became head of the Home Forces, section The Hague. During the same year he started working as a district inspector with the The Hague POD (Political Investigation Service), where subsequently he became chief. On 1 March 1946 martial law ended and also the Military Authority, therefore POD’s as well. A civillian form of ‘Political Investigation Service’ replaced it. In order to support the investigators a 'Bureau Collaboration’ was established, with Humphry from 1947 as the acting chef.
Suriname and back
At the request of the ‘Welvaartsfonds’ (A foundation to improve the economical development of Suriname) Rijk van Ommeren went to live in 1949 in his motherland Suriname. Around 1951 he started working as director of the Surinaams Statics Office. Around 1960 he was appointed as director of the Ministry of General Affairs of Suriname and four years later he returned to The Hague as advisory counsel to the cabinet of the Envoy Minister of Suriname.
Humphry Norbert Rijk van Ommeren died there on 22 December 1978.
Herman de la Parra. He settled down in Emmen, as a general practicioner. During mobilization he served as an army surgeon in the Dutch army; his practice was looked after by Max Samson*. See also the paragraph on Surinam Jews.
Jozef Marius Rodriguez (Paramaribo, 5 March 1900), member of the resistance. Rodriguez was a retired sergeant of the KNIL and lived in Nijmegen. He was involved in distributing illegal pamphlets. As retaliation for an attack, he was arrested and first detained in Arnhem, later on in camp Amersfoort. Together with seven others, he was shot on 21 July 1944. After the war Jozef Marinus was buried at the war cemetery of Vredenhof, Nijmegen. His name, spelled as Rodriquez, is on the war monument in Paramaribo with the resistance fighters in the Netherlands (twice).
Max Samson together with his wife Daisy Ezechiëls established himself as doctor-pharmacist in Drenthe, Emmen-Erfscheiderveen. The couple had two children, Phili (1938) and Annie (1939).
He look after the practice of Herman de la Parra* in 1940. For more information see the section on Surinam Jews.
John J.B. Tolud (picture: www.verzetsmuseum.org)
John Bernhard Tolud (Suriname, 1899). Tolud was ten years with the Marine Corps. When his commander told him he wouldn't be admitted to a training to become an officer, he left the service and started in Amsterdam a shop in curiosities. He also worked as a teacher and as a juggler. He lectured at schools in Suriname. During the war he joined the resistance. He stayed with the Van der Mark family in Alblasserdam. In February 1945 he became an instructor at the inland armed forces, district Dordrecht. His nickname was 'Johnny the negro'. After the German capitulation he assisted in tracking down collaborators. John Tolud died in 1979.
Citizens of Gardelegen and surroundings are forced to see, under surveillance of American soldiers, the consequences of the butchering (picture: www.ushmm.org)
Albert Leonard Wittenberg (Paramaribo, 14 April 1909). Union of Surinam workers in the Netherlands. Albert Wittenberg worked at least as early as 1929 with the KNSM where he, four years later, also received his diploma as Sloop Worker, a proof of professionalism and knowledge in rescueing. During the same year, in 1933, Albert married Janna Jetten from Amsterdam. They had two children. Janna came from a communist family; her brother fought in 1937-1938 against Franco. Albert found a job with the fire brigade and joined the left wing Union. At the beginning of the war, in 1941, he was engaged by the Anti-aircraft Defences. Here, on a regular basis, anti-German activities were deployed.
Wittenberg family around 1943 (picture: private collection, published in Verzetskrant Feb.2011)
The family lived in the Transvaal neighbourhood, like many Jewish families. Just before Jewish neighbours were taken away, six weeks old Betty was taken into the Wittenberg family. When people commented on the presence of a blond baby, Janna said she had an affair. In May 1944 Albert Wittenberg was arrested and detained in the prison at the Weteringschans. After that he ended up in camp Vught and probably camp Dora Mittelbau terecht. When the American troops advanced, everywhere camp prisoners were evacuated by the Germans. In this case by train, toward camp Neuengamme near Hamburg. Because of heavy firing and the chaos of war, the train did not get far. Wittenberg died on 13 April 1945 in the massacre of Gardelegen - see www.ogs.nl. Written reports assume he died in Sachsenhausen. Gardelegen is 150 km. west of Berlin and has a railway station. On the day mentioned, the weakened prisoners were driven from the goods train into a big barn at the Isenschnibbe estate. Straw was drenched in petrol, the doors were closed and fire was brought into the barn. People who tried to escape were shot. 1,061 prisoners died. The next day the news was in the New York Times. See the site of the Holocaust Museum in Washington (www.ushmm.org). His name is on the war monument in Paramaribo with the resistance fighters in the Netherlands (twice).
Extra source: Newsletter Verzetsmuseum February 2011, with thanks to John Brouwer de Koning
Julius Wolff, welder. In Amsterdam he helped Jewish refugees to go into hide and was betrayed. For more information see the section on Surinam Jews.
Sources / More reading
See also Stories (Verhalen): Witness Theophilia d'Hondt-Berkenveld
Allochtonen van nu & de oorlog van toen (Todays immigrants & Yesteryear's war) - Morocco, The Netherlands Antilles, Suriname and Turkey during the Second World War
Ad van den Oord, SDU/Forum 2003, ISBN 90-5409-420-6 (in Dutch)
Moroccans fighting in the Zeeuws' clay. Antillean students in the Dutch resistance. Surinam volunteers to the East, Jewish refugees (not) to the West. Turkey as the only bridge to Palestine...
Wereldoorlog in de West (World War in the West - Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba 1940-1945.
Publication by occasion of the exposition of the same name in the Resistance Museum Amsterdam, from 29 June 2004 - 28 November 2004. Liesbeth van der Horst - Publishing House Verloren, ISBN 90-6550-794-9 (in Dutch)
Information on Anton de Kom
BWSA 8 (2001), p. 105-109, Author: Frits van Suchtelen, last review: 2003-02-10
History of the Jews of the Netherlands Antilles - Isaac S. and Suzanne A. Emmanuel, Cincinnati 1970
E. van Laar and W. Man A Hing, De roemloze ondergang van de Goslar (The inglorious fall of the Goslar), in: Tijdschrift voor Zeegeschiedenis, May 1989, p.57-79).
Data private collection John T.S. Brouwer de Koning version 5.3
Information about W.M. Wesenhagen: Marjo Nederlof
Mister Frank Jüdell
www.dbnl.org (Picture Albert Helman - Peter de Boer)
www.engelfriet.net (photo KNIL)
Please do feel free to comment on our English translation. We welcome any improvement!