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May 10th, 1940

How did one get into such a dangerous resistance adventure?

One didn’t decide to join the resistance. Events, sometimes small incidents, made one to step in; the result was that you did something to help other, something that was forbidden by the occupying forces. So you got from one step to the next. I will try to explain it by my own experiences.

May 10th, 1940, on Friday before Pentecost. Warm weather, blue sky. German airplanes in low flight over our house. In Valkenburg, the hostile tanks climb the Cauberg on their way to Maastricht. We are occupied.
Dutch soldiers, who operated an old cannon on the Cauberg before, tipped over the monster in the middle of the street to hinder the Germans in their advance and then disappeared themselves. They are sitting along the slope of the wood in front of our house, the “Polverbos”, and don’t know where to go. I see them. I couldn’t leave the boys in the hands of the enemy, could I?
We invited them in our house and my wife, Gerda, immediately was busy to serve a nutritious breakfast to them. Twelve soldiers then had to be changed into civilians. With some improvisation we made it. The staff had started the daily work in the meantime. Consultation with the men of the staff yielded a couple of garments and the soldiers were modified to a bit bedraggled civilian boys. So we had at once the first people to hide (we called them divers) because transportation back home was only possible for a couple of boys from South Limburg (that is the direct surroundings) .
In the week after Pentecost the journey back home was organized for the vacationists run aground in Valkenburg and our boys traveled with them. Some of them sent back the lent civvies properly.

But now to the weapons and uniforms they left. Johan de W., our engineer, knew a solution. He burned the uniforms in the steam-boiler in a nice fire. But, Johan said, we could possibly need the guns urgently to chase the Jerries away. He knew what he did. He removed one part. The weapons themselves were greased thickly, wrapped up with rags and buried in the garden one by one. The parts which he had held separately were greased too, packed and hidden separately into a little box. He proceeded this way so that if the NSB-people or the Germans would find the guns, they would not be able do anything with them.

The rest of this page: Chalices And Mass Gowns

Album : Verzet
Pierre Schunck